The past conditional

If you are reading this page, you are familiar with the "conditionnel présent".

If not, I advise you to take a look at the "conditionnel présent" before starting 😊

Observe these sentences:

Example 1:

Marc est à l'hôpital A priori, il serait tombé de vélo ce matin. Mais sa mère doit m'appeler pour me donner plus d'informations.


Example 2:

Aujourd'hui, les billets d'avion sont très chers. Nous aurions dû les acheter la semaine dernière.


"serait tombé" and "aurions dû" express 2 different ideas. Which ones?

Example 1: the use of "a priori" shows that the person is not sure about what she/he is saying.

Example 2: "aurions dû" expresses regret .

When are the actions (past, present or future)?

The 2 actions take place in the past:

Example 1: Marc would have fallen this morning .

Example 2: We should have bought the tickets last week .

Now observe the form of "serait tombé" and "aurions dû". What are you observing?

These verbs are in "conditionnel passé".

Le conditionnel passé is made up of an auxiliary conjugated to the present conditional + a past participle .

What conclusions can be deduced from this?

You use le conditionnel passé to express:

- uncertainty about a past action,

- a regret on a past action.

For the exercises, it's here!