The conditional mode (in Spanish modo condicional) is used to express an action of which the fulfilment depends on a condition. This article describes the way the conditional is used in Spanish.

Conditional simple Condicional simple

The simple conditional (in Spanish: condicional simple) expresses an action that could take place depending on wheter or not a certain condition is met:

Si yo comiera más, estaría muy gordo.
If I ate more, I would be very fat.

It can also be used to express an advice. For example:

Si yo fuera tú, no dejaría pasar esta oportunidad.
If I were you, I would not miss this opportunity.

Note that the hypothetical if-clause is stated in the subjunctive imperfect.

De conditional mode is also used to express future actions seen from the past. For example:

El carpintero dijo que vendría hoy.
The carpenter said he would come today.

Also the conditional mode can be used to express a polite request:

¿Me podría hacer un favor?
Could you do me a favour?

In general you can say that when the word 'would' is used in English, in Spanish the condicional mode is be applied.

Conditional perfect Condicional perfecto

The conditional perfect (in Spanish: condicional perfecto) is the compound tense of the conditional. It is used when the primary clause is in pluperfect subjunctive. It is formed by the auxiliar verb haber in simple conditional and the participle of the conjugated verb.

Si lo hubiera explicado mejor, lo habrías entendido.
If I would have explained it better, you would have understood it.

The perfect tense can also be used to express an action that would have been finished. For example:

El pintor habría pintado la puerta hoy.
The painter would have painted the door today.

 

Mode or tense?

Sometimes it is considered that the conditional is not an independent mode, but a verbal tense in the indicative mode.