Imperfect Subjunctive + Conditional

the imperfect subjunctive and the conditional

In the previous post we talked about this verb tense also. But, since many people commented that they want to see more examples of this particular example, we are doing some more!

And BTW, only language professors need to know these categories of verb tenses. You only need to know that this is one of the most powerful grammar combos!

IF + something were to happen (had happened) + CONDITIONAL

For example:

If he spoke Portuguese he could come with us. > Se ele falasse Português poderia vir conosco.

Did you feel the power?

You've probably seen the conditional before, right? PODER > PODERIA

The falASSE is the preterite imperfect form of FALAR. It's an easy conjugation. This verb tense is in the SUBJUNCTIVE category. That means that we are talking about UNCERTAINTY. The subjunctive mood always deals with uncertainty or impossibility. In English we say, if he were to speak... In Portuguese this is done with the ASSE, ESSE verb endings. Arguably one of the most fun conjugations to say!


If I had money I would buy everything. > Se eu tivesse dinheiro, compraria tudo.

You see the pattern here? The conditional would comes after the if whatever were to be so. *Note in this example that the verb TER is irregular -- it's not tevesse it's, tivesse.


If you could fly, where would you fly to? > Se você pudesse voar, para onde você voaria?

A weird example! But you get to see the same verb in both forms.

Note that this tense is the most (the most) subjunctive of the subjunctive. In other words it is used only for situations that did not happen, could not have happened, or would be very unlikely to happen or happened. You get the picture.

Se eu ganhasse na loteria, compraria um carro zerado.

Um carro zerado, BTW is a new car. "Zerado" refers to the odometer! This example gets tricker if you wanted to place it squarely into the past: If I had won...

Se eu tivesse ganho a loteria, compraria um carro zerado.

But now we're into super advanced territory. I do however think that even beginners learning Portuguese show try and use some of these. Do this: think up an example sentence that you can use once in while. You will really impress the Brazilians ;-).

Here's one for you,

Se eu estudasse mais, falaria melhor!