13. O condicional

We have already seen the conjunctive in alle tenses and the subjunctive in all tenses. What is still missing is the conditional, which is not a big problem, because it corresponds to the conditional in English. The term conditional steems from the latin conditio and one function of the conditional is indeed to describe an action that depends from a condition. In order to the event of the main clausel being realised the condition has to be fulfilled.

If he pays more, his employees would be happy.

The conditional is used in conditional clauses of type II and type III. In a conditional clause of type II the condition the event of the main clause depends on is possible, but not probable: If he made more sport, he wouldn't be so fat. In a conditional clause of type III the condition the event in the main clause depends on is definetily not given and therefore the even described in the main clause will not happen: If he had made more sport, he wouldn't have been so fat.

In the part of the condition clause that describes the condition the imperfeito do conjuntivo is to be used in Portuguese in a condition clause of type II and the pretérito mais-que-perfeito composto do conjuntivo is used to describe the condition in case of conditional clause of type III.

type II: Condition possible, but not probable
Se eu tivesse mais dinheiro, me dedicaria a obras sociais.
If I had more money me would dedicate the works social.
If I had more money I would engage more in social work.
type III: Condition impossible
Se eu tivesse tido mais tempo, certamente teria estudado mais.
If I had had more money surely would have studied more.
If I had had more money I surely would have studied more.



Actually we have a subjunctive in English as well, but we see that only in the case of the verb to be, because only this verb has a form in subjunctive that differs from the indicative.

If I were rich, I would be happy.
not: If I was rich....

In all other verbs there is no difference between the simple past subjunctive and the simple past indicative and therefore many people believe that the indicative mood is used in the part of the if clause that describes the condition the realisation of the event described in the main clause depends on. To put that in a more philosophical way. The brain of an English native speaker or a german native speaker, german has a similar problem, doesn't work in a different way. The aspects the brain wants to be taken into account in the verbalisation of the world is the same everywhere, that is something "genetically" determined. However special forms are needed to express theses aspects and if they don't exist, it is not possible. The morphological material is incidental. To put it short and simple: If the only building material available is wood, some buildings can't be built. Something like a Universal Grammar, this is the name given to that by Noam Chomsky exists. If it can be realised in the different languages, depends on the morphological material available. The author of these lines would say, if this were not the case, we wouldn't be able to learn any foreign language, perhaps not even our mother tongue. A natural language is much more complicated than a computer language like Java, C++, Python or whatsoever, that's why computers have serious problems in understanding it, however a computer language is much, much more difficult to learn than a natural language. In a natural language there a lot of things we do automatically right, in a computer language we do nothing automatically right, we have to learn everything.

In conditional clauses of type I we use the futuro do conjuntivo in the part of the sentences that describes the condition. Inside the logic of Portuguese this is comprehensible, see 12.2.5. The relationship between the condition and the event that depends on this condition is an objective fact or in any case it is assumed being an objective fact. There is no subjective evaluation. Furterhmoer there is a relationship to the future, because the condition is magined as something that will happen in the future.

If he talks less, he can work more.

At least for speaker this is not a subjective evaluation of the reality, but a fact and there is a relationship to the future. If in a moment in the future he will talk less, he will be able to work more. If the first event happens, the second event will happen as well. That's at least what the speaker believes.

In case of the conditional clause of type II and III we have no chance to see that actually in English the subjunctive is used, because it doesn't differ from the indicative form. However we understand that in a sentence like "If I had money, I could stop working" we are talking about an irreal situation. "I had money" and "If I had money" are unfortunately two very different things. The first and the second "had" have nothing to do with each other and the if changes completely the meaning of this had. The human brain is flexible enough to interpret a word depending on the context in lightning speed, so fast, that most people are not even aware that they are interpreting something and therefore in any language we can say anything, even if the morphological material is missing.

In conditional clauses of type I we use the futuro do conjuntivo in Portuguese, the present indicative in other languages.

In conditional clauses of type II and type III there is no difference compared to other roman languages.

In conditional clauses of type II we use the imperfeito do conjuntivo in the part that describes the condition, the condicional I or the imperfeito do indicativo in the main clause. (There is a difference to other roman language. We can't use the imperfeito do indicativo in the main clause in this context, however the use of the imperfeito do indicativo in this context is rare.)

In conditional clauses of type III we use the the mais-que-perfeito composto do conjuntivo in the part that describes the condition and pretérito perfeito do condicional or the mais-que-perfeito composto do indicativo in the main clause. There is a difference to other roman language. We can't use the mais-que-perfeito composto do indicativo in the main clause in this context in other roman languages, however the use of the mais-que-perfeito composto do indicativo in this context is rare even in Portuguese.)

The table below shows both versions.

Conditional clause of type I: In the if part the futuro do conjuntivo, in the main clause presente or futuro do indicativo
main clause futuro do indicativo
Se estudares todos os dias um pouquinho, aprenderás muitas coisas.
If learn all the days a little will learn a lot of thing.
If you study a little bit all days you will learn a lot.
Se colocares água ao lume, esta ferverá.
If put water on the fire this will boil
If you put water on a stove it will boil.
Se te esqueceres da comida ao lume, terás de ir almoçar ao restaurante.
If forget of the food on the fire you will have to take lunch in a restaurant.
If you forget the food on the ofen you will have to take lunch in a restaurant.
main clause presente do indicativo
Se estudares todos os dias um pouquinho, aprendes muitas coisas.
If learn all the days a little learn a lot of things.
If you study a little bit every day you learn a lot.
Se colocares água ao lume, esta ferve.
If put water on the fire this boils.
If you put water on a stove it boils.
Se te esqueceres da comida ao lume, ficas sem almoço.
If forget of the food on the fire remain without lunch.
If you forget the food on the ofen you will have no lunch.
conditional clause of type II: conditional clause of type II: In the if part imperfeito do conjuntivo, in the main clause condicional o imperfeito do indicativo
main clause condicional
Se estudasses todos os dias um pouquinho, aprenderias muitas coisas.
If studied all the days a little bit would learn a lot of things.
If you studied a little bit every day, you would learn a lot of things.
Secolocasses água ao lume, esta ferveria.
If put water on the fire this would boil.
If you put food on the ofen it would boil.
Se te esquecesses da comida ao lume, terias de ir almoçar ao restaurante.
If you forgot of the food on the ofen would have to go take lunch to the restaurant.
If you forget the food on the ofen you would have to take lunch in a restaurant.
main clause imperfeito do indicativo
Se estudasses todos os dias um pouquinho, aprendias muitas coisas.
If you learned all the days a little bit learned a lot of things.
If you learned every day a little bit you would learn a lot of things.
Se colocasses água ao lume, esta fervia.
If you put water on the ofen this boils.
If you forgot the food on the ofen it would boil.
Se te esquecesses da comida ao lume, tinhas de ir ao restaurante.
If forgot of the food on the fire had to gehen in das Restaurant.
If you forgot the food on the ofen you would have to go to a restaurant.
Conditional clause of type III: In the if part mais-que-perfeito do conjuntivo in the main clause pretérito perfeito do condicional o mais-que-perfeito composto do indicativo
main clause pretérito perfeito do condicional
Se tivesses estudado todos os dias um pouquinho, terias aprendido muitas coisas.
If had studied all the days a little bit would have learned a lot of things.
If you had studied a little bit every day you would have learned a lot of things.
Se tivesses colocado água ao lume, esta teria fervido.
If had put water on the fire this woud have boiled.
If you had put the water on the fire it would have boiled.
Se te tivesses esquecido da comida ao lume, terias ido almoçar ao restaurante.
If had forgotten of the food on the fire would have gone take lunch to the restaurant.
If you had forgotten the food on the ofen you would have to go take lunch in a restaurant.
main clause mais-que-perfeito composto do indicativo
Se tivesses estudado todos os dias um pouquinho, tinhas aprendido muitas coisas.
If had studied all the days a little bit had learned a lot of things
If you had studied a little bit every day you would have learned a lot of things.
Se tivesses colocado água ao lume, esta tinha fervido.
If had put water on the fire this had boileld
If you had put the water on the fire it would have boiled.
Se te tivesses esquecido da comida ao lume, tinhas ficado sem almoço.
If you had forgotten of the food on the ofen had remained without lunch
If you had forgotten the food on the ofen you would have had no lunch.


The conditional is most of all used in conditional clauses of type II and III. In a lot of other languages, between them all roman languages, English and german, it is used as well to describe an event that will happen in the future from a perspective of the past.

He hoped that he would win the game.

One may find, that this is strange, because we don't know whether he won the game or not. Since the conditional can used as well to describe an action that will happen in the future from a perspective of the past explains why it is called in portguese as well futuro deo pretérito.

In opposite to English the conjunctive in Portuguese is a full fledged system. To any tense in indicative we have a tense in subjunctive and therefore it is possible in almost any constellation to describe whether the imagined action has happened before, at the same time or after it had been imagined and we can describe the sequence of tenses in subjunctive in all contexts. In the case that something was imagined in the past and in the case it was imagined in the present. In English and german this is only possible in indicative mood.


The term futuro do pretérito seems to be used more often in Brasilian textbooks, also the usefullness of this term can be questioned, because it focuses on one function of the conditional and it questionable whether this is really the most important function.

future from a perspectiive of the past
Anos atrás não imaginava que compraria o carro que tenho hoje.
Years back not imagined that would buy a car that have today.
Some years ago I didn't imagine that I would have the car I have today.
Você disse que pagaria por dois.
You said that would pay for two.
You said that you will pay for two.


The conditional is used as well if someone want to be mor polite: Would you do that for me? One may wonder why the conditional is used in this context. A possible answer is that the conditional always implies a condition, "Would you do that for me?" is therefore "Would you do that for me if you have time?" or something like that. The freedom given to the person addressed is therefore bigger than in the case we say just "Do you do that for me?". We take into account his or her situation. This would be an explanation, although not very convincing.

We use the conditional as well, if we want to be more polite when we contradict somebody or in similar contexts.

Poderías ajudar-me ?
Could you help me?
Eu diria que não está a funcionar!
I would that that not is to function
I would say that it isn't working.

As well as an action in the future from the perspective of the present can be described as accomplished ("When he arrives, I will have finished") an action of the future from the perspective of the past can be described as accomplished. ("I thought he would have been finished"). This is true as well in the case of a conditional clause.



Conclusion of an event in the present is the condition for another event
I do it, if he will have done it.
Conclusion of an event in the past is the condition for another event
If he didn't bother me, I would have finished earlier.


The conditional is formed by adding the corresponding endings to the infinitive.

formation of the condicional rir (to laugh) pensar (to think) ter (to have) pertenecer (to belong)
eu ririapensariateria pertenceria
tu ririaspensariasterias pertencerias
ele / ela
você
o senhor / a senhora
ririapensariateria pertenceria
nósriríamospensaríamosteríamos pertenceríamos
eles / elas
vocês
os senhores / as senhoras
riríam

pensariam

teriam

pertenceriam



formation of the condicional composto condicional of the verb ter + Partizip Perfekt
eu teria
rido (laughed)
proibido (prohibited)
progredido (moved forward)
dado (given)
crido (believed)
odiado (hated)
tu terias
ele / ela
você
o senhor / a senhora
teria
nósteriamos
eles / elas
vocês
os senhores / as senhoras
teriam


The condicional simples o the futuro do pretérito simples describes an action that will happen in the future.
The condicional composto o the futuro do petérito composto describes the action as accomplished in the future.

condiconal in conditional clauses of type II: condiconal simples*
Se eu tivesse dinheiro, eu compraria um sorvete.
If I had money I would buy an ice cream.
If I had money I would buy an ice cream.
Se ela estivesse o defenderia.
If she were there him would defend.
If she were there she would defend him.
condiconal in conditional clauses of type II: condicional composto*
Se você tivesse visto o filme, você teria gostado.
If you had seen the film you would have liked.
You would have liked the movie if you had watched it.
Eu teria ligado para você se você tivesse me dado seu número.
I would have called for you if you would have me given your number.
I would have called you if you had given me your number.
future from a perspective of the past, not accomplished: futuro do pretérito ( condicional ) simples*
O inspetor avisou que chegaria às 10 horas.
The inspector informed that only would come at the 10 o' clock.
The inspector informed that he would arrive only at 10 o' clock.
future from a perspective of the past, accomplished: futuro do pretérito (condicional) composto*
Estava previsto que, às 10 horas, a prova teria terminado.
Was planned that at the10 hours the examen already would have finished.
It was scheduled that the exam would have been finished at 10 o' clock.






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