Le Conditionnel

April 4, 2012 § Leave a comment

The conditional is the “would verb” tense.  One uses it just as one says “would” in English.  It’s a happy tense because it pretty much completely aligns with the “would verb” usage in English.

To form the conditional

1.  Take the future stem of a verb

a. for er, ir verbs the future stem is the infinitive

b.  for re verbs, the future stem is the infinitive -e (vendr, perdr, descendr)

c.  for irregular verbs – memorize them

2.  Add the imparfait endings

je – ais nous – ions
tu – ais vous – iez
il – ait ils – aient

 Uses of the conditional

1.  to express the future in the past
*Hier il a dit qu’il viendrait aujourd’hui. Yesterday he said that he’d come over today.
*Je savais que tu le ferais. I knew that you’d do it.
*Le professeur nous a dit que la classe serait facile. The prof told us that the class would be easy.
*Nous pensions que tu deviendrais médecin. We thought you’d become a doctor.

2. If imparfait then conditional
*Si je savais la réponse, je la crierais à haute voix. If I knew the answer, I’d holler it out.
*S’ils avaient une voiture, ils sortiraient avec leurs amis. If they had a car, they’d go out with their friends.
*Si j’étais riche, j’habiterais à Paris. If I was rich I’d live in Paris.

3. As a form of politesse
used with vouloir (would like), pouvoir (could), and aimer.
*Je voudrais vous parler. I’d like to talk to you.
*Pourriez-vous m’aider s’il vous plaît? Could you help me please.
*Nous aimerions bien aller à la plage. We would really like to go to the beach.

4.  Always used after “au cas où”
*Elle nous donnera son adresse au cas où nous irions à Paris. She will give us her address in case we go to Paris.
* Au cas où il ne serait pas là, vous pourriez lui laisser un mot. In case he’s not there, you could leave him a note.

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