The conditional perfect is a tense that is used to express the idea of “would have.” Some examples of sentences in the conditional perfect in English are:
1. I would have bought a house, but I didn’t have the money.
2. She woud have come but she was ill.
Here is how you do it:
1. You need the conditional tense of the verb Avere
Avrei = I would have
Avresti = You (singular) would have
Avrebbe = he/she would have
Avremmo = We would have
Avreste = you (plural) would have
Avrebbero = They would have
2. You need the past participle of the verb you are using.
To form a past partciple, start from the infinitve form of the verb. Infinitives end in either “are” “ere” or “ire”
If the infinitive ends in “are” then you cut off the “are” and add the letters “ato” parlare —> parl —> parlato = spoken
If the infinitive ends in “ere” then you cut off the “ere” and add the letters “uto” vedere —> ved —> veduto = seen
If the infinitive ends in “ire” then you cut off the “ire” and add the letters “ito” finire —> fin —> finito = finished
OK…let’s try some:
She would have spoken:
1. On the chart above find the translation for “she would have.” She would have is translated Avrebbe
2. Now form your past participle with the verb to speak (parlare)
parlare —> parl —> parlato (I added “ato” because parlare ends
3. Now put the bold words together: Avrebbe parlato = She would have spoken.
It is important to know that there is a list of verbs that (in the conditional perfect) are not conjugated with the conditional of avere. Rather, they are conjugated with the conditional of the verb “essere”. Now, here are the verbs that take “essere” instead of “avere” irregular past particples are in parenthesis.
to arrive arrivare
to go andare
to go out uscire
to enter entrare
to come venire (venuto)
to be essere (stato)
to leave partire
to stay, be stare (stato)
to disappear sparire
to come back tornare
to be born nascere (nato)
to die morire (morto)
to remain rimanere (rimasto)
Here is the verb “essere” in the conditional tense
Saresti (you singular)
Sareste (you plural)
Let’s try one:
I would have arrived:
1. On the chart above, find the “I” form of essere in the conditional tense. The “I” form is sarei
2. Now obtain your past particple: arrivare = to arrive.
arrivare —> arriv —> arrivato
3. Now put the bold words together: Sarei arrivato = I would have arrived.
Always remember that when you use essere with the conditional perfect, the past particple must agree in number and gender with the subject
If the subject is masculine singular, the past particple ends in “O”. If the subject is feminine singular, the past participle ends in “A”. If the subject is masculine plural, the past particple ends in “I”. If the subject is feminine singular, the past participle ends in “E”.
arrivato (m.s.)……arrivata (f.s.)…….arrivati (m.pl.)………arrivate (f.pl.)
Answers to excercise on Italian Conditional Tense:
Article by Giacomo DePasquale