The Present Conditional

French Tutorial

The Present Conditional


Here are the steps to form the present conditional and its uses in French.

Sample Problem

Formation: the infinitive form of the verb + an imparfait ending (-ais,-ais,-ait,-ions, -iez,-aient)
Example 1: Je mangerais peut-être à 13h.
Example 2: Nous voudrions un verre de l’eau s’il vous plaît.
Example 3: Tu devrais lire ce livre.


The Present conditional is formed by taking the infinitive of the verb (Ex: Manger, aimer, etc.) and adding the imparfait (imperfect) ending to it that corresponds with the subject of the sentence (see example 1-Je mangerais). There are some verbs like Vouloir, Devoir, dire, and Pouvoir which are irregular and don’t use the infinitive form to create the conditional. They require different beginnings in front of the imparfait endings (Voudr-, devr-, dir-, pourr-, etc.), which you can see in examples 2 and 3.

1. A Hypothesis-(Example 1: Translation- I will eat maybe at 1 o’clock or I might eat at 1 o’clock)
In Example 1, the phrase requires the use of the conditional because the speaker is hypothesizing that he/she will might eat at 1 o’clock. The use of the word maybe (peut-etre) makes this a hypothesis.

2. Showing Politeness-(Example 2: Translation- We would like a glass of water, please)
In Example 2, the speaker is politely asking for a glass of water which requires the use of the conditional due to his/her politeness.

3. Advice (le conseil)-(Example 3: Translation- You should read that book)
In Example 3, the speaker is telling/advising the person with whom they are speaking to do something which, like the other examples, requires the use of the conditional. In this case, it is to read a specific book.

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