Generally speaking, we use the conditional tense in Spanish to talk about hypothetical things. However, we also use the conditional tense for polite requests or when we want to express wishes and desires. Let's take a look at some simple rules that will help you to master the conditional tense in Spanish.
Before talking about the uses of the conditinal tense, it is important to review how to conjugate it. Let's start with the regular verbs. For these verbs, you just need to take the infinitive form and add the conditional ending.
Let's take the verb hablar (to speak)
Yo hablaría (I would speak)
Tú hablarías (You would speak)
Él/Ella hablaría (He/She would speak)
Nosotros hablaríamos (We would speak)
Vosotros hablaríais (You would speak)
Ellos hablarían (They would speak)
Let's take the verb comer (to eat)
Yo comería (I would eat)
Tú comerías (You would eat)
Él/Ella comería (He/She would eat)
Nosotros comeríamos (We would eat)
Vosotros comeríais (You would eat)
Ellos comerían (They would eat)
Let's take the verb abrir (to open)
Yo abriría (I would open)
Tú abrirías (You would open)
Él/Ella abriría (He/She would open)
Nosotros abriríamos (We would open)
Vosotros abriríais (You would open)
Ellos abrirían (They would open)
There are several irregular verbs that are used all the time in the conditional tense. For these verbs, you need to keep in mind that they maintain the same stem that they have in the future tense. Let's see the conjugation for the verbs decir (to say) and hacer (to make).
Yo diría (I would say)
Tú dirías (You would say)
Él/Ella diría (He/She would say)
Nosotros diríamos (We would say)
Vosotros diríais (You would say)
Ellos dirían (They would say)
Yo haría (I would make)
Tú harías (You would make)
Él/Ella haría (He/She would make)
Nosotros haríamos (We would make)
Vosotros haríais (You would make)
Ellos harían (They would make)
In Spanish, it is quite common to use the conditional tense when you want to do any of the following:
¿Podrías por favor decirnos a los... a nuestros amigos de Yabla
Could you please tell us to the... to our friends from Yabla
en qué lugar están ustedes?
where you guys are?
Captions 66-67, Monsieur Periné - EntrevistaPlay Caption
¿Te gustaría volver a tu ciudad?
Would you like to return to your city?
Pues la verdad es que me encantaría volver a Málaga.
Well the truth is that I would love to go back to Málaga.
Captions 33-34, Clara y Cristina - SaludarPlay Caption
Bueno, si yo fuera tú, hablaría con él.
Well, if I were you, I would speak with him.Play Caption
Cuatro horas es demasiado.
Four hours is too much.
Creo que no llegaría a tiempo a la reunión.
I think that I would not arrive in time for the meeting.
Captions 30-31, Raquel - La Compra de un Billete de TrenPlay Caption
Y que nos juramos que esto nunca iría a pasar
And we vowed to each other that this would never happenPlay Caption
That's it for this lesson. We encourage you to write some sentences for the 5 different uses we mentioned for the conditional tense. And don't forget to send us your feedback and suggestions.
The Spanish verb asistir (to be present, to attend) has many different meanings depending on the context. Let's learn how to use this interesting verb.
The verb asistir derives from the latin assistĕre, which literally means "to stop next to," and that’s the basic meaning of this verb:
Para asistir a una reunión de trabajo.
To attend a business meeting.
Caption 4, Raquel - La Compra de un Billete de TrenPlay Caption
This verb is always accompanied by the preposition a. Here's another example using a conjugated form of the verb:
Así que, por primera vez en Animales en familia asistimos a una doble cirugía.
So, for the first time on "Animales en familia" ("Animals in the Family"), we witness a double surgery.
Captions 8-9, Animales en familia - La operación de YakiPlay Caption
As you can see in the example above, the verb asistir may have different translations. The following example uses the imperative form of the verb:
Así que, no dejes de formarte. Lee libros, asiste a seminarios.
So, don't stop educating yourself. Read books, go to seminars.
Captions 59-60, Raquel y Marisa - Español Para Negocios - Crear una empresaPlay Caption
In certain contexts the verb asistir means "to attend to," in which case it's very common to use the passive voice. The passive voice uses the participle asistido and the preposition por(by), as you can see in the following example:
La enfermera asiste al paciente / El paciente es asistido por la enfermera.
The nurse attends to the patient / The patient is attended by the nurse.
Additionally, asistir also means "to give help or assistance":
El principal rol de un asistente quirúrgico es asistir al cirujano durante una operación.
The primary role of a surgical assistant is to assist the surgeon during an operation.
As in English, the verb asistir is also used in sports to describe the act of enabling another player making a good play:
¡Messi asistió a Suárez sin siquiera tocar la pelota!
Messi assisted Suarez without even touching the ball!
Finally the verb asistir is used to express the idea of reason or law being on somebody's side:
Al demandate le asiste el derecho y la razón.
The plaintiff has the law and reason on his side.
Have you ever found yourself in a foreign country and needing to do some banking other than just using an ATM? Here's a useful list of Spanish banking vocabulary.
The Spanish word for "bank" is banco. Occasionally, you may hear people using the expressions institución bancaria (banking institution) or entidad bancaria (banking entity) as well, but these two are more commonly used in written documents:
Las condiciones, mm... no se las acepta, eh... o no se las concede la entidad bancaria.
The conditions, mm... are not accepted, um... or are not granted by the banking entity.
Captions 56-57, 75 minutos - Gangas para ricos - Part 12Play Caption
Note that in Spanish el banco (the bank) is not the same as la banca (banking), a feminine noun you can hear or read quite often if you follow Spanish-speaking world news. Here’s an example:
El candidato a la presidencia de México afirmó que "la banca es uno de los mejores negocios del país".
The candidate for the presidency of Mexico affirmed that "banking is one of the best businesses in the country."
In Spanish the acronym ATM is rarely used. Instead, Spanish speakers use the expression cajero automático (automatic cashier), which is frequently shortened to cajero.
¡Oh! ¿Dónde está el cajero automático?
Oh! Where's the ATM?
Caption 36, Natalia de Ecuador - Palabras de uso básicoPlay Caption
As in English, the word cajero or cajera (cashier) is also used to refer to the person who handles the caja (cash register, literally "box"). This word can be used anywhere a financial transaction takes place—at stores, banks, entertainment venues, and even zoquitos clubs:
Hay días que la caja tiene más zoquitos que euros? -No.
Are there days when the register has more zoquitos than euros? -No.
Caption 70, 75 minutos - Gangas para ricos - Part 5Play Caption
Finalmente, debes ir a la caja y pagar lo que quieras comprar.
Finally, you should go to the cash register and pay for whatever you want to buy.
Captions 40-41, Raquel Haciendo comprasPlay Caption
In Spanish as in English, if a cash register is located behind a glass wall or a small window, you may call it ventanilla (window); hence the use of expressions such as pague en ventanilla (pay at the window) or pase a ventanilla 8 (go to window 8). In movie theaters, for example, you may hear people say ventanilla instead of taquilla (box office) quite often. Of course, sometimes a ventanilla is just a window:
¿Y quiere asiento de ventanilla o de pasillo?
And do you want a window or aisle seat?
Caption 36, Raquel - La Compra de un Billete de TrenPlay Caption
The word depósito means "deposit," and depositar means "to make a deposit." Some useful expressions are: quiero hacer un depósito or quiero depositar (I want to make a deposit, I want to deposit). And the same formula applies for transferencia (transfer), giro (wire), and retiro (withdrawal).
The word for "currency" is moneda (which also means "coin"):
"Zoquitos" es una... una red de moneda local.
"Zoquitos" is a... a network of local currency.
Caption 23, 75 minutos - Gangas para ricos - Part 2Play Caption
The word divisa means "foreign currency." To ask for a currency conversion, you can say quiero hacer un cambio de divisas (I want to make a currency exchange). However, for a more colloquial touch, use something like quiero cambiar dólares a pesos (I want to exchange dollars for pesos).
To learn more about financial terms, try our series Cuentas claras.
The Spanish word que: how can such a tiny word be so complicated? A pronoun that translates as "who," "which," "whom," and "that." A conjunction that translates as "that," "then," "so," "if," or even "of" and has many other uses that simply don't have a direct translation in English. How should we tackle the topic? Maybe let's start with some useful common phrases, the most popular ones that use this tiny word, and take it from there.
The word que is combined with certain verbs very often. For example, with the verb tener (to have). Tener que is used to express a necessity or an imperative, or simply put, that something must be done.
Tienes que trabajar sábado y domingo.
You have to work Saturday and Sunday.
Caption 36, 75 minutos - Del campo a la mesaPlay Caption
You have to learn how to conjugate the verb tener, of course. You would find this expression more frequently in the indicative mood, like in the example above, but you can also find it in the subjunctive:
Es posible que tenga que quedarme algún día más en Barcelona.
It's possible that I may have to stay one more day in Barcelona.
Caption 52, Raquel - La Compra de un Billete de TrenPlay Caption
But be careful, there's an idiomatic expression that uses the same construction, always combined with the verb ver (to see) and the preposition con (with). Tener que ver con (literally "to have to see with”) is used to establish a relationship or connection. Most of the time this expression is preceded by another que (meaning "that"). We have a lesson on this topic, but let's analyze additional examples:
Espero que por favor practiquen todo lo que tiene que ver con
I hope that you please practice everything that has to do with
conjunciones disyuntivas y copulativas.
disjunctive and copulative conjunctions.Play Caption
Keep in mind that it is also possible to use the verb ver (to see, to look) combined with tener que to simply express a necessity (literally "to have to see") and not as an idiom:
...y, eh... también tengo que ver el tráfico del sitio.
...and, um... I also have to look at the site's traffic.
Caption 53, Carlos Quintana - Guía de musica latinaPlay Caption
Note that, in this case, you won't use the preposition con (with). If you were to add it, then you would be using the idiom tener que ver con (to have to do with). Tengo que ver con el tráfico del sitio means "I have something to do with the site's traffic."
And there's another idiom that may get in your way here. You can also use tener que ver con meaning "to have to deal with something." The expression is not very common because we also have the verbs enfrentar (to face) and lidiar (to deal), but here's an example:
ahora tengo que... tengo que ver con las consecuencias.
now I have to... I have to deal with the consequences.
Caption 27, La Sub30 - FamiliasPlay Caption
From this idiom comes a threatening expression: te las tendrás que ver con... (you will have to deal with...). For example: Si lastimas a Jenny te las tendrás que ver conmigo (if you hurt Jenny you will have to deal with me). Keep in mind that Spanish allows for a playful use of the relative pronouns, so you can also say: Si lastimas a Jenny tendrás que vértelas conmigo, which is actually more common.
¡Esta lección tuvo que ver solamente con una frase que combina ”que” con el verbo “tener”!
This lesson was only about one phrase that combines “que” with the verb “to have”!
We'll explore more phrases in future lessons. Stay tuned! Tweet us @yabla or send your topic suggestions to firstname.lastname@example.org.