Periodo Ipotetico – Unreality in Italian

In Italian the Periodo Ipotetico (Hypotetical Phrase) is made of two clauses: one expresses a condition and it is introduced by “se” (or “qualora“, “purché“, “nel caso che“) which means if, whereas the main clause expresses a consequence.

In Italian we have three different types of Periodo Ipotetico: the third type expresses unreality, so the hypotesis is something unreal.

In terms of its structure, there are two possible options:

  • se + Congiuntivo Trapassato to express the hypotesis and Condizionale Presente to express the consequence.

The first clause expresses an unreal condition in the past, the main clause a consequence which is not realized in the present.

Have a look at some examples:

Condition Consequence

Se avessi studiato matematica

If I had studied maths

ora saprei fare questo esercizio

now I would be able to do this exercise

Se fossi andato dal dottore

If I had gone to the doctor

starei meglio

I would feel better

 

  • se + Congiuntivo Trapassato to express the hypotesis and Condizionale Passato to express the consequence.

The first clause expresses an unreal condition in the past, the main clause a consequence which is not realized in the past.

Let’s see some examples:

Condition Consequence

Se avessi avuto tempo

If I had had time

sarei venuto a trovarti

I would have come to see you

Se mi fossi svegliato presto

If I had woken up early

sarei arrivato a lavoro alle 8

I would have arrived at work at 8

 

Can you think of any other examples?


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