MYTUTOR SUBJECT ANSWERS

216 views

How can I tell when I need to use the subjunctive?

In your written exam, you may need to conjugate verbs correctly but without being told which tense they should be, or whether or not they should be in the subjunctive.

Instead of trying to memorise the hundreds of different expressions that require the subjunctive in French, the good news is you can actually make an educated guess to tell if the subjunctive is needed!

It all depends on the mood behind the phrase (because of course the subjunctive is know as a mood rather than as a tense). The subjunctive is generally used to express a lack of certainty, a probability, or an emotion or feeling.

To demonstrate this I will now give you some examples of common subjunctive phrases that express:

Lack of certainty 

il est possible que - it is possible that…

douter que - to doubt that…

ne pas être sur que - to be unsure…

il n’est pas probable que - it is improbable that…

An aim or wish

afin que - in order to…

pour que - in order to…

vouloir que - to want…

préférer que - to prefer…

souhaiter que - to wish that…

Condition

pourvu que - provided that…

à condition que - on the condition that…

jusqu’à ce que - until that…

c’est nécessaire que - it is necessary that…

There are some exceptions, because as you probably know by now, French can be very complicated and sometimes it doesn’t make sense!

For example there are a number of phrases that are not subjunctive, such as ‘je pense que…’, BUT then as soon as you put it in the negative, you get: ‘je ne pense pas que…’ which IS a subjunctive phrase! 

If you want to learn why, and to understand these rules completely, book a session and I’ll be happy to help! 

Katherine M. A Level French tutor, GCSE French tutor, A Level Italian...

5 months ago

Answered by Katherine, an A Level French tutor with MyTutor


Still stuck? Get one-to-one help from a personally interviewed subject specialist

81 SUBJECT SPECIALISTS

£20 /hr

Ashleigh R.

Degree: English literature and French (Bachelors) - Leeds University

Subjects offered: French, Extended Project Qualification+ 4 more

French
Extended Project Qualification
English and World Literature
English Literature
English Language

“Hi, my name is Ashleigh. I am a second year student at the University of Leeds, reading English literature and French. Together, we can explore various aspects of each of these subjects in exciting ways, to help you prepare for your GC...”

MyTutor guarantee

£20 /hr

Emma B.

Degree: French Studies (Bachelors) - Warwick University

Subjects offered: French, German

French
German

“I am a final year French Studies student at the University of Warwick. I have always loved French culture and language and am looking forward to sharing this passion with others. Previous teaching experience includes volunteering at a ...”

MyTutor guarantee

£30 /hr

Naomi C.

Degree: Modern Languages- French and Spanish (Bachelors) - Durham University

Subjects offered: French, Spanish

French
Spanish

“Hello/Hola/Bonjour! Final year French and Spanish student. Passionate about my subject. Keen to help you excel in your language learning!”

About the author

£20 /hr

Katherine M.

Degree: Modern Languages & Cultures (Bachelors) - Durham University

Subjects offered: French, Italian+ 1 more

French
Italian
-Personal Statements-

“About Me: I am studying for a degree in French & Italian at Durham University. I have always been fascinated by languages, how they work, and the cultures attached to them. I even hold the unpopular opinion that grammar can be fun!  ...”

You may also like...

Posts by Katherine

How can I tell when I need to use the subjunctive?

How do I know whether a verb takes 'à' or 'de' as a preposition?

How do I know whether a verb takes 'à' or 'de' as a preposition?

When should I use the present participle? (e.g. 'Sto mangiando')

Other A Level French questions

Quelles sont les inspirations pour La Haine?

How do you revise for French exams?

How can I learn my oral presentation by heart?

How to stop making mood mistake after "que" in frenchstop making mood mistake after "que" in french

View A Level French tutors

Cookies:

We use cookies to improve our service. By continuing to use this website, we'll assume that you're OK with this. Dismiss

mtw:mercury1:status:ok