Humanities › Languages 'Would Have' In French: That's the Past Conditional Share Flipboard Email Print PEC Photo / Getty Images Languages French Grammar Basics Pronunciation & Conversation Vocabulary Resources for Teachers English as a Second Language Spanish German Italian Japanese Mandarin Russian English Grammar View More by ThoughtCo Updated January 31, 2019 The French conditional perfect, or past conditional, is usually used very much like the English past conditional: It expresses an action that would have occurred if past circumstances had been different. How to Construct the French Conditional Perfect There are commonly two parts to a past conditional sentence: a si clause with the unmet condition in the past perfect, and a result clause in the conditional perfect. Think a past version of "if...then." Si je l'avais vu, je l'aurais acheté. If I had seen it, I would have bought it. Il serait venu si nous l'avions invité. He would have come if we had invited him.The conditional perfect can also be used when the unmet condition is only implied: À ta place, je l'aurais dit. In your place, I would have said it. Elles auraient dû acheter un plan. They should have bought a map.Use the conditional perfect to express an unrealized desire in the past: J'aurais aimé te voir, mais j'ai dû travailler. I would have liked to see you, but I had to work. Nous aurions voulu manger, mais c'était trop tard. We would have liked to eat, but it was too late.The conditional perfect can also report an uncertain / unverified fact, especially in the news: Il y aurait eu un accident dans le métro. An accident in the subway has been reported. Six Parisiens seraient morts. Apparently, six Parisians have been killed. How to Conjugate the French Conditional The French conditional perfect mood, or past conditional, is a compound conjugation, with these two parts: conditional of the auxiliary verb (either avoir or être)past participle of the main verb Note: Like all French compound conjugations, the conditional perfect may be subject to grammatical agreement: When the auxiliary verb is être, the past participle must agree with the subjectWhen the auxiliary verb is avoir, the past participle may have to agree with its direct object Some French Conditional Perfect Conjugations AIMER (auxiliary verb is avoir) j' aurais aimé nous aurions aimé tu aurais aimé vous auriez aimé il,elle aurait aimé ils,elles auraient aimé DEVENIR (être verb) je serais devenu(e) nous serions devenu(e)s tu serais devenu(e) vous seriez devenu(e)(s) il serait devenu ils seraient devenus elle serait devenue elles seraient devenues SE LAVER (pronominal verb) je me serais lavé(e) nous nous serions lavé(e)s tu te serais lavé(e) vous vous seriez lavé(e)(s) il se serait lavé ils se seraient lavés elle se serait lavée elles se seraient lavées Continue Reading French Pluperfect or Past Subjunctive Tense Introduction to the French Perfect Participle French Past Perfect Conjugations Made Easy How to Use the French Past Subjunctive Understanding the French Past Infinitive Learn How to Use the French Future Perfect All about Être, a French Super Verb All About 'Avoir,' a French Super Verb If This, Then That: How to Use the 'Si' Clause in French How Do You Conjugate Past Forms of the French Verb "Prendre"? How To Translate Modal Verbs into French Passé composé: French Compound Past Tense A Lesson in French Compound Tenses and Moods 'Avoir': Conjugation of This Major Irregular French Verb What Is Grammatical French Agreement? How Do You Use French Semi-Auxiliary Verbs?