Conditional replacing the past tense in reported speech

JeramyC1Kwiziq Q&A regular contributor

Conditional replacing the past tense in reported speech

In the follow sentance someone is reporting back what was said to them. 

"donc, au beau milieu de la nuit tu serais allé boire un verre d'eau et tu aurais vu une soucoupe volante dans le jardin, excuse-moi!" 

Why is the conditional being used here instead of the passe compose. And if I were to speak this sentance using the passe compose would it be incorrect. Thanks.

Asked 3 months ago
MaartenC1 Kwiziq Q&A super contributor Correct answer

Jeremy, 

the past conditional here transmits the message that the events as described are unlikely to have occurred and the speaker is understandably incredulous. 

You will also see it used journalistically when something is hypothesised to have occurred, without sufficient evidence or proof of veracity - for example reporting what the police say likely happened at a crime scene, or in the lead up to an accident etc

If you used passé composé here you would be indicating acceptance that the account of the events having happened as described was factual.

https://www.cliffsnotes.com/study-guides/french/french-ii/french-ii-conditional-mood-and-conditions/the-conditionnel-passe#:~:text=Also%20like%20the%20conditional%2C%20the,car%20accidents%20took%20place%20yesterday.)

JimC1 Kwiziq Q&A super contributor

Bonjour Jeramy,

I would like to understand the story context of your query.

Please post the lesson or story as to where your query comes from.

If you can do this then I may be able to comment further.

Thank you.

Jim

JeramyC1Kwiziq Q&A regular contributor

That is all i have. But I have read several other examples like this in the past where the conditional is used to express events which have reported to happened in the pass.

Conditional replacing the past tense in reported speech

In the follow sentance someone is reporting back what was said to them. 

"donc, au beau milieu de la nuit tu serais allé boire un verre d'eau et tu aurais vu une soucoupe volante dans le jardin, excuse-moi!" 

Why is the conditional being used here instead of the passe compose. And if I were to speak this sentance using the passe compose would it be incorrect. Thanks.

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