• French grammar
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  • 1 French alphabet
  • 2 French pronunciation and phonetics [0/7]
  • 3 Nature and function of French words [0/23]
  • Multiple choice exercise about the nature of French words (Score -/-)
  • Multiple choice questions about the function of French words (Score -/-)
  • 3.1 The subject in French [0/3]
  • 3.2 The apostrophe and apposition in French [0/2]
  • 3.3 The complement object in French [0/12]
  • 3.4 The circumstancial complement in French [0/2]
  • 3.5 The agent complement in French [0/2]
  • 4 French articles [0/9]
  • 5 French nouns [0/13]
  • 6 French pronouns [0/20]
  • Multiple choice questions about the pronouns in French (Score -/-)
  • 6.1 French personal pronouns - je, tu, il [0/3]
  • 6.2 French possessive pronouns - le mien, le tien [0/2]
  • 6.3 French reflexive pronouns - me, te, se [0/2]
  • 6.4 French demonstrative pronouns - celui, celle, ceux [0/2]
  • 6.5 French relative pronouns - qui, que, qu' [0/4]
  • 6.6 French indefinite pronouns - tout, chacun [0/2]
  • 6.7 French interrogative pronouns - qui, que, lequel [0/2]
  • 6.8 French adverbial pronouns - en, y [0/2]
  • 7 French adjectives [0/17]
  • Multiple choice questions about the epithet, attribute in French (Score -/-)
  • 7.1 Endings of regular and irregular French adjectives [0/3]
  • 7.2 Comparative and superlative of French adjectives [0/3]
  • 7.3 Placement of French adjectives [0/2]
  • 7.4 French possessive adjectives - mon, ton, son [0/4]
  • 7.5 French demonstrative adjectives - ce, cette [0/2]
  • 7.6 French indefinite adjectives - toutes, quelques [0/2]
  • 8 French adverbs [0/18]
  • 9 French prepositions [0/10]
  • 10 French verbs [0/135]
  • 10.1 Tenses and moods in French [0/63]
  • 10.1.1 Indicative in French [0/26]
  • 10.1.1.1 Present tense in French [0/2]
  • 10.1.1.2 Past tenses in French [0/13]
  • 10.1.1.3 Future tenses in French [0/11]
  • 10.1.2 Subjunctive in French (le Subjonctif) [0/11]
  • 10.1.3 Conditional in French (le conditionnel) [0/10]
  • 10.1.4 Imperative in French [0/3]
  • 10.1.5 Infinitive in French [0/4]
  • 10.1.6 Gerund in French [0/2]
  • 10.1.7 Present participle in French [0/3]
  • 10.1.8 Past participle in French [0/4]
  • 10.2 French auxiliary verbs (avoir, être) [0/11]
  • 10.3 Modal verbs in French [0/17]
  • Fill in the blank exercise for the modal verbs in French (Score -/-)
  • 10.3.1 Conjugation of pouvoir (can) in French [0/4]
  • 10.3.2 Conjugation of devoir (should) in French [0/4]
  • 10.3.3 conjugation of vouloir (want) in French [0/4]
  • 10.3.4 Conjugation of savoir (to know) in French [0/4]
  • 10.4 Passive voice in French [0/4]
  • 10.5 Reflexive verbs in French [0/4]
  • 10.6 Irregular verbs in French [0/24]
  • Fill in the blanks exercise of the irregular verbs in French (Score -/-)
  • Fill in the blanks exercise of the irregular verbs in French II (Score -/-)
  • 10.6.1 Conjugation of venir (to come) in French [0/4]
  • 10.6.2 conjugation of aller (to go) in French [0/4]
  • 10.6.3 conjugation of faire (to do) in French [0/4]
  • 10.6.4 conjugation of prendre (to take) in French [0/3]
  • 10.6.5 conjugation of voir (to see) in French [0/3]
  • 10.6.6 Conjugation of partir (to leave) in French [0/4]
  • 10.7 Regular verbs in French [0/8]
  • 10.8 Reported Speech in French [0/4]
  • 11 French sentence structure [0/25]
  • Multiple choice questions about the sentence structure in French (Score -/-)
  • 11.1 The phrases in French [0/5]
  • 11.2 The forms of phrases in French [0/7]
  • 11.3 The types of phrases in French [0/8]
  • 11.4 The propositions in French [0/4]
  • 12 French si clauses [0/3]
  • 13
  • Subjunctive in French (le Subjonctif)

    The subjunctive (French: le subjonctif) in French is a mode and is used to express a doubt, a desired fact, an uncertain action that has not been realized at the moment we express ourselves. The subjunctive is used with verbs expressing envy, wishes, desire, emotion, obligation, doubt or uncertainty.

    Examples: 

    • J'aurais aimé qu'il soit là. (I would have liked him to be here)
    • Il faut que tu ailles aux urgences. (you need to go to the emergency room)

    Subjunctive vs Indicative 

     Although, the subjunctive is a mode and the indicative a tense, French differentiate the two:

    Infinitif Indicatif Subjonctif 
    prendre  je prends  que je prenne 
    aller  je vais  que j'aille 
    voir  je vois que je vois 

    enlightenedNote that the indicative is used for verbs expressing one's own opinion, probability or certainty.

    Use of the subjunctive in French

    You use the subjunctive in French under the following circumstances:

    After certain conjunctions

    • afin que (in order to)
    • pour que (for)
    • quoique (though)
    • avant que (before)
    • bien que (although)
    • jusqu'à ce que (to)
    • sans que (without)
    • pourvu que (may)
    • á condition que (until)

    After verbs and expressions of feeling

    We use the subjunctive in the "que" sentence for verbs that denote a personal opinion or subjective feeling: 

    • aimer (love)
    • vouloir (want)
    • désirer (wish)
    • admirer (admire)
    • préférer (prefer)
    • eviter (avoid)
    • interdire (forbid)
    • accepter (agree)
    • proposer (suggest)
    • aimer mieux (refer)
    • douter (doubt)
    • contester (deny)
    • qui que, quoi que and quel que

    In circumstantial clauses (propositions circonstancielles)   

    It is used with the expression of:

    • purpose (le but = pour)
    • consequence (la conséquence = assez)

    In relative clauses (les propositions relatives) 

    The subjunctive insists on the potentiality on a desired goal but without verifying its realization. Relatives with a superlative (most ..., least ...) are often used  in the subjunctive. It is also common when the main clause contains terms such as:  

    • le seul (the only) 
    • le premier (the first)
    • le dernier (the last) 

    The subjunctive has 4 tenses: the present and the past, the imperfect and the pluperfect which are barely used.

    Present subjunctive in French (le subjonctif présent) 

    The subjunctive present expresses an uncertain action, not realized at the moment we are talking.

    Examples:

    • Je veux qu'il vienne me voir au bureau. (I want him to come at my office.)
    • J'aimerais que vous preniez des photos lors de notre visite. (I would like you to take pictures during our visit.)
    • Je regrette que tu sois malade. (I regret that you are sick) 

    ​Formation of the subjunctive present in French 

    All verbs have the same endings in the present subjunctive except the verbs 'avoir' and 'etre':  

    • in conjunction with the bind word que
    • -e, -es, -e, -ions, -iez, -ent
    • with the tribe of 3rd person plural in the indicative present 
    aller (to go) finir (to finish) partir (to leave)
    que j'aille que je finisse que je parte 
    que tu ailles que tu finisses que tu partes 
    qu'il/elle/on aille qu'il/elle/on finisse qu'il/elle/on parte
    que nous allions que nous finissions que nous partions
    que vous alliez que vous finissiez que vous partiez
    qu'ils/elles aillent qu'ils/elles aillent qu'ils/elles partent 

    enlightenedWhen using the subjunctive present in a subordinate clause, then the verb of the main proposition is in the present tense

    Subjunctive past in French (le subjonctif passé) 

    The past subjunctive expresses an uncertain action, supposedly realized at the moment when we are talking.

    Sample sentences Translation 
    Je regrette qu'il n'ait pas trouvé un travail.  I regret that he had not found a job. 
    Il est content que je soit venue le voir. he is happy that I came to see him.

    Formation of the perfect subjunctive in French 

    The subjunctive perfect in French is formed with the auxiliary verb avoir or être in the subjunctive present + the past participle.

    Subjonctif passé with avoir 

     voir (to see)

    Subjonctif passé with être

     aller (to go) 

    que j'ais vu que je sois allé(e)
    que tu ais vu que tu sois allé(e)
    qu'il/elle/on ait vu qu'il/elle/on soit allé(e)
    que nous ayons vu que nous soyons allé(e)s
    que vous ayez vu  que vous soyez allé(e)s
    qu'ils/elles aient vu qu'ils/elles soient allé(e)s 

    enlightenedMost French verbs make their compound times with avoir. However, there are some verbs that are formed with être, which you should memorize well.

    Subjunctive imperfect in French (l'imparfait du subjonctif) 

    The imperfect subjunctive is especially used in literature. It is a simple time that expresses an uncertain action, not realized at the moment when the speaker spoke.

    Examples: 

    • Je voulais qu'il vînt me voir. (I wanted him to visit me.)
    • ​Je voudrais qu'il fût à l'heure. (I want him to be on time.) 
    • Elle était heureuse qu'il écrivît la lettre. (She was happy that he wrote the letter.)

    Formation of the subjunctive imperfect in French 

    The subjunctive imperfect in French is formed :

    • verbs on -ER with: -asse, -asses, -ât, -assions, -assiez, -assent
    • verbs on -IR: -isse, -isses, -ît, -issions, -issiez, -issent
    • 3rd groupverbs have 2 models of endings: -isse -isses -ît -issions -issiez -issent and -usse -usses -ût  -ussions  -ussiez -ussent
    aimer finir prendre  courir 
    que j'aimasse que je finisse que je prisse que je courusse
    que tu aimasses que tu finisses que tu prisses que tu courusses 
    qu'il/elle/on aimât qu'il/elle/on finît qu'il/elle/on prît qu'il/elle/on couût
    que nous aimassions que nous finissions que nous prissions que nous courussions
    que vous aimassiez que vous finissiez que vous prissiez que vous courussiez
    qu'ils/elles aimassent qu'ils/elles finissent qu'ils/elles prissent  qu'ils/elles courussent

    Pluperfect subjunctive in French (le subjonctif plus-que-parfait) 

    The pluperfect subjunctive expresses an uncertain action, supposedly realized at the moment when the speaker spoke. It is especially used in literature.

    Examples:

    • Je ne pensais pas qu'il eût rendu son devoir à temps. (I did not think he should have done his homework on time.)
    • Ils fussent partis avant son retour. (they should have left before he came back) 

    ​Formation of the pluperfect subjunctive in French 

    The pluperfect subjunctive is formed:with the imperfect subjunctive of the auxiliary of 'être' or 'avoir' + the past participle

    Subjonctif plus-que-parfait with avoir 

    écrire (to write)

    Subjonctif plus-que-parfait with être

    partir (to leave)

    J'eusse écrit  je fusse parti
    tu eusses écrit tu fusses parti
    il/elle/on eût écrit il/elle/on fût parti
    nous eussions écrit(e)s nous fussions parti(e)s
    vous eussiez écrit(e)s vous fussiez parti(e)s
    ils/elles eussent écrit(e)s ils/elles fussent parti(e)s

    enlightenedYou want to know more about the subjunctive in French? Then have a look at our respective continuing chapters of the most used tenses of the subjunctive: "le subjonctif présent" and "le subjonctif passé". 

    Exercises

    Exercise for the Subjunctive in French

    Exercise for the imperfect subjunctive in French

    Exercise for the pluperfect subjunctive in French

    Next lessons

    1 Present Subjunctive (Le subjonctif présent) in French Get an overview of the subjunctive present in French and study the topic online
    2 Past Subjunctive (le subjonctif passé) in French Get an overview of the past subjunctive in French and study the topic online