French First Conditional «Si Clauses»

What is a si clause?

The word si  means if in English.  Si clauses, also known as conditionals or conditional sentences, are used to express what could happen if some condition is met.  Si clauses indicate possibilities which may or may not actually happen. They refer to the present, past, and future. 

Conditional sentences have two parts:  the condition, or si clause, and the result clause which indicates what will happen if the condition of the si clause is met.  The tense of the result clause depends on the tense of the si clause. In other words, the tense of the two clauses follow a pattern that cannot be modified.

👉Scroll down to watch my lesson on 1st conditional French «si clauses»👈

Present + Present

LINK 👉Practice present + present si clauses on quizlet.

  • Si tu ne veux pas y aller, tu restes à la maison.
  • If you don’t want to go, you stay at the house. 
  • Si on a faim, on mange.
  • If we’re hungry, we eat.

Present + Future

If you haven’t learned the futur simple yet, it is fine to use the futur proche.  You’ll see both in the examples.  The futur simple is more common.

  • Si tu parles français tous les jours, tu auras un meilleur niveau.
  • If you speak French every day, you will have a better level.
  • Si tu viens à la réunion avec moi, tu vas mieux comprendre.
  • If you come to the meeting with me, you are going to understand better.
  • Si tu viens à la réunion avec moi, tu comprendras mieux.
  • If you come to the meeting with me, you will understand better.

Present + Imperative (Commands)

The result clause and the si clause can be reversed and that won’t make any difference.  Just make sure to use the present tense in the si clause. You can reverse the order of the clauses in any type of si clause, including when you want to use the imperative to give commands. 

  • Finis tes devoirs avant le dîner si tu peux.
  • Finish your homework before dinner if you can.
  • Si tu n’es pas trop fatigué(e), lis cet article ce soir.
  • If you’re not too tired, read this article tonight.

Si clauses with the passé composé

The si part must always be in the passé composé.  Here are the possible combinations of tenses:

Passé Composé + Present

This is kind of like the present / present construction.  It’s really not used that much, but I’ll show it to you anyway just so that you can have a little exposure to it and see some examples.

  • Si tu n’as pas fini tes devoirs, tu ne peux pas sortir.
  • If you haven’t finished your homework, you cannot go out.
  • Si tu as perdu ton emploi, tu ne peux pas partir en vacances. 
  • If you lost your job, you cannot go on vacation.

Passé Composé + Future

  • Si tu n’as pas pris tes gants, tu auras froid aux mains.
  • If you didn’t take your gloves, you will have cold hands.
  • Si tu n’as rien mangé ce matin, tu auras faim.
  • If you didn’t eat anything this morning,  you will be hungry.

Passé Composé + Imperative (Command)

  • Fais-moi savoir si tu n’as pas compris la leçon.
  • Let me know if you did not understand the lesson.
  • Si tu n’as pas encore vu le film, regarde-le avant d’en parler.
  • If you haven’t yet seen the movie, watch it before talking about it.

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