Difference between le futur simple and conditionnel?

I understand one is a tense and the other a mood (not sure of what this means though)

I also know that one is i will and the other i would


Je mangerai

Je mangerais

If the above is correct…how is this identified verbally?


  1. Je mangerai un bon dîner ce soir: Futur - I will eat a good dinner this evening.
  2. Je mangerais un bon dîner si j’avais de l’argent: Conditionnel - I would eat a good dinner, if I had money. (or is “I should eat …” better in this case in English?)
  3. Il a dit qu’il viendrait ce soir à sept heures: Futur du passé - He said that he would come this evening at seven o’clock…
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That makes sense, thanks a lot! Which would you consider to be the most important tenses/ moods? Currently I’m learning 6 - present, futur proche, futur simple, passe compose, imparfait, conditionnel.

all ai ending in future or passé simple are pronounced é = the same as infinitive ending in er

all ais ait aient in conditonnel or imparfait are pronounced è = like the vowel in english get or pet or the first vowel in être

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Add present subjunctive and imperative and you’re golden
As for your original question:
As Benscheelings has explained, the difference in meaning is as you said: je mangerai (I will eat) vs. je mangerais (I would eat)
I think you also asked about the verbal difference. In principle, “mangerai” is pronounced with a “close e”, as if it were written “mangeré” (similar to the vowel sound in “say” but without the final glide);
“mangerais”, on the other hand, would be pronounced with an “open e” (similar to the vowel in “bed”)
I’m not sure if every native speaker makes this difference nowadays, though. Maybe some native could comment?


Thanks for the explanation it’s all making so much more sense now! So I should add present subjunctive and imperative? I will google these now!

Not in southern France. To us there is no difference at all between those different spellings, they all sound like é. I wasn’t even aware that they were supposed to be pronounced differently actually. I thought people up north pronounced them all like è.

Thank you for confirming, Jorgis. It’s what I’d heard. I also think that many people in the North don’t make the difference either. Anyway, as a foreign learner I learned to make it, hahaha, I even pronounce “un” and “in” differently, at least when I speak slowly, I think that makes my accent kind of old-fashioned

“un” and “in” are completely different sounds to me. I think people in the North (not sure where this North starts) do not distinguish them but we do. There is also a difference regarding “o”, “ô”, “eau”, “au”. To me they all sound the same. I have heard people say “Rhône” or “jaune” in an odd fashion. haha

I guess the trick is not to overdo it! People who pronounce “ai-ais-aient…” è sound pedant to us (we say Parisian :p) but to tell the truth I’ve rarely come across people who sounded like that. Most of the time I don’t notice it, or only if they speak slowly. The “o” vs “au” / “ô” thing strikes me more.