How do I form the conditional tense?

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The conditional tense is used to descibe a situation in the future that may or may not happen. For example:

If I were rich, I would buy a big house

could go to the cinema later

The conditional tense is easy to form using the verb stem from the future tense, and the verb endings from the imperfect tense. Let's remind ourselves of what they are.

Future Stems

For regular verbs the future stem is relatively straightforward. for -er verbs and -ir verbs the future stem is simply the infinitive of the verb. For -re verbs we remove the final r and that is the future stem. However there are a few irregular verbs, for which the stem must be memorised.

Example:

Verb                  Stem

Manger              manger-

Finir                   finir-

Prendre             prendr-

être                   ser-

Avoir                aur-

Faire                fer-

As you can see a lot of irregular verbs are the most common so they must be learnt.

Imperfect endings

The imperfect endings are as follows:

je        -ais

tu       -ais

il/elle   -ait

nous   -ions

vous   -iez

ils/elles -aient

We will now put these together to form the conditional 

Conditional Tense

Je regarderais                   I would watch

Tu finirais                         You would finish

Il prendrait                        He would take

Nous serions                    We would be

Vous auriez                      You would have

Ils feraient                        They would do 

As seen above the imperfect ending is simply added to the future stem to form the conditional tense. 

Emmanuelle C. GCSE French tutor

About the author

is an online GCSE French tutor with MyTutor studying at Bath University

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