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Modo/tiempo condicional

Spanish conditional mood/tense

Nowadays, in Spanish, the conditional is considered a tense of the indicative mood (condicional simple and condicional compuesto), but there's always a bit of controversy among linguists as some of them think that the conditional should be considered a mood: el modo condicional. 

Why is the Spanish conditional a tense instead of a mood?

It wasn't so long ago that there was a mood called "potencial" (the equivalent of the conditional), but it was in 1973 that the division of moods changed to the current 3: indicativo, subjuntivo and imperativo.

Conditional tenses (simple and perfect) are generally used when talking about things that depend upon something else, when it is conditional on another factor.

In English, we express this with "would" + verb or "would have" + verb

For example:

Si yo fuera rico, compraría una mansión.

If I were rich, I would buy a mansion.

In this sentence, the condition for buying a mansion is 'to be rich'.

 

Si él hubiera sido rico, habría comprado una mansión.

If he'd been rich, he would have bought a mansion.

In this sentence, the condition for buying a mansion is 'to have been rich'.

 

You can learn a bit more about conditional tenses in Spanish here:

  1. El Condicional Simple
  2. El Condicional Perfecto

Related lesson: Tense / Mood

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