Le subjonctif,or the French subjunctive, is usually used in a subordinate clause where the preceding clause requires the subjunctive.
In other words, le subjonctif is used usually after the word “que” and some other conjunctions.
The subjunctive is used in cases of wanting, hoping, needing, or imagining things or actions; the same usage as the English subjunctive.
To form the subjunctive we have to start with the third person present verb form, or ils .
For example, the verb parler. The ils form is parlent.
Now we take parlent anddrop the -ent suffix to form the stem on which all subjunctive forms of parler ( this works for all regular -er verbs and most irregular verbs)
Resulting the base parl , we simply add the subjunctive ends to match the noun, which follow:
If we were to write out the subjunctive forms of parler we would end up with:
que Je parl-e= parle
que Tu parl-es= parles
que Il/Elle parl-e= parle
que Nous parl-ions= parlions
que Vous parl-iez= parliez
que Ils parl-ent= parlent
There is also another formation of the subjunctive and it is only for certain verbs such as venir. Instead of having only one stem, these verbs actually have two stems in the subjunctive; but they all keep the regular subjunctive endings.
For venir, the stems would base from the ils- and the nous- forms of the present form.
This is an example of how the stem of venir is formed:
Ils viennent = vienn-
Nous venons= ven-
Using these two stems, the subjunctive form of venir can now be constructed, and as well as other verbs of its type.
Here are the subjunctive forms of venir using the two stems:
que Je venn-e= venne
que Tu venn-es= vennes
que Il/Elle venn-e= venne
que Ils/Elles venn-ent= vennent
and the second stem for nous and vous forms
que nous ven-ions= venions
que vous ven-iez= veniez
There are also a small group of verbs that use irregular stems for their subjunctive forms.
Here is a complete list of them:
aller faire pouvoir savoir vouloir
que je aille fasse puisse sache veuille
que tu ailles fasses puisses saches veuilles
que il/elle aille fasse puisse sache veuille
que nous allions fassions puissions sachions voulions
que vous alliez fassiez puissiez sachiez vouliez
que ils/elles aillent fassent puissent sachent veuillent
The stems are
fass- = Faire
sach- = Savoir
puiss- = Pouvoir
While for aller and vouloir have two irregular stems :
voul- for nous and vous
all- for nous and vous
Always remember, the subjunctive is only used after “that” or “que, such as “I need to talk with you” or “Il faut que je parle avec toi”, or literally ” It is necessary that I talk with you”.
This was an example of the subjunctive used to express a necessity or obligation.