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conditional was prepared by
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You can consider a verb to be made of two parts:
The body (the root) and the head (the endings).
In the case of the conditional, the body would be that of the
future and the head that of the imperfect past.
The root of future verbs are:
For ER verbs, the infinitive i.e CHANTER
For IR verbs, also the infinitive i.e FINIR
For RE verbs, the infinitive without the final E i.e VENDR
To these roots (or bodies) you add the heads (or endings) which
are exactly those of the imperfect, for all verbs.
Also JE CHOISIRAIS, TU CHOISIRAIS etc.....
JE VENDRAIS, TU VENDRAIS ...etc
As you can see, the body of the verb remains unchanged
between the future and the conditional. This applies to all verbs,
including the irregular ones. Thus:
Moreover, as you can see from the above examples, the only
difference between the JE forms of the Future and that of the
conditional is an S which does not get pronounced. Thus they
sound the same, and the context differentiates them, unless
there is a linking in which the s would be pronounced as a z at
the beginning of the following word (which would have to begin
with either a vowel or an h.
J’irais s’il pleuvait
I would sing: JE CHANTERAIS
You would sing: TU CHANTERAIS
He would sing: IL CHANTERAIT
We would sing: NOUS CHANTERIONS
You would sing: VOUS CHANTERIEZ
They would sing: ILS CHANTERAIENT
I‘ll sing: JE CHANTERAI
You‘ll sing: TU CHANTERAS
He‘ll sing: IL CHANTERA
We‘ll sing: NOUS CHANTERONS
You‘ll sing: VOUS CHANTEREZ
They‘ll sing: ILS CHANTERONT
I shall go
I shall have
I shall run
I shall have to
I shall send
I shall be
I shall do
it will rain
I shall be able
I shall receive
I shall know
I shall hold
I shall corne
I shall see
I shall want
I would go
I would have
I would run
I would have to
I would send
I would be
I would do
it would rain
I would be able
I would receive
I would know
I would hold
I would come
I would see
I would want
Uses of the conditional
The conditional in french is used in the same way
as in English and with the same flexibility that
some may consider mistakes.
For example in English, one says:
If I had a coin, I would toss it i
If you toss it, you will have luck.
In the first sentence, we have the past with the
conditional, and in the second, the present with the
future. This is grammatically correct.
Si j’avais une pièce, je la jetterais dans l’eau.
(imparfait with conditional)
Si tu la jettes, tu auras de la chance.
(present with future)
However, one could also say : If I tossed it, I will
have luck, putting the future with the past (instead
of the conditional).
Same in French:
Si tu la jetais, tu auras de la chance.
It is important to remember that the part of the
phrase that has « si » does not take the
conditional. It is the other part that does. It may
follow or precede the condition. Ex:
Si tu allais en taxi tu arriverais à l’heure.
Tu réussirais si tu essayais.
Also, remember that in english, « would » does not
always take the conditional. It could imply a past
repeated action (used to) and take the imparfait:
He would take a walk at sunset.
Il se promenait au coucher du soleil.
(see “the big bad would” in the imparfait section).
J’irai au cinéma demain
J’irais au cinéma s’il pleuvait.
The past conditional is a composite past where the first
part is either the verb avoir or être in the present
conditional followed by the past participle.
The same verbs that use "etre" instead of avoir in the
passé composé use "être" in the conditional past.
Present conditional of
J'aurais chanté I would have sung
Elle aurait pris She would have taken
Ils seraient allés They would have gone
Nous nous serions dépêchés We would have hurried
Uses of the past conditional
The past conditional is used to express that
something would have or have not happened in
the past if something had or had not been done.
It is usually accompanied by the plus-que-parfait,
The plus-que-parfait is formed by replacing the
present of avoir in the passé composé with the
imparfait. For example:
J'ai essayé: I tried
J'avais essayé: I had tried
Si j'avais su, j'aurais fui.
If I had known, I would have run away.
Si tu serais restée, nous aurions déjeuné
If you had stayed, we would have had lunch.
S'ils s'étaient parlés, ils auraient compris
If they had spoken, they would have
Sometimes, you will find the
plus-que-parfait with the conditional
Si elle n'avait pas agi de la sorte, elle n'en
serait pas là.
Had she not acted in this manner, she would
not be in this situation now.
Deceit you tigress
If you look you will find
his feet on the ground
and other men's hearts.
Let' s contrast it with the Future: