Introduction to the verb désespérer
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The English translation of the French verb désespérer is “to despair.” It is pronounced as “deh-zeh-speh-ray.”
The word désespérer comes from the Latin word “desperare,” meaning “to lose hope.” It entered the French language in the 12th century.
In everyday French, désespérer is often used in the Conditionnel Passé tense, which expresses past actions that did not occur due to a condition or circumstance. It is typically used to express regret or disappointment about a past event.
Three examples of désespérer in the Conditionnel Passé tense are:
- Si j’avais trouvé mon passeport, je ne me serais pas désespéré à l’aéroport. (If I had found my passport, I would not have despaired at the airport.)
- Ils se seraient désespérés s’ils avaient raté leur train pour Paris. (They would have despaired if they had missed their train to Paris.)
- Je me serais désespérée si je n’avais pas réussi mon examen. (I would have despaired if I had failed my exam.)
Table of the Conditionnel Passé (Conditional Past) Tense Conjugation of désespérer
||Si je n’avais pas réussi, j’aurais désespéré.
||If I had not succeeded, I would have despaired.
||Tu aurais désespéré si tu avais échoué.
||You would have despaired if you had failed.
||Il aurait désespéré s’il avait perdu son travail.
||He would have despaired if he had lost his job.
||Elle aurait désespéré si elle avait raté son examen.
||She would have despaired if she had failed her exam.
||On aurait désespéré si on avait perdu notre maison.
||One would have despaired if we had lost our house.
||Nous aurions désespéré sans ton aide.
||We would have despaired without your help.
||Vous auriez désespéré si vous aviez manqué votre vol.
||You would have despaired if you had missed your flight.
||Ils auraient désespéré sans leur famille.
||They would have despaired without their family.
||Elles auraient désespéré si elles avaient été seules.
||They (female) would have despaired if they had been alone.
Other Conjugations for Désespérer.
Le Present (Present Tense) Conjugation of the French Verb désespérer
Imparfait (Imperfect) Tense Conjugation of the French Verb désespérer
Passé Simple (Simple Past) Tense Conjugation of the French Verb désespérer
Passé Composé (Present Perfect) Tense Conjugation of the French Verb désespérer
Futur Simple (Simple Future) Tense Conjugation of the French Verb désespérer
Futur Proche (Near Future) Tense Conjugation of the French Verb désespérer
Plus-que-parfait (Pluperfect) Tense Conjugation of the French Verb désespérer
Passé Antérieur (Past Anterior) Tense Conjugation of the French Verb désespérer
Futur Antérieur (Future Anterior) Tense Conjugation of the French Verb désespérer
Subjonctif Présent (Subjunctive Present) Tense Conjugation of the French Verb désespérer
Subjonctif Passé (Subjunctive Past) Tense Conjugation of the French Verb désespérer
Subjonctif Imparfait (Subjunctive Imperfect) Tense Conjugation of the French Verb désespérer
Subjonctif Plus-que-parfait (Subjunctive Pluperfect) Tense Conjugation of the French Verb désespérer
Conditionnel Présent (Conditional Present) Tense Conjugation of the French Verb désespérer
Conditionnel Passé (Conditional Past) Tense Conjugation of the French Verb désespérer (this article)
L’impératif Présent (Imperative Present) Tense Conjugation of the French Verb désespérer
L’infinitif Présent (Infinitive Present) Tense Conjugation of the French Verb désespérer
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Désespérer – 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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