Le Conditionnel
  • The conditional forms of verbs enable a speaker to express wishes, to make polite requests and suggestions, and to extend and/or accept invitations.

For example:

1. Je vous conseillerais fortement de ne pas habiter sur le campus.

-I would advise you strongly not to live on campus.

2. Je voudrais vous rappeler de ne pas oublier votre tenue de sport.

-I would like to remind you not to forget your sports gear

3. Je preferais payer ma part.

-I would prefer to pay my own way.

  • The conditional is also used to express the likely consequences or result of a hypothetical situation. The hypothetical situation itself is introduced by si and expressed in the perfect tense.

For example:

1. Si vous pouviez faire des economies, vous auriez interet a acheter une voiture.

-If you were able to save the money, it would be in your interest to buy a car.

2. Si c'etait a refaire, j'acheterais une voiture.

-If I had to do it over, I would buy a car.

  • The conditional for of the verb is formed by adding the imperfect tense endings to a stem, which for all regular verbs is the infinitive (minus -e for -re verbs):

For example:

aimer
j'aimerais nous aimerions
tu aimerais vous aimeriez
il/elle aimerait ils/elles aimeraient
choisir
je choisirais nous choisirions
tu choisirais vous choisiriez
ill/elle choisirait ils/elles choisiraient
attendre
j'attendrais nous attendrions
tu attendrais vous attendriez
il/elle attendrait ils/elles attendraient
  • Some verbs have irregular stems in the conditional:

aller = ir-
avoir = aur-
savoir = saur-
etre = ser-
faire = fer-

-Irregular Stems in -rr:

pouvoir = pourr-
envoyer = enverr-

-Irregular Stems in -dr:

tenir = tiendr
venir = viendr

-Irregular stems in -vr:

devoir = devr-