French Verbs Are Accessible

Present Subjunctive-

Part 1: Regular Verbs-

In this module, we will conjugate verbs that are regular in the present subjunctive. In another module we will study those that are irregular.

To form the subjunctive, drop the E N T ending from the third person plural of the present indicative and add the following endings:

Subject Pronoun- Present Subjunctive Ending-
je- E-
tu- E S-
il, elle, on - E-
nous- I O N S-
vous- I E Z-
ils, elles- E N T-

Now, listen carefully to your screen reader pronounce the conjugation of the verb manger (to eat) in the present subjunctive:

Subject Pronoun- Manger-
Je- mange-
Tu- manges-
Il, elle, on- mange-
Nous- mangions-
Vous- mangiez-
Ils- mangent-

Did you notice that with the exception of the subject pronouns, all the singular and the third person plural forms sounded alike?

You will also discover that in the case of regular E R verbs, all the singular and the third person plural forms are identical in the present subjunctive and the present indicative.

The first and second person plural forms of the present subjunctive of almost all regular E R verbs are the same as the corresponding forms in the imparfait.

Finally, with verbs whose infinitive ends in i e r, such as étudier, there is a double i in the nous and vous forms: nous étudiions; vous étudiiez.

Here are a few more examples of verbs conjugated regularly in the present subjunctive.

Infinitives- Meaning of Infinitives- Third Person Plural of the Present Indicative with the E N T ending Removed- First Person Singular of the Present Subjunctive-
donner- to give- d o n n- Je donne-
déjeuner- to eat lunch- d é j e u n- Je déjeune-
choisir- to choose- c h o i s i s s- Je choisisse-
vendre- to sell- v e n d- Je vende-
conduire- to drive- c o n d u i s- Je conduise-
s'amuser- to have fun- a m u s- Je m'amuse-

Subject Pronoun- Etudier- Travailler- Réussir- Répondre- Lire- Sortir-
J(e)- étudie- travaille- réussisse- réponde- lise- sorte-
Tu- étudies- travailles- réussisses- répondes- lises- sortes-
Il, elle- étudie- travaille- réussisse- réponde- lise- sorte-
Nous- étudiions- travaillions- réussissions- répondions- lisions- sortions-
Vous- étudiiez- travailliez- réussissiez- répondiez- lisiez- sortiez-
Ils- étudient- travaillent- réussissent- répondent- lisent- sortent-

Some verbs that are irregular in the present indicative are conjugated like regular verbs in the present subjunctive. This is true for conduire (to drive), lire (to read), and sortir (to go out), which are conjugated in the tables above. A few more examples include: connaître (to know), dire (to say, to tell), dormir (to sleep), écrire (to write), mettre (to put, put on, place), sentir (to smell), servir (to serve), and suivre (to follow, take classes).

The subjunctive is used in dependent or subordinate clauses introduced by QUE in which there is a change of subject when there are certain signals or triggers in the independent clause. In this module we will discuss a few of these triggers. Others will be presented in two other modules: Subjunctive, Part 2 and Subjunctive, Part 3.

The subjunctive is used after impersonal expressions of necessity or obligation. Here are some common examples.

Impersonal Expessions of Necessity or Obligation- English Translation- Example in a Sentence-
Il faut que ... - One must ...- Il faut que tu parles français.-
Il est nécessaire que ...- It is necessary that ...- Il est nécessaire que vous étudiiez tous les jours.-
Il est essentiel que ... - It is essential that ...- Il est essentiel que nous dormions bien chaque nuit.-
Il est indispensable que ... - It is essential that ...- Il est indispensable que vous finissiez vos devoirs.-
Il est important que ...- It is important that ...- Il est important que je sorte souvent avec mes amis.-
Il vaut mieux que ...- It is better, best that ...- Il vaut mieux que tu commandes des légumes si tu veux maigrir.-

The subjunctive is also used to tell others what you want them to do. Here are a few examples.

Verbs of Wishing, Wanting, and Requiring- English Translation- Example in a Sentence-
vouloir que- to wish, want- Je voudrais que tu dînes chez moi samedi.-
aimer que- to like- J'aimerais que tu manges plus de fruits.-
désirer que- to desire- Ma mère désire que je lui téléphone une fois par semaine.-
préférer que- to prefer- Mes professeurs préfèrent que je ne m'endorme pas en classe.-
recommander que- to recommend- Le médecin recommande que je mange moins de viande.-
souhaiter que- to hope that- Mes parents souhaitent que je finisse bientôt mes études.-
exiger que- to demand, require- Mon professeur de français exige que nous parlions français en classe.-

Please note that espérer (to hope) is followed by a verb in the indicative. It is an exception.