B1 - Intermediate
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Past conditional

The past conditional (or conditional perfect)

Learning Objectives 

  • Learn how to form the past conditional
  • Use the past conditional to express regret and rebuke

Key Words & Phrases

Nous aurions pu venir plus tôt.

Ils n’auraient pas abandonner.

Tu serais resté, sinon ?

Je me serais préparé(e).

Learn

the past conditional

the past conditional

the past conditional

YouLearnFrench: the past conditional

Learn French with Vincent: the past conditional

Learn French with Elsa: the past conditional

Watch

YouLearnFrench: the past conditional

Learn French with Vincent: the past conditional

Learn French with Elsa: the past conditional

Read

Kwiziq: the past conditional

ThoughtCo: the past conditional

Kwiziq: “pouvoir” in the past conditional

Kwiziq: “devoir” in the past conditional

Le FLE en un clic: holidays

Saber frances: vocabulary on tourism

Talk in French: “at the hotel”

ThoughtCo: “at the hotel”

Practice

Tex’s French Grammar: practice the past conditional

Français facile: practice the past conditional

Conjuguemos: practice the past conditional

Le FLE pour les curieux: practice the conditional past and present

Using one of the recommended resources to get writing feedback, respond to the prompt below.

  • You just had the worst holidays: nothing more could have gone wrong! Now that you are back (and calmer!), you are writing to your French pen-pal Antoine about your regrets regarding this experience (what you wish you had done, what could have gone differently, etc.). Make at least three sentences in the past conditional.

Using one of the platforms for finding a tutor or language exchange partner, practice the speaking activities below.

Partner Speaking Exercise:

  • Find below the description of a less-than-ideal situation you and your French-speaking partner found yourselves in. Think about what could have been done differently to avoid ending up in this situation. You can both express regrets and rebukes towards each other (in the past conditional) – this is only a roleplay!

Vous vouliez tous les deux passer un week-end à la montagne. L’un de vous a donc réservé un chalet sur Internet. Lorsque vous arrivez au chalet, ce n’est pas exactement ce qui était décrit sur le site Internet. Le chalet est très loin du village, il n’y a pas d’électricité… 

Note: you will learn how to use the conditional perfect with “if” in Level B2 – we would advise avoiding using this advanced structure until you master the past conditional!

Independent Speaking Exercise:

Turn the sentences below from the conditional present to the past conditional. Pay particular attention to your pronunciation.

Make sure you also change the indicative present to imperfect when necessary.

  • Tu devrais prendre des gants car il fait froid.
  • Vous vous habilleriez plus chaudement.
  • Je te suggèrerais de trouver un meilleur docteur.
  • Nous pourrions aller au cinéma puisqu’il pleut !
  • Y aurait-il un problème ?

You can find instructions and a download link in our flashcards module.

Lesson Content
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