አማርኛ (Amharic) Conditional Verb Tenses

The Real Conditional

The real/possible conditional is used to express things which are possible (usually causes and effects).

  • If it rains, I won’t go to the market.
  • If the students work hard, they’ll pass the exam.
  • If the grant gets accepted, we’ll build a new shint bet.

In Amharic, this sentence structure generally follows this formula:
real conditional = kä/ከ+simple past+future tense

kä/+simple past (condition)future tense (effect/result)full sentence
ከአጠኑ
käat’änu
if they study
ያለፋሉ yaläfalu they will passተማሪዎች ከአጠኑ፣ያለፋሉ።
tämariwoč käat’änu, yaläfalu.
If the students study, they will pass.
ወንድሜ ከመጣ
wändme kämät’a
if my brother comes
ቡና እንጠጣለን
buna ïnt’ät’alän
we will drink coffee
ወንድሜ ከመጣ፣ ቡና እንጠጣለን።
wändme kämät’a, buna ïnt’ät’alän.
If my brother comes, we will drink coffee.

The Unreal Conditional

The unreal conditional is used to describe things that don’t actually exist, but might hypothetically exist in an alternate universe.

  • If I were president, I’d pass a law that makes chocolate free!
  • If you had studied harder, you might have passed that exam.
  • If I had done Peace Corps in another country, I wouldn’t be studying Amharic.

In Amharic, this sentence structure generally follows this formula:
ብ/b + verb root (+ noro/ኖሮ, optional*) + verb in “would have” form
(the “would have” form is actually the same as the “used to” form)

  1. If you had studied, you would have passed.
    ብትጠኚ ኖሮ፣ አልፋሽ ነበር።
  2. If the disease had been treated, it wouldn’t have become serious.
    በሽታውን ብትቆጣጠር ኖሮ፣  አይጠናብህም ነበር።
  3. If Kenya hadn’t declared independence, their president would still be British.
    ኬንያ ባትገነጠል፣ እስካሁን ፕረሲደንታቸው ኢንግሌዘዊ ይሆን ነበር።
  4. If I were a boy, I would not wear skirts.
    እኔ ወንድ ብሆን፣ ቀሚስ አልለብስም ነበር።

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