Hmm What’s le subjonctif?

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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:

Je                            -e

Tu                           -es

Il/Elle                      -e

Nous                     -ions

Vous                       -iez

Ils                            -ent

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 :

Vouloir

veuill-

voul- for nous and vous

Aller

aill-

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.

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