The Basics of the Conditional Tense in Spanish
Published on September 19, 2019 / Updated on January 9, 2024
The conditional tense in Spanish is all about the world of “shoulda, coulda, woulda”. The conditional tense is what we use for giving advice, offering suggestions, and talking about potential. These are the main contexts in English for using the conditional tense
The same goes for Spanish. All the “shoulda, coulda, woulda” stuff in Spanish uses the conditional tense.
Why you should learn the conditional tense in Spanish
As a beginner Spanish speaker, your main goal is to get better. No matter how awkward, being in conversation with native speakers will expand your vocabulary and help you develop a better ear for Spanish grammar.
Though I grew up more or less bilingual, I only truly learned how to chat in Spanish when I studied abroad in Madrid, Spain. That’s because it was the first time I had typical conversations.
In most traditional Spanish classes, we teach the present indicative tense first (I go, you go, he/she/it goes, we go, they go). When is the last time you said those phrases to anyone? It’s just not how we talk.
When we chat, we typically talk using the past tense and the future tense. Most conversations look something like this:
The future bit requires the future tense and the conditional tense. Having this conversation multiple times a day, I gained confidence in my ability to chat with strangers and make friends. With these basics, you can do the same.
The simple conditional tense is translated to English as would + verb: I would think, I would eat, I would go, etc. The greatest thing about the conditional tense in Spanish is that it’s super easy to conjugate.
That’s it. Regular –ar, -er, and –ir verbs are all conjugated exactly the same way.
Let’s make some “shoulda, coulda, woulda” sentences.
What should I do about my love life?
How about you? What would you do if you had a good grasp of the conditional tense in Spanish?
If you’re interested in practising the conditional along with other basic Spanish conversation, visit the Lingoda website for a free week trial with out native speaking teachers!