15.2 Imperfect and Past Perfect Subjunctives Used to Replace Conditional Tenses

It is not uncommon to see the –ra form of imperfect subjunctive take the place of the conditional tense in Spanish, nor especially to see the –ra form of the past perfect subjunctive replace the conditional perfect tense:

Me pareciera buena idea. (imperfect subjunctive)
Me parecería buena idea. (conditional tense)
It would seem to me a good idea.

When you see an imperfect subjunctive in a main clause, it is normally translated as the conditional tense. 

Although the two tenses look very similar, try to remember that the one that has endings added on to the infinitive is the conditional tense.

It is also common to see the –ra form of the past perfect subjunctive replace the conditional perfect in a main clause:

Lo hubiera hecho si hubiera tenido más tiempo.
Lo habría hecho si hubiera tenido más tiempo.
would have done it if I’d had more time.

Although in most cases it is necessary to distinguish between these two tenses, remember to translate a past perfect subjunctive in the main clause as a conditional perfect tense. 

Vocabulario básico 

Verbos:

prevalecer- to prevail
resonar(ue)- to resonate, to resound

Sustantivos:

el alfabetismo- literacy
la ciudadela- fortress
la etapa- stage
el nivel- level
la raíz- root
el respaldo- endorsement, backing, support
la tertulia- social gathering, get-together
el vaivén- fluctuation

Adjetivo:

útil- useful

Last revised on June 28, 2021.