Should’ve, Would’ve, Could’ve….

I believe having regrets is a waste of time and energy, and that it’s best to learn from our past in order to move on.  However, in everyday language we use the expressions, “should’ve/would’ve/could’ve” often to justify, reason, and explain a given situation, especially by adding the word “if.”

In French, “should have, would have, could have” is expressed by the past conditional tense:  formed by using the conditional of the helping verbs “avoir” or être” + the past participle of the verb.  It takes practice, so here’s some sentences to translate (and a beautiful song):

(See answers below, and enjoy a video song called  “shoulda, woulda, coulda”)

1.  I would have gone to France, but I didn’t have enough money.

2. I would have liked to see her.

3. We would have returned to see the movie.

4. I would never have done that.

5. You could have done it yourself.

6. He should have been there.

7. She ought to have saved some money.

8. They could’ve driven to Monaco tomorrow.

9. We should have left early.

10. We would have arrived on time, if he had not come late.


1-Je serais allé(e) en France, mais je n’avais pas assez d’argent.; 2-J’aurais aimé la voir.; 3- Nous serions revenu(e)s voir le film.; 4-Je n’aurais jamais fait cela.; 5-Tu aurais pu le faire toi-meme.; 6-Il aurait été là.; 7-Elle aurait dû économiser de l’argent.; 8-Ils auraient pu conduire à Monaco demain.; 9-Nous aurions dû partir plus tôt.; 10-Nous serions arrivés à temps, si il n’était pas venu en retard.

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