Conjugate devoir in Le Conditionnel Présent = should (conditional mood)

The verb devoir (to have to) is used in Conditionnel Présent to express should.

It uses the same irregular stem as in Futur Simpledevr-

 
Have a look at these sentences:

Je devrais apprendre le français.
I should learn French.

Tu devrais arrêter de fumer.
You should stop smoking.

Elle devrait vraiment arrêter de le voir!
She should really stop seeing him!

Nous devrions sauver la planète.
We should save the planet.

Vous ne devriez pas être à l'école?
Shouldn't you be at school? 

Ils devraient réviser leurs leçons.
They should revise their lessons.

Here's how to form the Conditionnel Présent of devoir:
 
devr- + endings of Imparfait-ais, -ais, -ait, -ions, -iez, -aient 

 

Learn more about these related French grammar topics

Examples and resources

Elle devrait vraiment arrêter de le voir!
She should really stop seeing him!



Ils devraient réviser leurs leçons.
They should revise their lessons.


Voilà, avec ça tu devrais éviter la catastrophe!
Here, with that you should avoid disaster!


Nous devrions sauver la planète.
We should save the planet.


Nous devrions aller de porte à porte pour avoir des bonbons.
We should go door to door to get sweets.


Je devrais apprendre le français.
I should learn French.


Vous ne devriez pas être à l'école?
Shouldn't you be at school? 


Tu devrais arrêter de fumer.
You should stop smoking.


Q&A Forum 11 questions, 31 answers

BillC1Kwiziq Q&A regular contributor

Question on "would" from a past perspective

I am wondering how to form a statement using would (le conditionnel?) from a past perspective.  As in "I spent a lot of time deciding what I would eat for lunch today".  Could someone tell me if the below is correct?  Apologies for the spelling/accent errors as I am typing on a computer where i don't know how to type those, but i've tried to approximate the critical ones below.

j'ai passe' beaucoup de temps `a decider quoi je mangerais pour dejeuner aujourd'hui.

Or

maybe i should say "quoi j'allais manger pour..."?

Merci d'avance.

Asked 1 year ago
CécileKwiziq team memberCorrect answer

Hi Bill

It should be :

"J'ai passé beaucoup de temps à décider ce que je mangerais pour le déjeuner aujourd'hui" if you want to use the conditional ...

Hope this helps!

BillC1Kwiziq Q&A regular contributor
Fantastique !  Merci.  
BillC1Kwiziq Q&A regular contributor
serait-il aussi correct de dire: j'ai passé beaucoup de temps à decider quoi j'aillais manger pour le déjeuner?
BillC1Kwiziq Q&A regular contributor
oops.. j'allais..
BillC1Kwiziq Q&A regular contributor
oops, décider... lol
CécileKwiziq team member

Hi Bill,

It would be also:

...ce que j'allais manger ...

Here is the lesson to explain 'ce que' -

https://kwiziq.learnfrenchwithalexa.com/revision/grammar/ce-que-what-which-relative-pronouns

Here are a few examples of where you might find 'quoi' used -

Quoi? Quest-ce-que tu as dit? What ? What did you say?

On y va ou quoi? = Are we going or not?

Il n'y a pas de quoi dont' mention it 

Hope this helps!

BillC1Kwiziq Q&A regular contributor
Merci.  Is there a lesson that lays out all the scenarios where quoi is appropriate?  it appears to be only appropriate in a very limited range of scenarios and typically at the end of the sentence.  Bonne journée ! 
NevilleB1Kwiziq community member

An alternative construction question... 

How about the below construction? Acceptable in spoken but perhaps not written French? Or, perhaps too creative?

Instead of:  

"J'ai passé beaucoup de temps à décider ce que je mangerais pour le déjeuner aujourd'hui"

can I say: 

"J'ai passé beaucoup de temps à décider quoi manger pour le déjeuner aujourd'hui"

CécileKwiziq team member

Hi Neville,

'Quoi manger' is perfectly acceptable ...

Quoi faire , quoi prendre etc...

Question on "would" from a past perspective

I am wondering how to form a statement using would (le conditionnel?) from a past perspective.  As in "I spent a lot of time deciding what I would eat for lunch today".  Could someone tell me if the below is correct?  Apologies for the spelling/accent errors as I am typing on a computer where i don't know how to type those, but i've tried to approximate the critical ones below.

j'ai passe' beaucoup de temps `a decider quoi je mangerais pour dejeuner aujourd'hui.

Or

maybe i should say "quoi j'allais manger pour..."?

Merci d'avance.

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TedC1Kwiziq community member

Devoir: « je dois partir »= I ought to go, I must go, and also ? « I should go »? Or is the last of these « je devrais partir »?

Asked 1 year ago
CécileKwiziq team memberCorrect answer

Hi Ted,

Je dois partir = I must/have to go 

Je devrais partir I should go/ I ought to go 

Hope this helps!

TedC1Kwiziq community member
Merci, Cécile! I guess the quality of the word "should" in English in this case is more the flavour of  the conditional "would", as in "I should or ought to or would go, but...."

Devoir: « je dois partir »= I ought to go, I must go, and also ? « I should go »? Or is the last of these « je devrais partir »?

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RomanC1Kwiziq Q&A regular contributor

hanoukkia

Something wrong with hanoukkia: Not in ROBERT; Not in COLLINS: «Sorry, no results for “hanoukkia” in the French-English Dictionary»; Not in Linternaute.com: «Nous n'avons pas trouvé de résultats pour votre recherche hanoukkia»
Asked 1 year ago
CécileKwiziq team memberCorrect answer

Hi Roman,

I have found Hanoucca for the festival and Hanoukkia for the candelabra.

But not an expert in this...

RomanC1Kwiziq Q&A regular contributor

Thank you.

Could you give the links?

CécileKwiziq team member

I found on Wikipedia -

https://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hanoucca

RomanC1Kwiziq Q&A regular contributor
Thanks a lot.

hanoukkia

Something wrong with hanoukkia: Not in ROBERT; Not in COLLINS: «Sorry, no results for “hanoukkia” in the French-English Dictionary»; Not in Linternaute.com: «Nous n'avons pas trouvé de résultats pour votre recherche hanoukkia»

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StevenB1Kwiziq Q&A regular contributor

Follow up question

For some reason I can't reply to a specific response, so I'll have to post this as a seperate comment. 

This is a follow up question to Laura's translation of "She ought to really stop seeing him", which she wrote as "Elle devrait vraiment arreter de le voir." I'm wondering if the phrase "Elle devrait vraiment s'arreter de le voir" is also acceptable. 

Asked 1 year ago
ChrisC1 Kwiziq Q&A super contributor

Hi Steven,

I think it is OK to use the reflexive version of arrêter here. But a native speaker out to comment to be sure.

-- Chris (not a native speaker).

GruffKwiziq team member

Hi Steven

S'arrêter de faire [qch] = to stop oneself doing something / cease / quit something.

In English, it sounds okay to say "She really should stop herself from seeing him" but it's a bit of a weird way to express the idea, and in French it sounds weird too.

Cécile or Aurélie will be able to say for sure though.

Follow up question

For some reason I can't reply to a specific response, so I'll have to post this as a seperate comment. 

This is a follow up question to Laura's translation of "She ought to really stop seeing him", which she wrote as "Elle devrait vraiment arreter de le voir." I'm wondering if the phrase "Elle devrait vraiment s'arreter de le voir" is also acceptable. 

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HelenA2Kwiziq Q&A regular contributor

Infinitive or past tense after conditional

Asked 1 year 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).

HelenA2Kwiziq 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.
HelenA2Kwiziq Q&A regular contributor
Sorry about this. I'm not sure why the content didn't show up with the question.
HelenA2Kwiziq 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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HarrisC1Kwiziq community member

"should" vs "would have to"

Hi, from what I gather from this lesson, basically "je devrais" should mean "I would have to", which essentially turns into "I should". Is this correct? So "Je devrais apprendre l'anglais" could mean "I would have to learn English" or "I should learn English" depending on the context, correct? thanks.
Asked 2 years ago
LauraKwiziq team member
Bonjour Harris, Yes, "I should" and "I would have to" are fairly synonymous, both are equivalent to Je devrais.

"should" vs "would have to"

Hi, from what I gather from this lesson, basically "je devrais" should mean "I would have to", which essentially turns into "I should". Is this correct? So "Je devrais apprendre l'anglais" could mean "I would have to learn English" or "I should learn English" depending on the context, correct? thanks.

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ErikaC1Kwiziq community member

Shouldn't you vs you should not

If "Vous ne devriez pas être à l'école?" means Shouldn't you be at school? How do you say "You should not be in school"?
Asked 2 years ago
RonC1 Kwiziq Q&A super contributor
Bonjour Erika, J'ai fait de la recherche et voila: «Vous ne devriez pas être à l’école !» Il me parait que la différence est dans la ponctuation usé, mais c'est possible il y aurait une autre syntaxe que je ne sais pas. Bonne chance,

Shouldn't you vs you should not

If "Vous ne devriez pas être à l'école?" means Shouldn't you be at school? How do you say "You should not be in school"?

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Vincent B1Kwiziq community member

so does "vous feriez vos études ce soir" mean "you should study this evening" ?

Asked 2 years ago
AurélieKwiziq team memberCorrect answer
Bonjour Vincent !

"feriez" is the verb "faire" in Le Conditionnel (= would do), and the expression "faire ses études" actually means "to study" in the more general sense of "to go to university", so:
Vous feriez vos études ce soir.
You would go to study at university tonight. (which sounds weird, as you wouldn't just go to uni on one night!)

To say "You should study tonight", you will use either:
Tu devrais étudier ce soir.
or
Tu devrais réviser ce soir.

I hope that's helpful!
À bientôt !

so does "vous feriez vos études ce soir" mean "you should study this evening" ?

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JenniferC1Kwiziq Q&A regular contributor

Can these sentences also be translated as ought?

e.g. Je devrais apprendre le français = i should or ought to learn french? In English ought is stronger than should, but in french, how would you distinguish them if at all?
Asked 3 years ago
AurélieKwiziq team member

Bonjour Jennifer !

The meaning of "Je devrais" is before all "I should", meaning an obligation coming more from myself, as opposed to "I ought" implying a higher reason.

I would say that the French expression that could carry a similar connotation would be to use "il faudrait", "il faut" in Le Conditionnel Présent.

E.g. Il faudrait que je fasse mes devoirs.    [I ought to do my homework]
-> feels like the obligation/need comes from an outside source

Je devrais faire mes devoirs.    [I should do my homework]
-> feels more like a moral duty you impose on yourself

I hope that's helpful!
À bientôt !

JenniferC1Kwiziq Q&A regular contributor
Thank you

Can these sentences also be translated as ought?

e.g. Je devrais apprendre le français = i should or ought to learn french? In English ought is stronger than should, but in french, how would you distinguish them if at all?

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MariaA2Kwiziq community member

Future Simple Devoir

Hi if the conditional of devoir translates generally to 'would', what would be the translation of Devoir conjugated in the future simple?
Asked 3 years ago
LauraKwiziq team member

Bonjour Maria,

The future of devoir is equivalent to "will have to" or "must."

For example, Je devrai partir à midi - I will have to leave at noon / I must leave at noon.

MariaA2Kwiziq community member
Bonjour Laura, thank you very much for the prompt answer. Fantastic site, I just wish I had more time to spend on it :)

Future Simple Devoir

Hi if the conditional of devoir translates generally to 'would', what would be the translation of Devoir conjugated in the future simple?

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JenniferC1Kwiziq Q&A regular contributor

How do you say she ought to really stop seeing him

I want to know how French differentiates between ought and should
Asked 3 years ago
LauraKwiziq team member
Bonjour Jennifer, There's no difference in French (and for me, a native speaker, there's no difference in English either). She really ought to stop seeing him - Elle devrait vraiment arrêter de le voir.
JenniferC1Kwiziq Q&A regular contributor
Thank you

How do you say she ought to really stop seeing him

I want to know how French differentiates between ought and should

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