Monday, February 23, 2009

When to use le subjonctif

Verbs/expressions of will which express an order, a need, a piece of advice, or a want.
aimer mieux que to like better / to prefer that
commander que to order that
demander que to ask (someone to do something)
désirer que to desire that
donner l'ordre que to order that
empêcher que* to prevent (someone from doing something)
éviter que* to avoid
exiger que to demand that
il est à souhaiter que it is to be hoped that
il est essentiel que it is essential that
il est important que it is important that
il est naturel que it is natural that
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 est urgent que it is urgent that
il faut que it is necessary that
il vaut mieux que it is better that
interdire que to forbid that
s'opposer que to oppose that
ordonner que to order that
permettre que to permit that
préférer que to prefer that
proposer que to propose that
recommander que to recommend
souhaiter que to wish that
suggérer que to suggest that
tenir à ce que to insist that
vouloir que to want that
*these verbs are followed by the ne explétif: Évitez qu'il ne parte - Prevent him from leaving.

Verbs/expressions of emotion or feeling which indicate fear, happiness, anger, regret, surprise, or other sentiments.
adorer que to love that
aimer que to like that
apprécier que to appreciate that
avoir honte que to be ashamed that
avoir peur que to be afraid that
craindre que to fear that
déplorer que to deplore that
détester que to hate 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 that
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 that
il est heureux que it is fortunate that
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 that
il est utile que it is useful that
redouter que to dread that
regretter que to regret that
se réjouir que to be delighted that

Verbs/expressions of doubt, possibility, and opinion
accepter que to accept
s'attendre à ce que to expect
chercher ... qui to look for
Je cherche un homme qui sache la vérité (he may not exist = doubt)
détester que to hate
douter que** to doubt that
il est convenable que it is proper/fitting that
il est douteux que** it is doubtful that
il est faux que it is false that
il est impossible que it is impossible that
il est improbable que it is improbable that
il est juste que it is right/fair that
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 exact que it is not correct 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 that
refuser que to refuse
**These do not take the subjunctive when they are used negatively: Je doute qu'il vienne, Je ne doute pas qu'il vient.
Note The following verbs and expressions do not take the subjunctive when they are used in the affirmative, because they express facts which are considered certain. When negative or interrogatory, they require the subjunctive: Penses-tu qu'il soit sympa ? Oui, je pense qu'il est sympa, Non, je ne pense pas qu'il soit sympa.
c'est que it's that/because
connaître (quelqu'un) qui to know (someone) that
croire que to believe that
dire que to say that
espérer que to hope that
être certain que to be certain that
être sûr que to be sure that
il est certain que it is certain that
il est clair que it is clear/obvious that
il est évident que it is obvious that
il est probable que it is probable that
il est exact que it is correct/true that
il est sûr que it is certain that
il est vrai que it is true that
il me (te, lui...) semble que it seems to me (you, him...) that
il paraît que it appears that
penser que to think that
savoir que to know that
trouver que to find/think that
vouloir dire que to mean that

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 façon que so that, in order that, in such a way 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
*these conjunctions are followed by the ne explétif: Mangeons avant que nous ne partions - Let's eat before we leave
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
***These conjunctions are followed by the future tense.

In a subordinate clause with the negative pronoun ne ... personne or ne ... rien, or the indefinite pronoun quelqu'un or quelque chose.
Je ne connais personne qui veuille le faire. I don't know anyone who wants to do it.
Y a-t-il quelqu'un qui puisse m'aider ? Is there someone who can help me?

After main clauses which contain the words seul, unique, premier, dernier, or any superlative, the subjunctive is optional - it depends on how concrete the speaker feels about what is being said.
C'est la seule personne que je connaisse. That's the only person I know.
C'est l'étudiante la plus intelligente que j'aie. She's the smartest student I have.


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