Introduction to the verb buter
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The English translation of the French verb buter is “to stumble” or “to bump into.” It is pronounced as “byoo-teh” in its infinitive form.
Buter comes from the Latin word “butyrum,” meaning butter. In everyday French, it is most often used in the Conditionnel Présent tense, which expresses a possible or hypothetical action. It is formed by adding the endings -ais, -ais, -ait, -ions, -iez, -aient to the stem but-.
Here are three simple examples of its usage in Conditionnel Présent, with their respective English translations:
- Si je gagnais à la loterie, j’enverrais ma famille en vacances. (If I won the lottery, I would send my family on vacation.)
- Tu buterais contre le mur si tu continuais à marcher les yeux fermés. (You would stumble into the wall if you kept walking with your eyes closed.)
- Elle buterait sur les mots si elle devait parler en public. (She would stumble over her words if she had to speak in public.)
Table of the Conditionnel Présent (Conditional Present) Tense Conjugation of buter
||Je buterais contre le mur.
||I would bump into the wall.
||Tu buterais sur la chaise.
||You would stumble on the chair.
||Il buterait sur la pierre.
||He would trip on the stone.
||Elle buterait sur le câble.
||She would stumble over the cable.
||On buterait sur une racine.
||One would stumble on a root.
||Nous butterions sur le chemin.
||We would stumble on the path.
||Vous butteriez sur le tapis.
||You would trip on the carpet.
||Ils butteraient sur le trottoir.
||They would stumble on the sidewalk.
||Elles butteraient sur le caillou.
||They would trip on the rock.
Other Conjugations for Buter.
Le Present (Present Tense) Conjugation of the French Verb buter
Imparfait (Imperfect) Tense Conjugation of the French Verb buter
Passé Simple (Simple Past) Tense Conjugation of the French Verb buter
Passé Composé (Present Perfect) Tense Conjugation of the French Verb buter
Futur Simple (Simple Future) Tense Conjugation of the French Verb buter
Futur Proche (Near Future) Tense Conjugation of the French Verb buter
Plus-que-parfait (Pluperfect) Tense Conjugation of the French Verb buter
Passé Antérieur (Past Anterior) Tense Conjugation of the French Verb buter
Futur Antérieur (Future Anterior) Tense Conjugation of the French Verb buter
Subjonctif Présent (Subjunctive Present) Tense Conjugation of the French Verb buter
Subjonctif Passé (Subjunctive Past) Tense Conjugation of the French Verb buter
Subjonctif Imparfait (Subjunctive Imperfect) Tense Conjugation of the French Verb buter
Subjonctif Plus-que-parfait (Subjunctive Pluperfect) Tense Conjugation of the French Verb buter
Conditionnel Présent (Conditional Present) Tense Conjugation of the French Verb buter (this article)
Conditionnel Passé (Conditional Past) Tense Conjugation of the French Verb buter
L’impératif Présent (Imperative Present) Tense Conjugation of the French Verb buter
L’infinitif Présent (Infinitive Present) Tense Conjugation of the French Verb buter
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Buter – About the French Conditionnel Présent (Conditional Present) Tense
The French “Conditionnel Présent” tense, often called the present conditional tense in English, is used to express actions or events that are considered hypothetical, possible, or uncertain in the present or future. It’s the equivalent of “would” or “could” in English.
To form the Conditionnel Présent tense for regular verbs, you take the infinitive form of the verb and add the appropriate endings. For example, using the verb “parler” (to speak):
Je parlerais (I would speak)
Tu parlerais (You would speak)
Il/elle/on parlerait (He/she/one would speak)
Nous parlerions (We would speak)
Vous parleriez (You would speak)
Ils/elles parleraient (They would speak)
Note – For irregular verbs, the stem might change, so you need to memorize the conjugation.
Common Everyday Usage Patterns
Expressing Polite Requests
The Conditionnel Présent is often used to make polite requests or suggestions. Instead of using the imperative, which can be more direct, the conditional is softer and more courteous. For example: “Je voudrais un café, s’il vous plaît” (I would like a coffee, please).
Expressing Hypothetical Situations
It’s used to talk about hypothetical or unreal situations. For instance, “Si j’avais de l’argent, j’achèterais une nouvelle voiture” (If I had money, I would buy a new car).
Expressing Doubt or Uncertainty
The conditional can convey doubt or uncertainty about something in the present or future. “Il serait peut-être en retard” (He might be late).
Interactions with Other Tenses
The Conditionnel Présent is often used with the present tense to express hypothetical or conditional statements. For example, “Si tu viens demain, nous irons au cinéma” (If you come tomorrow, we will go to the movies).
The Conditionnel Présent can also be used with past tenses like the imparfait to indicate a past hypothetical action. For instance, “J’aurais aimé être là hier” (I would have liked to be there yesterday).
The Conditionnel Présent can be combined with the future tense to indicate future actions that are dependent on certain conditions. For example, “Il viendrait si tu l’invitais” (He would come if you invited him).
If you want to express a hypothetical action in the past that didn’t happen, you can use the Conditionnel Présent with the past participle to form the conditional perfect. For example, “Il aurait fini son travail s’il n’était pas tombé malade” (He would have finished his work if he hadn’t gotten sick).
The Conditionnel Présent is a versatile tense in French, allowing speakers to discuss possibilities, hypothetical scenarios, and make polite requests. It’s essential to understand its usage patterns and how it interacts with other tenses to communicate effectively in various situations.
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