Constructions with si express possible or hypothetical situations.
These sentences follow a relatively inflexible pattern entailing a "si-clause"
and a "result clause," and they can operate in the present, the past or
The patterns are as follows:
Note that the two sides of si constructions can be inverted. Placing
the result clause before the si clause does not affect the verb
tense associated with each:
si + present,
followed by future, cf.:
Si tu me dis la vérité, je te croirai.
If you tell me the truth, I will believe you.
si + imperfect,
followed by present conditional,
Si tu me disais la vérité, je te croirais.
If you told me the truth, I would believe you.
si + pluperfect,
followed by past conditional,
Si tu m'avais dit la vérité, je t'aurais crue.
If you had told me the truth, I would have believed
Note that the "If clause" is occasionally implied:
S'il avait travaillé plus dur, il aurait reçu une meilleure
Il aurait reçu une meilleure note s'il avait travaillé plus
In spoken French result constructions are occasionally rendered without
in this case, the conditional is used in both clauses:
À ta place (= si j'étais à ta place), je ne serais
pas resté! In your position, I wouldn't have
Je ne pousserais pas ce bouton! I wouldn't
push that button [if I were you]!
Tu me dirais ça, je ne te croirais pas. If
you told me that, I wouldn't believe you.
Je le lui aurais dit, ça n'aurait rien changé. If
I had told him, it wouldn't have changed anything.
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