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Imparfait to Express Habits

PatrickB1Kwiziq community member

Imparfait to Express Habits

This is a wonderful training exercise on using the imperfect past tense. It helped me begin to understand when using the conditional would be an improper choice. This said, American's automatically apply the conditional tense when we see the word "would." So...is the conditional tense applied more in an "if then" context? Such as, "Marie répondrait à Paul, mais elle avait peur."
Asked 1 year ago
CécileKwiziq team memberCorrect answer

Hi Patrick, 

Thank you for your kind comment which I will pass on to the team.

If 'would' denotes something you did habitually it will always be the imparfait.

Take a look at the following lesson -

Expressing past habits or repeated actions with the imperfect tense in French (L'Imparfait)

Conversely, 'would' used in the conditional will be for hypothetical situations, in other words, things that might happen in the future.

Below is the lesson you need to look at -

French Conditional

To use your example-

Marie répondrait à Paul si elle n'avait pas si peur Marie would answer Paul if she wasn't so frightened

I hope this helps!

ChrisC1 Kwiziq Q&A super contributor

And then there is the use of "would" in English to denote a habitual action in the past.

Years ago, I would still walk to school. -- Il y a des années, j'allais encore à l'école à pied.

Imparfait to Express Habits

This is a wonderful training exercise on using the imperfect past tense. It helped me begin to understand when using the conditional would be an improper choice. This said, American's automatically apply the conditional tense when we see the word "would." So...is the conditional tense applied more in an "if then" context? Such as, "Marie répondrait à Paul, mais elle avait peur."

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