How do I form the subjunctive?

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The subjunctive in French can be really hard to get your head around - particularly as it's something we're not really used to in English! But luckily, forming the subjunctive is actually a really simple process - and as soon as you’ve learn the method, you can write and say some pretty impressive, complex-sounding sentences that take your language skills to the next level.

So here’s the simple three-step process to follow for all regular verbs:

1. First, take the 3rd person plural (ils) form of the present tense of the verb

2. Then take away the -ent, to find the stem

3. Finally, add the following endings:

je: -e

tu: -es

il/elle/on: -e

nous: - ions

vous: -iez

ils/elles: -ent

So for example, to put the verb finir into the subjunctive, simply follow the steps:

1. ils finissent (3rd person plural of the present tense)

2. finiss (minus the -ent)

3. je finisse, tu finisses, il/elle/on finisse, nous finissions, vous finissiez, ils/elles finissent (with the endings)

And that’s all there is to it! Of course, there are some pesky irregular verbs that just need to be learnt off by heart...but in general, knowing how to form the subjunctive really isn't as tricky as some may think!

Hannah W. GCSE French tutor, A Level French tutor, GCSE Spanish tutor

About the author

is an online A Level French tutor with MyTutor studying at Durham University

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