The French Phrase 'À Condition Que' Takes the Subjunctive

Many French conjunctive phrases like 'à condition que' require the subjunctive.

The phrase à condition que (provided that) is one of a long list of what are called French conjunctive phrases, which usually introduce a subordinating clause in a sentence. A conjunctive phrase is a group of two or more words that usually ends in que and is often a subordinating conjunction linking a subordinating clause to the main clause. Close to half of such conjunctive phrases used as subordinating conjunctions, including à condition que, require a subjunctive verb to convey their meaning:

Je l'achèterai à condition que tu le prennes.
I'll buy it provided that you take it.

The subjunctive mood is used to express actions or ideas that are subjective or otherwise uncertain, such as will/wanting, emotion, doubt, possibility, necessity and judgment. Subjunctive is nearly always found in dependent, or subordinate, clauses introduced by que or qui.

Conjunctive Phrases

The phrases below with * take a subjunctive verb. Those with ** take the formal, more literary ne explétif, which is a ne negation without the pas.

  • à condition que* > provided that
  • afin que* > so that
  • ainsi que > just as, so as
  • alors que > while, whereas
  • à mesure que > as (progressively)
  • à moins que** > unless
  • après que > after, when
  • à supposer que* > assuming that
  • au cas où > in case
  • aussitôt que > as soon as
  • avant que** > before
  • bien que* > although
  • dans l'hypothèse où > in the event that
  • de crainte que** > for fear that
  • de façon que* > in such a way that
  • de manière que* > so that
  • de même que > just as
  • de peur que** >for fear that
  • depuis que > since
  • de sorte que* > so that, in such a way that
  • dès que > as soon as
  • en admettant que* > assuming that
  • en attendant que* > while, until
  • encore que* > even though
  • jusqu'à ce que* > until
  • parce que > because
  • pendant que > while
  • pour que* > so that
  • pourvu que* > provided that
  • quand bien même > even though/if
  • quoi que* > whatever, no matter what
  • sans que** > without
  • sitôt que > as soon as
  • supposé que* > supposing
  • tandis que > while, whereas
  • tant que  > as long as
  • vu que > seeing as/that

Additional Resources

The Subjunctivator!
Quiz: Subjunctive or indicative?
Expressions with à

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Team, ThoughtCo. "The French Phrase 'À Condition Que' Takes the Subjunctive." ThoughtCo, Dec. 6, 2021, Team, ThoughtCo. (2021, December 6). The French Phrase 'À Condition Que' Takes the Subjunctive. Retrieved from Team, ThoughtCo. "The French Phrase 'À Condition Que' Takes the Subjunctive." ThoughtCo. (accessed June 1, 2023).