French Subjunctive Tense

The French Subjunctive Tense is usually used in conversation. Using the third person plural in the present tense forms it root, to which the endings in the table below are added.

Manger = Ils mangent = Je mange
Lire = Ils lisent = Je lise
Prendre = ils prennent = Je prenne

Attends que je finisse de faire mon sac!
Je voudrais que nous allions voir le match

It is formed by taking the third person plural in the present tense and dropping the “_ent” ; then adding the endings in the table.

The French Subjunctive Tense endings

English Persons French Persons Subjunctive Endings
I Je ~e
You(informal) Tu ~es
He/she Il/elle ~e
We Nous ~ions
You(informal) Vous ~iez
They Ils/elles ~ent

Example of a verb in the French Subjunctive Tense

Finir to finish

Je finisse - I may finish
Tu finisses - You may finish (informal)
Il/elle finisse - He/she may finis
Nous finissons - We may finish
Vous finissez - You may finish (formal)
Ils/elles finissent - They may finish

Vous finissez de boire votre thé et nous travaillons – You may finish drinking your cup of tea and then we work.
Tu finis de ranger ta chambre – You may finish to tidying your room.

Exceptions in the French Subjunctive Tense

Aller to go = j’aille, nous allions, ils aillent

Il faut que j’aille chez le dentiste – I may go to the dentist.
Avoir to have = j’aie, il ait, nous ayons, ils aient
Bien que nous ayons un jardin, nous ne mangeons jamais dehors - Although we have a garden, we never eat outside.
Etre to be = je sois, nous soyons, ils soient
Il faut qu’ils soient à 9h00 au train - It is necessary that they are at the train at 9h00.
Faire to make = je fasse…
Il faut que tu fasses tes devoirs - It is necessary that you done your homework.
Pouvoir to be able to = je puisse…
Je ne pense pas que je puisse le voir – I don’t think I can see him.
Savoir to know = je sache…
Je doute que vous sachiez le faire – I doubt that you know how to do it.
Vouloir to want = je veuille, nous voulions, ils veuillent
Bien que nous voulions acheter cette maison, le banquier a refusé – Although we wanted to buy this house, the banker refused.

Constructions, which require the French Subjunctive Tense after them

Il faut queit is necessary that

Il faut que je trouve du travail - It is necessary that I find work
Bien que - although
Bien que je l’aime, son comportement m’énerve – Although I love him, his behaviour irritates me
Quoique - although
Quoique tu pense, cela n’a pas d’importance - Although you think, this doesn’t matter
Afin que in order that
Afin que je puisse devenir une star, je prends des cours de chants – In order to become a star, I learn singing
Avant que before
Avant que tu partes, je veux te donner ceci – Before you leave, I want to give you something
Jusqu’à ce que until
Jusqu’à ce que tu sois majeur, tu m’obéis – Until you are adult, you obey me
Vouloir que to wish (want) that
Je veux que tu appelles ta grand-mère – I want that you call your grand mother
Préférer que to prefer that
Je préfère que tu fasses à manger – I prefer you cook
Il est possible (impossible) que it is possible (impossible) that
Il est possible qu’il se doute de quelque chose – It is possible that he has doubts
Douter que to doubt that
Je me doutais que tu allais faire ça – I doubted that you will do that

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