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Present Subjunctive

To start learning the subjunctive means that you’re making big progress in learning French. The subjunctive is used when doubt, wishing or strong emotion are expressed. The subjunctive most of the time occurs in subordinate clauses introduced by "que" (that): il faut que je m'en aille (I have to go, I have to get going).

The present subjunctive is usually formed by adding  je -e, tu -es, il -e, nous -ions, vous -iez, ils –ent to the stem of the first person plural (we/ nous) verb form, for example the verb “to choose/ choisir” it’s easy to conjugate it into the present subjunctive, to do that first let’s take the stem of its first person plural in the present tense (indicative), we choose = nous choisissons, we’re only interested in its stem (choisiss) because we will apply it to all other persons by adding the following endings to it to conjugate it into the present subjunctive: je -e, tu -es, il -e, nous -ions, vous -iez, ils –ent, we will end up having:


French Present Subjunctive

je choisisse (I choose)

tu choisisses (you choose)

il choisisse (he chooses)

nous choisissions (we choose)

vous choisissiez (you guys choose)

ils choisissent (they choose)


Note that a “que” should be placed before the subject pronoun, il faut que je choisisse (I have to choose)


Well, life would be boring if there were no exceptions, that’s why French people insist on having some exceptions to the rule:

There are two different kinds of exceptions, the first one takes the same endings as the regular verbs, but the stem changes slightly, like: aller (to go), faire (to do), pouvoir (to be able to) and savoir (to know). They take an irregular stem, while keeping the same regular endings. For example faire (to do) would be conjugated as:


Verb “faire” in

the subjunctive.

Stem is “fass”

The endings that were added to the stem.

je fasse

tu fasses

il fasse

nous fassions

vous fassiez

ils fassent

The stem of the verb “faire/ to do” is “fass” and we added the following endings to it:

je -e,

tu -es,

il -e,

nous -ions,

vous -iez,

ils –ent


The second kind of exceptions which follow the same pattern as regular verbs for the singular conjugations (je, tu, il, elle) as and the third person plural (ils/elles), but, they use the first person plural (nous) as the stem for their nous and vous forms of the subjunctive. For example the verb “venir/ to come” would be conjugated as follows:


French Subjunctive

Verb “faire” in

the subjunctive.

Stem is “fass”

The endings that were added to the stem.

je vienne

tu viennes

il vienne

nous venions

vous veniez

ils viennent

The stem of the verb “venir/ to come” is “vienn” in most pronouns except the first and second pronoun plural, where it is “ven

je -e,

tu -es,

il -e,

nous -ions,

vous -iez,

ils –ent




French Subjunctive, Subjunctive Endings, Subjunctive Categories.


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