MYTUTOR SUBJECT ANSWERS

289 views

What is the 'conditional' in French, and how do you use it?

What does it mean?

It’s one of the four ‘moods’ in French (the others are: indicative, subjunctive and imperative)

Because it’s a mood, it can be used in a number of tenses.  Simplest (and the one you'll most likely cover in exams) is ‘conditional present’ tense.  Verbs in the conditional present tense basically mean someone ‘would’ do something.

E.g. Si j’avais beaucoup d’argent, j’irais au Japon.  If I had lots of money, I would go to Japan. 

Nous voudrions deux cafés, s’il vous plait.  We would like two coffees, please. 

Je regarderais la télé.  I would watch TV.

Important!  A couple of verbs don’t sound like ‘would’ in the conditional – they have their own meanings.  There are two important ones...

1. pouvoir (to be able to).  The conditional present of pouvoir means ‘could’.  E.g. Je pourrais conduire à Londres.  I could drive to London. 

2. devoir (to have to).  The conditional present of this is 'should' in English.  E.g. Elle devrait acheter une voiture. She should buy a car.

How do you form it?

The RULE

Take the same stem as the future tense (infinitive minus the 'e' at the end of 're' verbs) and add the same endings you use for the imperfect tense:

Je            ais

Tu            ais

Il/elle/on    ait

Nous         ions

Vous         iez

Ils/elles     aient

E.g.

Parler --> Je parlerais, tu parlerais, elle parlerait, nous parlerions, vous parleriez, ells parleraient

Finir --> je finirais, tu finirais, elle finirait, nous finirions, vous finiriez, elles finiraient

Attendre --> j'attendrais, tu attendrais, elle attendrait, nous attendrions, vous attendriez, elles attendraient

The Exceptions

As usual, unfortunately, some of the most important verbs are irregular!  The way that they’re irregular is in relation to the stem of the verb.  Below is a list of the most important irregular verbs, their stems and conjugated examples.

Aller        ir          J’irais

Avoir       aur      Tu aurais

Etre         ser      On serait

Faire        fer       Nous ferions

Pouvoir    pour    Vous pourriez

Devoir     devr     Ils devraient

Savoir     saur     Je saurais

Venir      viendr    Tu viendrais

Voir        verr       Elle verrait

Vouloir   voudr     Nous voudrions

Practice

Understanding… watch music video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PRCRV4JwIds  

What’s Clarika trying to tell her boyfriend?  Can you give three examples of conditional tense she uses?

Morna C.

7 months ago

Answered by Morna, a GCSE French tutor with MyTutor


Still stuck? Get one-to-one help from a personally interviewed subject specialist

154 SUBJECT SPECIALISTS

£18 /hr

Geena R.

Degree: French (Bachelors) - Edinburgh University

Subjects offered:French, English

French
English

“Hello! I'm a third-year student of French at the University of Edinburgh working on my year abroad in the south of France. I currently teach english to primary-school level children and have had experience catering to older children t...”

Clorrie Y. A Level Spanish tutor, GCSE Spanish tutor, A Level French ...
£18 /hr

Clorrie Y.

Degree: Modern Languages and Cultures (French and Spanish) (Bachelors) - Durham University

Subjects offered:French, Spanish+ 2 more

French
Spanish
History
-Personal Statements-

“French and Spanish student at Durham University offering tuition suited to all abilities.”

MyTutor guarantee

Jade F. A Level French tutor, 13 Plus  French tutor, IB French tutor,...
£18 /hr

Jade F.

Degree: International Relations (Bachelors) - Exeter University

Subjects offered:French, -Personal Statements-

French
-Personal Statements-

“Hi, I'm Jade. I'm currently a first year student at the University of Exeter, studying International Relations. I can therefore provide loads of advice about all things Uni related.  I'm very curious about different cultures and langu...”

MyTutor guarantee

About the author

Morna C.

Currently unavailable: for new students

Degree: Land Economy (Bachelors) - Cambridge University

Subjects offered:French, Spanish+ 2 more

French
Spanish
-Personal Statements-
-Oxbridge Preparation-

“About Me I live in Paris and study International Economic Policy at SciencesPo.  My undergraduate degree was in Land Economy, which I studied at Pembroke College, Cambridge.  In between my undergrad and master’s, I worked as a project...”

You may also like...

Other GCSE French questions

How can I differentiate between the Passé Composé and the Imperfect?

What does 'en' mean?

How can I make the difference between the 'passé simple' and the 'imparfait'

Difference between horizontal and vertical translations of graphs

View GCSE French tutors

We use cookies to improve your site experience. By continuing to use this website, we'll assume that you're OK with this. Dismiss

mtw:mercury1:status:ok