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8.3 Le Conditionnel

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WHAT IS THE CONDITIONNEL?
•
The conditionnel is used to soften a request, to indicate that a statement might
be contrary to reality, or to show that an action was going to happen at some
point in the past. It is often translated into English as would… or could…
•
The conditionnel is formed with the same stems as the futur simple. The endings
for the conditionnel are the same as those for the imparfait.
The conditionnel of regular verbs
parler
réussir
attendre
je/j’
parlerais
réussirais
attendrais
tu
parlerais
réussirais
attendrais
il/elle
parlerait
réussirait
attendrait
nous
parlerions
réussirions
attendrions
vous
parleriez
réussiriez
attendriez
ils/elles
parleraient
réussiraient
attendraient
WHAT IS THE CONDITIONNEL?
•
Any –er verbs with spelling changes in their futur simple stem have the same
changes in the conditionnel.
je me promènerai  je me promènerais
j’emploierai  j’emploierais
•
Verbs that have an irregular stem in the futur simple have the same stem in the
conditionnel.
Nous irions au cinéma s’il y avait des films intéressants à voir.
•
Use the conditionnel to describe hypothetical events.
Vous pourriez venir à cinq heures.
(You could come at 5 o’clock.)
WHAT IS THE CONDITIONNEL?
•
The hypothetical aspect of the conditionnel makes it useful in polite requests and
propositions. The verbs most often used in phrases of this type are aimer, pouvoir
and vouloir.
Nous aimerions vous poser des questions.
Je voudrais porter un toast.
•
Conditional forms of devoir followed by an infinitive tell what should or ought to
happen. Conditional forms of pouvoir followed by an infinitive tell what could
happen.
Tu devrais sortir plus souvent avec nous.
On pourrait passer la matinée au parc.
WHAT IS THE CONDITIONNEL?
•
Another use for the conditionnel is in a clause after “au cas où” (in case). Note
that English uses the indicative for these phrases.
Apportez de l’argent au cas où il y aurait encore des tickets à vendre.
•
In some cases, the conditionnel is used to express uncertainty about a fact.
Selon le journal, il y aurait plus de 100 parcs d’attractions au Texas.
•
The conditionnel is used sometimes in the context of the past to indicate what was
to happen in the future. This usage is called the future in the past.
Pépé a dit qu’il fêterait son 95e anniversaire dans un parc d’attractions.
WHAT IS THE CONDITIONNEL?
•
Form contrary-to-fact statements about what would happen if something else
were to occur by using the imparfait and the conditionnel.
Si j’étais toi, je mettrais des baskets pour aller me promener.
If I were you, I’d put on sneakers to take a walk.
On pourrait arriver avant l’ouverture si Jean-Yves faisait la queue pour nous.
We could arrive before the opening if Jean-Yves stood in line for us.
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