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I came across use of ‘aurait’ where there should be ‘avait’, according to me.

Context: News report from Daily Mail stating that British actress Emma Watson was taking a pause from her acting career (I couldn’t find this exact sentence)

English sentence: She had put her career on hold.

French: Elle aurait mis sa carrière en pause. (from Hugo Décrypte’s Actus du jour at 9:04)

Here, shouldn’t it be ‘Elle avait’ and not ‘Elle aurait’, because using aurait instead of avait changes the meaning?

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This is a valid use of the conditional mood: it is used to report some information that has not been confirmed, and by using this mood, the journalist stresses cautiously that he is reporting what may be rumours. This is a way to take a distance with the statement.

Note that the journalist actually debunks this news and reveals it was some fake information just after that, so the choice of the conditional fit perfectly.

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  • Thanks, so in this context, we would translate 'Elle aurait mis sa carrière en pause' as 'She had put her career on hold' right? And it would have been equally right had the phrase been 'Elle avait mis sa carrière en pause' ? Feb 27 at 7:39
  • And one last thing, the phrase used is 'Elle aurait mis' (that's how I heard it and that's what was shown with the automatic French sub-title). Shouldn't it be 'Elle aurait mise'? Feb 27 at 7:41
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    In this context, you can translate "elle aurait mis sa carrière en pause" by "she has allegedly put her career on hold". The "allegedly" conveys the nuance of the conditional mood here.
    – Greg
    Feb 27 at 8:10
  • (2) Out of context, "elle avait mis sa carrière en pause" would translate as "she had put her career on hold". It is grammatically correct here as well, but 1) the "plus-que-parfait" tense means it happened prior to another action in the past , which I could not see here - eg "elle avait mis sa carrière en pause mais a décidé d'accepter un nouveau rôle" 2) the choice of the indicative mood means it is a fact that is assumed to be true.
    – Greg
    Feb 27 at 8:10
  • (3) "elle aurait mis sa carrière en pause" is correct. The agreement of the past participle is a tricky subject, with rules that are too numerous to add in this comment. In short, here it is does not agree with the subject because the auxiliary is "avoir". And it does not agree with the direct object "carrière" either: the past participle used with auxiliary "avoir" agrees with the direct object only if this direct object precedes the verb.
    – Greg
    Feb 27 at 8:13

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