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I am currently learning conditional clauses in Spanish, but I'm really confused about the following two examples:

(1) "Si Cándido no hubiera caído del árbol, ahora no estaría en el hospital"

(2) "Si Feliciano no huberia nacido un martes y trece, tendría más suerte en la vida"

To my understanding, in both sentences we should actually use the "condicional 2" (habría estado instead of estaría, and habría tenido instead of tendría). Can anyone explain to me why these two sentences work gramatically?

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These are cases of what English learners would call "mixed conditionals". In this case, the "si" (if) clause refers to something that happened in the past, so it uses pluscuamperfecto de subjuntivo. The "then" clause refers to something that happens now so it uses the simple conditional. Compare:

  • Si Cándido no hubiera caído del árbol, ahora no estaría en el hospital

    (if Cándido had not fallen from the tree, he would not be in hospital now)

with

  • Si Cándido no hubiera caído del árbol, no se habría roto una pierna.

    (If Cándido had not fallen from the tree, he would not have broken his leg).

In the first example, the "then" clause is happening now, so we use the simple conditional (no estaría en el hospital). In the second example (which would be called a third conditional in English grammar), the "then" clause happens in the past, so we use the perfect conditional (no se habría roto una pierna).

For your second sentence, both

  • Si Feliciano no huberia nacido un martes y trece, tendría más suerte en la vida

    (If Feliciano had not been born on a Tuesday the 13th, he would be luckier in life).

and

  • Si Feliciano no huberia nacido un martes y trece, habría tenido más suerte en la vida

    (If Feliciano had not been born on a Tuesday the 13th, he would have been luckier in life).

are valid, though again with different meaning. The first sentence indicates that "not being lucky (enough) in life" is an ongoing state, while the second sentence emphasizes that Feliciano was not lucky enough in the past (and could have been luckier).

Note that, helpfully, the English translations of the sentences also use different tenses in the two types of conditionals.

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  • Do you want to add that for the second sentence in the question, "habría tenido" would also work? (The key in the first sentence being the time adverb "ahora.") – aparente001 Jan 6 at 19:29
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    @aparente001 updated answer. – wimi Jan 6 at 19:37
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ok, this seems quite complicated but it is not. Cándido fell off from a tree (past), ahora (now) he would not be in hospital. estaría because it is now. tendría más suerte en la vida, because he is still alive and he is still having bad luck or not as good luck as he should... It is very simple:

Hubiera estado/caído/nacido ===> past, it already happened. estaría/tendría ===> present, it is not over, not finished.

Condicional means some condition, so the condition goes in subjuntivo, not in condicional, the result is in condicional

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