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Past conditional (condizionale passato) in Italian

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The conditional past tense or conditional perfect tense in Italian is called condizionale passato. It is the past tense of the conditional mood.

Definition and usage of the condizionale passato

The condizionale passato is used to:

  1. make suggestions and give advice
  2. express doubts
  3. express an impossible desire or wish (condizionale ottativo)
  4. report something you are not sure about (condizionale di dissociazione)
  5. express hypothesis in the hypothetical period (periodo ipotetico dell'irrealtà)
 ExampleTranslation
Suggestions and advice
  • Credo che avresti dovuto studiare di più
  • Penso che avrebbero dovuto scrivere una lettera per scusarsi
  • I think you should have studied more
  • I think they should have written a letter to apologise
Doubts
  • Non so cosa avrei potuto dire in quella situazione
  • Cosa avrei dovuto fare?
  • I don't know what I could have said in that situation
  • What should have I done?
Condizionale ottativo
  • Avrei voluto salutarla prima che partisse
  • Da grande avrei voluto fare l'attore
  • I would have liked to say goodbye to her before she left
  • I would have liked to be an actor
Condizionale di dissociazione
  • Secondo alcune fonti ci sarebbe stata un'altra esplosione
  • L'allenatore sarebbe stato licenziato a causa della sua condotta
  • According to some sources there would have been another explosion
  • The coach would have been fired due to his behaviour
Periodo ipotetico dell'irrealtà
  • Se fossi partita prima, Luca sarebbe venuto a prendermi
  • Se ci fossimo allenati di più avremmo vinto la gara
  • If I had left earlier, Luca would have come to pick me up
  • If we had trained harder, we would have won the race

 

enlightenedThe condizionale passato can be used both in main clauses and in subordinate clauses.
E.g. Lorenzo avrebbe voluto un bicchiere d'acqua (Lorenzo would have liked a glass of water)
Penso che avresti dovuto salutarla (I think you should have said hello to her)

 

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Conjugation of the condizionale passato

The condizionale passato if formed by:

Condizionale presente of the auxiliary verb + past participle (participio passato) of the main verb

Conjugation of regular verbs

Here you can find out how regular verbs form the condizionale passato.

Verbs that belong to the -are conjugation

These verbs form the condizionale passato as follows:

Example amare (to love)

 Condizionale presente auxiliary verbParticipio passato main verbExampleTranslation
IoavreiamatoIo avrei amato questo filmI would have loved this film
TuavrestiamatoTu avresti amato questo filmYou would have loved this film
Egli/EllaavrebbeamatoEgli avrebbe amato questo filmHe would have loved this film
NoiavremmoamatoNoi avremmo amato questo filmWe would have loved this film
VoiavresteamatoVoi avreste amato questo filmYou would have loved this film
Essi/EsseavrebberoamatoEssi avrebbero amato questo filmThey would have loved this film

 

Verbs that belong to the -ere conjugation

Such verbs form the condizionale passato as follows:

Example temere (to fear)

 Condizionale presente auxiliary verbParticipio passato main verbExampleTranslation
IoavreitemutoIo avrei temuto di entrare nella casa stregataI would have feared to enter the haunted house
TuavrestitemutoTu avresti temuto di entrare nella casa stregataYou would have feared to enter the haunted house
Egli/EllaavrebbetemutoEgli avrebbe temuto di entrare nella casa stregataHe would have feared to enter the haunted house
NoiavremmotemutoNoi avremmo temuto di entrare nella casa stregataWe would have feared to enter the haunted house
VoiavrestetemutoVoi avreste temuto di entrare nella casa stregataYou would have feared to enter the haunted house
Essi/EsseavrebberotemutoEssi avrebbero temuto di entrare nella casa stregataThey would have feared to enter the haunted house

 

Verbs that belong to the -ire conjugation

These verbs form the condiizonale passato as follows:

Example dormire (to sleep)

 Condizionale presente auxiliary verbParticipio passato main verbExampleTranslation
IoavreidormitoIo avrei dormito fino all'ora di pranzoI would have slept until lunchtime
TuavrestidormitoTu avresti dormito fino all'ora di pranzoYou would have slept until lunchtime
Egli/EllaavrebbedormitoEgli avrebbe dormito fino all'ora di pranzoHe would have slept until lunchtime
NoiavremmodormitoNoi avremmo dormito fino all'ora di pranzoWe would have slept until lunchtime
VoiavrestedormitoVoi avreste dormito fino all'ora di pranzoYou would have slept until lunchtime
Essi/EsseavrebberodormitoEssi avrebbero dormito fino all'ora di pranzoThey would have slept until lunchtime

 

Conjugation of irregular verbs

Here you can find a list of the main irregular verbs in the condizionale passato.

 Leggere (to read)Scrivere (to write)Scegliere (to choose)Dire (to say)Fare (to do/make)Decidere (to decide)
Ioavrei lettoavrei scrittoavrei sceltoavrei dettoavrei fattoavrei deciso
Tuavresti lettoavresti scrittoavresti sceltoavresti dettoavresti fattoavresti deciso
Egli/Ellaavrebbe lettoavrebbe scrittoavrebbe sceltoavrebbe dettoavrebbe fattoavrebbe deciso
Noiavremmo lettoavremmo scrittoavremmo sceltoavremmo dettoavremmo fattoavremmo deciso
Voiavreste lettoavreste scrittoavreste sceltoavreste dettoavreste fattoavreste deciso
Essi/Esseavrebbero lettoavrebbero scrittoavrebbero sceltoavrebbero dettoavrebbero fattoavrebbero deciso

 

Auxiliary verbs: esserre/avere

Here is the conjugation for the auxiliary verbs essere and avere.

 Essere (to be)Avere (to have)
Iosarei stato/a*avrei avuto
Tusaresti stato/a*avresti avuto
Egli/Ellasarebbe stato/a*avrebbe avuto
Noisaremmo stati/e*avremmo avuto
Voisareste stati/e*avreste avuto
Essi/Essesarebbero stati/e*avrebbero avuto

 

*enlightenedRemember that when you use the auxiliary verb essere, the past participle must agree with the subject in genser and number!

 

Examples:

  • Marco avrebbe avuto due cani se avesse avuto una casa più grande (Marco would have had two dogs if he had had a bigger house)
  • Ginevra, Giorgio e Caterina sarebbero stati in Giappone se non ci fosse stato il terremoto (Ginevra, Giorgio and Caterina would have been in Japan if there hadn't been an earthquake)

Now it's time you test what you've learned on the condizionale passato with our exercises!

 


Exercises

  1. Fill in the blanks with the correct form of the condizionale passato
  2. Spot the verbs in the condizionale passato

Fill in the blanks with the correct form of the condizionale passato


Spot the verbs in the condizionale passato


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