The French subjunctive tense with pictures – Learning it

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Hey learners, here we go !

When should you use the subjunctive  ?

Let us see a conjugation point.
The subjunctive is used to express action or ideas that are subjective or might not happen, such as a desire, a possibility, a feeling, judgement or a need. You usually need the subjunctive after the conjunctions que or qui.
Je veux qu’il fasse ses devoirs → I want him to do his homework
Il est temps que tu réagisses → It is time that you react

The subjunctive mood (le subjonctif) can be difficult for the English speakers, because English does not really have it. But conjugating the subjunctive mood (le subjonctif) is pretty easy. The endings are always the same but there are some irregular ends. We will go over some of the irregular stems in this lesson, so you can get used to them.

We use the subjunctive after expressions with the conjunctions que or qui :

Craindre que → To fear

Aimer que → To like / to love  

Détester que → To hate

Souhaiter que → To wish  

Douter que → To doubt  

Sembler que → To seem  

Falloir que → To have to / must

Demander que → To ask  

Exiger que → To demand

Interdire que → To forbid

Vouloir que → To want

Il est important que → It is important that
Il est naturel que → It is natural that
Il est normal que → It is normal that
Il est temps que → It is time that
Il est urgent que → It is urgent that
Il faut que → It is necessary that
Il vaut mieux que → It is better that

Il est normal que tu sois inquiet → It is normal that you are worried

Il est important qu’il est de bonnes notes → It is important that he has good marks

All theses verbs express fear, a wish, command and uncertainty.

Let us have a look at some examples :
Je veux qu’il le fasse → I want him to do it
Il faut que je pense à faire les courses → I have to think about shopping  

Je suis content que tu sois content → I am happy that you are happy

There are a few things to note.
We need 2 subjects for the subjunctive : one person wanting, wishing, fearing, or demanding, and another person to do something.
Elle ne pense pas que je parle français → She does not think that I can speak French
This is where the subunctive can be tricky. « She does not think that I can speak French », it means that she doubts that I can. If she thinks I can, there is no attitude of doubts, in this case we do not use the subjunctive.

Ne pas penser que → To not think : it uses the subjunctive.
Penser que → To think : it does not use the subjunctive.

After verbs expressing feelings

After verbs expressing feelings
Aimer que → To like / to love  
Détester que → To hate
Etre surpris que → To be surprised
Il est rare que → It is rare  
Il est dommage que → It is a shame

Avoir honte que → To be ashamed

Etre désolé que → To be sorry

Il est étonnant que → It is surprising  

Il est dommage que tu doives déjà partir → It is a shame that you have to leave already
J’aime qu’il soit à mes côtés → I like him to be by my side / I like that he is by my side

After verbs expressing doubt, possibility, supposition and opinion

S’attendre à ce que → To expect
Il est impossible que → It is impossible that
Il n’est pas sûr que → It is not certain that
Il semble que → It seems that
Le fait que → The fact that
Supposer que → To assume that

Je m’attends à ce qu’il ne vienne pas → I expect that he will not come
Le fait qu’il pleuve change tout → The fact that it is raining changes everything

Others verbs

Croire que → To believe that
Espérer que → To hope that
Etre certain que→ To be certain that  
Il est clair que → It is clear that
Il est évident que → It is obvious that

Dire que → To say that

Je crois que tu as raison → I belive that your are right
Je ne crois pas que tu aies raison → I do not believe that you are right

Finally, you also need to use the subjunctive after some conjunctive phrases (linking words)

A condition que → provided that
A moins que → unless
Avant que → before
Bien que → although
Pour que → so that
Jusqu’à ce que → until
En attendant que → while waiting for

J’irai, à condition que tu viennes avec moi → I will go, provied that you come with it

Others words

Alors que → while
Après que → after
Aussitôt que → as soon as
Car → because
Depuis que → since
Dès que → as soon as
Lorsque → when
Parce que → because
Pendant que → while
Plutôt que → instead of
Tandis que → whereas
Une fois que → once

Others words

Avant de venir chez toi, il faut que j’y aille → Before coming at your place, I have got to go
Il n’est pas sûr que j’y aille → He is not sure I am going  
Avant de venir, avant d’y aller, il faut que tu fasses la vaisselle → Before coming, before you go, you need to do the dishes
Sois certain qu’elle vienne avant d’y aller → Make sure she comes before you go

Do people use the subjunctive in spoken French ?

In written French you must use the subjunctive when necessary. In spoken French it is not so common. However, if you want to speak a proper and elegant French, you need to use the subjunctive.

Hey students, learners,  have a look at the others articles : to be your own teacher, to study the verb in ir from the 2nd group and the ones in ir from the 3rd group, to study without any teacher, to study using emotions, from your home, to be comfortable in speaking in different situations (emotions), good and bad situations. Learning others mood, present mood, the past one. How to express uncertainty,...

Students : learn French verbs app conjugation for endings, conjugation 

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Thank you for reading this article !
Thomas 😀


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