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Past conditional


The past conditional is a compound tense formed with the Present conditional conjugation of the auxiliary (avoir or être, see Auxiliaries) and the past participle:

J'aurais été heureux de venir à la fête. (I would have been happy to come to the party.)

À ta place, je serais allé au commissariat! (Had I been in your shoes, I would have gone to the police station!)

(See Past participle agreement for rules on agreement.)


The conditional is a mood, which means that it serves to express the attitude or impression of the speaker. The past conditional is used to express hypothetical or "contrary to fact" statements:

Elle m'a dit qu'elle aurait voulu venir nous voir. (She told me that she would have liked to come and see us.)
À votre place, j'aurais fait la même chose. (In your position, I would have done the same thing.)

More often than not, the past conditional is used in si constructions expressing possible or hypothetical situations. These sentences follow a relatively inflexible pattern entailing a "si-clause" and a "result clause".

Si + pluperfect followed by past conditional
Si j'avais eu le temps, j'aurais fait mes devoirs. (If I had had the time, I would have done my homework)

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