Chapter 11  The Conditional Tense

The conditional tense is translated in English by the use of words such as could, may, might, ought, should, or would.  In Italian, the translation for the words could, may, or might is done by using potere.  The translation for the words ought or should is done by using dovere.  When the English word would is used to indicate a past action (He would get up early), the Italian translation is done by the imperfect past tense.  When the word could is used to mean unable, the Italian translation is done using imperfect past tense of potere.

As with the future tense, some of the verbs are irregular, and the irregularities of the future tense apply here.
There is only one set of endings for all the verbs.

Pronunciation note:  In the loro form, the accent falls on the third to last vowel.  The other forms are accented on the second to last vowel.

Group 1 verbs end in -are.  The infinitive is modified by replacing the “a” with “e”, and the endings (-i, -sti, -bbe, -mmo, -ste, -bbero) are added to the modified infinitive.  Occasionally, it is necessary to change the spelling to preserve the original sound of a verb, such as pagare  >  pagherẹi.  Verbs which end with "ciare" or "giare" drop the "i", for example lasciare  >  lasceręi.  The following examples use six verbs.
I would pay                      Io                pagare                          pagherẹi                      (pah-gay-rAY-ee)
you would begin              Tu               cominciare                   comincerẹsti                (coh-meen-chay-rAY-stee)
He, she, it would speak    Lei, Lui      parlare                         parlerebbe                   (pahr-lay-rEHb-bay)
We would fly                   Noi             volare                          volerẹmmo                      (voh-lay-rAYm-moh)
You would eat                 Voi             mangiare                      mangerẹste                      (mahn-jay-rAY-stay)
They would buy               Loro           comprare                     comprerębbero            (cohm-pray-rEHb-bay-roh)

In group 1, there are four irregular verbs in the conditional tense, andare, dare, fare, and stare.
andare, to go :andręi, andręsti, andrebbe, andręmmo, andręste, andrębbero
dare, to give: daręi, daręsti, darebbe, daręmmo, daręste, darębbero
fare, to do: faręi, faręsti, farebbe, faręmmo, faręste, farębbero
stare, to be: staręi, staręsti, starebbe, staręmmo, staręste, starębbero

Group 2 verbs end in -ere or -rre.  The endings (-i, -sti, -bbe, -mmo, -ste, -bbero) are added to the infinitive.  The following example uses the verb vẹndere, to sell
I would sell                             Io                     vẹndere            venderẹi           (vayn-day-rAY-ee)
you would sell                         Tu                    vẹndere            venderẹsti        (vayn-day-rAY-stee)
He, she, it would sell              Lei, Lui             vẹndere            venderebbe      (vayn-day-rEHb-bay)
We would sell                         Noi                  vẹndere            venderẹmmo    (vayn-day-rAYm-moh)
You would sell                        Voi                  vẹndere            venderẹste       (vayn-day-rAY-stay)
They would sell                       Loro                vẹndere            venderębbero  (vayn-day-rEHb-bay-roh)

In group 2, some verbs are irregular in the conditional tense.
avere, to have:  avrẹi, avrẹsti, avrebbe, avrẹmmo, avrẹste, avrębbero
bevere, to drink:  berrẹi, berrẹsti, berrebbe, berrẹmmo, berrẹste, berrębbero
                Like bevere:                                          imbevere, to imbibe
cadere, to fall:  cadrẹi, cadrẹsti, cadrebbe, cadrẹmmo, cadrẹste, cadrębbero
                Like cadere:                                          accadere, to befall
                decadere, to decay                              ricadere, to relapse, fall again                          scadere, to decline, deteriorate
cuǫcere, to cook:  cocerẹi, cocerẹsti, cocerebbe, cocerẹmmo, cocerẹste, cocerębbero
                Like cuǫcere:                                        commuǫvere, to move emotionally                  muǫvere, to move
                nuǫcere, to harm                                 percuǫtere, to strike                                            promuǫvere, to promote
                ricuǫcere, to recook                            rimuǫvere, to remove                                         riscuǫtere, to draw a salary
                scuǫcere, to overcook                        scuǫtere, to shake                                                smuǫvere, to budge
            sommuǫvere, to incite                         stracuǫcere, to overdo
dolere, to ache:  dorrẹi, dorrẹsti, dorrebbe, dorrẹmmo, dorrẹste, dorrębbero
dovere, to be obliged:  dovrẹi, dovrẹsti, dovrebbe, dovrẹmmo, dovrẹste, dovrębbero
ęssere, to be:  sarẹi, sarẹsti, sarebbe, sarẹmmo, sarẹste, sarębbero
parere, to seem:  parrẹi, parrẹsti, parrebbe, parrẹmmo, parrẹste, parrębbero
potere, to be able:  potrẹi, potrẹsti, potrebbe, potrẹmmo, potrẹste, potrębbero
rimanere, to stay:  rimarrẹi, rimarrẹsti, rimarrebbe, rimarrẹmmo, rimarrẹste, rimarrębbero
sapere, to know:  saprẹi, saprẹsti, saprebbe, saprẹmmo, saprẹste, saprębbero
tenere, to hold:  terrẹi, terrẹsti, terrebbe, terrẹmmo, terrẹste, terrębbero
                Like tenere:                                           appartenere, to belong to                  contenere, to contain
                                detenere, to detain              mantenere, to maintain                      ottenere, to obtain
                                ritenere, to retain                 sostenere, to sustain                            trattenere, to restrain
valere, to be worth:  varrẹi, varrẹsti, varrebbe, varrẹmmo, varrẹste, varrębbero
                Like valere:                                           equivalere, to be equivalent to
                invalere, to catch on , become fashionable                                   prevalere, to be prevalent, to prevail
vedere, to see:  vedrẹi, vedrẹsti, vedrebbe, vedrẹmmo, vedrẹste, vedrębbero
                Like vedere:                                          antivedere, to foresee                         intravedere, to glimpse
                                prevedere, to see ahead     provedere, to provide, look after      rivedere, to see again
                                stravedere, to see things, hallucinate                                               travedere, to be misled
volere, to be willing:  vorrẹi, vorrẹsti, vorrebbe, vorrẹmmo, vorrẹste, vorrębbero
                Like volere:                                           benvolere, to like someone                                disvolere, to stop liking someone
                                                                                malvolere, to dislike someone           rivolere, to want something back

 

Group 3 verbs end in -ire.  The endings (-i, -sti, -bbe, -mmo, -ste, -bbero) are added to the infinitive.  The following example uses the verb finire, to finish, to end
I would end                Io                     finire               finirẹi               (fee-nee-rAY-ee)
you would end           Tu                    finire               finirẹsti            (fee-nee-rAY-stee)
He, she, it would end  Lei, Lui           finire                finirebbe          (fee-nee-rEHb-bay)
We would end            Noi                  finire              finirẹmmo        (fee-nee-rAYm-moh)
You would end           Voi                  finire              finirẹste            (fee-nee-rAY-stay)
They would end          Loro                finire              finirębbero       (fee-nee-rEHb-bay-roh)

In group 3, some verbs are irregular in the conditional tense.
morire, to die:  morrẹi, morrẹsti, morrebbe, morrẹmmo, morrẹste, morrębbero
                                Like morire:          premorire, to die before, predecease
venire, to come:  verrẹi, verrẹsti, verrebbe, verrẹmmo, verrẹste, verrębbero
                Like venire:                           avvenire, to happen                            circonvenire, to circumvent
                convenire, to convene        contravenire, to contravene              intervenire, to intervene
                prevenire, to prevent          ridivenire, to become again              rinvenire, to rediscover, recover
                risovenirsi, to remember, recollect                                                   rivenire, to come back