There are two main forms of the conditional mood in Italian. One is the condizionale presente (present conditional), a verbal form made up of a single verb with a unique stem and endings. The other is the condizionale passato (past conditional), a compound constructon – meaning it is formed using two verbs.
Consider the example below which illustrates the difference in quality between the two forms of the conditional mood:
To learn & practice forming the present conditional, watch the following video:
The condizionale presente is created by combining the conditional stem and the conditional endings. Here is a table showing how to form the conditional stems of regular verbs:
*Note: The conditional stems are identical to the stems used to form the future tense. You can refer to the stems as future stems, conditional stems and also future/conditional stems.
Regular conditional stems
|portare (all -ARE verbs)||porter-|
|scrivere (all -ERE verbs)||scriver-|
|salire (all -IRE verbs)||salir-|
Note how in all conjugations the stem is formed by dropping the final ‑e from the infinitive. However, the first conjugation ‑are infinitives also change the ‑a‑ of the infinitive to an ‑e‑.
The next step is to add the conditional endings to the stem to create the present conditional.
Conditional mood endings
Adding the conditional mood endings to the future stems yields the following full conjugation system of the present conditional:
The complete present conditional conjugation
*-IRE verbs in the -ISCO family behave the same as regular -IRE verbs in the future.
ex. porterei i miei genitori alla festa. I would bring my parents to the party.
Sometimes in conjugating the regular conditional it is necessary to make some changes to the stems in order to conserve the pronunciation of the original verb:
Slightly irregular conditional stems
|pagare (to pay)||pagher-||-gare » gher-|
|dimenticare (to forget)||dimenticher-||-care » cher-|
|cominciare (to begin)||comincer-||-ciare » cer-|
|mangiare (to eat)||manger-||-giare » ger-|
|lasciare (to leave)||lascer-||-sciare » scer-|
|spiare (to spy)||spier-||-iare* » ier-|
*When the -i in the 1st person singular of -IARE verbs (i.e. as is the i in scio), you keep the -i as part of the stem and then conjugate the verb like any other -ARE verb.
As often occurs in Italian the most commonly used verbs are also the most irregular. Here is a table of conditional stems that are formed irregularly. They are subgrouped according to similar patterns of formation:
Irregular conditional stems
|essere (to be)||sar-|
|-a in -are doesn't change|
|dare (to give)||dar-|
|fare (to do, make)||far-|
|stare (to stay, be)||star-|
|dropped infinitive vowel|
|andare (to go)||andr-|
|avere (to have)||avr-|
|cadere (to fall)||cadr-|
|dovere (to have to)||dovr-|
|potere (to be able to)||potr-|
|sapere (to know)||sapr-|
|vedere (to see)||vedr-|
|vivere (to live)||vivr-|
|bere (to drink)||berr-|
|parere (to seem)||parr-|
|rimanere (to stay, remain)||rimarr-|
|tenere (to hold)||terr-|
|venire (to come)||verr-|
|volere (to want)||vorr-|