When to use the Conditionnel Présent: the Ultimate Guide in 2021

When to use the Conditionnel Présent

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In this French grammar lesson, we will learn about when to use the conditionnel présent .

In this lesson you will learn about:

  • when to use the conditionnel présent
  • how the conditionnel présent is used in sentences
  • how you can quiz yourself on when to use the conditionnel présent
  • how you can download the Anki files for when to use the conditionnel présent

Please refer to the French B1 Curriculum to get a better overview of French grammar, if you are curious about how this fits in the overall structure of French B1.

Please also read how to form the conditionnel présent, to find out how you can form it.

By the end of the lesson, you will know all about when to use the conditionnel présent!

Table of Contents

When to use the Conditionnel Présent

There are 3 cases when you would use the conditionnel présent.

  1. Express a suggestion or a wish
  2. Make a request or statement more polite
  3. When a condition is implied (si clause)

We will handle all of them, and examples will be given for all of them.

Express a Suggestion or a Wish

You will use the conditionnel présent to express a suggestion or a wish.

acheter

J’achèterais cette voiture..

I would buy this car.

aimer

J’aimerais rentrer chez moi.

I would like to go home.

In the first example someone is giving a suggestion.

In the second example someone is expressing a wish.

Make a Request or Statement More Polite

You will use the conditionnel présent to make a request or statement more polite.

vouloir

Je voudrais un croissant.

I would like a croissant.

pouvoir

Pourriez-vous m’aider demain ?

Could you help me tomorrow?

Whenever you want to make a request or statement more polite, you will use the conditionnel présent.

When a Condition is Implied (si clause)

You will the conditionnel présent when a condition is implied.

Please have a look at the following conditional sentence.

être / acheter

Si j’étais riche, j’achèterais une villa.

If I were rich, then I would buy a villa.

If you were rich [the condition], then you would buy a villa.

Because a condition is implied, you have to use the conditionnel présent in the following clause.

Please note that you have to use the imparfait to imply the condition.

The construction for conditional sentences looks like this:

  • [si + imparfait] + conditionnel présent

être / faire

Si j’étais vous, je le ferais.

If I were you, then I would do it.

pouvoir / acheter

Si tu pouvais tout acheter dans le monde, qu’est-ce que tu achèterais ?

If you could buy everything in the world, what would you buy?

appeler / avoir

Si tu m’appelais, nous aurions une conversation amusante.

If you called me, we would have a fun conversation.

gagner / faire

Si nous gagnions au loto, nous ferions le tour du monde.

If we won the lottery, we would travel the world.

It’s also fine the flip this construction:

  • conditionnel présent + [si + imparfait]

faire / être

Que feriez-vous, si vous étiez le président.

What would you do, if you were the president.

There are a lot of these “if-then” sentences in French.

It’s important to know this construction well.

Example Sentences on When to use the Conditionnel Présent

The final section of this lesson on when to use the conditionnel présent is about seeing the conditionnel présent in action.

This is valuable because you can improve your understanding of when to use the conditionnel présent through examples.

acheter

J’achèterais cette voiture..

I would buy this car.

aimer

J’aimerais rentrer chez moi.

I would like to go home.

vouloir

Je voudrais un croissant.

I would like a croissant.

pouvoir

Pourriez-vous m’aider demain ?

Could you help me tomorrow?

être / acheter

Si j’étais riche, j’achèterais une villa.

If I were rich, then I would buy a villa.

être / faire

Si j’étais vous, je le ferais.

If I were you, then I would do it.

pouvoir / acheter

Si tu pouvais tout acheter dans le monde, qu’est-ce que tu achèterais ?

If you could buy everything in the world, what would you buy?

appeler / avoir

Si tu m’appelais, nous aurions une conversation amusante.

If you called me, we would have a fun conversation.

gagner / faire

Si nous gagnions au loto, nous ferions le tour du monde.

If we won the lottery, we would travel the world.

faire / être

Que feriez-vous, si vous étiez le président.

What would you do, if you were the president.

Test Your Knowledge on When to use the Conditionnel Présent

It’s not enough just to read the lesson on this subject.

You should test your knowledge to see if you really understood everything, and to be able to repeat the material.

It is also for this reason that it is recommended to download the Anki Decks and do them.

At the end of every lesson you can do a small test.

You will see the sentences of the previous chapter. It is up to you to give the correct answer.

You will either need to fill in the blanks, choose the correct multiple choice option, or both.

Once you are done the correct answer will be shown.

You can redo the test as many times as you want. There’s no limit to it!

Anki File for When to use the Conditionnel Présent

It is important to do the Anki excercises for this lesson, so that you can remember what you just studied.

By downloading the Anki File for French B1 you can practice every French B1 lesson that is on Language Atlas.

At this moment the Anki File for this lesson doesn’t exist yet. However, in due time this will be available on Language Atlas.

If you don’t know why you should use Anki, or don’t know how to use Anki or merge Anki files please click here.

Anki can be downloaded from here.

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