# Translating “if I had to” in Spanish

Consider this translation:

I would have jumped the rope.

Now, how would we translate the same sentence if I added "if I had to" to it?

I would have jumped the rope if I had to.

• It's not hubiese, but habría. The subjunctive goes in the "si..." part, and the conditional in the other one. – MikMik May 30 '14 at 14:11
• "Si tuviera que..." would also work in this case. – Paul Jun 2 '14 at 22:01

Your example is wrong to begin with.

I would have jumped the rope.

Hubiese saltado la cuerda translats to Had I jumped the rope

The correct translation would be

I would have jumped the rope.

Here is how I would say it:

Si tuviera que saltarla, habría saltado la cuerda

Si tuviera que saltar la cuerda, la habría saltado

If you use haber, like in this sentence

Si hubiese tenido que hacerlo, habría saltado la cuerda

It will translate to:

If I had had to do it, I would have jumped the rope.

Hubiese and Hubiera are the same thing, by the way.

If you want to say, I would have done it, you would say

Lo habría hecho

When you start writing conditional statements, with a cause, and reason.. you get sentences like this

If I had an apple, then I would eat it

Si yo tuviera una manzana la comería

It boils down to this guideline

If... something in the subjunctive.. then... something in the conditional..

or

Something in the conditional, then.. something subjunctive.

example

Yo habría saltado la cuerda si yo tuviera que hacerlo.

• Si tuviera que saltarla la habría saltado a la cuerda is wrong. And so is your next sentence, which has two mistakes less than the former. But I also had that mistake because I Ctrl+V-ed from the OP. Namely, one doesn't say a la cuerda but la cuerda. – c.p. May 29 '14 at 21:39
• Moreover, I don't know in English, but in Spanish that combination of tenses sounds strange. – c.p. May 29 '14 at 22:02
• If the only reason you say that I'm wrong is because I said saltar a, then the OP is wrong... The question was about the use of past subjunctive, but was using it incorrectly. He was using the subjunctive when he should have used the conditional tense. – dockeryZ May 30 '14 at 2:06
• OK, this leaves me thoroughly confused. "A la cuerda" or just "la cuerda"? "Hubiese" or "habría"? How about just skipping the "haber" and use "tuviese" instead? What would be the difference in the meanings? – TheLearner May 30 '14 at 5:51
• Yeap, the OP is wrong. But I downvoted because of the object (la) repetition; and there's no comma. – c.p. May 30 '14 at 5:57

It's not answering the question you posed but it's what you want to know:

Hubiese saltado la cuerda si hubiese tenido que (hacerlo).

The omission of the last verb is advanced. Or

Si hubiese tenido que hacerlo, hubiese saltado la cuerda.

• Instead of "...hubiese tenido que...", can't one just say, "...tuviese que..."? – TheLearner May 29 '14 at 8:59
• Can I use "pudiese" if I want to say "...if I could"? Sorry if the question seems a tad off-track. – TheLearner May 29 '14 at 11:35
• @c.p. Si hubiese tenido que hacerlo, hubiese saltado la cuerda. would mean.. If I had had to do it, had jumped the rope. – dockeryZ May 29 '14 at 20:38
• @dockeryz You're right. – c.p. May 29 '14 at 21:32
• "Si hubiese tenido que hacerlo, habría saltado la cuerda" – MikMik May 30 '14 at 14:12

The correct phrase is:

Habría saltado la cuerda si hubiera tenido que hacerlo.

Correct, but slightly clumsy. Some alternatives:

Si hubiera tenido que saltar la cuerda, lo habría hecho.

Habría saltado la cuerda en caso de haber tenido que hacerlo.

Habría saltado la cuerda de ser necesario.

1. "Saltar a la cuerda" or "saltar la cuerda"? This varies by region. But that's not what you were asking about....

2. For clarity about hubiera, hubiese and habría, please see this excellent and concise post: https://spanish.stackexchange.com/a/20738/9385.

Now, what you were actually asking:

How would this be expressed in Spanish? "I would have jumped the rope if I had to."

I'm going to modify your question a little bit because "jumped the rope" is awkward for me to work with. First, because I would say, "I would have jump-roped" (and that might veer us off to *what exactly is the past participle of "to jump rope") and second, because it's hard for me to imagine someone being required to jump rope.

I would have gone to the bank yesterday (to make a deposit) if I had to [but it wasn't necessary because my automatic paycheck deposit came through in time].

A literal translation would be

Hubiera ido al banco ayer (para hacer un depósito) si hubiera tenido que hacerlo.

In place of the first hubiera, hubiese and habría are also possible. In place of the second, hubiese is also possible. (See the previously cited https://spanish.stackexchange.com/a/20738/9385.)

A little bit more natural would be

Habría ido al banco ayer si hubiera sido necesario.

or

Habría ido al banco ayer si hubiera tenido que hacerlo.

But the natural, idiomatic way to express this is:

Hubiera ido al banco ayer de ser necesario.

Let's back-translate, to make sure you understand what this means:

I would have gone to the bank yesterday if it had been necessary.

If I had to cook -> Si yo tuviera que cocinar.

Si tuviera que cocinar is less accurate.

• Isn't it common for native speakers to omit the subject in regular conversations? – TheLearner May 30 '14 at 5:47
• tuviera or tuviese? – TheLearner May 30 '14 at 5:51
• Tuviera and tuviese are exactly the same. If you look at any conjugation table, you'll see that it always says "tuviera o tuviese" (or so it should). For example, this one – MikMik May 30 '14 at 14:10
• @AmitSchandillia, yep, it's quite common. I'm a Spanish native speaker. – Eva Thyssen May 30 '14 at 19:16
• @TheLearner - "Isn't it common for native speakers to omit the subject in regular conversations?" Yes. – aparente001 Feb 18 '18 at 16:00