you'll find the conditional in many different situations.
The first and most regulated standard you'll find in
the conditional clauses.
If I had money, I would
buy a big car, a house and a yacht.
If you were nicer, she would
marry you right away.
If he were still with us, the world would
be a better place.
Furthermore, we use the conditional
usually to be polite to express something a bit vaguer.
A: Would you like to go to dinner
B: Oh, I really would love to but I already have eaten.
A: Would you mind and tell me what
you did yesterday?
B: Yes, of course I would mind!
A: I would like to have a coffee,
B: Here you are, would you care for some sugar and milk?
Enough of examples! You see the
conditional in English is with us all the time. Moreover,
it is quite easy to form:
Just take the simple past of a modal verb to
will => would
(is the most common), but there are possibilities to
form conditionals with to can
=> could, to may => might, to shall => should
and the verb. The English conditional can be
formed in present tense and in past tense.
to ought to*
he would be perfect
she could be beautiful
it should work out
you might have success
he ought to work more
he would have been perfect
she should have been
it should have worked
you might have had success
he ought to have worked
Anyway, the condicional
in Spanish is used mostly in conditional clauses. There are three different one of those.
Realis = close to reality
If he has
money he buys a car. = Si tiene dinero,
se compra un coche.
It is quite likely that he will have money
some day and then it is sure he will buy a
Irrealis of the present = unreality in present tense
If he had
money he would buy a car. = Si tuviera dinero,
se compraría un coche.
It's actually quite unlikely that he will
have money (there might be a small chance),
but if he had then he would buy a car!
Irrealis of the past = unreality in past tense
If he had
had money, he would have bought a car. = Si hubiera tenido
dinero, se habría comprado un coche.
definitely know that he didn't have money
and he didn't buy the car.