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In the following proposals

Et si on faisait un pique-nique?

I do not understand why an author uses imparfait, whereas in the sentence

On pourrait aller dans la forêt

as you can see conditionnel présent is used.

Please explain

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How different is it different from English? You would use What if we went on a pique-nique? or We could go to the forest, respectively using preterit and conditionnal. – Alexis Pigeon Aug 22 '13 at 14:36
@AlexisPigeon Could you please enlighten, how to make out whether there is a condition involved or not? (I tend to think of it as follows—if X happens then Y happens...) – Abhimanyu Arora Aug 22 '13 at 14:45
up vote 2 down vote accepted

In your first example, the use of imparfait comes because of the si. Let's continue the example:

Si on faisait un pique-nique, on mangerait bien.

Si introduces a condition, and thus should always be followed by imparfait. And then, the next verb is conditionnel.

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Si je trouve un contre-exemple, je l’ajouterai en commentaire. – Édouard Aug 22 '13 at 15:44
Of course a condition is not necessarily in imparfait. If not about proposals, present is possible as well. – Stéphane Gimenez Aug 24 '13 at 17:44

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