Definition: The subjunctive is used generally in a subordinate clause (in other words, after the word que or some other conjuctions) where the preceding main clause requires the subjunctive. Like in English, French requires the subjunctive where the main clause expresses some doubt, wishing or emotion.

The subjunctive mood is used to express actions which are subjective: will/wanting, emotion, doubt, possibility, necessity, judgment. It is nearly always found in dependent clauses introduced by que or qui. The subjects of the dependent and main clauses are usually different.

The subjunctive is used when the main clause expresses subjectivity.

When we use the Subjunctive:

  1. Verbs/expressions of will which express an order, a need, a piece of advice, or a want.

    aimer mieux que to prefer that
    désirer que to desire that
    donner l'ordre que to order that
    exiger que to demand that
    ordonner que to order that
    préférer que to prefer that
    proposer que to propose that
    souhaiter que to wish that
    suggérer que to suggest that
    vouloir que to want that
    il est à souhaiter que it is to be hoped
    il est essentiel que it is essential
    il est important que it is important that
    il est naturel que it is natural
    il est nécessaire que it is necessary that
    il est normal que it is normal that
    il est temps que it is time that
    il faut que it is necessary that
    il est urgent que it is urgent
    il vaut mieux que it is better that

  2. Verbs/expressions of emotion or feeling which indicate fear, happiness, anger, regret, surprise, or other sentiments.

    avoir peur que to be afraid that
    craindre que to fear that
    être content que to be happy that
    être désolé que to be sorry that
    être étonné que to be amazed that
    être heureux que to be happy that
    être surpris que to be surprised that
    être triste que to be sad that
    il est bizarre que it is odd
    il est bon que it is good that
    il est dommage que it is too bad that
    il est étonnant que it is amazing that
    il est étrange que it is strange
    il est heureux que it is fortunate
    il est honteux que it is shameful that
    il est inutile que it is useless that
    il est rare que it is rare that
    il est regrettable que it is regrettable that
    il est surprenant que it is surprising
    il est utile que it is useful that
    regretter que to regret that

  3. Verbs/expressions of doubt, possibility, and opinion

    détester que to hate
    douter que to doubt
    il est convenable que it is proper/fitting
    il est douteux que it is doubtful that
    il est faux que it is false
    il est impossible que it is impossible that
    il est improbable que it is improbable that
    il est juste que it is right/fair
    il est possible que it is possible that
    il est peu probable que it is improbable that
    il n'est pas certain que it is not certain that
    il n'est pas clair que it is not clear that
    il n'est pas évident que it is not obvious that
    il n'est pas probable que it is improbable that
    il n'est pas sûr que it is not certain that
    il n'est pas vrai que it is not true that
    il semble que it seems that
    il se peut que it may be that
    le fait que the fact that
    nier que to deny

  4. The following conjunctions

    à condition que provided that
    à moins que unless
    afin que so that
    avant que before
    bien que although
    de crainte que for fear that
    de peur que for fear that
    en attendant que while, until
    jusqu'à ce que until
    pour que so that
    pourvu que provided that
    quoique even though
    quoi que whatever, no matter what
    sans que without

    Note: The following conjunctions do not take the subjunctive, because they express facts which are considered certain:

    ainsi que just as, so as
    alors que while, whereas
    après que after, when
    aussitôt que as soon as
    car since, because
    en même temps que at the same time that
    depuis que since
    dès que as soon as, immediately
    lorsque when
    parce que because
    pendant que while
    plutôt que instead of, rather than
    puisque since, as
    quand when
    tandis que while, whereas
    une fois que once

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