French Grammar-'Si' clauses

An outline of 'si' clauses and how they are used.

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  • Created by: Helen
  • Created on: 24-01-12 19:14

What are 'si' clauses?

'Si' clauses are sentences with one clause stating a condition or possibility, and a second naming a result which is dependent on that condition.

Si clauses are divided into types based on the likelihood of what is stated in the result clause.

1. 1st Conditional- Likely 

2. 2nd Conditional- Unlikely

3. 3rd Conditional- Impossible

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1st Conditional

The 1st conditional refers to a clause naming a likely situation and the result dependent upon it. 

In the 'si' clause it is formed with:

  • Present
  • Passe compose

In the result clause it is formed with:

  • Present 
  • Future
  • Imperative
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1st Conditional continued.

Present + Present

Used to describe an action which happens regularly and can usually be replaced with 'quand'. eg. If it rains, we don't go out- S'il pleut, nous ne sortons pas.

Present + Future

Used for events that are likely to occur. eg. If i have time, I will do it- Si j'ai le temps, je le ferai.

Present + Imperative

This construction is used to give an order, assuming that the condition is met. eg.If you have money, pay the bill - Si vous avex l'argent, payez la facture.

Passe Compose + Present/Future/Imperative-

These constructions work similarly to those above, with the only difference being that the 'si' clause is in the passe compose. eg.If you have finished, you can leave.

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2nd Conditional

This describes something that is contrary to present fact or unlikely to occur- It would happen, if something else happened.

The 'si' clause is formed with:

  • imperfect

The result clause is formed with:

  • conditional

eg. If i had the time, I would do it- Si j'avais le temps, je le ferais

(Fact: I don't have time but if i did- contrary to fact- I would)

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3rd Conditional

This describes something expressing a hypothetical situation that is contary to past fact- Something that would have happened if something else had happened.

The 'si' clause is formed with:

  • pluperfect

The result clause is formed with:

  • conditional perfect

eg. If i had had the time, I would have done it. Si j'avais eu le temps, je l'aurais fait.

(I didn't have the time, so I didn't do it)

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