Does "il est nécessaire que" Need the Subjunctive?

When a need is expressed, the subjunctive is required

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The French phrase "il est nécessaire" means "it is necessary" and it's used quite often. The question many French students have is whether or not it requires the subjunctive. The quick answer is that, yes, it does need the subjunctive and we'll explain why.

Why Does Il est nécessaire Require the Subjunctive?

There are many rules that tell us when the French subjunctive is required and it's all about the underlying meaning of the phrase in question.

The subjunctive is used when expressing an order, need, desire, or offering advice.

In the case of il est nécessaire, it is required because the phrase expresses a need. The fact that something "is necessary" automatically qualifies it for the subjunctive.

Also, it doesn't matter if you use il est or c'est, in either case, the subjunctive is mandatory. That means this rule also applies to "c'est nécessaire."


  • Il est nécessaire qu'il le fasse. / C'est nécessaire qu'il le fasse. - It's necessary for him to do it.
  • Il est nécessaire qu'elle étudie. - It is necessary that she studies.
  • Il est nécessaire que tu écrives une lettre - It is necessary that you write a letter.

You can even use this phrase to remember that the subjunctive is necessary:

  • Il est nécessaire que vous utilisiez le subjonctif. - It is necessary that you use the subjunctive.
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ThoughtCo. "Does "il est nécessaire que" Need the Subjunctive?" ThoughtCo, Feb. 26, 2018, ThoughtCo. (2018, February 26). Does "il est nécessaire que" Need the Subjunctive? Retrieved from ThoughtCo. "Does "il est nécessaire que" Need the Subjunctive?" ThoughtCo. (accessed March 21, 2018).