FR: If I won the lottery (conditional)

Discussion in 'French and English Grammar / Grammaire française et anglaise' started by pitstop, Sep 30, 2006.

  1. pitstop

    pitstop Senior Member

    Great Britain
    United Kingdom
    Hi I have just tried to translate a passage in english into french, using the conditional tense, which is new to me. I would be grateful if someone could see if I have made any really obvious mistakes. I apologise in advance if this is not possible.

    In english
    I would buy a car, if I won the lotterie. I would go and see my friends who live in Switzerland. I would give my children some money. We would travel a bit. Perhaps we would visit my friends in Canada. We would think about buying a new house, but I wouldn't want to leave England. Perhaps we would go and live in the country. We wouldn't stay in the town. The children would perfer to live in the country. They would love a house with a big garden, but obviously they would lose a lot of friends.

    My translation to france
    J’achèterais une voiture, si j’ai gagné la loterie. J’irais voir mes amis qui habitent en Suisse. Je donnerais mes enfants de l’argent. Nous voyagerions un peu. Peut-être nous visiterions mes cousins au Canada. Nous penserions acheter une nouvelle maison, mais je ne voudrais pas partir l’Angleterre. Peut-être nous irions vivre dans la campagne. Nous ne resterions pas dans la ville. Les enfants préféreraient vivre dans la campagne. Ils aimeraient une maison avec un grand jardin, mais évidemment ils perdraient beaucoup d’amies.

    Thanks
    Pitstop
     
  2. Lezert

    Lezert Senior Member

    Midi-Pyrénées
    french, France
    Pas mal du tout
    J’achèterais une voiture, si je gagnais à la loterie. J’irais voir mes amis qui habitent en Suisse. Je donnerais de l’argent à mes enfants . Nous voyagerions un peu. Peut-être visiterions nous mes cousins au Canada. Nous penserions acheter une nouvelle maison, mais je ne voudrais pas partir d’Angleterre. Peut-être irions nous vivre à la campagne. Nous ne resterions pas en ville. Les enfants préféreraient vivre à la campagne. Ils aimeraient une maison avec un grand jardin, mais évidemment ils perdraient beaucoup d’amis.
     
  3. pitstop

    pitstop Senior Member

    Great Britain
    United Kingdom
    Thank you.

    Could you please explain why 'nous' is inversed with the verb, seemingly when it follows peut-etre.

    Pitstop
     
  4. Lezert

    Lezert Senior Member

    Midi-Pyrénées
    french, France
    Je ne sais pas pourquoi, il y a 2 constructions avec peut-être

    Peut-être que nous visiterions...
    Peut-être visiterions nous...

    probablement parce que la deuxième est comme une question???
    Wait for grammar specialists...

    N'est-ce pas la même chose en anglais:
    maybe would we ...
    maybe that we would?
     
  5. Outsider Senior Member

    Portuguese (Portugal)
    Non, Lezert, en anglais ce n'est pas comme ça:

    Maybe we would.
     
  6. pitstop

    pitstop Senior Member

    Great Britain
    United Kingdom
    I have another question

    why have you changed 'si j’ai gagné la loterie' into 'si je gagnais à la loterie'

    I would have thought the perfect tense was appropriate because winning the lotterie occured and was completed at one time in the past

    Thanks
    Pitstop
     
  7. Outsider Senior Member

    Portuguese (Portugal)
    "I would buy a car, if I won the lottery."

    Are you talking about the past, here? The latest draw of the lottery?...

    I don't think so. You are speaking in general about what you would do should you win the lottery -- yesterday, today, or tomorrow.
     
  8. pitstop

    pitstop Senior Member

    Great Britain
    United Kingdom
    Ahh yes, you are right. I understand, thank you.

    Pitstop
     
  9. marget Senior Member

    In "if-clause sentences which express hypothetical situations, the imperfect is used in the "if...clause" and the present conditional is used in the main clause. Besides, who would want to win the lottery just once?:D
     
  10. Outsider Senior Member

    Portuguese (Portugal)
    Plus, you don't use the perfect tense in English, either. ;)
     
  11. pitstop

    pitstop Senior Member

    Great Britain
    United Kingdom
    Thanks, I knew that bit. It's just that I was thinking of the winning as something that had happened, missing the fact that that was not the meaning at all, which is what led to my misunderstanding.

    Thanks for the clarification

    merci a tous
     
  12. geostan

    geostan Senior Member

    English Canada
    Two points:

    1. You answered your own question. In fact, you DIDN'T win the lottery, so the passé composé would be incorrect.

    2. Certain adverbs, like peut-être, when used at the head of their clause require inversion or que without inversion. Thus you have three possibilities:

    Peut-être que nous irions...
    Peut-être irions-nous... (more literary)
    Nous irions peut-être...

    Another adverb that behaves the same way is sans doute (=probably).
     
  13. pitstop

    pitstop Senior Member

    Great Britain
    United Kingdom

    Thank you Geostan, that explains it very clearly.
    Pitstop
     

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