The Italian Conditional Tense

Weilà raga! I hope you liked the 6th episode of Grammar Basics! What I taught in that video is definitely Advanced Italian, so if you're feeling a little confused, its totally understandable!

Before I write everything out I explained in the video, I just want to share with you guys a trick that I used when studying this verb tense for the first time. I used to always refer to it as the "Woulda, Coulda, Shoulda Tense." That's how I remembered when to use Potere and Dovere as the helping verbs.

I always remembered that with Would, there's no helping verb. But with Could, C is at the beginning of the alphabet, but its corresponding verb in Italian starts with the letter P, for Potere, a letter towards the end of the alphabet. Then with Should, S is at the end of the alphabet, and its corresponding verb in Italian starts with a letter at the beginning of the alphabet, D, for Dovere. I hope this makes sense and is able to help some of you guys out.

So here's what I went over in the video:

Let's begin with Would.

Here are the ARE, ERE, and IRE verb endings for saying WOULD in Italian:

ARE & ERE share the same verb endings:

io - erei                noi - eremmo

tu - eresti              voi - ereste

lui/lei - erebbe     loro - erebbero


IRE verb endings:

io - irei                noi - iremmo

tu - iresti              voi - ireste

lui/lei - irebbe     loro - irebbero


Let's now conjugate MANGIARE, a regular ARE verb in the conditional tense:

io mangerei - I would eat

tu mangeresti - you would eat

lui/lei mangerebbe - he/she would eat

noi mangeremmo - we would eat

voi mangereste - you all would eat

loro mangerebbero - they would eat


Just note: though Mangiare is a Regular ARE verb, you do eliminate the I after the G when conjugating it, this happens in some other verb tenses also, such as the Future Tense.


Now, onto saying COULD. We use POTERE as the helping verb, its an irregular verb, and we conjugate it in the conditional tense. Here are the verb endings for POTERE and also DOVERE (which we'll get to later on):

io - rei                noi - remmo

tu - resti              voi - reste

lui/lei - rebbe     loro - rebbero



io potrei - I could

tu potresti - you could

lui/lei potrebbe - he/she could

noi potremmo - we could

voi potreste - you all could

loro potrebbero - they could


Here's how you say COULD EAT:

io potrei mangiare - I could eat

tu potresti mangiare - you could eat

lui/lei potrebbe mangiare - he/she could eat

noi potremmo mangiare - we could eat

voi potreste mangiare - you all could eat

loro potrebbero mangiare - they could eat


To say SHOULD, you conjugate DOVERE in the Conditional Tense, in a similar way to POTERE:

io dovrei - I should

tu dovresti - you should

lui/lei dovrebbe - he/she should

noi dovremmo - we should

voi dovreste - you all should

loro dovrebbero - they should


Here's how you say SHOULD EAT:

io dovrei mangiare - I should eat

tu dovresti mangiare - you should eat

lui/lei dovrebbe mangiare - he/she should eat

noi dovremmo mangiare - we should eat

voi dovreste mangiare - you all should eat

loro dovrebbero mangiare - they should eat


Here's how you conjugate a Regular IRE verb (Dormire - to sleep) in the conditional tense. The verb endings are show above, but they're very similar to the ARE and ERE verb endings:

io dormirei - I would sleep

tu dormiresti - you would sleep

lui/lei dormirebbe - he/she would sleep

noi dormiremmo - we would sleep

voi dormireste - you all would sleep

loro dormirebbero - they would sleep


Here's how you conjugate a REGULAR ERE (LEGGERE - to read) verb in Italian, it follows the same verb endings as I showed above for ARE verbs:

io leggerei - I would read

tu leggeresti - you would read

lui/lei leggerebbe - he/she would read

noi leggeremmo - we would read

voi leggereste - you all would read

loro leggerebbero - they would read

Here's the video:

As always, remember to SPREAD THE LOVE! :)