Easy Learning Spanish

The conditional - Easy Learning Grammar Spanish

What is the conditional?
The conditional is a verb form used to talk about things that would happen or that would be true under certain conditions, for example, I would help you if I could.
It is also used to say what you would like or need, for example, Could you give me the bill?

1   Using the conditional

  • You can often recognize a conditional in English by the word would or its shortened form ’d.
I would be sad if you left.If you asked him, he’d help you.
  • You use the conditional for:
  • saying what you would like to do
Me gustaría conocerlo.I’d like to meet him.
  • making suggestions
Podrías alquilar una bici.You could hire a bike.
  • giving advice
Deberías hacer más ejercicio.You should take more exercise.
  • saying what you would do
Le dije que le ayudaría.I said I would help him.
TipThere is no direct Spanish translation of would in verb forms like would be, would like, would help and so on. You change the Spanish verb ending instead.

2   Forming the conditional

  • To form the conditional of regular -ar, -er, and -ir verbs, add the following endings to the infinitive of the verb: -ía, -ías, -ía, -íamos, -íais, -ían.
  • The following table shows the conditional tense of three regular verbs: hablar (meaning to speak), comer (meaning to eat) and vivir (meaning to live).
(yo)hablaríacomeríaviviríaI would speak/eat/live
(tú)hablaríascomeríasviviríasyou would speak/eat/live


hablaríacomeríaviviríahe would
she would
it would
you would
(nosotros/nosotras)hablaríamoscomeríamosviviríamoswe would
(vosotros/vosotras)hablaríaiscomeríaisviviríaisyou would

hablaríancomeríanviviríanthey would
you would
Dije que hablaría con ella.I said that I would speak to her.
Si tuvieras tiempo, comería contigo.I’d have lunch with you if you had time.
Aquí viviríais más tranquilos.You’d have a quieter life here.
TipDon’t forget to put an accent on the í in the conditional.
  • Note that the endings in the conditional tense are identical to those of the imperfect tense for -er and -ir verbs. The only difference is that they are added to a different stem.

3   Verbs with irregular stems in the conditional

  • To form the conditional of irregular verbs, use the same stem as for the future tense, then add the usual endings for the conditional. The same verbs that are irregular in the future tense are irregular in the conditional.
to say
to have
to do/
to be
able to
to put
to want
to know
to leave
to have
to come
¿Qué harías tú en mi lugar?What would you do if you were me?
¿Podrías ayudarme?Could you help me?
Yo lo pondría aquí.I would put it here.
  • Note that the verb haber is only used when forming other tenses, such as the perfect tense, and in the expression hay (meaning there is/there are).

4   Reflexive verbs in the conditional

  • The conditional of reflexive verbs is formed in just the same way as for ordinary verbs, except that you have to remember to give the reflexive pronoun (me, te, se, nos, os, se).
Le dije que me levantaría temprano.I told him I would get up early.
Key points
  • In Spanish, there is no direct equivalent of the word would in verb forms like would go and would look and so on. You change the verb ending instead.
  • To form the conditional tense, add the endings -ía, ías, -ía,-íamos, -íais, -ían to the infinitive. The conditional uses the same stem as for the future.
  • Some verbs have irregular stems which are used for both the conditional and the future. It is worth learning these.

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