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Manuel

Present subjunctive – Formation

Present subjunctive – Le present du subjonctif

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Il faut que j'aille au supermarché.

Formation of regular verbs

  • First, you take the 3rd Person Plural of the Present tense. I call this “the 3Ps.” For instance, the 3Ps of 'to sing' is they sing – ils chantent.
  • Secondly, you need to isolate the root of the verb. So, drop the ending - -ent – and you got your root.
    •           chant-ent (chant- is the root)
  • Now that you have the root of your verb, just add the subjunctive endings: -e, -es, -e, -e, -e, -ions, -iez, -ent

 

root

ending

que je/j’

chant

-e

que tu

chant

-es

qu’elle

chant

-e

qu’il

chant

-e

qu’on

chant

-e

que nous

chant

-ions

que vous

chant

-iez

qu’ils

chant

-ent

qu’elles

chant

-ent

Note that most of the time, the subjunctive verb is introduced by a triggering clause including a que.

 

In context

The subjunctive part of these sentences is in red.

  • I have to sing that song.
    • Il faut que je chante cette chanson.
  • We want you to sing that song.
    • Nous voulons que vous chantiez cette chanson.
    • On veut que vous chantiez cette chanson.

Continue with the subjunctive rules in the Premium area. I get into a lot more detail, and there is practice too.

Related: When to use the subjunctive . Past subjunctive . Imperfect subjunctive . Pluperfect subjunctive . Modes .

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2 comments to Present subjunctive – Formation

  • bill

    If you’re going to go back to the infinitive form of the verb for the root to which you add the subjunctive, why go to the third person plural at all? Does that somehow make finding that root easier?

    • Bonjour Bill,
      You need to start from the third person plural because some verbs, such as PAYER, would give you the wrong root to work from if you started straight from the infinitive form. Payer has a Y, so the root from the infinitive is P-A-Y. However, the proper root for the present subjunctive of PAYER is P-A-I which you get from the third person plural the the present indicative ‘ILS PAIENT’. That makes a lot more sense with practice.

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