Infinitive or past tense after conditional

HelenC1Kwiziq Q&A regular contributor

Infinitive or past tense after conditional

Asked 6 years ago
ChrisC1 Kwiziq Q&A super contributor Correct answer

Hi Helen,

"Ces résultats seraient dûs demain." -- These results would be due tomorrow.

This is conditional present tense. The past participle of "devoir" is actually used as an adjective here. You could replace it with another adjective such as "jaune" (even though that doesn't make a whole lot of sense):

Ces résultats seraient jaunes demain. -- These results would be yellow tomorrow.

The use of the infinitive actually parallels its use in English in this case:

Il devrait partir. -- He would have to leave. (also: he should leave.)

"Partir"is the infinitive in French and "to leave" is the infinitive in English. So the constructions are very similar in this case.

-- Chris (not a native speaker).

HelenC1Kwiziq Q&A regular contributor
In one of your quizzes, there were two examples of using devoir: "Le deficit devrait dimminuer.." (The deficit should reduce..) and another example: "Ces resultats seraient dus....." (These results would be due...) Why wouldn't we use "... seraient doivre" in the second example. It's not past-tense? I'm trying to understand when to use the infinitive versus the past tense in the verb that follows a conditional.
HelenC1Kwiziq Q&A regular contributor
Sorry about this. I'm not sure why the content didn't show up with the question.
HelenC1Kwiziq Q&A regular contributor

Wow! Chris this is super helpful. Je n'ai plus mal a la tete!

Thank you!!

Infinitive or past tense after conditional

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