Isn't the second half of this sentence conditional?

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Kwiziq community member

3 October 2017

3 replies

Isn't the second half of this sentence conditional?

Here's the sentence that you wrote: Nous avions pris nos places en avance mais nous n'avons pas pu y aller au final." Stated translation was: "We had taken our seats in advance but we could not go in the end." Wouldn't we use the conditional for the second half of that sentence: "...nous ne pourions pas y aller au final."

This relates to:
Conjugate être, avoir, faire, prendre (+ avoir) in Le Plus-que-parfait (pluperfect tense) -


Kwiziq community member

4 October 2017


Bonjour Helen, I think that you may be onto something with your question: here is how I would have stated it --> Nous avions pris nos places à l’avance, mais nous ne pourrions pas aller au final. The thing to keep in mind with this lesson is this: it is about the plus-que-parfait and not le conditionnel. The issue that I have with the phrase is this, I would have used the verb «acheter» --> Nous avions acheté nos places à l'avance . . . the reason being that we had our ticket in advance but were unable to attend. prendre nos places, to me, has the sense that we went to the venue before the show began. Perhaps this is a French locution, prendre nos places, that I have not heard of before. J'espère que ma réponse vous aiderait. Bonne chance et bonne continuation dans vos études en français, la langue de Molière et qui a été utilisé par le monde français depuis l’époque d’Hugues Capet


Kwiziq community member

17 October 2017


I think you are confusing the double meaning of "could" in the English language. "Could" is either the imperfect of "can" or the conditional of can. In the example above, "...we could not go there..." the word "could" is NOT conditional but the imperfect. Therefore the use of the conditional in French is incorrect. You need the passé composé : nous n'avons pas pu (= we were not able to ...)

-- Chris (not a native speaker).


Kwiziq language super star

1 August 2018


Bonjour à tous !

Yes, here the expression "prendre ses places" in French means "to buy/book one's tickets"  :)

I've now amended the EN in the example to make it clearer!

Bonne journée !

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