Structures with Si are used to express an assumption, in other words to express conditions contrary to fact.
The sentence with si is a different clause and is always separated with a comma (,) with the main clause. There are formed as followed :
Si clause + main clause
The clause can also be switched in this case there is no need to add a comma:
Main clause + si clause
The si clauses can use 3 tenses in the French grammar : the present, the past and the future. And there is a definitive sequence of them to be followed.
|Présent||Si je gagnais au loto, je m'achèterais une voiture de course.||(If i won the lottery, I would buy a car race)|
|Passé||Si j'avais gagné au loto, j'aurais acheté une voiture de course.||(If I had won the lottery, I would have bought a car race)|
|Futur||Si je gagne au loto, j'achèterai une voiture de course.||(If I win the lottery, I will buy a car race)|
These clauses express a improbability with regard to the present or the future. The condition can only theocratically be met.
In general, you use it when you imagine something that cannot happen.
To make an assumption in the present, you use:
Si + imperfect + present conditional
|Si + imparfait||Conditionnel présent||Traductions|
|S'il faisait beau,||j'irais à la plage||(If it was sunny, I would go to the beach)|
|Si j'étais français,||je parlerais bien français||(If I was French, I would speak good French)|
To make a suggestion, you use si + imperfect
The clauses express a possibility with regard to the present or the future. In these cases, the condition is completely fulfilled.
To make an assumption in the future you use:
Si + present + future simple
|Si + présent||Futur||Traductions|
|Si je reviens à Paris,||j'irais au Ritz palace.||(If I come back to Paris, I will go to the Ritz)|
|Si je sors tôt,||je passerais chez toi.||(If I leave sooner, I'll come to see you)|
Si is never used after the future, do not confound the indirect speech that uses the future to the assumption that cannot use it.
To express a fact, a generality, you use si + present + present
To express an advice or recommendation, you use si + present + present imperative
When you want to express a certainty, you use quand + future simple
These clauses express an impossibility with regard to the past. There is no way the condition can be met because the events are already over.
The assumption about the past most often expresses regret, something that is over, a situation where someone cannot go back.
To make an assumption in the past, you use:
Si + pluperfect + past conditional
|Si + plus-que-parfait||Conditionel passé||Traductions|
|Si j'avais passé mon bac,||j'aurais fait des études à l'université||(If I had done my A-level, I would have done studies at the university)|
|Si tu étais venue plus tôt,||tu aurais vu ton père||(If you had came sooner, you would have seen your father)|
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