Chapter 10   --   Expressing a Conditional Action

We continue our study of the verb forms with the Conditional Tense (could, may, might, ought, should, or would in English).
In this tense, one set of endings is added to the infinitive.  
The English words could, may, or might are translated as poder; ought or should are translated as deber.
There is no additional translation for the word would, as the tense alone is sufficient.

The endings for all of the verbs are -ía, -ías, -ía, -íamos, -íais, -ían.

Group 1     regular verbs         example: nadar, to swim

Infinitive Ending Spanish English
nadar   ía yo nadaría I would swim
nadar   ías tú nadarías You would swim
nadar   ía él nadaría He would swim
nadar   ía ella nadaría She would swim
nadar   ía usted nadaría You would swim
nadar   ía quién nadaría Who would swim
nadar   íamos nosotras nadaríamos We would swim
nadar   íais vosotras, -os nadaríais You would swim
nadar   ían ellas, -os nadarían They would swim
nadar   ían ustedes nadarían You would swim
nadar   ían quienes nadarían Who would swim

In group 1, there are no irregular verbs.

Groups 2 and 3    regular verbs         example: vencer, to win, permitir, to permit

Infinitive Ending Spanish English
vencer ía yo vencería I would win
vencer ías tú vencerías  You would win
vencer ía él vencería He would win
vencer ía ella vencería She would win
vencer ía usted vencería You would win
vencer ía quién vencería Who would permit
permitir íamos nosotras permitiríamos We would permit
permitir íais vosotras, -os permitiríais You would permit
permitir ían ellas, -os permitirían They would permit
permitir ían ustedes permitirían You would permit
permitir ían quienes permitirían Who would permit

In group 2 the following verbs are irregular:

          caber (to fit), haber (to have), poder (to be able), querer (to want), saber (to know)

                  - the infinitive is shortened by dropping the final vowel; thus cabr-, habr-, podr-, querr-, sabr-

          poner (to put), tener (to have), valer (to be worth) - the final vowel is changed to d; thus pondr-, tendr-, valdr-

          hacer (to do) is changed to har; thus haría, harías, haría, haríamos, haríais, harían

Compound forms have the same irregularities as the basic form.

          thus , componer becomes compondría, compondrías, compondría, compondríamos, compondríais, compondrían


In group 3, the following verbs are irregular

          decir (to say) is changed to dir; thus, diría, dirías, diría, diríamos, diríais, dirían

          salir (to go out), venir(to come) - the final vowel is changed to d; thus saldr-, vendr-

Compound verbs have the same irregularities as the base verb.

          thus bendecir becomes bendiría, bendirías, bendiría, bendiríamos, bendiríais, bendirían

The conditional tense is also used as a polite way to ask for things, just as it is in English.

examples :  

¿Podría mostrarme el vaso? Could you show me the vase?
¿Le gustaría a usted una bebida? Would you like a soft drink?
¿Deberíamos irnos ahora? Should we leave now?
¿Le interesaría a usted un vaso de vino? Would a glass of wine interest you?
¿Te molestaría si yo fumara? Would it bother you if I smoked?

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