French Conditional Tense

Conditional Endings

The conjugations are very simple and there is very little to memorize. For regular ER, IR verbs all you have to do is add on the imperfect endings to the infinitive, or mother forms of the verbs. For example, to say I would like you say, “j’aimerais” with “aimer” being the infinitive form of the verb and “ais” being the ending. For Re verbs drop off the final E on the infinitive before adding on the imperfect endings.

Regular Verbs

Aimer = To Like
j’aimerais
tu aimerais
il/Elle/on aimerait
nous aimerions
vous aimeriez
ils/elles aimeraient
Finir – To Finish
je finirais
tu finirais
il/elle/on finirait
nous finirions
vous finiriez
ils/elles finiraient
Vendre = To Sell
je vendrais
tu vendrais
il/elle/on vendrait
nous vendrions
vous vendriez
ils/elles vendraient

Irregular Verbs

The endings of irregular verbs in the conditional are the same as regular verbs. However, you must use the same irregular stems that you’d use in the future tense. Here’s the list:

Infinitive
aller to go
apercevoir to perceive/notice
avoir to have
devoir must/have to
être to be
faire to make/do
savoir to know
venir to come
voir to see
vouloir to want
First Person
j’irais
j’apercevrais
j’aurais
je devrais
je serais
je ferais
je saurais
je viendrais
je verais
je voudrais

Uses of the Conditional

The French conditional tense is used when you want to say that you would do something.It has many uses.

2. The first use is when you’d like to express a wish or suggestion. Here are some examples:

Je voudrais aller en France pendant les vacances d’hiver.
I’d like to go to France during winter holiday.

Sarah aimerait devenir la patrone de la société un jour.
Sarah would like to become the company’s boss one day.

It’s also used to say a statement in a more formal manner. For example:

Pourriez-vous passer chez moi a 20.00h ce soir?
Could you come by my place at 8pm tonight?

Voudriez-vous apporter la salade à la fête?
Would you bring the salad to the party?

This reads better and is more polite than:
Pouvez-vous passer chez moi at 20.00h ce soir? and
Voulez-vous apporter la salade à la fête?

3. The second use of of the conditional is to express “si” or “if” clauses. In these sentences the main part is in the conditional while the second part is in the imperfect. Examples:

J’irais si j’avais le temps.
I’d go if I had the time.

La famille aurait un chat si elle n’était pas allergique.
The family would have a cat if she weren’t allergic.

Je parlerais mieux Français si j’étudiais plus souvent.
I’d speak better French if I studied more often.

L’homme voyagerait plus souvent s’il avait plus d’argent dans la banque.
The man would travel more often if he had more money in the bank.

To make the learning process easier you can also read through some example phrases. For further practice you can also try to make your own sentences.

Practice Sentences

J’irais à la plage mais je n’ai pas de temps.
I would go to the beach but I don’t have time.

Je mangerais mais je n’ai pas faim.
I would eat but I’m not hungry.

Il achèterait la maison mais n’a pas d’argent.
He would buy the house he doesn’t have any money.

Je viendrais mais je suis occupé.
I would come but I’m busy.

Je finirais mes devoirs mais je dois aller au magasin.
I would finish my homework but I have to go tot he store.

Nous pourrions y aller s’il n’est pas trop tard.
We would be able to go there if it is not too late.

J’achèterais du fromage français si j’avais plus d’argent.
I would be some French cheese if I had more money.

Il ferait plus d’exercice s’il avait plus de temps libre.
He would do more exercise if he had more free time.

Nous irions en vacances mais mon père doit travailler.
We would go on vacation but my father must work.

Il aimerait vendre sa voiture mais il l’a encore besoin.
He would like to sell his car but he still needs it.

Exercises

Here are some translation sentences. Translate the following into French then see how you did by looking at the answers below!

English sentences:

  1. I’d like to go to France this summer to learn French.
  2. He would like to lose weight but he doesn’t have time to exercise.
  3. I’d travel in Europe if I had more money.
  4. I’d move California if I had a job over there.
  5. We’d be very happy if you (vous) invited Marc.
  6. I’d speak French better if I studied more.
  7. Mr. Duval would buy the car if it were on sale.
  8. Would you (tu) prefer to visit us in France or in Italy?
  9. I’d like to speak with the manager, please.
  10. It’s be really nice if you could come to my place tomorrow afternoon.

Answers:

  1. J’aimerais aller en France cet été pour apprendre le Français.
  2. Il aimerait maigrir mais il n’a pas le temps pour faire de l’exercise
  3. Je voyagerais en Europe si j’avais plus d’argent.
  4. Je déménagerais en Californie si j’avais un travail là-bas.
  5. Nous serions très heureux si vous invitiez Marc.
  6. Je parlerais mieux. Francais si j’étudiais plus.
  7. M. Duval acheterait la voiture si elle était en solde.
  8. Est-ce que tu préférerais nous rendre visite en France ou en Italie?
  9. J’aimerais parler avec le gérant, s’il vous plaît.
  10. Ça serait sympa si tu pouvais passer chez moi demain après-midi.

Additional Resources: Back To Main Verbs Page | Next Lesson: Future Tense