Introduction to the verb contourner
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The English translation of the French verb “contourner” is “to bypass” or “to go around.” It is pronounced as “kohn-toor-nay” in the infinitive form.
The word “contourner” comes from the Latin word “contornare,” which means “to turn around.” It is commonly used in everyday French to describe the action of avoiding or going around something.
In the Conditionnel Passé tense, “contourner” is used to indicate a past hypothetical action, often with a sense of regret or missed opportunity. Here are three simple examples of its usage in this tense:
- Si j’avais su, j’aurais contourner le bouchon sur l’autoroute. (If I had known, I would have bypassed the traffic jam on the highway.)
- Nous aurions pu contourner ces règles strictes si nous avions été plus astucieux. (We could have gone around these strict rules if we had been more clever.)
- Elle se serait retrouvée sans abri si elle n’avait pas contourner la tempête. (She would have ended up homeless if she hadn’t gone around the storm.)
In each of these examples, the verb “contourner” is used to express a past action that did not actually happen, but which could have happened in different circumstances. It is often used in conjunction with the Conditionnel Présent tense to further emphasize the conditional nature of the action.
Table of the Conditionnel Passé (Conditional Past) Tense Conjugation of contourner
||Si j’avais su, j’aurais contourné la ville.
||If I had known, I would have bypassed the city.
||Tu aurais contourné les règles.
||You would have circumvented the rules.
||Il aurait contourné la zone interdite.
||He would have gone around the restricted area.
||Elle aurait contourné le problème.
||She would have found a way around the problem.
||On aurait contourné la situation.
||One would have bypassed the situation.
||Nous aurions contourné la montagne.
||We would have gone around the mountain.
||Vous auriez contourné le blocus.
||You would have avoided the blockade.
||Ils auraient contourné la loi.
||They would have circumvented the law.
||Elles auraient contourné le contrôle de sécurité.
||They (female) would have bypassed the security checkpoint.
Other Conjugations for Contourner.
Le Present (Present Tense) Conjugation of the French Verb contourner
Imparfait (Imperfect) Tense Conjugation of the French Verb contourner
Passé Simple (Simple Past) Tense Conjugation of the French Verb contourner
Passé Composé (Present Perfect) Tense Conjugation of the French Verb contourner
Futur Simple (Simple Future) Tense Conjugation of the French Verb contourner
Futur Proche (Near Future) Tense Conjugation of the French Verb contourner
Plus-que-parfait (Pluperfect) Tense Conjugation of the French Verb contourner
Passé Antérieur (Past Anterior) Tense Conjugation of the French Verb contourner
Futur Antérieur (Future Anterior) Tense Conjugation of the French Verb contourner
Subjonctif Présent (Subjunctive Present) Tense Conjugation of the French Verb contourner
Subjonctif Passé (Subjunctive Past) Tense Conjugation of the French Verb contourner
Subjonctif Imparfait (Subjunctive Imperfect) Tense Conjugation of the French Verb contourner
Subjonctif Plus-que-parfait (Subjunctive Pluperfect) Tense Conjugation of the French Verb contourner
Conditionnel Présent (Conditional Present) Tense Conjugation of the French Verb contourner
Conditionnel Passé (Conditional Past) Tense Conjugation of the French Verb contourner (this article)
L’impératif Présent (Imperative Present) Tense Conjugation of the French Verb contourner
L’infinitif Présent (Infinitive Present) Tense Conjugation of the French Verb contourner
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Contourner – 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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