The past conditional
The conditionnel passé (past conditional) tense is normally used in the same manner as the English ‘would have + past participle’ construction. We use it:
• for actions that could have occurred but didn’t; for regrets or reproaches.
Thierry aurait pu être un grand artiste. Thierry could have been a great artist.
Vous auriez dû me prévenir de votre arrivée ! You should have warned me you were coming!
Si j’avais su qu’il allait pleuvoir, j’aurais pris mon parapluie. If I had known it would rain, I would have taken my umbrella.
La rumeur dit que Victor Hugo ne serait pas mort. Rumour has it that Victor isn’t dead.
The past conditional is a compound tense. This means that it is constructed using the present conditional form of the auxiliary verbs avoir or être + the past participle form of the main verb.
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