Le conditionel

    This présentation of the
    conditional was prepared by
    David Berger.
    All rights reserved.

    All comments, suggestions and
    corrections are welcome


    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:

                    FUTUR                                              CONDITONEL
    Je courrai
    je devrai
    Je serai
    je ferai
         il pleuvra
    Je pourrai
    Je recevrai
    Je saurai
    je tiendrai
    je viendrai
    Je verrai
    je voudrai

    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’irai demain
    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
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
Je courrais
je devrais
Je serais
je ferais
il pleuvrait
Je pourrais
Je recevrais
Je saurais
je tiendrais
je viendrais
Je verrais
je voudrais
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.

In French:
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.
Past Conditional.
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  
    Tu aurais
    Il aurait
    Nous aurions
    Vous auriez
    Elles auraient

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
Je serais
Tu serais
Il serait
Nous serions
Vous seriez
Ils seraient
                  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
present. Ex:
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: