If clause – type 2: Italian grammar lesson 219

Summary

Dive into the world of Italian if clauses! Master the art of crafting hypothetical scenarios with our guide on the periodo ipotetico. Learn to express possibilities, realities, and impossibilities like a native speaker. 🇮🇹✨

  • Type 1 – Get real with the periodo ipotetico! This type deals with actual, factual conditions. If you’re all about what’s tangible, this is your go-to. 🌟
  • Type 2 – Play with possibilities! Use the congiuntivo imperfetto and condizionale presente to express what could happen. It’s like your Italian crystal ball. 🔮
  • Type 3 – Embrace the impossible. When you’re talking about what could’ve been but wasn’t, this is your jam. It’s the Italian way to say “too little, too late.” 🚫
  • Get your conjugation game on! The congiuntivo imperfetto is all about those double “s” endings. Remember, it’s not just about the pasta; it’s about the perfect verb forms too. 🍝✅
  • Conditional mood, conditional life. The condizionale presente is your key to expressing outcomes that are as uncertain as whether pineapple belongs on pizza. 🍍🍕
  • Irregular verbs? No sweat! Just like life’s unpredictable moments, these verbs keep you on your toes. Embrace the chaos and you’ll be fine. 😎
  • Examples are your BFFs. Seeing periodo ipotetico in action is like finding the perfect gelato flavor – satisfying and enlightening. 🍨💡
  • Remember, practice makes perfect. Don’t just read about it; write your own if clauses. Mess up, then clean up – it’s all part of the learning process. 📝🚀

My thoughts

What are if clauses?

If you don’t know what if clauses are, here are some examples in English for you to understand better:

  • If you cry, you feel better afterward.
  • If it rains, I won’t go out.
  • If you studied, you would pass your exam.
  • If you had listened to me, you would have done the right thing.

As you can see, we have 4 if clauses in English. We always have a condition (the if clause) and the potential result (the other clause). We could say we’re talking about hypotheses.

That’s why in Italian we call it periodo ipotetico which means hypothetical period.

What is periodo ipotetico?

In Italian, we use periodo ipotetico all the time.

There are 3 types:

  • Type 1 – reality
  • Type 2 – possibility
  • Type 3 – impossibility

In today’s lesson, we’re going to focus on type 2: the one about the possibility.

Here’s an example:

Se avessi tanti soldi, andrei dappertutto.

If I had money, I would go everywhere.

Se veniste con noi, vi divertireste.

If you came with us, you would have fun.

What is the if clause type 2 in Italian?

We use this type of if clause, about a possibility, to express a possible hypothesis, something that could happen in the future, and something that it might not happen.

If it happened, it could have a certain consequence because it’s all about a condition and a consequence.

In this case, the consequence is possible but not 100% certain.

Its English equivalent is pretty similar. Let’s have a look at the examples:

Se venissi qui, andremmo in montagna.

If you came here, we would go to the mountain.

Se mi dicessi quello che pensi, ti direi quello che penso io.

If you told me what you think, I would tell you what I think.

How to structure the if clause – type 2?

In the case of a possible hypothesis, we use the congiuntivo imperfetto (imperfect subjunctive) in the clause expressing the condition (the one starting with se) and the condizionale presente (present conditional) in the clause expressing the consequence.

This is the structure:se + imperfect subjunctive + present conditional.

If you don’t remember or if you just don’t know how to form the imperfect subjunctive or present conditional, keep reading the next two sections.

If you don’t need to review this, you can skip to the section with examples.

How to use the imperfect subjunctive?

We use the imperfect subjunctive to formulate a hypothesis. That’s why we need it in this type of construction.

To form the imperfect subjunctive in Italian, you have to remove -are, -ere, and -ire from the infinitive (the base form of the verb) and add the correct endings, which are in bold in the table below.

You’ll notice the recurrence of the double s. This will help you learn their conjugation.

  parlare credere partire
io parlassi credessi partissi
tu parlassi credessi partissi
lui/lei parlasse credesse partisse
noi parlassimo credessimo partissimo
voi parlaste credeste partiste
loro parlassero vedessero partissero

There are some verbs that are irregular in the imperfect subjunctive.

Here’s the conjugation of the most common ones:

  dare dire fare
io dessi dicessi facessi
tu dessi dicessi facessi
lui/lei dessi dicesse facesse
noi dessimo dicessimo facessimo
voi deste diceste faceste
loro dessero dicessero facessero

And last, but not least, the irregular conjugations of essere and stare:

io fossi io stessi
tu fossi tu stessi
lui/lei fosse lui/lei stesse
noi fossimo noi stessimo
voi foste voi steste
loro fossero loro stessero

How to use the present conditional?

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We use the present conditional to express a possible outcome. That’s why we use it together with the clause introducing the condition.

Forming the present conditional in Italian is quite easy: Take any verb, drop the final -e in its infinitive form, and add the following endings:

io -ei
tu -esti
lui/lei -ebbe
noi -emmo
voi -este
loro -ebbero

Let’s have a look at some conjugated verbs:

  parlare credere partire
io parlerei crederei partirei
tu parleresti crederesti partiresti
lui/lei parlerebbe crederebbe partirebbe
noi parleremmo crederemmo partiremmo
voi parlereste credereste partireste
loro parlerebbero crederebbero partirebbero

There are some irregular verbs, of course.

We’ll just give you the first conjugation. You can conjugate the rest on your own by just adding the endings we saw above:

  • Andare (to go): andrei
  • Bere (to drink): berrei
  • Dovere(to have to): dovrei
  • Potere (to be able to): potrei
  • Rimanere(to stay): rimarrei
  • Sapere (to know): saprei
  • Vedere (to see): vedrei
  • Vivere (to live): vivrei
  • Volere(to want): vorrei

Practice with Quizlet

Here's a set of flashcards and quizzes to practice this grammar topic.

Italian if clause type 2: examples

Let’s now see some examples with conditions and possible outcomes:

Se potessi, verrei a trovarti.

If I could, I would come to see you.

Se facessi sport, saresti in forma.

If you did some sport, you would be in shape.

Se avessi delle uova, farei una torta.

If I had eggs, I would make a cake.

Se non piovesse, andrei al mare.

If it didn’t rain, I would go to the beach.

La tua macchina sarebbe più bella, se la lavassi.

Your car would be nicer if you washed it.

Se cercassi lavoro, lo troveresti.

If you looked for a job, you would find it.

What are if clauses?

Are hypothesis were we have a condition (the if clause) and the potential result (the other clause). It's all about a condition and a consequence.

What is the if clause type 2 in Italian?

The possibility clause expresses a possible hypothesis, something that could happen in the future, and something that it might not happen.

How to structure the if clause type 2?

By using "se" + imperfect subjunctive + present conditional.

How to use the imperfect subjunctive?

We use it to formulate a hypothesis. We remove -are, -ere, and -ire from the infinitive and add the correct endings -assi, -essi, and -issi.

How to use the present conditional?

We use it to express a possible outcome. We form it by droping the final -e in its infinitive form and add the following endings: -ei, esti, -ebbe, -emmo, -este, and -ebbero.

Italian word of the day
passeggiata
Example
Hai voglia di fare una passeggiata?
Do you feel like going for a walk?
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