I'm trying to say the following sentence in french:

I was hoping you could tell me (something).

In Spanish, one would conjugate "to hope" (espérer) in the indicative imperfect, and "to can" (pouvoir) in the imperfect subjunctive, in the following manner:

Esperaba que me pudiera(s) decir...

However I don't know if the same thing is done in French. I was hoping someone could tell me whether this is the case. :P Thanks in advance!

2 Answers 2


The imperfect subjunctive in French is very rare in everyday French, so you will rather use the present subjunctive:

J'espérais que tu puisses me dire...

J'espérais que vous puissiez me dire...

The imperfect subjunctive would be:

J'espérais que tu pusses me dire...

J'espérais que vous pussiez me dire...

It is not wrong, but no native speaker would ever say that: the subjonctif imparfait and subjonctif plus-que-parfait are only found in "classical" literature and in very, very formal speeches. French native children have to learn it in school as these are verbal forms that they have probably never heard before. If you used it, a native speaker would at best think you speak in a surprisingly ornate style, or at worst, would not even understand which verb you have used...


I'd say:"J'avais espéré que tu pourrais me dire..." I don't think the tense is important here but the mode is. There is something tentative and nicely polite in "I was hoping" which is rendered by the forlorn "j'avais espéré"... then "could" should be translated into a "conditionnel" "...que tu aurais pu me dire" would also work but sounds a bit "heavy"

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