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Spanish Conditional: Form and Use of the Conditional Mood of Regular Spanish Verbs

The conditional mood is a verb conjugation in the Spanish language that refers to verbs in the present tense, simple aspect, conditional mood, and active voice. The Spanish conditional mood expresses actions or states whose occurrence is either hypothetical or contingent about another circumstance. Conditionality is most often expressed through the modal verb would in English. The following sections explain the formation of the conditional mood of regular Spanish verbs that Spanish language learners must understand and master.

Formation of the Spanish Conditional Mood

Like the majority of verb conjugations in the Spanish language, the conditional mood is formed through the process of inflection. Inflection is most often defined as the modification of the form of a word through affixation. Regular verbs in the conditional mood in Spanish are formed by affixing the conditional suffix to the end of the infinitive of the verb. The conjugation patterns for regular Spanish verbs in the simple present are as follows:

Regular -ar Verbs (estudiar)

  • first person singular – infinitive + ía – estudiaría
  • second person singular – infinitive + ías – estudiarías
  • third person singular – infinitive + ía – estudiaría
  • first person plural – infinitive + íamos – estudiaríamos
  • second person plural – infinitive + íais – estudiaríais
  • third person plural – infinitive + ían – estudiarían

Regular -er Verbs (comer)

  • first person singular – infinitive + ía – comería
  • second person singular – infinitive + ías – comerías
  • third person singular – infinitive + ía – comería
  • first person plural – infinitive + íamos – comeríamos
  • second person plural – infinitive + íais – comeríais
  • third person plural – infinitive + ían – comerían

Regular -ir Verbs (ir)

  • first person singular – infinitive + ía – iría
  • second person singular – infinitive + ías – irías
  • third person singular – infinitive + ía – iría
  • first person plural – infinitive + íamos – iríamos
  • second person plural – infinitive + íais – iríais
  • third person plural – infinitive + ían – irían

Note that the endings for all regular Spanish verbs are identical in the conditional mood.

Use of the Spanish Conditional Mood

The use of the conditional mood in Spanish is extremely similar to the use of the modal verb would in English with some slight differences. Spanish verbs in the conditional most often occur in sentences that express the following situations:

  • Expectations
  • Probability
  • Polite requests
  • Polite desires
  • Si (if-then) constructions

For example:

  • Paco dijo que vendría. “Paco said that he would come.”
  • Él estaría en su casa. “He must have been at home.”
  • ¿Qué hora sería? “What time could it have been?”
  • Queríamos unos tacos. “We would like some tacos.”
  • Si tuviera dinero, iría contigo. “If I had money, I would go with you.”
  • Sería interesante estudiar chino. “It would be interesting to study Chinese.”

The conditional mood expresses actions or states whose occurrence is either hypothetical or contingent about another circumstance. Spanish language students must learn to form and use the conditional forms of Spanish verbs in order to fully use and understand verbs the Spanish language.

For the conjugations of irregular Spanish verbs in the simple future, please refer to Spanish Conditional: Form of the Conditional Mood of Irregular Spanish Verbs.

Note: I have studied Spanish as a foreign language. Please feel free to correct any mistakes that I have made in my Spanish.

References

Ramboz, Ina. 2008. Spanish verbs & essentials of grammar (Verbs and Essentials of Grammar Series), 2nd edn. New York: McGraw-Hill.

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