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Unidad Cuatro. The Conditional Tense.

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the conditional tense
The Conditional Tense
  • The conditional tense can be thought of as the “would” tense. Use the conditional to describe things that “would” or “could” be.For example; I would call him, but I’m shy.If I were rich, I would buy a Porsche.Could I have a napkin, please?I wouldn’t do that!She could leave, if she had a ride.

Here are the correct endings for the conditional tense. Notice that the endings are the same for all three kinds of verbs!


The conditional tense conjugates in the same fashion as the future tense - don’t remove the –AR, -ER, or –IR! Just add the subject ending right onto the end of the verb!


Here’s an an example of the conjugation process. We’ll use the “yo” form for this example.

Simply attach the ending which matches the subject. That’s it!


To sing


I would sing



-ER and -IR verbs work the same way as -AR verbs.


To eat


Just add the correct ending.

You would eat

To livee


To live


They would live

To livee


Now you try it! On a piece of paper, or in your head, conjugate the following and then click for the correct answer.

He would ask. (Preguntar)

I would study. (Estudiar)

They would run. (Correr)

You (inf) would write. (Escribir)

Él preguntaría.

Yo estudiaría.

Ellos correrían.

Tú escribirías.


Irregular verbs in the conditional tense have the same stem as they do in the future tense. To conjugate them, just add the regular conditional tense ending to these stems. Remember, any verb which contains one of these irregular verbs will inherit its stem in the conditional.

For example;proponer = propondr-.

Here are some examples as well as the other two common irregular verbs in the future and the conditional;
Finally, note the following;
  • Although the conditional tense is usually translated as “would” it’s not the only tense that can mean would. When would is used to refer to something that was habitual in the past, you should use the imperfect past tense that we will study in Unit 6. For example;We would always lose.
  • Because the conditional can translate as “could”, this tense is often used to make polite requests.For example; Could I please borrow a pencil?
  • There are no stem changers in the conditional tense.
  • Estar, Ser, and Ir are regular in the conditional tense.
  • Just as the future tense may be used to express probability in the present, the conditional may be used to express it in the past. For example; She’s probably at home (present) = Estará en casa. (future)She was probably at home (past) = Estaría en casa. (cond.)