Spanish Grammar


Try these: SubjunctivesVerbsNounsExamsAdjectivesPast TensePronouns

Filter by Categories


Advanced Uses of Conditional Simple

The conditional simple in Spanish is a verb tense that offers us a multitude of uses: advice, hypothesis, politeness, modesty, desires… Today we are going to learn some advanced uses of the conditional simple. So, if you don’t remember how this tense is formed, or what its basic uses are, we recommend you to read our article on the conditional simple in Spanish. However, we leave you here an infographic to remind you:

Infographic: the conditional simple in spanish

Advanced Uses of Conditional Simple: the Reported Speech

We use The conditional simple in Spanish in the reported speech. In this way, we express an action subsequent to another action in the past. You can learn more about this way of speaking in this article about the reported speech in Spanish.

With this usage, we can check the intrinsic relationship between the conditional and the future. When the speaker makes use of the future in the reported speech, this tense will change to the conditional in the reported style. This is why it is said that “the conditional is a future of the past“.

María dijo: “mañana me iré de vacaciones”.

María dijo que el día siguiente se iría de vacaciones.



Conditional as Probability in the Past

Another advanced use of the conditional simple in Spanish is to express a hypothesis or probability in the past. These are actions of which we are not sure in a past tense. With this use, the conditional is related to the present perfect simple. If we are sure of the fact, we use the preterite, if we are not, we can use the conditional. In addition to this tense, we can reinforce the idea of probability with expressions such as probablemente, no sé, quizá…:

Ayer mi amigo hizo el examen DELE. (I’m sure).

Quizá ayer mi amigo haría el examen DELE. (I’m not sure).

Advanced Uses of the Conditional Simple: Improbable Wishes

The expression of wishes is one of the advanced uses of the conditional simple that you may already know, in part. Surely, basic students of Spanish know how to use the verb gustar in the conditional. Let’s see an example:

Me gustaría vivir en España.

However, things get complicated when we have to express a wish that affects another person. In that case, we will use the main verb in the conditional simple, followed by a subordinate clause. The verb of this clause will be the imperfect subjunctive. If you don’t remember its forms and uses, take a look at this article on the forms and uses of the imperfect preterite subjunctive.

Me gustaría que mis hijos vivieran en España.

Mis padres querrían que yo estudiara más.

Conditional Sentences in Spanish

Finally, we will finish with one of the most complicated advanced uses of the conditional simple: conditional sentences. This type of sentence expresses the condition necessary for the verbal action to take place. They are made up of two propositions: one introduced by a conditional connector (si, a unless, de + infinitive…) and the other, which is the main one, with the verb in the conditional simple. In the subordinate clause, we will normally use the imperfect subjunctive.

Si tuviera más dinero, me compraría una casa nueva.

However, this type of conditional sentence is not the only one in our language. We recommend you this article to learn the other types of conditionals in Spanish.

As we can see, in the advanced uses of the conditional simple, there is a great relationship with the imperfect subjunctive. If you want to learn these tenses and use them naturally, reserve Spanish classes for different levels: Nos gustaría que aprendieras en

Infographic on the advanced uses of the simple conditional in Spanish