Tag Archive | French

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…


Comparative & Superlative Forms of Adverbs


Comparisons of Equality & Inequality

The following structures are used to express comparisons of equality or inequality:

Vous ne buvez pas autant que lui. (autant qualifies verb)

You don’t drink as much as him.

Il faudra le récompenser davantage. (davantage qualifies verb)

He’ll have to be rewarded more/given a greater reward.

Cette voiture roule aussi rapidement que l’autre. (aussi qualifies adverb in positive statement)

This car goes as fast as the other.

Il ne m’écrit pas si/aussi souvent que vous. (si or aussi qualifies adverb in negative statement)

He doesn’t write to me as often as you do.

Plus j’étudie ce livre, plus j’admire l’auteur. (plus introduces each clause)

The more I study this book, the more I admire the author.

Comparative Forms

The comparative form of the adverb is made by putting plus before the regular form:

Ce mot s’emploie plus couramment. | This word is more commonly used.

The adverb mal has the regular comparative form plus mal:

Mon oncle va plus mal. | My uncle is feeling/getting worse.

There are several common irregular comparative forms:

beaucoup | much

plus | more

bien | well

mieux | better

peu | little

moins | less

Superlative Forms

The superlative forms of the adverb is made by putting le before the comparative form. This applies to regular and irregular comparative forms. Since adverbs are invariable, le is used irrespective of the gender/sex and number of the subject of the verb.

Ma nièce a tout mangé le plus vite possible.

My niece ate everything as quickly as possible.

Les magasins vendaient ces articles le plus cher possible.

The shops sold these items at the highest price they could.

Wow, first day of June! Fast year this has been so far. I hope you all are doing well!

Merci à vous !



Object Pronouns – Indirect Object Pronouns

Welcome back to part two of object pronouns! You can find part one here.

An indirect object is the person to whom or for whom an action is done. It is connected to its verb by the preposition à.

J’écris à Jean. | I write (toJean.

Les élèves parlent au professeur. | The students talk to the professor.

Nous donnons des cadeaux à nos amis. | We give gifts to our friends.

The French indirect object pronouns refer only to people. Lui may mean either to/for him or to/for her, depending on the context.


Indirect Object Pronouns




first person



second person



third person



The indirect object pronouns follow the same rules for position as the direct object pronouns.

Ce chapeau vous va très bien. | That hat looks very good on you.

Il vous plaît ? | Do you like it?

Et Marion ? Elle a faim ? | What about Marion? Is she hungry?

Oui, je lui prépare un sandwich. | Yes, I’m making a sandwich for her.

Je vais leur téléphoner ce soir. | I’m going to call them this evening.

S’ils ne sont pas là, te peux leur laisser un message au répondeur. | If they’re not there, you can leave them a message on the answering machine.

I hope everyone is having a good week!

Merci à vous !


Object Pronouns – Direct Object Pronouns

A direct object is the person or thing that receives the action of a verb.

Je vois Camille. | I see Camille.

Nous ne voyons pas le magasin. | We don’t see the store.

Je lis mon livre. | I read my book.

Elle porte ses lunettes. | She’s wearing her glasses.

In order to prevent unnecessary repetition, direct object nouns are often replaced by direct object pronouns.

Direct Object Pronouns



First Person

me, m’  me

nous  us

Second Person

te, t’  you

vous  you

Third Person

le, l’  him, it

la, l’  her, it

les  them

Direct object pronouns precede the conjugated verb. Note that before a verb beginning with a vowel or muted hmetelela becomes m’t’l’.

Est-ce que tu achètes ce livre ? | Are you buying that book?

Non, je le regarde tout simplement. | No, I’m just looking at it.

Me retrouvez-vous en ville ? | Will you meet me in town?

Oui, nous t’attendons au café. | Yes, we’ll wait for you at the café.

Tu aimes ces nouvelles chansons ? | Do you lie these new song?

Pas du tout. Je les déteste. | Not at all. I hate them.

Direct object pronouns precede the auxiliary verb in compound tenses. Remember that the past participle agrees in gender and number with a direct object noun or pronoun that precedes it.

As-tu vu Michel ? | Have you seen Michel?

Je l’ai cherché, mais je ne l’ai pas trouvé. | I looked for him, but didn’t find him.

Je t’ai appelé, mais tu ne m’as pas entendu. | I called you, but you didn’t hear me.

Si, je t’ai salué, mais tu ne m’as pas vu. | Yes I did, I waved to you, but you didn’t see me.

Et les lettres ? Où est-ce que vous les avez mises ? | What about the letters? Where did you put them?

Je les ai jetées à la poubelle. Je croyais que vous les avez déjà lues. | I threw them in the garbage. I thought that you had already read them.

When a verb is followed by an infinitive, the direct object pronoun comes before the verb of which it is the direct object… usually the infinitive.

Vous pouvez nous déposer en ville ? | Can you drop us off downtown?

Je regrette, mais je ne peux pas vous prendre. | I’m sorry, but I can’t take you (give you a lift.)

Je peux t’aider ? | Can I help you?

Oui, merci. Tu vois cette chaise ? Tu peux la monter au deuxième étage. | Yes, thank you. Do you see this chair? You can take it up to the third floor.

Be sure to come back next week for part 2 of this post. I hope you all are having a great week!

A la prochaine…


Degrees of Certainty – Impossibility, Doubt

This is the third and last in this 3 part series of French in Action. (Part 1; Part 2) Today we wrap this series up with the negative : Impossibility and Doubt.


The expressions used to denote possibility can be used in the negative to suggest impossibility.

La date nous est impossible.|The date’s impossible for us./We can’t make the date.

Mon fils a toujours tenté l’impossible.|My son’s always tried to do the impossible.

J’aimerais faire le tour du monde, mais c’est un rêve irréalisable.|I’d like to travel around the world, but it’s an impossible dream.

L’accord était voué à l’échec.|The agreement was impossible/bound to fail.

Il est impossible qu‘elle soit exclue de l’équipe.|She can’t possibly be excluded from the team.

Votre démarche a rendu impossible tout compromis.|Your action has made any compromise impossible.

Il est hors de question que vous le fassiez à sa place.|It’s out of the question for you to do it instead of him/her.


French possesses the verb douter, the cognate of the English verb “to doubt”. The constructions in which it is used can confuse English speakers. Note that se douter de quelque chose means “to suspect that something is the case” (as in the opposite of doubt).

On peut douter de l’authenticité de la signature.|There is reason to doubt whether the signature is authentic.

Je doute qu‘il ait eu le temps de tout faire.|I doubt if/that he had time to do everything.

Il est parti ? Je m’en doutais.|Has he left? I thought as much.

Je me doutais de ses intentions.|I suspected those were his intentions.

J’ai hésité à vous réveiller.|I wasn’t sure whether I should wake you up.

Je me suis méfié de ce qu’il a dit.|I wasn’t sure whether to trust what he said.

On peut avoir des doutes sur ses capacités.|There’s reason to doubt his abilities.

Rien n’indique qu‘il ait décidé de revenir.|There’s nothing to suggest he’s decided to come back.

Here are some adverbial and adjectival constructions to express doubt:

Il ne sera pas forcément d’accord.|He won’t necessarily be in agreement.

Je serais difficilement convaincu.|It would be difficult to persuade me.

Ile est fort peu probable que le magasin soit ouvert dimanche.|It’s very unlikely that the shop is open on Sunday.

Il est douteux qu‘elle se représente aux prochaines élections.|It is doubtful whether/unlikely that she will stand again at the next election.

L’issue est incertaine.|The outcome is undecided/unsure.

Le verdict était contestable.|The verdict was debatable/open to question.

C’est une procédure tout à fait aléatoire.|It’s a completely random procedure./The procedure leaves everything to chance.

Have a great week, everyone!

A bientôt !