Conjugate regular verbs in Le Conditionnel Présent (conditional mood)

The present conditional tense, Le Conditionnel Présent, is used to express hypothetical situations, wishes and desires.

E.g. If I were rich, I would travel


Look at these examples of Conditionnel Présent in French:
 
Je danserais toute la nuit!I would dance all night!
Tu lui parlerais pour moi?Would you speak to him for me?
Il le mangerait s'il avait encore faim.He would eat it if he was still hungry.
Nous aimerions manger.We would like to eat.
Vous finiriez votre travail si vous n'étiez pas paresseux.You would finish your work if you weren't lazy.
Ils iraient en Mordor si besoin.They would go to Mordor if needed.

Note: aller is irregular in Le Futur (e.g. il ira), so it is irregular in Le Conditionnel Présent
 
 
To form Le Conditionnel in French, you need the same basis as in Le Futur (infinitive or irregular roots), followed by the Imparfait endings: -ais, -ais, -ait, -ions, -iez, -aient.
 
E.g.      aimer -> j'aimerai (future) -> j'aimerais (conditional)
           to like -> I will like -> I would like
 

Learn more about these related French grammar topics

Examples and resources

Vous finiriez votre travail si vous n'étiez pas paresseux.You would finish your work if you weren't lazy.
Il le mangerait s'il avait encore faim.He would eat it if he was still hungry.
Tu lui parlerais pour moi?Would you speak to him for me?
Nous aimerions manger.We would like to eat.
Ils iraient en Mordor si besoin.They would go to Mordor if needed.
Je danserais toute la nuit!I would dance all night!

Q&A Forum 8 questions, 16 answers

MaartenB1Kwiziq Q&A regular contributor

Conjugate regular verbs in Le Conditionnel

Are there verbs that don't follow the structured outline noted here - 'stem' from future simple conjugation, 'endings' from past imperfect conjugation? I think that I have not yet (early days) come across a verb that does not conjugate in the conditional in accordance with these simple 'rules' and having this clarified could/should/would make it much easier to remember. Even for irregular verbs it seems to me that if you know the imparfait and the future simple (both of which are also pretty consistent with 'endings' but not the stems) you have all you need to know the conditional. 

Asked 2 weeks ago
CécileKwiziq team memberCorrect answer

Hi,

I am not sure I fully understand your query Maarten, but most irregular verbs , avoir, être, aller, faire, savoir, pouvoir , venir, mettre etc. will be irregular in most tenses and moods.

The important thing about learning how to form the conditional is to remember how to form the future and as it is very similar in that it starts with the stem taken from the infinitive (that is why you have so many -r sounds) in both tenses and just add the relevant endings.

You have to learn the irregular verbs separately.

Also remember -  

Would = any verb in the conditional -------> j'achèterais , je prendrais, je serais, j'aurais, etc..

Should = Devoir in the conditional ----> Je devrais

Could = Pouvoir in the conditional ----> je pourrais

Hope this helps!

 

ChrisC1 Kwiziq Q&A super contributor

Did you really believe that there wouldn't be exceptions to this rule in French? Well, one can dream :)

There are, of course, irregular verbs that behave, well, irregularly in the subjunctive:

(Infinitive) -- (Subjunctive) -- (Imparfait) -- (Futur simple)
pouvoir -- je puisse -- je pouvais -- je pourrai
savoir -- je sache -- je savais -- je saurai
faire -- je fasse -- je faisais -- je ferais

.... and many more.

AlanC1 Kwiziq Q&A super contributor

As far as I know, there are no exceptions. (@Chris - the conditional, not the subjunctive.)

MaartenB1Kwiziq Q&A regular contributor

Thanks for the reply Chris. The joys of subjunctives are yet to confront me. I am referring only to the conditional present, as the lesson covers. My main query is why the lesson heading is for regular verbs, but then 'aller' is introduced? That aside, after checking the examples you gave, I still see only 2 rules for conjugating the conditional present - regular verbs use infinitive + imparfait form endings, while irregular verbs use the irregular stem from future, with the imparfait endings. If that is correct, knowing the present conditional conjugations is easier, as it relies on previous knowledge, rather than being a new set of verbs 'to learn'. 

AlanC1 Kwiziq Q&A super contributor

Hi Cécile, 

The point is that having learnt the future tense of the irregular verbs, you already know how to form the conditional, because they are irregular in the same way. The conditional can always be formed from the future stem, whether it is regular or not.

Conjugate regular verbs in Le Conditionnel

Are there verbs that don't follow the structured outline noted here - 'stem' from future simple conjugation, 'endings' from past imperfect conjugation? I think that I have not yet (early days) come across a verb that does not conjugate in the conditional in accordance with these simple 'rules' and having this clarified could/should/would make it much easier to remember. Even for irregular verbs it seems to me that if you know the imparfait and the future simple (both of which are also pretty consistent with 'endings' but not the stems) you have all you need to know the conditional. 

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DianeB2Kwiziq community member

je voudrais v j'aimerais. Aren't these interchangeable?

In a recent test, the answer required was "mes parent aimeraient ce qu'on se marie" and the response "'voudraient'' was not accepted. Aren't either regularly used to mean "'would like?" I think technically the former is would like and the latter is would want, but that seems pretty subtle. For example, in ordering food "'Je voudrais avoir  . . . .''

Asked 2 months ago
ChrisC1 Kwiziq Q&A super contributor Correct answer

Yes, they largely mean the same thing. It's a question of how strictly the test is graded.

je voudrais v j'aimerais. Aren't these interchangeable?

In a recent test, the answer required was "mes parent aimeraient ce qu'on se marie" and the response "'voudraient'' was not accepted. Aren't either regularly used to mean "'would like?" I think technically the former is would like and the latter is would want, but that seems pretty subtle. For example, in ordering food "'Je voudrais avoir  . . . .''

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MarnieC1Kwiziq Q&A regular contributor

question from quiz: “ commencerions” (out of context!)

correct answer is:

“Nous commencerions à cinq heures si nos patrons nous laissait faire”.  

Pourquoi pas:  “si nos patrons nous laissait LE faire”.?

Asked 1 year ago
CécileKwiziq team memberCorrect answer

Hi Marnie,

You can say both :

"...si nos patrons nous laissaient faire" "...if our bosses allowed us" 

"...si nos patrons nous laissaient le faire "...if our bosses allowed us to do it"

Not much difference in meaning...

question from quiz: “ commencerions” (out of context!)

correct answer is:

“Nous commencerions à cinq heures si nos patrons nous laissait faire”.  

Pourquoi pas:  “si nos patrons nous laissait LE faire”.?

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StewartC1Kwiziq Q&A regular contributor

J'achèterais v J'achèterai

I notice that Madelein has asked the exactly same question that I was going to ask. However, I'm still confused over this ... so if "I would buy a house" is translated as "J'achèterai une maison" how would you then translate "I will buy a house"

Asked 1 year ago
ChrisC1 Kwiziq Q&A super contributor

J'achèterais v J'achèterai

I notice that Madelein has asked the exactly same question that I was going to ask. However, I'm still confused over this ... so if "I would buy a house" is translated as "J'achèterai une maison" how would you then translate "I will buy a house"

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MadeleineC1Kwiziq community member

Answer should be in conditional tense?

In the excersise 'If I could start over' I translated the phrase 'I would buy a house in the country' as 'J'acheterais une maison dans la campagne' and I got the following correction from Kwizbot: 'J'achèterai une maison à la campagne,' I know I didn't get the accent or preposition right, but why is the Kwizbot answer giving the verb in future tense instead of in the present conditional?

Asked 1 year ago
ChrisC1 Kwiziq Q&A super contributor
MadeleineC1Kwiziq community member

Thank you

Answer should be in conditional tense?

In the excersise 'If I could start over' I translated the phrase 'I would buy a house in the country' as 'J'acheterais une maison dans la campagne' and I got the following correction from Kwizbot: 'J'achèterai une maison à la campagne,' I know I didn't get the accent or preposition right, but why is the Kwizbot answer giving the verb in future tense instead of in the present conditional?

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MichaelC1Kwiziq Q&A regular contributor

Might be

I have seen might be + verb (e.g.) eating as either il pourrait manger or il mangerait. Are they both correct.
Asked 1 year ago
CécileKwiziq team memberCorrect answer

Hi Michael,

I think you are thinking of 'Il se pourrait que '+ subjunctive 'which translates as may or might  (be that).

e.g.

Il se pourrait que je vienne avec vous. (It is possible I may come with you)

Il se pourrait que vous deviez prendre ce médicament jusqu'à la fin de vos jours. (You may have to take this medicine till the end of your life.)

Hope this helps!

 

CécileKwiziq team memberCorrect answer

Hi Michael,

In French to convey the possibility of something happening can be translated in many different ways, often very simply by adding peut-être

For Present possibility: use the verb in the present + peut-être 

Vous avez peut-être raison = you might be right

Je vais peut-être venir avec vous = I might come with you

For future possibility: use the verb in the future + peut-être

Il va peut-être  se rappeler plus tard = He might remember later

Il regrettera peut-être sa décision He might regret his decision

For past possibilities: use the verb in a past tense + peut-être

Nous n'avons peut-être pas tout comprisWe might not have understood everything.

C'était peut-être une erreur = It might have been a mistake

When might is used to convey a very polite request: use the conditional of 'pouvoir':

Pourrais-je faire une demande? = Might I make a request?

Also might (meaning could) for suggestions, using the conditional.

Vous pourriez essayer le restaurant en haut de la rueyou might try the restaurant up the road

Je pensais que nous pourrions y aller ensembleI thought we might go there together

To convey the idea of should have : using the conditional past.

J'aurais dû m'en douter = I might have known

Hope this helps!

 

MichaelC1Kwiziq Q&A regular contributor
Thanks Cécile, Your reply is very helpful , but I was also interested in a more general context of how 'might' or 'might be' can be translated. 

Might be

I have seen might be + verb (e.g.) eating as either il pourrait manger or il mangerait. Are they both correct.

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GioA2Kwiziq community member

In the test one of the questions is Je ________ si j'avais une voiture.

The answer to the question is Je partirais si j'avais une voiture.

However, my question is about "j'avais une voiture."  Why is it j'avais (imparfait) and not j'ai une voiture, considering that its in the present?  Is this related to the subjunctif? Cause I have a feeling this has to do with the subjunctif :D

Asked 1 year ago
ChrisC1 Kwiziq Q&A super contributor

HI Gio,

even though the subjunctive rears its head in many unsuspected places, he is not to blame for this one.

The example you quote is a "si"-sentence introducing a possibility. It dictates the use of very specific times and modi: the conditional in the main clause and the imperfect in the si-clause.

Je partirais si j'avais une voiture. -- I would leave if I had a car.

You see the same kind of construction in the English translation: a conditional (would leave) in the main clause and the imperfect (had) in the main clause. The use of the imperfect has nothing to do with the action being set in the past. It is used here -- in conjunction with the conditional -- to express a possibility.

-- Chris (not a native speaker).

In the test one of the questions is Je ________ si j'avais une voiture.

The answer to the question is Je partirais si j'avais une voiture.

However, my question is about "j'avais une voiture."  Why is it j'avais (imparfait) and not j'ai une voiture, considering that its in the present?  Is this related to the subjunctif? Cause I have a feeling this has to do with the subjunctif :D

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HaC1Kwiziq community member

Passé Simple + Conditionnel Présent

In the Writing Challenge 26 level C1, the sentence "... Pompidou décida de faire construire ... un centre ... qui PERMETTRAIT ..." uses Conditionnel Présent in the subordinate clause even though the decision was made in the past (Passé Simple). Is it incorrect to use Conditionnel Passé?
Asked 3 years ago
AurélieKwiziq team member
Bonjour Ha ! What an interesting question! In this case, Le Conditionnel Présent is used as "the past of the future", to express an action in the past, BUT that occurred AFTER the action expressed in Le Passé Simple (décida). Here Pompidou decided to build the centre BEFORE this centre would allow to combine all these other departments. Le Conditionnel Passé here would make it an unrealised hypothesis ("qui aurait permis" = which would have allowed...), so it couldn't work here. I hope that's helpful!
HaC1Kwiziq community member
Aurélie, thanks for responding to my question. So in general, could we use the present conditional conjugation of a verb to express a wish in the past for a future that actually did become a reality later on?

Passé Simple + Conditionnel Présent

In the Writing Challenge 26 level C1, the sentence "... Pompidou décida de faire construire ... un centre ... qui PERMETTRAIT ..." uses Conditionnel Présent in the subordinate clause even though the decision was made in the past (Passé Simple). Is it incorrect to use Conditionnel Passé?

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