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Conditional Sentences in Portuguese (Past Unreal) Posted by on Oct 30, 2013 in Grammar

Olá! Tudo bem?

In our last post we learned how to make present-real conditional sentences in Portuguese and most importantly, how to use the Futuro do Subjuntivo (which can be a pain to conjugate).

Today let’s take a look at some other conditional sentences:

If I studied hard, I would pass the test.
If I had money, I’d buy a new car.
If you saw her, what would you do?

As you can see, the if-clause is in the past tense and the main clause has a “would” verb, something that would happen. In Portuguese the past tense is expressed by a subjunctive verb tense, the Pretérito Imperfeito do Subjuntivo (sorry, these names kill me too!).

Let’s learn how they are formed:

Regular Verbs

1st Conjugation – verbs ending in -ar

Se eu trabalhasse [If I worked]
Se você* trabalhasse [If you worked]
Se ele/ela trabalhasse [If he/she worked]
Se nós trabalhássemos [If we worked]
Se vocês* trabalhassem [If you worked – plural]
Se eles/elas trabalhassem [If they worked]

2nd conjugation – verbs ending in -er

Se eu bebesse [If I drank]
Se você* bebesse [If you drank]
Se ele/ela bebesse [If he/she drank]
Se nós bebéssemos [If we drank]
Se vocês* bebessem [If you drank– plural]
Se eles/elas bebesem [If they drank]

3rd conjugation – verbs ending in -ir

Se eu partisse [If I left]
Se você* partisse [If you left]
Se ele/ela partisse [If he/she left]
Se nós partíssemos [If we left]
Se vocês* partissem [If you left– plural]
Se eles/elas partissem [If they left]

*I’m not using pronouns tu and vós here.

Most verbs are conjugated like this, but as you may have imagined we have some common irregular verbs too. Check out their conjugations. Follow the example above (se eu…, se você…, etc.):

Caber (to fit) – coubesse, coubesse, coubesse, coubéssemos, coubessem, coubessem
Dar (to give) – desse, desse, desse, déssemos, dessem, dessem
Estar (to be) – estivesse, estivesse, estivesse, estivéssemos, estivessem, estissem
Fazer (to do) – fizesse, fizesse, fizesse, fizéssemos, fizessem, fizessem
Poder (can, to be able to) – pudesse, pudesse, pudesse, pudéssemos, pudessem, pudessem
Pôr (to put) – pusesse, pusesse, pusesse, puséssemos, pusessem, pusessem
Querer (to want) – quisesse, quisesse, quisesse, quiséssemos, quisessem, quisessem
Saber (to know) – soubesse, soubesse, soubesse, soubéssemos, soubessem, soubessem
Ser (to be) and Ir (to go) – fosse, fosse, fosse, fôssemos, fossem, fossem
Ter (to have) – tivesse, tivesse, tivesse, tivéssemos, tivessem, tivessem
Trazer (to bring) – trouxesse, trouxessse, trouxesse, trouxéssemos, trouxessem, trouxessem
Ver (to see) – visse, visse, visse, víssemos, vissem, vissem
Vir (to come) – viesse, viesse, viesse, viéssemos, viessem, viessem

So the sentences above would be translated as:

Se eu estudasse bastante, eu passaria na prova.
If I studied hard, I would pass the test.

Se eu tivesse dinheiro, eu compraria um carro novo.
If I had money, I’d buy a new car.

Se você a visse, o que você faria?
If you saw her, what would you do?

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About the Author:Adir

English / Spanish teacher and translator for over 20 years. I have been blogging since 2007 and I am also a professional singer in my spare time.

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Comments:

  1. Tom Le Mesurier:

    Nice lesson Adir - I have been struggling with the conditional and subjuntivo for a while now.

  2. andreas:

    Oi Adir! Gosto muito da grámatica e portanto os nomes dos tempos grmaticais me parecem tão belos


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