Introduction to the verb colporter
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The English translation of the French verb colporter is “to peddle” or “to hawk.” The infinitive form is pronounced “kohl-por-tey.”
The word colporter comes from the Old French word “colport,” meaning “to carry on one’s back.” It derives from the Latin word “colportare,” which combines the prefix “col-” (meaning “together”) and “portare” (meaning “to carry”). In everyday French, colporter is most often used in the Conditionnel Passé tense, which expresses a hypothetical or unreal action in the past.
Example 1: Si j’avais assez d’argent, j’aurais colporté des articles en ville. (If I had enough money, I would have peddled items in the city.)
Example 2: Elle aurait colporté des rumeurs si elle avait su la vérité. (She would have spread rumors if she had known the truth.)
Example 3: Nous aurions colporté ces souvenirs si nous étions allés en vacances ensemble. (We would have hawked these souvenirs if we had gone on vacation together.)
In these examples, the Conditionnel Passé tense is used to express a hypothetical situation or action in the past. The verb colporter is conjugated with the auxiliary verb avoir and the past participle form of the verb (i.e. colporté) to indicate that the action of peddling took place in the past. The use of the conditional tense also adds a sense of uncertainty or doubt to the action.
Table of the Conditionnel Passé (Conditional Past) Tense Conjugation of colporter
||Si j’avais su, je t’aurais colporté.
||I would have carried (and sold) with you.
||Tu aurais colporté plus tôt.
||You would have carried (and sold) earlier.
||Il aurait colporté des marchandises.
||He would have carried (and sold) goods.
||Elle aurait colporté des tissus.
||She would have carried (and sold) fabrics.
||On aurait colporté des rumeurs.
||One would have spread rumors.
||Nous aurions colporté ensemble.
||We would have carried (and sold) together.
||Vous auriez colporté avec nous.
||You would have carried (and sold) with us.
||Ils auraient colporté leurs produits.
||They would have carried (and sold) their products.
||Elles auraient colporté des bijoux.
||They (female) would have carried (and sold) jewelry.
Other Conjugations for Colporter.
Le Present (Present Tense) Conjugation of the French Verb colporter
Imparfait (Imperfect) Tense Conjugation of the French Verb colporter
Passé Simple (Simple Past) Tense Conjugation of the French Verb colporter
Passé Composé (Present Perfect) Tense Conjugation of the French Verb colporter
Futur Simple (Simple Future) Tense Conjugation of the French Verb colporter
Futur Proche (Near Future) Tense Conjugation of the French Verb colporter
Plus-que-parfait (Pluperfect) Tense Conjugation of the French Verb colporter
Passé Antérieur (Past Anterior) Tense Conjugation of the French Verb colporter
Futur Antérieur (Future Anterior) Tense Conjugation of the French Verb colporter
Subjonctif Présent (Subjunctive Present) Tense Conjugation of the French Verb colporter
Subjonctif Passé (Subjunctive Past) Tense Conjugation of the French Verb colporter
Subjonctif Imparfait (Subjunctive Imperfect) Tense Conjugation of the French Verb colporter
Subjonctif Plus-que-parfait (Subjunctive Pluperfect) Tense Conjugation of the French Verb colporter
Conditionnel Présent (Conditional Present) Tense Conjugation of the French Verb colporter
Conditionnel Passé (Conditional Past) Tense Conjugation of the French Verb colporter (this article)
L’impératif Présent (Imperative Present) Tense Conjugation of the French Verb colporter
L’infinitif Présent (Infinitive Present) Tense Conjugation of the French Verb colporter
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Colporter – About the French Conditionnel Passé (Conditional Past) Tense
The French “Conditionnel Passé” is a compound tense used to express hypothetical or unreal actions in the past. It is formed by combining the conditional of the auxiliary verb “avoir” or “être” and the past participle of the main verb.
Start with the conditional of the auxiliary verb: For most verbs, use “aurais” (for “avoir”) or “serais” (for “être”) as the conditional form.
With “avoir”: j’aurais, tu aurais, il/elle/on aurait, nous aurions, vous auriez, ils/elles auraient.
With “être”: je serais, tu serais, il/elle/on serait, nous serions, vous seriez, ils/elles seraient.
Add the past participle of the main verb to this conditional form.
For example, if you want to say “I would have done,” you would use “j’aurais fait.” If you want to say “She would have gone,” you would use “elle serait allée.”
Common Everyday Usage Patterns
Expressing Unreal Past Scenarios
The Conditionnel Passé is often used to talk about actions that did not happen in the past, but you are speculating about what would have occurred if they had. It’s a way to discuss hypothetical situations in the past.
Si j’avais su, je t’aurais aidé. (If I had known, I would have helped you.)
Il serait venu s’il avait eu le temps. (He would have come if he had had the time.)
Polite Requests or Suggestions
It can be used to make polite requests or suggestions in the past.
Pourriez-vous m’aider, s’il vous plaît ? (Could you have helped me, please?)
Expressing Doubt or Uncertainty
It can convey doubt or uncertainty regarding past events.
Il aurait peut-être oublié notre rendez-vous. (He might have forgotten our appointment.)
Interactions with Other Tenses
You can use the Conditionnel Passé in combination with the conditional present to describe past actions that were hypothetical at the time they were spoken about. J’aurais aimé que tu m’appelles hier. (I would have liked you to call me yesterday.)
Indicative Past Tenses
You might use the Conditionnel Passé alongside indicative past tenses like the passé composé to contrast hypothetical and real past events. Il est venu hier, mais s’il avait pu, il serait venu la semaine dernière. (He came yesterday, but if he could have, he would have come last week.)
In some cases, you can use the Conditionnel Passé in combination with the conditional future to discuss unreal past events that could have consequences in the future. Si j’avais réussi mon examen, j’aurais un meilleur travail. (If I had passed my exam, I would have a better job.)
In summary, the Conditionnel Passé is used to express hypothetical or unreal actions in the past. It is often used in conjunction with other tenses to convey various nuances in French, allowing speakers to discuss imaginary past scenarios, make polite requests, or express doubt about past events.
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