French Conditional Tense

The French Conditional tense is mostly used in conversation, especially when shopping or asking for something

It translates roughly as “would”

Je voudrais acheter cette robe - I would like to buy this dress
Ils voudraient aller au restaurant - They would like to go to the restaurant.

French Conditional Tense endings

These are added to the future tense stem of the verb
This is called the radical form of the verb.

e.g. Mangerto eat
radical form: manger

English person French person Conditional ending
I Je ~ais
You(informal) Tu ~ais
He, she Il, elle ~ait
We Nous ~ions
You (formal) Vous ~iez
They Ils/elles ~aient

e.g. Manger - to eat

Je mangeraisI should eat
Tu mangeraisYou should eat
Il/elle mangeraitHe/she should eat
Nous mangerionsWe should eat
Vous mangeriezYou should eat
Ils mangeraientThey should eat

Je mangerais ce fruit s'il n'était pas pourri - I would eat this fruit if it wasn't rotten.

e.g. Vivre to live

Je vivrais I should live
Tu vivraisYou should live
Il/elle vivraitHe/she should live
Nous vivrionsWe should live
Vous vivriezYou should live
Ils vivraientThey should live

Je vivrais au Honolulu si mon travail n'était pas en Danemark
I would live in Honolulu, if my work wasn't in Denmark

e.g Prendre to take

Je prendrais I should take
Tu prendraisYou should take
Il/elle prendraitHe/she should take
Nous prendrionsWe should take
Vous prendriezYou should take
Ils prendraientThey should take

Vous prendriez bien un chocolat chaud avec moi - You should take drink a hot chocolate with me

Caution: although the French Conditional Tense endings are the same as the French imperfect tense, the conditional is used with the radical form

e.g. Vouloir – to should like

Je voudrais I should like
Tu voudraisyou should like
Il/elle voudrait he/she should like
Nous voudrionswe should like
Vous voudriezyou should like
Ils voudraient they should like

Vous voudriez acheter ce meuble
You should like to buy this piece of furniture

The French Conditional Tense doesn’t have exceptions. All the verbs follow this rule as described above

To look at more grammar lessons like French Conditional Tense, click here
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