Futuro simple vs. Condicional simple

Future vs. conditional in Spanish grammar

The Spanish future tense (el futuro simple) and the conditional tense (el condicional simple) both talk about future actions, but with one key difference: the future tense refers to the concrete whereas the conditional refers to the hypothetical.

Learn the difference between the future and the conditional in Spanish grammar with Lingolia, then put your knowledge to the test in the free exercises.

Example

El año que viene me apuntaré a clases de flauta. Me gustaría convertirme en una gran concertista. Probablemente, a final del curso haremos un concierto e invitaré a todos mis amigos. Todo el mundo debería tocar algún instrumento. Un mundo lleno de artistas sería mucho mejor.

What’s the difference between the future and the conditional in Spanish?

Although the Spanish future and conditional tenses have similar conjugations, they have different meanings. We use the future simple to express future actions with a degree of certainty, whereas we use the conditional to talk about hypothetical situations.

To give you a rough idea of the difference, we can compare the Spanish future simple to the English will, and the condicional simple to the English would. Read on to learn about the differences in more detail.

Plan or wish?

One way to choose between the future and the conditional is to decide whether we are talking about a plan or a wish.

Future

The future simple expresses plans and arrangements that the speaker considers certain or fixed.

Ejemplo:
Mañana llevaré al gato al veterinario.I’m taking the cat to the vet tomorrow.
La semana que viene el profesor nos dará las notas del examen.Next week our teacher will give us our exam grades.

Conditional

The conditional expresses the speaker’s wish or desire to do something that is not possible.

Ejemplo:
En este momento me comería un helado de yogur y pistacho.I would eat some yoghurt and pistachio ice cream right now.
Pasaría las Navidades en una isla tropical.I would spend Christmas on a tropical island.

Assumption or imagination?

Another way to choose between the future and the conditional is to decide if we are making an assumption or a talking about a hypothetical situation.

Future

Use the future simple to make assumptions and predictions about the present and the future.

Ejemplo:
—¿Dónde está Paco?Where is Paco?
—Ni idea. Estará en el jardín.No idea. He’ll probably be in the garden.

Conditional

The conditional talks about hypothetical and imaginary scenarios.

Ejemplo:
Las personas serían más felices sin dinero.People would be happier without money.