Verb tenses: conditional vs future

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Senior Member
English USA
Hi everyone! There seems to be a grammatical nuance for conditional and future verb tenses. Conditional definitely expresses an uncertainty or an if/then scenario. But sometimes the future can be used to express uncertainty. For expample, "Quién sabe lo que dirá ella!"

But what would be the equivalent for what we say in English practically all the time?!: "we may contact"....or "we may ask you to do this..." I've tended to use "podría..." But a friend of mine argues that I should use "podrá" for this type of phrase.

Here's an example:
English: "Most types, but not all medications are available through this program. Your physician may be contacted and asked to use medications which are covered by our program."

Spanish: "Aunque la mayoría de medicamentos se ofrecen a través de este programa, no todos están disponibles. Podríamos (podremos?) contactar a su médico y pedirle que recetara medicamentos que son cubiertos por nuestro programa."

See what I'm saying? Is this sort of "wishi-washiness" in English even worth putting into Spanish? I could also word the Spanish like this: "En este caso, podríamos contactar a su médico....etc."

What do you guys have to say?

  • rubenaf

    Spain, Spanish. España, español
    In my opinion (spanish from spain), the sentence could be translated like this:
    "SE podría contactar CON su médico y pedirle que recetara medicamentos que ESTÉN cubiertos por nuestro programa".

    I think that one could translate as "se podrá" if the sentence was "your physician can be contacted".

    If you use the future tense "se podrá", you're expressing an availability, a real possibility like "we will be able to contact to". If you use the conditional tense, you're expressing an uncertainty, a "possible" possibility like "we could contact or not to contact to, it is our decission"

    You could use "se podría" intead of "podríamos", because the passive is frequently translated into "pasiva refleja". The translation (spanish of spain) of "to contact to" is "contactar CON". You could use "son cubiertos" instead "estén cubiertos", there's only a little nuance between them, but I think "estén" is a bit more correct :)

    I'm not an expert in grammar, only a simple spanish ;) Hope this can help you, or at least help you to think about :)
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