Does the French Verb 'Souhaiter' Need the Subjunctive?

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When souhaiter ("to wish" or "to hope for") precedes a dependent clause beginning with que, the dependent clause uses a subjunctive verb. It joins a long list of other French verbs expressing someone's will, an order, a need, a piece of advice or a desire; they all also need the subjunctive in the que subordinate clause.

'Souhaiter' and 'Souhaiter Que'

When used with que, souhaiter becomes souhaiter que ("to hope that"), which introduces a dependent clause that uses the French subjunctive. Souhaiter que is all about the emotion of hoping. Thus, it fulfills the subjunctive's basic requirement of expressing actions or ideas that are subjective or otherwise uncertain.

  Je souhaite qu'il vienne.I hope that he comes.

   Souhaitons que tout aille bien.
We hope that all goes well.

  Il est à souhaiter que...
It is to be hoped that...

As with souhaiter que, the French subjunctive is nearly always found in dependent clauses introduced by que or qui, and the subjects of the dependent and main clauses are usually different, as in:

  Je veux que tu le fasses.
I want you to do it.

   Il faut que nous partions.
It is necessary that we leave.

French Verbs and Expressions Similar to 'Souhaiter Que'

Here are other verbs and expressions that, like souhaiter que, communicate someone's will, an order, a need, a piece of advice, or a desire. They all require the subjunctive in the dependent clause that begins with que. There are many other types of constructions that require the French subjunctive as well, which are listed and explained in the full-on "subjunctivator" (our term).

  • aimer mieux que > to prefer that
  • commander que > to order that
  • demander que > to ask that (someone do something)
  • désirer que > to desire that
  • donner l'ordre que > to order that
  • empêcher que* > to prevent (someone from doing something)
  • éviter que* > to avoid
  • exiger que > to demand that
  • il est à souhaiter que > it is to be hoped that
  • il est essentiel que > it is essential that
  • il est important que > it is important that
  • il est naturel que > it is natural that
  • il est nécessaire que > it is necessary that
  • il est normal que > it is normal that
  • il est temps que > it is time that
  • il est urgent que > it is urgent that
  • il faut que > it is necessary that / we must
  • il vaut mieux que > it is better that
  • interdire que > to forbid that
  • s'opposer que > to oppose that
  • ordonner que > to order that
  • permettre que > to permit that
  • préférer que > to prefer that
  • proposer que > to propose that
  • recommander que > to recommend
  • souhaiter que > to wish that
  • suggérer que > to suggest that
  • tenir à ce que > to insist that
  • vouloir que > to want to

*These verbs are followed by the more formal ne explétif, in which only ne is used in negations (without pas), as in:

  Évitez qu'il ne parte.Prevent him from leaving.

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Team, ThoughtCo. "Does the French Verb 'Souhaiter' Need the Subjunctive?" ThoughtCo, Dec. 6, 2021, Team, ThoughtCo. (2021, December 6). Does the French Verb 'Souhaiter' Need the Subjunctive? Retrieved from Team, ThoughtCo. "Does the French Verb 'Souhaiter' Need the Subjunctive?" ThoughtCo. (accessed June 9, 2023).