Grammar: Subjunctive Phrases for Leaving Cert French

The subjunctive is the grammar clause that probably (unnecessarily) causes Leaving Cert French students with the most panic.  Indeed, the Chief Examiner noted at the recent French Teacher’s Association Annual Conference that many students seem to be suffering from “subjunctivitis” and leave it out completely in their work. Other students tended to hope for the best and used it in their written work- regardless or not if it related to their topic.

Basically, the subjunctive is has the unwarranted diva status of Leaving Cert French grammar. It has no English equivalent but follows some terms ending with “que.” Don’t bother learning this list of terms- it’s completely unnecessary until university level French. Instead, below is a list of subjunctive phrases to learn off and use at your mercy.

Il faut que je/on fasse…. (It is necessary that I/ we do). The first two sentences are particularly showy-offy as they have two forms of subjunctive in them.

Il faut que je fasse de mon mieux cette année pour que je puisse obtenir des points nécessaires pour aller à la fac: It is necessary that I do my best this year so that I can go to college

Il faut que le gouvernement prenne ses résponsabilités pour qu’on puisse lutter contre _______ (insert issue)”: It is necessary that the government takes responsibility so that we can fight against (issue).

Il faut que je/on admette: It is necessary that I/ we admit……….

Il faut qu’on sache: It is necessary that we know that…….

Il est nécessaire que…

Il est nécessaire que j’obtienne ___ points pour aller à la fac: It is necessary that I obtain ____ points to go to college.

Il est nécessaire qu’on ait des bons rapports avec nos parents: It is necessary that we have good relationships with our parents

Some other handy subjunctive phrases:

Il semble que ce probleme soit grave: It appears that this problem is serious

Qu’on le veuille ou non: Whether we like it or not

Je doute que ce soit vrai: I doubt that this is true


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