Condizionale Presente: A Simple Guide

The present conditional (condizionale presente) is a verb form that is the equivalent of the English pattern ” would + any verb”, when it’s used to express a wish or possibility. In other words, the conditional is used to express what you would do if, ask something politely, make requests seem less assertive, or make suggestions in a way that is more polite. 

For example:

  • Viaggerei di più se avessi più tempo libero – I would travel more if I had more free time
  • Al posto tuo, cambierei lavoro – In your place, I would change jobs 
  • Dovresti studiare di più  – You should study more 

Italian vs. English

While in English the conditional form is expressed by two entities (the auxiliary “would” + verb), the same idea is expressed by only one word in Italian.

For example:

  • I would do → Farei
  • We would travel → Viaggeremmo
  • They would go → Andrebbero 
  • I would be → Sarei 

The regular conjugation of the condizionale presente

VerbItalianEnglish
ParlareIo parlereiI would speak
Tu parlerestiYou would speak
Lui/Lei parlerebbeHe/She would speak
Noi parleremmoWe would speak
Voi parleresteYou would speak
Loro parlerebberoThey would speak
AvereIo avreiI would have
Tu avrestiYou would have
Lui/Lei avrebbeHe/She would have
Noi avremmoWe would have
Voi avresteYou would have
Loro avrebberoThey would have
DormireIo dormireiI would sleep
Tu dormirestiYou would sleep
Lui/Lei dormirebbeHe/She would sleep
Noi dormiremmoWe would sleep
Voi dormiresteYou would sleep
Loro dormirebberoThey would sleep
Italian conditional chart (presente tense)

The irregular conjugation of the present conditional

Common mistakes 

One of the most frequent errors I observe in my classes is that students automatically translate the simple form “would” using the verb vorrei. However, the translation of vorrei is “I would like,” not “would.” Vorrei is the only conditional form of the verb “volere.”

  • Vorrei → I would like
  • Vorrei viaggiare → I would like to travel
  • Viaggierei → I would travel

Vorrei, Potrei, Dovrei: 3 very important conditional forms 

There are verbs whose conditional forms are very common, which are the conditional forms of the modal verbs volere, potere, and dovere. 

The conditional form of volere is 

Vorrei, vorresti, vorrebbe, vorremmo, vorreste, vorrebbero 

This is a verb that is translated as “I would like, you would like, etc.” or “I wish, you wish, etc..

It’s also a form to use when we want to make an invitation.

For example:

  • Vorresti venire a cena domani?  – Would you like to come to dinner tomorrow? 
  • Vorreste fare un viaggio in Africa con noi?  – Would you like to travel to Africa with us?

The conditional form of potere is

Potrei, potresti, potrebbe, potremmo, potreste, potrebbero 

This verb is translated as ” I could” or “I would be able

This form of the conditional is especially used to ask something politely or make a request less assertive.

  • Potreste ripetere? – Could you repeat?
  • Potresti mandarmi un’ email? – Could you send me an email? 

The conditional of dovere, which is

Dovrei, dovresti, dovrebbe, dovremmo, dovreste, dovrebbero 

This verb corresponds to the English “I should, you should, etc.”  and it’s used especially to give suggestions.  

  • Dovresti dormire di più – You should sleep more 
  • Non dovresti mangiare così tanti dolci – You shouldn’t eat so many sweets 

All of these verbs are followed by infinitive verbs (non conjugated verbs). 

Present conditional in the “if clause”

The present conditional in also used in the  “if clauses” together with the subjunctive forms.  

For example,

  • Se avessi più tempo, studierei di più – If I had more time, I would study more
  • Se vivessi al mare, ci andrei tutti i giorni – If I lived by the sea, I would go there every day

About the Author

Serena Capilli

I’m the creative force behind both this blog and my collection of short stories in simple Italian for language learners, available on Amazon.

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Ciao, I’m Serena!

I’m the creative force behind both this blog and my collection of short stories in simple Italian for language learners, available on Amazon.

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