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TNs, U82: Verbs: Subjunctive Present (Rules & Trends, Conjugations)

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Unlike the English subjunctive, the French subjunctive mood is common and required, both in writing and in speech. It is even used in informal conversations.

Rules and trends :

  • A subjunctive is required if the main clause has one of the following verbs: all verbs of likes and dislikes, as well as verbs expressing feelings (fear, wish, doubt, regret, happiness, sorrow, etc.), order, obligation or necessity.

Je suis désolé qu'il soit ici. — I am sorry that he is here.

  • The subjunctive mood is also required when the verb's subject in the subordinate clause is different from that in the main clause.

Je regrette qu'il soit ici. — I regret that he is here. (Subject differs => Subjunctive)
Je déteste être ici. — I hate being here. (Subject is the same => Infinitive)

  • Usually, the subordinate clause is introduced by the conjunction que, or other conjunctions, like avant que, bien que, afin que, pour que, quoique.

  • Some impersonal expressions automatically prompt a subjunctive, the most common being il faut que. Others include : il est bon que, c’est bien que, il est nécessaire que, il est important que.

  • Some verbs that are usually constructed with the indicative switch to the subjunctive when they are in the negative, like penser and croire.

  • Some relative clauses can be found in subjunctive, when the main clause has such expressions as le seul qui/que, le premier qui/que, le dernier qui/que, or a superlative (le/la/les plus + adjective).

Conjugation:

The French subjunctive has 4 tenses : present, imperfect, past and pluperfect. There is no future tense and among the 3 past tenses, only the subjunctive past is commonly used.

The subjunctive present endings are the same for all verbs:

Pronoun Ending
Je -e
Tu -es
Il/Elle -e
Nous -ions
Vous -iez
Ils/Elles -ent

In most cases, the subjunctive is formed by removing the –ent ending from the ils/elles indicative present form, and then adding the subjunctive endings.

-er verbs:

For je, tu, il, elle, on, ils, elles, the subjunctive present form and pronunciation are identical to those of the indicative present :

chanter — stem = chant-ent

Subject Verb
que je chante
que tu chantes
qu’il/elle/on chante
qu’ils/elles chantent

For nous, vous, the subjunctive present form and pronunciation are similar to those of the indicative imperfect :

Subject Verb
que nous chantions
que vous chantiez

-ir and –re verbs:

For "je, tu, il, elle, on", the subjunctive present is different from the indicative present, because the stem is different. Yet the pronunciation is the same as that of the ils/elles indicative present.

finir — stem = finiss-ent

Subject Verb
que je finisse
que tu finisses
qu’il/elle/on finisse
qu’ils/elles finissent

dormir — stem = dorm-ent

Subject Verb
que je dorme
que tu dormes
qu’il/elle/on dorme
qu’ils/elles dorment

comprendre — stem = comprenn-ent

Subject Verb
que je comprenne
que tu comprennes
qu’il/elle/on comprenne
qu’ils/elles comprennent

For nous, vous, the subjunctive present form and pronunciation are similar to those of the indicative imperfect :

finir — stem = finiss-ent

Subject Verb
que nous finissions
que vous finissiez

dormir — stem = dorm-ent

Subject Verb
que nous dormions
que vous dormiez

comprendre — stem = comprenn-ent

Subject Verb
que nous comprenions
que vous compreniez

Other common and irregular verbs:

Subject Être Avoir Aller Faire
que je/j' sois aie aille fasse
que tu sois aies ailles fasses
qu’il/elle/on soit ait aille fasse
que nous soyons ayons allions fassions
que vous soyez ayez alliez fassiez
qu’ils/elles soient aient aillent fassent
Subject Courir Voir Venir Falloir
que je/j' coure voie vienne -
que tu coures voies viennes -
qu’il/elle/on coure voie vienne qu’il faille
que nous courions voyions venions -
que vous couriez voyiez veniez -
qu’ils/elles courent voient viennent -
Subject Pouvoir Vouloir Savoir Devoir
que je puisse veuille sache doive
que tu puisses veuilles saches doives
qu’il/elle/on puisse veuille sache doive
que nous puissions voulions sachions devions
que vous puissiez vouliez sachiez deviez
qu’ils/elles puissent veuillent sachent doivent

Important: If you find any errors in the Tips and Notes, have questions related to the grammar points above, or would like to discuss the topic in depth, please feel free to comment below. We ask that you keep your comments on topic so that this post stays educational and everyone can benefit from them. Any spam or unrelated comments will be deleted.

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3 weeks ago

4 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/D9PyKDFm
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I think I should have said, "...que vous nous a donné gratuitement.

3 weeks ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Sitesurf
Mod
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... que vous nous avez donné gratuitement

3 weeks ago

https://www.duolingo.com/D9PyKDFm
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Merci.

3 weeks ago

https://www.duolingo.com/D9PyKDFm
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Merci bien pour le cadeau de ce livre de grammaire que vous nous donne gratuit.

3 weeks ago
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