The Conditional Explained

August 13, 2015 Madeleine K

An explanation of the conditional tense, when to use it, how to conjugate it, and practice with irregular verbs.

This exercise is based on a worksheet by Any Holland. The original is attached.

Conditional Tense Explained

This tense is used when you want to say would or could or should do something. In fact, you probably already know at least one conditional in French : je voudrais (I would like).

The conditional is formed by using the infinitive + imperfect endings :

je ais      tu ais      il/elle ait      nous ions    vous iez      ils/elles aient

jouer (to play) je jouer + ais = je jouerais I would play
regarder (to watch) je jegarder + ais = je regarderais I would watch
finir (to finish) il finir + ait = il finirait he would finish

Irregular Verbs

However, if it is irregular in the future tense, it also irregular in the conditional. We have already seen about 7 irregular examples in the future tense:
être (ser)      aller (ir)      avoir (aur)      faire (fer)      devoir (devr)      pouvoir (pourr)     voir (verr)
This time you use the changed stem of the verb, then you add your normal ending :
aller (to go) > ir je ir + ais = j’irais I would go
devoir (to have to) > devr nous + ions = nous devrions we should go
pouvoir (to be able to) > pourr il + ait = il pourrait he could


1. Si j’avais le temps, j’(aller) ____________ au cinoche et je (voir)__________un film
2. Je (pouvoir)____________acheter un nouveau portable mais je suis à sec (skint)
3. Nous (devoir)_________________faire nos devoirs de français
4. J’(acheter)______________ une voiture de sport si je gagnais au loto
5. Si j’avais l’argent, je (faire)____________ le tour du monde
6. Je (être)_____________ très riche si j’étais plus motivé
7. Si elle travaillait plus, elle (réussir)_________________ à ses examens
8. Si mon équipe de rugby était en forme, on (gagner) _______________ des matchs !
9. S’ils avaient la chance, ils (faire) _______________ de la plongée
10. On (pouvoir)______________ aller au resto, si tu voulais ?
11. Si j’étais riche et j’étais riche et célèbre, je (travailler) ne_______________ plus
12. Je (vouloir) _____________rentrer dans Loft Story alors je (être)__________connu

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