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Conjugate pouvoir in Le Conditionnel Passé = could have (past conditional)

Look at these examples of "pouvoir" in the Conditionnel passé:


J'aurais pu être un grand artiste.
I could have been a great artist.

Tu n'aurais pas pu venir de toute façon!
You couldn't have come anyway!

Elle aurait pu appeler!
She could have called!

Nous aurions pu vous écrire plus tôt, c'est vrai.
We could have written to you earlier, that's true.

Vous auriez pu nous prévenir.
You could have warned us.

Ils n'auraient jamais pu comprendre tes raisons.
They could never have understood your reasons.

 

Conjugating pouvoir in Le Conditionnel Passé is easy:

Conditionnel of avoir + pu (past participle of pouvoir) + infinitive

  

Notice the difference between the English and French:

  • in English you use the past participle form of the verb (been,called, warned)
  • in French we use the Conditionnel passé of pouvoir the verb infinitive (être, appeler, prévenir) .
 
Compare this with: 

Learn more about these related French grammar topics

Examples and resources

J'aurais pu être un grand artiste.
I could have been a great artist.



Tu n'aurais pas pu venir de toute façon!
You couldn't have come anyway!


Vous auriez pu nous prévenir.
You could have warned us.


Ils n'auraient jamais pu comprendre tes raisons.
They could never have understood your reasons.


Elle aurait pu appeler!
She could have called!


Nous aurions pu vous écrire plus tôt, c'est vrai.
We could have written to you earlier, that's true.


Q&A

CrystalMaiden

Kwiziq community member

6 May 2018

0 replies

So basically French doesn't have " could have, " it has, " have been capable of. "

With " pu " being the one translated to " been capable of. " I think this should be in the lesson, to make this easier to understand.

yellamaraju

Kwiziq community member

9 March 2018

2 replies

Ils n'auraient jamais pu comprendre tes raisons

"Ils n'auraient jamais pu comprendre tes raisons" and "Il n'aurait jamais pu comprendre tes raisons". Both sentences sound alike. How to differentiate and write correctly on dictation?

Chris

Kwiziq community member

9 March 2018

9/03/18

Clairvoyance? ;) No, seriously, you would need to know the context to distinguish. But there are such issues in every language:


It's a bear skin.
It's a bare skin.


Here is another ideosyncrazy of English. Try to wrap your head wround this grammatically perfectly correct sentence:


THE COMPLEX HOUSES MARRIED AND SINGLE SOLDIERS AND THEIR FAMILIES.


Solution: The complex (of buildings) houses soldiers (who are either married or single) along with their families.


You just gotta embrace it! ;)


-- Chris (not a native speaker).


 

Aurélie

Kwiziq language super star

12 March 2018

12/03/18

Yes, Chris is right on this one (again!) :)


Here, only the context will help you know which one it is.


Bonne journée !

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