The conditional tense in Portuguese is a structure that is often replaced by the imperfect past tense. The use of the conditional tense represents a more careful use of the language, while the use of the imperfect past tense is more colloquial and consequently more common among the general population. It is very common for a person to ask a question using the conditional tense and for the response to be given in the imperfect past tense (with the conditional meaning). Example: Question: “GOSTARIAS (conditional) de visitar o Brasil? ?” Response: “Sim, ADORAVA (imperfect past tense with a conditional meaning) visitar o Brasil!
Here are the four rules that justify the use of the conditional in Portuguese:
RULE NUMBER 1: We use the conditional to talk about actions that are unlikely to happen because they depend on a condition that doesn’t come true. Example: Eu IRIA contigo à festa, mas… tenho um jantar de família nessa noite e não posso ir = I WOULD GO with you to the party, but… I have a family dinner that night and can’t go.
RULE NUMBER 2: Express DESIRES Example: I WOULD LOVE to be able to go to Brazil with you all = GOSTARIA imenso de poder ir ao Brasil convosco.
RULE NUMBER 3: Polite way to make requests Example: COULD you bring me a glass of water, please? = PODERIA trazer-me um copo de água, por favor?
RULE NUMBER 4: Giving advice Example: You should work less = DEVERIAS trabalhar menos.
To finish, I will now provide the conjugation of regular verbs in the conditional tense (choosing the verb “GOSTAR” = “to like” as an example).
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To learn and consolidate this list, you should follow the following STUDY METHOD: