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Maybe it was just me, but when I learned the “would” tense in Italian (the present conditional), I felt like I could finally express myself in a more fluid and flexible way.
It was exciting.
I felt like the whole tense made me seem more competent in the language.
Learn it, put it to use, and let me know if you feel the same way.
Cominciamo! (Let’s start.)
What is the “would” tense?
1.) The “would” tense expresses just that.
In English, we say “I would do this”, “I would go there,” “What would you like to eat?” It’s the same here.
2.) If we’re going by the book definition, it “expresses an intention, a preference, a wish, or a polite request.” (1)
And how do you actually use it?
There are 4 guidelines for using this tense.
1.) Here are the major endings for the regular verbs.
2.) The endings for verbs ending in -ARE are as follows:
* Verbs that end in -are change to -ere when conjugated.
Verbs ending in -ERE are conjugated as follows:
Verbs ending in -IRE are conjugated as follows:
3.) Here are the irregular verbs that you should be aware of:
— Andare –> andrei, andresti, andrebbe, andremmo, andreste, andrebbero
— Avere –> avrei, avresti, avrebbe, avremmo, avreste, avrebbero
— Bere –> berrei, berresti, berrebbe, berremmo, berreste, berrebbero
— Cadere –> cadrei, cadresti, cadrebbe, cadremmo, cadreste, cadrebbero
— Dare –> darei, daresti, darebbe, daremmo, dareste, darebbero
— Dovere –> dovrei, dovresti, dovrebbe, dovremmo, dovreste, dovrebbero
— Essere –> sarei, saresti, sarebbe, saremmo, sareste, sarebbero
— Fare –> farei, faresti, farebbe, faremmo, fareste, farebbero
— Potere –> potrei, potresti, potrebbe, potremmo, potreste, potrebbero
— Sapere –> saprei, sapresti, saprebbe, sapremmo, sapreste, saprebbero
— Stare –> starei, staresti, starebbe, staremmo, stareste, starebbero
— Vedere –> vedrei, vedresti, vedrebbe, vedremmo, vedreste, vedrebbero
— Venire –> verrei, verresti, verrebbe, verremmo, verreste, verrebbero
— Vivere –> vivrei, vivresti, vivrebbe, vivremmo, vivreste, vivrebbero
— Volere –> vorrei, vorresti, vorrebbe, vorremmo, vorreste, vorrebbero
4.) Verbs ending -care and -gare have a change in spelling when conjugated.
— Cercare –> cercherei, cercheresti, cercherebbe, cercheremmo, cerchereste, cercherebbero
*Adds a H between C and E
— Pagare –> pagherei, pagheresti, pagherebbe, pagheremmo, paghereste, pagherebbero
*Adds a H between G and E
Not so bad, right?
Once you have the endings down and remember that you should change the ends of -are to -ere, you’re basically golden and all you need is practice.
So let’s get some while you’re here.
1.) Vorrei un cappuccino. – I would like a cappuccino.
*You’ll use ‘vorrei’ a lot when ordering food or asking for things. It’s much more polite than just saying ‘Voglio’ or I want.
2.) Compreremmo una Tesla. – We would buy a Tesla. (aka the best car on earth)
3.) Vivreste in Cina. – You all would live in China.
4.) Io al tuo posto cercherei un lavoro. – If I was in your place, I would look for a job.
If you’re looking for some more practice, visit this site to do some exercises and talk to your language partner this week about this tense so you can practice it with them!
(1) Reference from page 300 of the Sixth Edition of Ciao! by Carla Larese Riga