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The Conditional Tense - French

Updated on April 22, 2013

What is the Conditional Tense?

We use "La Conditionnel" for the following reasons:

  • To express what would happen under certain conditions: Si j'avais le temps je voyagerais. (If I had the time, I would travel.)

  • When “could” has the sense of “should be able to,” in which case you use the conditional of pouvoir: Il pourrait faire ceci. (He could [should be able to] do this.)

  • To politely make a request or a demand: Je voudrais l'acheter. (I would like to buy it.)


    Basically when saying would, could or should!

These are the endings for the Conditional Tense:

Je -ais

Tu -ais

Il -ait

Elle -ait

Nous -ions

Vous -iez

Ils -aient

Elles -aient


When using "la conditionnel" include the infinitive of the verd (eg. acheter) and then add the assigned ending. If it is an "re" verb you must remove the "e" before adding the endings.

Examples are:

  • J'acheterais la maison
  • Il porterait les vetements
  • Vous appeleriez Laura

Negative

When putting the conditional into the negative you put the ne/n' before the verb and the pas after the verb

  • Je n'acheterais pas la masion
  • Il ne porterait pas les vetements
  • Vous n'appeleriez Laura

NB: Use n' infront of a vowel!!


Question

When putting the conditional tense into question form reverse the order of the verb and the subject pronoun.

  • Acheterais - tu la maison?
  • Porterait - il les vetements?
  • Appeleriez - vous Laura?

Irregular Verbs

This is a list of the most common irregular verbs and what the infinitive of them is:

  • aller: Ir J'irais

  • avoir: Aur J'aurais

  • devoir: Devr Je devrais

  • être: Ser Je serais

  • faire: Fer Je ferais

  • pouvoir: Pourr Je pourrais

  • savoir: Saur Je saurais
  • venir: Viendr Je viendrais
  • voir: Verr Je verrais

  • vouloir: Voudr Je voudrais

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