French Learning Video Blog, Feb 10th, on “si” clauses

French Learning Video Blog, Feb 10th, on “si” clauses

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Added by February 10, 2015

THE FRENCH “SI” CLAUSES

BONJOUR À TOUS! 

Today we’re going to have a look at French clauses starting with the little word SI, meaning “if”. French learners often get confused with the tenses needed in those clauses, but it really is pretty simple and similar in structure with the English language. So let’s look at the various options and tenses we’ll have in those SI clauses. 

Let’s start with the sentence: IF YOU WANT TO HAVE A LAUGH, KISS SOMEONE TODAY. We’re going to translate this sentence and put it in different tenses. 

SI VOUS VOULEZ RIRE, EMBRASSEZ QUELQU’UN AUJOURD’HUI.

The SI clause is in the present tense of the indicative, the main clause is in the present tense of the imperative, the command form. 

Second option, we keep the same present tense in the SI clause, and we use the future tense in the main clause: 

SI VOUS VOULEZ RIRE, VOUS EMBRASSEREZ QUELQU’UN AUJOURD’HUI.

If you want to laugh, you will kiss someone today.

See how the two languages follow the same pattern, “you want” VOUS VOULEZ, present tense, AND “you will kiss”, VOUS EMBRASSEREZ, future tense, in both languages.

Next, we’re going to have the SI clause in the imperfect tense, and the main clause in the conditional present. Here it is:

SI VOUS VOULIEZ RIRE, VOUS EMBRASSERIEZ QUELQU’UN AUJOURD’HUI.

If you wanted to laugh, you would kiss someone today.

Here, “wanted” translates in the imperfect tense in French, with VOULIEZ, and “would kiss” translates into “EMBRASSERIEZ” in French, EMBRASSER and “kiss” are both in the conditional present tense here.

Last option, we have the SI clause in the pluperfect tense, PLUS-QUE-PARFAIT, and the main clause in the past conditional. 

SI VOUS AVIEZ VOULU RIRE, VOUS AURIEZ EMBRASSÉ QUELQU’UN AUJOURD’HUI.

If you had wanted to laugh, you would have kissed someone today.

Here again we have parallel patterns in both languages. AVIEZ VOULU corresponds to the English “had wanted”, pluperfect for both languages. And AURIEZ EMBRASSÉ corresponds to the English “would have kissed”, past conditional for both verbs and languages, once again. 

I hope it all makes sense. To practice, just make up your own sentences in English, and play around with all those tenses. Well, obviously make sure you learn or review all the different tenses I’ve mentioned here, before playing around with “SI” clauses. If you don’t know them all, study them, and come back to this video later .

Here’s a sentence for you to play around with: 

“If they bring a cake, eat it for me”

Translation in different tenses available at the end of the transcript of this video, on the ohlala website. Link coming up here…

BON BOULOT ET À DEMAIN!

 

TRANSLATING EXERCISE 

1. If they bring a cake, eat it for me = S’ils apportent un gateau, mange-le pour moi.

2. If they bring a cake,  you will eat it for me = S’ils apportent un gateau, tu le mangeras pour moi.

3. If they brought a cake, you would eat it for me = S’ils apportaient un gateau, tu le mangerais pour moi.

4. If they had brought a cake, you would have eaten it for me. = S’ils avaient apporté un gateau, tu l’aurais mangé pour moi.

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