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What is a conditional?

It simply means, there is a condition and it is not actual. In Afrikaans the conditional uses the helping verb SOU.


Ek sou hom help.
As ek jy was, sou ek hom help. (If I were you ... would)


Ek sou hom gehelp het.
As ek jy was, sou ek hom gehelp het. (If I were you ... would have)


The future is not actual by default and the regular future is often used, but the conditional can be used in present tense.

Ek sou hom help. + future reference (volgende week) = Ek sou hom volgende week help.

Conditional & Subjunctive

What patterns have you noticed so far?

The modals have a present and past tense form


Remember, SAL is used to express the future.

SOU it is used to address a situation that did not happen, and it is stated as an IF situation. Here is an example:

I would speak up IF I were you. > Ek sou praat as ek jy was.
Did I speak up? No! So, it is something that did not happen and speaks about the IF situation. Here are some examples:

Ek sou dit nooit doen nie.          --  I would never do that.
Ek sou dit nooit gedoen het nie. -- I would never have done that.
Hy sou wou gaan.                     -- He would have wanted to go.
Ons sou kon werk, maar ...       -- We would have been able to work, but ...
Sy sou my kon sien, maar ...     --  She would have been able to see me, but ...
Sy sou my wou sien, maar ...    --  She would have wanted to see me, but ...
Sou jy wou kom?                     -- Would you want to come?
Sou jy wou gekom het?            -- Would you have wanted to come?

*The modals kon/wou/moes/mog would be added here if needed


Present: Ek is by die bank. Ek het baie geld.

Present Conditional: Ek sou by die bank * wees.           Ek sou baie geld * hê.
Past Conditional:      Ek sou by die bank * gewees het. Ek sou baie geld * gehad het.

B2 - ROOT VERBS (regular)

Present: Ek werk by die bank.

Present Conditional: Ek sou by die bank * werk.
Past Conditional:      Ek sou by die bank * gewerk het.


Present: Ek verkoop die boek./Die president mislei die publiek.

Present Conditional: Ek sou die boek * verkoop.        Die president sou die publiek * mislei.
Past Conditional:      Ek sou die boek * verkoop het.  Die president sou die publiek * mislei het.


Present: Ek sit die boek weg.

Present Conditional: Ek sou die boek * wegsit.
Past Conditional:      Ek sou die boek * weggesit het.


Present: Ek verslaap my.

Present Conditional: Ek sou my * verslaap.
Past Conditional:      Ek sou my * verslaap het.

VII - LINK VERBS (next lesson)

Present: Ek kom hom sien.

Present Conditional: Ek sou hom * kom sien.
Past Conditional:      Ek sou hom * kom sien het.

Clauses: Verb-Last

AS, DAT, OMDAT, etc. (Verb-Last Conjunctions) kick the verb from the 2nd position to the last position.

At that last position you have all the verbs. Depending on what you have, the order is as follows:
(i) SAL or SOU, then (ii) the MODALS, then (iii) the VERB, and then (iv) HET

sal kan sien. (will be able to see)
sou kon sien. (would be able to see)
sou kon gesien het (would have been able to see)
gesien het. (saw)

sal kan sien. (will be able to see him)
sou kon sien. (would be able to see him)
sou kon gesien het (would have been able to see him)
gesien het. (saw him)

When you use SOU (would), the word AS (if) is often present. If the sentence starts with AS, then the Verb-last conjunction clause [discussed above] is first, and then the next rule has to be remembered, ... if the sentence does not start like normal with the subject, then the verb is pulled to the front. Study the following:

Ek sou geld vra. (I would ask for money)
Ek sou geld vra as ek jy was. (I would ask for money if I were you)
As ek jy was, sou ek vir geld vra. (If I were you I would ask for money)

Did you notice that when you placed the clause first, the main sentence pulled the verb to the front.

Oefen -- Rewrite these sentences with the clause first

Ek sal bly wees as jy kan gaan.
 Dit sal goed gaan as jy my help. 
Dit sal beter gaan as jy my wil help.
Dit sou beter gaan as jy my sou help.
Dit sou beter gegaan het as jy my kon gehelp het.

Starting Clause then Verb-First

You already know if a Verb-Last Conjunction clause starts out the sentence, then directly after the clause the main sentence starts with the verb is first, then the subject.

More Examples (Afrikaans word order):

I will come when he me calls. / When he me calls, will I come.
I will it to you give, if you it will need. > If you it will need, will I it to you give.
I give it to you, if you it need. > If you it need, give I it to you.

To take the concept of introductory clauses to the next level - it is not just Verb-Last Conjunction clauses that can start off a sentence. You could pull all kinds of information out of the sentence and put it in front for emphasis and then the verb would come right after that stuff you pulled out.

For example:

We saw them today in class.
> Today saw we them in class.
> In class saw we them today.

I can believe his whole story.
His whole story can I believe.