Tag Archive | French Adjective Clauses

The Subjunctive in Adjective Clauses

There is even more to the subjunctive than we have already tapped into. I’ve discussed this not too long ago here, here, and here.

An adjective clause is a subordinate clause that describes a noun much as an adjective does. Adjective clauses are also called relative clauses.

Most adjective clauses appear in the indicative:

Il a un travail qui lui plait. | He has a job that he likes.

Nous avons un bureau qui est confortable. | We have an office that’s comfortable.

Je me sers d’un ordinateur qui a beaucoup de mémoire. | I use a computer that has a lot of memory.

Il y a des entreprises ici qui font du commerce avec le Mexique. | There are firms here that trade with Mexico.

However, if the noun of the main clause in not identified or is negated, then the verb of the adjective clause appears in the subjunctive:

Il veut un travail qui lui plaise. | He wants a job that he will like.

On a besoin d’un bureau qui soit confortable. | We need an office that’s comfortable.

Je cherche un ordinateur qui ait beaucoup de mémoire. | I’m looking for a computer that has a lot of memory.

Il n’y a pas d’enterprises ici qui fassent du commerce avec le Mexique. | There are no firms here that trade with Mexico.

The subjunctive is therefore used after il n’y a rien qui/que, il n’y a personne qui/que, and il n’y a aucun/aucune X qui/que:

Il n’y a rien qui me plaise. | There’s nothing that appeals to me.

Il n’y a personne ici qui sache programmer. | There’s no one here who knows how to program.

Il n’y a aucune banque qui soit ouverte. | There’s no bank that’s open.

The indicative is used when there is no negative:

Il y a quelque chose qui me plaît. | There’s something that appeals to me.

Il y a quelqu’un ici qui sait programmer. | There’s someone here who knows how to program.

Il y a une banque qui est ouverte. | There’s a bank that’s open.

There’s even more on this subject, so be sure to come back next week for more! Have a great week, everyone!

A bientôt !