FR: si + futur ou conditionnel ?

agueda

Senior Member
Korean
"Si l'operation reussit/reussira, le malade vivra; si non, il mourra."

I don't know which of 'reussit' or 'reussira' I should use, when I use the future tense in the second clause... could I use both?
Thanks!

Moderator note: Multiple threads have been merged to create this one.
 
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  • lrosa

    Senior Member
    English - Ireland
    Est-ce vrai que l'on ne doit (presque) jamais employer le conditionnel après le mot "si" (if), comme en anglais? Ou pourrait-ce être correct, dans un certain contexte, de dire "Si je serais plus riche...", etc... Je sais qu'en anglais, on dit plutôt "If I were" que "If I would be..."

    Merci d'avance!
     

    FRENFR

    Senior Member
    English
    Si j'etais riche.. not si je serais riche..

    After si, if it's not the imperfect, it's the present (!). Si tu as faim, tu devrais manger (you should eat). In the past, to say "If you were hungry, why didn't you eat", you would use the imperfect: si tu avais faim, ...?

    If I were is a rare example of the subjunctive in English; Si je sois riche, in French. I think you would be shot if they heard this! Subjunctive is French is after 'que', if ever it is to be used. Si je fusse? Ok, ok, not the imperfect subjunctive.

    You know, on some TV Game Shows in France, they have questions about conjugating a verb into a complicated subjunctive mood, and normally they get it wrong!
     

    Rallino

    Moderatoúrkos
    Turkish
    Si on n'avait fait aucune guerre, on aurait vécu dans une prospérité.

    Est-ce que ça choque les francophones si je dis cette phrase comme:

    On eusse vécu dans une prospérité, ne fît-on aucune guerre. ? :D

    Car je me souviens d'un emploie: Si + subj. imparfait, mais je ne suis pas sûr :p
     

    tilt

    Senior Member
    French French
    Present is possible after si, indeed, but imperfect is much more common, and not only in past sentences!
    In fact, I'd say imperfect can be considered as the general case after si:
    Si j'étais plus riche, je voyagerais.
    Si j'avais moins faim, je ne mangerais pas autant.
    Si j'avais d'autres idées, je donnerais plus d'exemples. :D

    Yet, it's possible to come across conditional after si, but in very specific cases only.
    When two si works together in the sentence, for example: Si j'étais riche, je me demande si je serais heureux.
     
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    lrosa

    Senior Member
    English - Ireland
    Yet, it's possible to come across conditional after si, but in very specific cases only.
    When two si works together in the sentence, for example: Si j'étais riche, je me demande si je serais heureux.

    Same in English... "If I were rich, I wonder if I would be happy". Thanks for that example.

    So I'm wondering now... Is French like in English in that it's perhaps more technically correct to use Si + imperfect subjunctive, when you want to express something conditional - "If I were rich... I would..."? But that in French, like in English, this rule is (perhaps more) often ignored, leading people to say "Si j'étais" - "If I was (Many English speakers do say this, ignoring the subjunctive)" - instead of "Si je fusse", which would sound ridiculous?

    In this thread I'm only concerned about the use of tense/mood after the word "si" when it carries a strictly conditional meaning.

    Oh, and it appears that I was wrong to say that the conditional was my only interest, because I'm wondering if French is the same as English in that "Si tu avais faim..." can mean "If you were hungry" both in the sense of "If you were hungry, why didn't you eat?" (not really conditional) and "If you were hungry, would you eat?" (conditional). In English this subtlety can be expressed with the pronouns I and he/she/it, because of the fact that they would change from "If I/he/she/it was (hungry, why didn't he eat?)" to "If I/he/she/it were (hungry, I'd eat)", depending on the context:

    If you were hungry, why didn't you eat? - "Si tu avais faim, pourquoi n'as tu pas mangé?"
    If you were hungry, would you eat? - "Mangerais-tu si tu avais faim?"

    Are these 2 translations correct? Many thanks!
     
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    tilt

    Senior Member
    French French
    Same in English... "If I were rich, I wonder if I would be happy". Thanks for that example.

    So I'm wondering now... Is French like in English in that it's perhaps more technically correct to use Si + imperfect subjunctive, when you want to express something conditional - "If I were rich... I would..."? But that in French, like in English, this rule is (perhaps more) often ignored, leading people to say "Si j'étais" - "If I was (Many English speakers do say this, ignoring the subjunctive)" - instead of "Si je fusse", which would sound ridiculous?
    I can't really how it was in the old days, but nowadays, no one would use a imperfect subjunctive, which does sound ridiculous, as you say.
    If you were hungry, why didn't you eat? - "Si tu avais faim, pourquoi n'as tu pas mangé?"
    If you were hungry, would you eat? - "Mangerais-tu si tu avais faim?"

    Are these 2 translations correct? Many thanks!
    Nonetheless they are correct, but they also are brilliant. They do perfectly render the meaning of both English sentences in French.
    Note that the latter could also be said Si tu avais faim, mangerais-tu ? to make it clear that it's the tense of the second phrase which decides of the exact meaning of si, by setting the whole sentence in present or in past.
     

    laphroaig

    New Member
    English-Scotland
    Hi!
    I was always taught never to use the conditional tense after 'si' when it means if. Is there however any time when you could say 'si vous pourriez.....'?
     

    Donaldos

    Senior Member
    French - France
    Yes, you can use the conditional in indirect questions for instance :

    Il se demandait si vous pourriez vivre sur une île déserte.
     
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    jann

    co-mod'
    English - USA
    I was always taught never to use the conditional tense after 'si' when it means if. Is there however any time when you could say 'si vous pourriez.....'?
    Yes, you can use the conditional in indirect questions for instance :
    Il se demandait si vous pourriez vivre sur une île déserte.
    Translation: He was wondering if/whether you could live on a deserted island.

    Donaldos, the si in your example does not mean "if"! The si in indirect questions is a synonym for "whether." Indeed, we may certainly use the conditional in such sentences... so the rule that Laphroaig learned (which only applies to hypothetical or cause/effect if-then sentences) is not contradicted.

    I suspect Laphroaig's question was more about cases where we say "if you could" to be polite in English, e.g., "If you could pick him up at the airport, that would be great!" We so habitually think of "could" as being a conditional that we might be tempted to say Si vous pourriez in French. But actually, this English "could" isn't a conditional. It's the past tense conjugation of "can" (today I can, yesterday I could)... and so this English sentence is just using the standard if-then tense pattern the same as French does. :)

    If you could (past) pick him up at the airport, that would be (conditional) great!
    Si vous pouviez (imparfait) le chercher à l'aéroport, ce serait (conditionnel) vraiment bien.

    Obviously the if/si in this sentence is not a synonym for "whether"... and so the standard tense sequencing rules apply.
     

    laphroaig

    New Member
    English-Scotland
    Thank you both very much. I was thinking of examples like the following:
    1. I would be grateful if you could send me......
    2. I was wondering if you could send me.....
    Am I therefore right in thinking that ' si vous pouvez/pouviez m'envoyer' would be used in 1 where as ' si vous pourriez m'envoyer' would be used in 2?
     

    jann

    co-mod'
    English - USA
    Am I therefore right in thinking that ' si vous pouvez/pouviez m'envoyer' would be used in 1 where as ' si vous pourriez m'envoyer' would be used in 2?
    Yes. :)

    You can't use present tense pouvez for #1... unless you want to say "I will be grateful if you can send me..." For the version of the sentence that you wrote with "would" and "could," you need to pair the conditional with the imperfect.
     

    wster

    Senior Member
    American and Canadian English
    From Racine's Phaedre:

    Ou si tu le crois indigne de tes coups,
    Si ta haine m'envie un supplice si doux,
    Ou si d'un sang trop vil ta main serait trempée,
    Au défaut de ton bras prête moi ton épée.

    Here we have a condtionnel verb in a si clause and even Grevisse (8th edition) seems to have a bit of difficulty bringing cases like these under clear rules. He says:

    ...on a parfois après si un futur ou un conditionnel, mais qui ne sont pas dans sa dépendence directe: la supposition porte sur un verbe sous-jacent (s'il est vrais que, si on admet que...

    This seems like a stretch to me. In English, we might use a conditional "would" in a sentence like this simply to mark eventuality. I'm having trouble understanding why French wouldn't work the same way. So my question is this: do native French speakers really feel the pull of an implicit "s'il est vrais que" in sentences like this?

    Thanks in advance
     

    VanOo

    Senior Member
    Français - France
    There is a double condition here.

    Si tu venais à te battre avec moi (A) et si tu considère ce sang comme vil (B) = si d'un sang trop vil ta main serait trempée

    Note que la condition (A) est mise en doute:
    Si tu te bats avec moi, ta main sera trempée
    Si tu te battais avec moi (mais j'en doute), ta main serait trempée.

    Ais-je répondu à la question ?
     

    wster

    Senior Member
    American and Canadian English
    Here's another example he gives with the futur instead of the conditionnel:

    Fais ce que tu veux si tu pourras le supporter indéfiniment.-P.Valery

    Again, for Grevisse, there is an implicit s'il est vrais que.

    There is a whole school of thought in modern semantics according to which "it is true that P" adds nothing to "P". So it is a bit strange that Grevisse would spend a whole page giving examples turning on this in order to deal with unruly si clauses.
     

    Maître Capello

    Mod et ratures
    French – Switzerland
    In Racine's example it makes a lot of sense to use the conditional because there is a kind of double condition as suggested by VanOo. Besides, the present would be inappropriate because it wouldn't convey the right meaning.

    Valéry's sentence is less convincing, but the future definitely “colors” the sentence in a way the present never could.

    I'm afraid there is no clear-cut answer to your question. I would say that the future or conditional is sometimes possible in si clauses without the need to resort to convoluted explanations. Those tenses should however be used sparingly and appropriately. This is not really different from the English where would is also usually incorrect in if clauses…
     

    wster

    Senior Member
    American and Canadian English
    I'll give one more example to give an idea of how he sees things:

    Elle attendait encore un peu pour s'assurer si vraiment ces intentions seraient solides.-E. Fromentin

    Grevisse says that in all of these, the Racine, the Valery, and the Fromentin, the si has "aucune valor conditionnel". But in the Racine and the Valery, there is "un verbe sous-jacent" like "il est vrais que".
     

    Marie3933

    Senior Member
    français
    Elle attendait encore un peu pour s'assurer si vraiment ces intentions seraient solides.-E. Fromentin.
    Dans cette phrase, il ne s’agit pas d’une hypothèse avec si mais d’une interrogation indirecte (s’assurer si n’est pas une construction fréquente).
    Cf. « Je me demande s’il fera beau demain ». S’il fera beau demain n’est pas une condition mais une interrogation indirecte.
     

    Nem'o

    Senior Member
    français (France)
    Je suis tout à fait d'accord avec tout ce qui a été dit plus haut, mais j'ai tout de même une question: ne pensez-vous pas, tout de même, que ce genre de tournure de phrase reste rare et très littéraire?
    Il me semble que ces tournures là sont surtout utilisées pour se donner un style, plus que pour des raisons purement grammaticales.
    Peut-être pas pour Racine, cela dit, qui est un auteur du 17ème (la langue utilisée, qu'elle soit parlée ou écrite, était donc totalement différente à tous les niveaux), mais pour les deux autres...?

    Autre question: ne s'agit-il pas de tournures "vieillies"?
    Il faut tout de même noter que les deux autres auteurs sont nés au 19ème, et encore une fois, la langue a beaucoup évoluée depuis.

    Si je dis cela, c'est surtout pour tenter d'apporter un élément de réponse en plus à la question de base qui était: do native French speakers really feel the pull of an implicit "s'il est vrais que" in sentences like this?

    Car tout le monde a apporté des explications grammaticales intéressantes et claires (il me semble), mais je pense qu'il faut noter que je n'emploierais personnellement jamais ces tournures grammaticales (à l'écrit comme à l'oral)... Et il me semble que c'est la même chose pour tout le monde.
     

    Revron

    New Member
    English
    Hello,

    I am trying to translate the sentence "It will be necessary to leave the hotel early if we are going to catch the train."

    I originally thought that this would translate as <<Il sera nécessaire de quitter l'hôtel de bonne heure si nous allons attraper le train.>> However, I am having second thoughts because this involves a future tense in the subordinate clause of a 'si' clause.

    Any help would be greatly appreciated,

    Thanks,

    Revron
     
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    moustic

    Moderator
    English (Yorkshire)
    Hello and welcome to the forum revron,

    Do you mean "if we take the train" or "if we want to catch the train"?

    Il sera nécessaire ... si nous prenons le train / si nous voulons prendre le train.
     

    geostan

    Senior Member
    English Canada
    Welcome to the forum Revron!

    You do not as a rule use a future tense in an if clause in French, but I would still phrase your if clause differently. Il sera nécessaire de quitter l'hôtel de bonne heure si nous ne voulons pas manquer le train. I wouldn't use attraper in reference to a train.
     

    Revron

    New Member
    English
    Dear all,

    Thank you very much for your help so far!

    It seems like people are giving different/conflicting answers (maybe it is a hard question) so I should try to clarify:

    My question is really about whether it is possible to use two futures (<<Il sera nécessaire... si nous allons attraper>>) in a 'si' construction. This seems to be the only option for literally translating from the English text which is indeed "It will be necessary to leave the hotel early if we are going to catch the train." However, I have been taught that the 'si' clause in a 'si' construction can never contain a future or conditional and can only consist of (Present+Future; Imperfect+Conditional; Pluperfect+Conditional Perfect).

    Thanks,

    Revron
     

    geostan

    Senior Member
    English Canada
    It's true that aller + infinbitive is a kind of future, but the rule really applies to the true future tense. Nevertheless, I think I would use devoir or vouloir rather than aller in your sentence.
     

    janpol

    Senior Member
    France - français
    Nous devrons quitter l'hôtel de bonne heure si nous avons un train à prendre.

    J'ai entendu le futur dans une hypothétique (concessive ?) employé par un journaliste de télévision : "Si, durant le prochain week-end, le Président sera à Berlin, le Premier Ministre, quant à lui, sera à Toulouse".
     

    moustic

    Moderator
    English (Yorkshire)
    J'ai entendu le futur dans une hypothétique (concessive ?) employé par un journaliste de télévision : "Si, durant le prochain week-end, le Président sera à Berlin, le Premier Ministre, quant à lui, sera à Toulouse".

    I don't understand this as a hypothetical sentence, but a straight statement of fact:
    The President will be in Berlin whereas the Prime Minister will be in Toulouse.
     

    Gooische Vrouwen

    Banned
    Dutch - Belgium
    Hi,

    I just read "Si nous n'habitons pas dans une ville, nous nous disperserons dans le pays."

    Shouldn't it have been "Si nous n'habiterons pas dans une ville, nous nous disperserons dans le pays." since the people are talking about where to live? They are talking about what might happen in the future if they choose not to live in the same city. Therefore, both verbs should be in the future, not just "nous disperserons".

    Thanks
     

    rolmich

    Senior Member
    french (France)
    Hi GV,
    The future tense is never used after 'si'. The sentence is correct.
    But : Nous n'habiterons pas dans une ville, car nous aurons été dispersés dans le pays. (futur antérieur)
     

    olivier68

    Senior Member
    French Paris France
    Hi GV,

    Rolmich is rather right: the future tense is NEVER used after "si" in direct style.

    In your case, this is because the condition introduced by "si" is considered as realized.
     
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    Maître Capello

    Mod et ratures
    French – Switzerland
    As a matter of fact, Rolmich is not entirely correct: it is possible to use the future after si in indirect questions, e.g., Je me demande si vous ne serez pas déçus. :tick: That being said, the future is indeed usually inappropriate in conditional si clauses.
     

    marget

    Senior Member
    My question concerns the sequence of tenses. Is it possible to use an imperative in the main clause and the future in the subordinate clause as in "N'achète pas ces chaussures (baskets) blanches si tu les saliras/ si tu finiras par les salir"?

    Merci d'avance
     

    olivier68

    Senior Member
    French Paris France
    No, the "si clause" can not be used here.
    "N'achète pas ces chaussures (baskets) blanches : tu les saliras / tu finiras par les salir"
     

    ForeverHis

    Senior Member
    American English
    "N'achète pas ces chaussures (baskets) blanches si tu les saliras/ si tu finiras par les salir"?
    Are you trying to say "Don't buy those white shoes if you're going to get them dirty"? If that's what you mean then I don't think Olivier's suggestion is quite the same.
    "N'achète pas ces chaussures (baskets) blanches : tu les saliras / tu finiras par les salir"
     

    Maître Capello

    Mod et ratures
    French – Switzerland
    In principle, the verb in si clauses cannot be in the future. You may, however, say something like:

    N'achète pas ces chaussures blanches si tu vas les salir.
    N'achète pas ces chaussures blanches si tu finis par les salir.
    N'achète pas ces chaussures blanches si tu dois les salir.
     

    Kitano

    New Member
    French - France
    Cela dépend du contexte également. On dirait plutôt "ne mets pas tes chaussures neuves si tu vas dans la boue"
    En langage parlé / populaire, on trouvera aussi "... si c'est pour les salir"
     
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