Conjugating Regular French Verbs in the Subjunctive

Subjunctive conjugations are straightforward, especially with regular verbs

Conjugating the French subjunctive

A mood is a special verb form that describes a subject's attitude. In French, the subjunctive mood essentially expresses subjectivity and unreality. It is used with actions or ideas that are subjective or otherwise uncertain, such as will or wanting, emotion, doubt, possibility, necessity, and judgment.

When to Use the Subjunctive

To be more specific, this mood is used with:

  • Expressions of will (orders, advice, desires)
  • Emotions and feelings
  • Opinion, possibility, doubt
  • Affirmative versus negative statements
  • Conjunctive phrases
  • Superlatives
  • Negative and indefinite pronouns

The subjunctive mood is nearly always found in dependent clauses introduced by que or qui, and the subjects of the dependent and main clauses are usually different. For example,

  •  Je veux que tu le fasses. –> I want you to do it.
  •  Il faut que nous partions. –> We have to leave.

The Regular Subjunctive 

While it may take a while to fully understand how to use the subjunctive, conjugating it is relatively straightforward, especially with regular verbs. To conjugate all regular verbs ending in -er, -ir, and -re, as well as some irregular ones, start with the third person plural ils form of the present tense of the verb. Then just drop the -ent ending to find the stem and add the subjunctive endings.

One thing to keep in mind is that there is no future tense in the subjunctive. It's also important to know that many verbs that are irregular in the present tense are regular in the subjunctive, including all -ir verbs conjugated like partir and sortir and -re verbs conjugated like mettre.

Conjugating the Regular Subjunctive

To conjugate regular subjunctive verbs, the key is to find the verb's third person plural form in the present tense, identify the stem and add all of the subjunctive endings to that stem. As a general rule, adhere to the conjugation patterns shown below in number and person:  

parler choisir rendre partir sortir mettre
ils parlent choisissent rendent partent sortent mettent
stem parl- choisiss- rend- part- sort- mett-
Subjunctive endings
... que je -e parle choisisse rende parte sorte mette
... que tu -es parles choisisses rendes partes sortes mettes
... qu' il/elle/on -e parle choisisse rende parte sorte mette
... que nous -ions parlions choisissions rendions partions sortions mettions
... que vous -iez parliez choisissiez rendiez partiez sortiez mettiez
... qu' ils/elles -ent parlent choisissent rendent partent sortent mettent

The Irregular Subjunctive

Irregular verbs, as well as all stem-changing verbs, have irregular subjunctive conjugations. Keep in mind that stem-changing verbs and most irregular verbs follow the same pattern as regular verbs for the singular conjugations (jetuil/elle/on) as well as the third person plural (ils/elles): The subjunctive stem is derived from the present tense conjugation of ils.

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Team, ThoughtCo. "Conjugating Regular French Verbs in the Subjunctive." ThoughtCo, Apr. 5, 2023, Team, ThoughtCo. (2023, April 5). Conjugating Regular French Verbs in the Subjunctive. Retrieved from Team, ThoughtCo. "Conjugating Regular French Verbs in the Subjunctive." ThoughtCo. (accessed June 3, 2023).