The Past Conditional Tense
The past conditional tense is used to refer to the same kinds of events as the conditional, but simply in the past. Don't let its construction fool you. Despite the fact that it looks complex with its auxiliary construction, it is a simple reference to past events in French. In English, this is often accomplished by saying “would have,” for example:
We would have liked to go to the theater.
Keep in mind that the past conditional tense is a past tense; don't fall into the trap of thinking it's in the future because the formation of the auxiliary verb reminds you of the future. Learn to recognize when
Note that when the main clause is used in the past conditional, the subordinate clause must be conjugated using the
I would have been rich if I had bought this property.