Tag Archive | French Subjunctive

Uses of the Subjunctive

Continuing on with the subjunctive subject, we’ll go over the uses of the subjunctive this week. The present subjunctive is used in subordinate clauses appearing after main clauses that imply that someone wants someone to do something or that someone wants something to happen that is not yet part of reality or that person’s experience.

Verbs of wanting or ordering someone to do something include vouloirdésirersouhaitervouloir bien (to be willing), commanderordonner (to order), and exiger (to demand).

The present subjunctive can follow a verb in any tense in the main clause.

Elle ne veut pas qu’il revienne. | She doesn’t want him to come back.

Nous souhaitons que vous trouviez un poste. | We hope that you will find a job.

Je veux bien que tu fasses sa connaissance. | I’d like for you to meet him.

J’ai ordonné que vous restiez. | I ordered you to remain.

Le prof a exigé que nous sachions tout. |The professor demanded that we know everything.

Verbs permitting, forbidding, and preventing include permettreautoriserdéfendreinterdire (to prohibit/forbid), éviter (to avoid), and empêcher (to avoid/prevent).

Je ne permettrai pas que vous me parliez comme ça. | I won’t allow you to speak to me like that.

Personne n’a autorisé que vous sortiez. | No one has authorised you to go out.

Je défends que tu me répondes sur ce ton. | I forbid you to answer me like that.

Il empêche que nous fassions notre travail. | He’s keeping us from doing our work.

Verbs of asking an suggesting include diredemandersuggérerproposer, and recommander.

Je dis qu’il vienne. | I’m telling him to come.

Il a demandé que tout le monde soit présent. | He asked that everyone be present.

Je suggère qu’ils y aillent. | I suggest that they go there.

Il propose que nous travaillions ensemble. | He suggests that we work together.

Vous recommandez que je prenne l’avion ? | Do you recommend that I take the plane?

Verbs that try to get someone to do something by expressing likes, preferences, or waiting include aimer (to want), aimer mieux (to prefer), préférer (to prefer), accepter (to agree), admettre (to allow), and attendre (to wait for).

J’aimerais que vous m’aidiez. | I’d like for you to help me.

J’aimerais mieux qu’elle s’en aille. | I’d prefer for her to go away.

Personne n’acceptera que tu partes. | No one will agree to your leaving.

Sa mère n’admettre pas qu’elle mette cette robe. | Her mother won’t allow her to wear that dress.

Nous attendons que vous soyez prêt. | We’re waiting for you to be ready.

This wraps up the subjunctive. Let me know if there’s something in particular you would like me to go over in a future post. Have a great week, everyone!

A bientôt !


The Subjunctive in Noun Clauses

A noun clause is a subordinate clause that functions as a noun, that is, it can serve as either the subject or the object of a verb. Noun clauses are introduced in French by the conjunction que.

The following examples have dependent noun clauses in the indicative. They show events perceived as part of reality because they are the objects of verbs such as savoirpenserentendre (dire), and voir.

Jesais que Jérôme habite ce quartier. | I know that Jérôme lives in this neighbourhood.

Je pense que la réunion est en haut. | I think that the meeting is upstairs.

On a entendu dire que l’entreprise a des problèmes. | We have heard that the firm has problems.

Je vois que les résultats sont bons. | I see that the results are good.

Note that in the above examples, the subordinate clauses beginning with que are the direct objects of the verbs. They all answer the question “Qu’est-ce que?

  • Qu’est-ce que tu sais ? → Je sais que Jérôme habite ce quartier.
  • Qu’est-ce que tu penses ? → Je pense que la réunion est en haut.
  • Qu’est-ce que vous avez entendu dire ? → On a entendu dire que l’entreprise a des problèmes.
  • Qu’est-ce que tu vois ?  → Je vois que les résultats sont bons.

Next week I will go over the uses of the subjunctive, so stay tuned for that! Have a great week, everyone!

A bientôt !


The Subjunctive : The Present Subjunctive

The Subjunctive is a mood used largely in subordinate clauses – clauses that do not stand alone but that are part of a larger sentence. The subjunctive is used after main clauses that express volition – the imposition of will to get someone else to do something; emotion – feelings, a personal reaction to an event or condition; and doubt – uncertainty, denial, or negation of facts and opinions.

Forming the Present Subjunctive

All French verbs, except for être, have the same endings in the present subjunctive. The stem of the present subjunctive for most verbs is the nous form of the present tense without the -ions ending. The following examples of subjunctive forms will be shown after il faut que (one must, it is necessary to/that):

parler (1st person plural present parlons, stem parl-) to speak

Il faut que je parle                  Il faut que nous parlions

Il faut que tu parles                Il faut que vous parliez

Il faut qu’il/elle/on parle          Il faut qu’ils/elles parlent

finir (1st person plural present finissons, stem finiss-) to finish

Il faut que je finisse                Il faut que nous finissions

Il faut que tu finisses             Il faut que vous finissiez

Il faut qu’il/elle/on finisse       Il faut qu’ils/elles finissent

vendre (1st person plural present vendons, stem vend-) to sell

Il faut que je vende                 Il faut que nous vendions

Il faut que tu vendes               Il faut que vous vendiez

Il faut qu’il/elle/on vende         Il faut qu’ils/elles vendent

In the subjunctive of -ir and -re verbs, the final consonant of the stem is sounded in the singular as well as the plural. The presence of that final consonant is the signal of the subjunctive in speech:

  • je finis vs. je finisse
  • je vends vs. je vende

Next week I will continue on this subject of the subjunctive. There is a lot to go over. I hope everyone is having a wonderful week!

A la prochaine…