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Kwiziq community member
21 September 2018
The phrase “if you could run” uses L’imparfait. But the phrase “if you run” uses the present tense. Could you explain this difference to me? Thanks.
This question relates to:French lesson "Using L'Imparfait in hypothetical clauses introduced by si (if) + Le Conditionnel Présent"
There are three levels of "probability" with si-clauses:
If I run. -- Si je cours. (Possible)
If I ran. -- Si je courais. (Hypothetical)
If I had run. -- Si j'avais couru. (Impossible, it already happened.)
This is pretty much parallel what you would use in English.
So "if I could run" is a hypothetical case (#2). Therefore:
Si je pouvais courir.
The other two cases are:
Si je peux courir. -- If I can run
Si j'avais pu courir. -- If I could have run (If I had been able to run).
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