Carlos Thompson wrote:

> Eric Christopherson wrote:

> > In fact, the book about French I
> > have on my lap right now calls it "future in the past". The conditional
> > translates to "would ..." in English.

> Not quite.  The conditional is a mode (even if some gramatitians called it a
> tense of the indicative mode).  I cannot imagine at this moment an example of
> using conditional as "future in past"... in indirect speech the conditional is
> used, as well as "would" in English, for refering to future tenses said in the
> past:
> "Yo me ire'"             I will go
> "El dijo que se iri'a"   He said he would go

I believe that this is exactly what is meant when Eric's French book
talks about the conditional as "future in the past" (I must have teethed
on the same grammar book). It also points out that the conditional uses
the same stem as the future (i.e. usually the infinitive) while adding
the imperfect (i.e. past) endings (this holds true for Spanish as well).
In retrospect, saying the conditional is "future in the past" sounds a
bit vague and misleading (and perhaps dated), but at the time (as I
recall) it helped to make things a little clearer.