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French Subjunctive - Irregular Conjugations

Conjugating irregular verbs and stem-changing verbs into the subjunctive


While not as difficult as using the French subjunctive, conjugating irregular and stem-changing verbs into the subjunctive can be a little tricky.

Stem-changing verbs and most irregular verbs follow the same pattern as regular verbs for the singular conjugations (je, tu, il/elle/on) as well as the third person plural (ils/elles): the subjunctive stem is derived from the present tense conjugation of ils.

  boire envoyer prendre venir  
present tense:  ils  boivent envoient prennent viennent
  stem  boiv- envoi- prenn- vienn-
subjunctive endings        
   ... que je -e boive envoie prenne vienne
   ... que tu -es boives envoies prennes viennes
   ... qu'il/elle/on -e boive envoie prenne vienne
   ... qu'ils/elles -ent boivent envoient prennent viennent
However, the nous and vous forms of the subjunctive find their stems in the present tense conjugation of nous:
present tense:  nous  buvons envoyons prenons venons
  stem  buv- envoy- pren- ven-
subjunctive endings   
   ... que nous -ions buvions envoyions prenions venions
   ... que vous -iez buviez envoyiez preniez veniez
This two-stem subjunctive pattern applies to all stem-changing verbs as well as all but seven irregular verbs.

Five verbs have irregular subjunctive stems but take the same endings as above:
    One stem   Two stems*
  faire pouvoir savoir   aller vouloir
stem(s)    fass- puiss- sach-   aill- / all- veuill- / voul-
   ... que je (j')   fasse puisse sache   aille veuille
   ... que tu   fasses puisses saches   ailles veuilles
   ... qu'il/elle/on   fasse puisse sache   aille veuille
   ... que nous   fassions puissions sachions   allions voulions
   ... que vous   fassiez puissiez sachiez   alliez vouliez
   ... qu'ils/elles   fassent puissent sachent   aillent veuillent
*These two verbs have different stems for je/tu/il/ils and nous/vous.

And finally, two verbs have irregular stems as well irregular endings:
  avoir être                                         
   ... que je (j') aie sois
   ... que tu aies sois
   ... qu'il/elle/on ait soit
   ... que nous ayons soyons
   ... que vous ayez soyez
   ... qu'ils/elles aient soient
Test on irregular subjunctive conjugations

Please scroll down for more lessons about the French subjunctive and related grammar.
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