In Latin there wasn't a separate conjugation table for conditional tenses, but there is in modern Romance languages, including Italian.

What is the origin of a full conjugation table for the Condizionale Presente tense? It seems to share the same root with Futuro Semplice with a different set of suffixes so I'm guessing modern conditional tense has something to do with future tense.

1 Answer 1


Almost: the origin of condizionale is in the infinitive of the verb plus a late Latin form of the perfect tense of habere (to have). The similarity with future tense lies in the fact that it arose from a similar process, this time involving infinitive + present tense.

To quote the article about “condizionale” in Treccani's Enciclopedia dell'italiano:

Il condizionale è un’innovazione delle lingue romanze, essendo formalmente assente in latino (dove il congiuntivo assolveva le funzioni sia del congiuntivo italiano propriamente detto sia del condizionale). È il risultato della grammaticalizzazione dell’infinito latino in combinazione con il perfetto habui > lat. volg. -*ei (per es.: amare-*ei > amerei), analoga a quella del futuro, derivato dall’infinito con il presente habeo > lat. volg. -*ao (per es.: amare-*ao > amer-ò).

That, is:

Conditional is an innovation of the Romance languages, being formally absent in Latin (where the subjunctive fulfilled the functions of both the Italian subjunctive proper and conditional). It is the result of the “grammaticalization” of the Latin infinitive in combination with the perfect tense habui > vulgar Latin *ei (e.g.: amare-*ei > amerei), analogous to that of future tense, derived from the infinitive with the present habeo > vulgar Latin *ao (eg: amare-*ao > amer-ò).

  • I think this also supports the fact that 3rd-person conditional suffix comes from passato remoto of avere (ebbe and ebbero), doesn't it?
    – iBug
    Commented Nov 20, 2018 at 5:10

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