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

  • 1
    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. Commented Aug 22, 2013 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...) Commented Aug 22, 2013 at 14:45

1 Answer 1


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.

  • Si je trouve un contre-exemple, je l’ajouterai en commentaire.
    – Édouard
    Commented Aug 22, 2013 at 15:44
  • Of course a condition is not necessarily in imparfait. If not about proposals, present is possible as well. Commented Aug 24, 2013 at 17:44

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