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Video:Learn French: What Is the Conditional Mood?

with Milo De Prieto

In French, the conditional mood expresses a wish or hypothetical situation using various patterns for its construction. Learn how to use the conditional mood correctly with this helpful French language tutorial video by About.comSee Transcript

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Transcript:Learn French: What Is the Conditional Mood?

Bonjour I’m Milo for About.com and today we are talking about the conditional mood.  These tips and more can be found on our French site.   

Conditionals Express a Wish or Hypothetical in French

In French, pretty much as in English, we use the conditional to express an imaginary reality, or an hypothesis in a sentence starting with Si

  • Si j’avais le choix, je vivrais sur un bateau. If I had the choice, I would live on a boat. 
  • On vivrait au bord de la mer, on irait à la pêche tous les jours. We would live by the sea, we would go fishing every day. 

You can also express a wish using the conditional:

  • Ca me ferait plaisir de te revoir. I’d love to see you again. 
  • Est-ce que je pourrais parler à votre fils? May I speak to your son? 

The verb aimer in conditional is used to express a desire that sometimes can’t be fulfilled:

  • J’aimerais peindre plus souvent mais malheureusement, je n’ai pas le temps. I’d like to paint more often but unfortunately, I have no time. 

More often, the verb avoir allows you to express a polite request or to attenuate a demand: 

  • Je voudrais un café, s’il vous plaît. I’d like a coffee please. 

Or advice: 

  • Tu devrais travailler plus si tu veux réussir! You should work more if you want to succeed! 

We also use the conditional if we are unsure of the information:

  •  Le Premier Ministre devrait venir nous voir demain. The prime minister should come to visit us tomorrow.
  •  Paul aurait bientôt une promotion. Paul might be promoted very soon.

Using Conditionals in Different Tenses in French

 To form the conditional present, we add the imperfect endings to the verb root of the future:

  •  J’aimerais venir te voir plus souvent. I’d like to come to see you more often. 

The past conditional is formed with the conditional of être or avoir and the past participle: 

  • Tu aurais voulu venir plus tôt. You would have wanted to come earlier. 

For more helpful and excellent information on speaking and learning French, check us out at About.com.

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