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The conditional tense is like the future but allows you to express something in the present or future that is hypothetical, perhaps depending on a certain condition being met.

It is equivalent to saying ‘I would do something’ rather than the definite future which would be ‘I will do something’.

Let’s look at an example of how this differs from the future tense:

Yo trabajaré en esta ciudad – I will work in this city (Future Tense)
Yo trabajaría en esta ciudad – I would work in this city (Conditional Tense)

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The first example says that I will definitely work in this city. The second is hypothetical depending, maybe depending on a condition being met.

The conditional tenses and regular verbs

Let’s look at a few examples on how to conjugate regular verbs in the conditional:

Viajaría – I would travel
Comerías – You would eat
Trabajaría – He/She would work
Bebería – You would drink
Caminaríamos – We would walk
Manejarían – You (plural) would drive
Hablarían - They would talk

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Using the conditional form of ‘haber’ as in ‘habría’ also allows you to express ‘I would have’ as in the following examples:

Habría viajado – I would have travelled
Habrías comido – You would have eaten
Habría trabajado – He/she would have worked
Habría bebido – You would have drunk
Habríamos caminado – We would have walked
Habrían manejado – They would have driven/managed
Habrían hablado – You (plural) would have spoken

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The conditional tenses and irregular verbs

There are a few verbs that have irregular conjugations in the conditional tense but they are not all that difficult if you already know the future conjugation of the verbs.

Here are examples of some important ones. I have placed them alongside the future conjugations so that you can see how the endings change between the future and the conditional.



I will come

I would come

I will put

I would put

I will say

I would say

I will be able to

I would be able to

I will do

I would do

I will want

I would do

I will have

I would have

I will go out

I would go out

I will know

I would know

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Let’s look at a few very simple examples with the conditional:

Bebería mucho más – I would drink a lot more
Podríamos hacer todo el trabajo hoy – We could do all the work today
¿Saldrías con nosotros? – Would you go out with us?
Ellos dirían toda la verdad – They would tell the whole truth

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Note: The conditional is more often used in sentences like ‘I would travel to France if I had the money.’ But to add on the ‘if I had the money’ part, you would need to learn the subjunctive which we will look at later.