The conditional in Portuguese

So far we’ve covered the present and future tenses in Portuguese, now let’s have a look at the conditional, which is not very complicated to form. This time, instead of using the verbs falar (to speak), comer (to eat) and partir (to leave), I shall use a different trio.

There are three sets of regular verbs in Portuguese

  1. those ending in ar, for example, andar, to walk
  2. those ending in er, for example, beber, to drink
  3. those ending in ir, for example, abrir, to open

In the present tense, you have to drop the ar, er and ir to get the verb stem, to which you add the present tense suffixes, but the conditional is like the future tense and the suffixes are merely added to the infinitive. And once again, thankfully, there is just one set of suffixes for all three verb groups. They are -ia, -ias, -ia, -íamos, -iam

Andar conjugates thus:

  • eu andaria – I would walk
  • tu andarias – you (singular, familiar) would walk
  • você/ele/ela andaria – you (singular), he, she would walk
  • nós andaríamos – we would walk 
  • vocês/eles/elas andariam – you (plural), they would walk
When it's time for "walkies", the conditional form of andar comes in useful if you are lazy. You would say "andaria mas..." ("I would walk but...) and then give your excuse not to go for a walk.

When it’s time for “walkies”, the conditional form of andar comes in useful if you are lazy. You would say “andaria mas…” (“I would walk but…”) and then give an excuse not to go.

LEARNING HINT: It’s fairly easy to remember the conditional suffixes: just remember that there is an “ia” theme, and the usual verb ending patterns apply. So as is often the case, the tu form takes an -s at the end, the nós form takes its usual -mos ending, and the third person plural (vocês/eles/elas) has its -m ending.

Beber conjugates thus: beberia, beberias, beberia, beberíamos, beberiam (I would drink, you would drink, etc)

Abrir conjugates thus: abriria, abririas, abriria, abriríamos, abririam (I would open, you would open, etc)

EXCEPTIONS

Like the future tense, there are three exceptions (the same three verbs with a –zer connection). As with the future, the ze is dropped and an abbreviated stem is used:

  • dizer (to say) – dir is used as a stem: diria, dirias, diria, diríamos, diriam
  • fazer (to do) – far is used: faria, farias, faria, faríamos, fariam
  • trazer (to bring) –  trar is used: traria, traias, traria, traríamos, trariam

Soon I will look at the imperfect in Portuguese, then after that we will see how Portuguese uses the conditional and imperfect in slightly different ways to English.

RELATED LINKS

See the VERBS section on the main menu and also the following posts:

 

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