Conditional Perfect, Second Form

French conditional perfect, 2nd form
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Conditionnel passé, seconde forme

The second form of the conditional perfect suffers from something of an identity crisis: it looks like the pluperfect subjunctive but has the value of the conditional perfect. The second form of the past conditional is used mostly in si clauses and is a literary tense, so is found only in very formal written French.

The second form of the conditional perfect is equivalent to the conditional perfect in spoken French, shown here (in parentheses).

Par exemple…

Si vous m’aviez menti, j’eusse su.
(Si vous m’aviez menti, j’aurais su.)
  If you’d lied to me, I would have known.
J’eusse aimĂ© vivre Ă  Tahiti.
(J’aurais aimĂ© vivre Ă  Tahiti.)
  I would have liked to live in Tahiti.

 Because it’s literary, you don’t need to be able to conjugate the second form of the conditional perfect, but you should learn to recognize it, especially if you read classic French literature and poetry.

Second form of the past conditional conjugations

The 2nd form of the conditional perfect is a compound verb form, which means its conjugation has two components:

  verb   conjugation
1. auxiliary (avoir or ĂȘtre)   imperfect subjunctive
2. main verb   past participle

Par exemple…

avoir verb   ĂȘtre verb   pronominal verb
donner (to give)   sortir (to go out)   s’habiller (to get dressed)
j’eusse donnĂ©   je fusse sorti(e)   je me fusse habillĂ©(e)
tu eusses donnĂ©   tu fusses sorti(e)   tu te fusses habillĂ©(e)
il eĂ»t donnĂ©   il fĂ»t sorti   il se fĂ»t habillĂ©
elle eĂ»t donnĂ©   elle fĂ»t sortie   elle se fĂ»t habillĂ©e
nous eussions donnĂ©   nous fussions sorti(e)s   nous nous fussions habillĂ©(e)s
vous eussiez donnĂ©   vous fussiez sorti(e)(s)   vous vous fussiez habillĂ©(e)(s)
ils eussent donnĂ©   ils fussent sortis   ils se fussent habillĂ©s
elles eussent donnĂ©   elles fussent sorties   elles se fussent habillĂ©es

 The second form of the conditional perfect is identical to the pluperfect subjunctive.

 Past participle agreement

As in all compound conjugations, the past participle in the second form of the conditional perfect may need to agree in gender and number with the word it modifies – learn more.

 Related lessons

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French conditional perfect 2nd form

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