Si Clauses: Conditionals

Oraciones condicionales

Si clauses, also known as conditionals or conditional sentences, are if-then constructions that express a condition to be met in order for a certain result to occur. They are divided into three types, depending on whether the condition is likely, unlikely, or impossible. Each type has a specific combination of verb tenses and moods – click for more details.

  Condition is…  Si … (If …) (Then …)
1st conditional Real
(Likely)
Presente
(Present)
Presente, futuro o imperativo
(Present, future, or imperative)
2nd conditional Potencial
(Unlikely)
Imperfecto del subjuntivo
(Imperfect subjunctive)
Condicional
(Conditional)
3rd conditional Irreal
(Impossible)
Pluscuamperfecto del subjuntivo
(Pluperfect subjunctive)
Pluscuamperfecto del subjuntivo o condicional perfecto
(Pluperfect subjunctive or conditional perfect)

Notes

1) The verb combinations are very strict. In a conditional sentence, the present tense cannot be paired with the conditional, or the future with the imperfect. So it’s vital to memorize these verb pairings.

2) The word "then" is optional in English, and has no equivalent in Spanish:

If you’re tired, (then) go to bed.   Si estás cansado, vaya a dormir.

3) As long as si / "if" stays in front of the correct verb form, the order of the clauses in all three types of conditionals can be reversed with absolutely no change in meaning.

Go to bed if you’re tired.   Vaya a dormir si estás cansado.

Test: Si clauses

Related lessons

Learn French En français