Si Clauses: Second Conditional

Propositions conditionnelles : Irréel du présent

The second conditional is an if-then proposition that expresses an unlikely situation: if something happened (the condition), then something else would happen (the result). The condition is expressed with the imperfect, and the potential result is indicated with the conditional. The order of the clauses makes no difference as long as si / "if" stays in front of the correct verb form:

  • si + imperfect, then + conditional
  • conditional, si + imperfect

  Though it might seem counter-intuitive, the conditional mood does not indicate the condition, but rather the result.

S’il faisait beau, nous irions à la plage.
Nous irions à la plage s’il faisait beau.
If it were nice out, we would to the beach.
We’d go to the beach if it were nice out.
(Right now it’s not nice out, but if that changes, we’ll go.)
Si je n’avais pas de café le matin, je serais grognon.
Je serais grognon si je n’avais pas de café le matin.

 
If I didn’t have coffee in the morning, I’d be grouchy.
I would be grouchy if I didn’t have coffee in the morning.
(Fortunately, I usually do have coffee.)
Si tu faisais tes devoirs, tu pourrais sortir ce soir.
Tu pourrais sortir ce soir si tu faisais tes devoirs.

 
If you did your homework, you would be able to go out tonight.
You would be able to go out tonight if you did your homework.
(You haven’t done it yet, so it looks like you’ll be staying in.)

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