8 The Subjonctif

8.1 The Subjonctif - Overview

Now we come to something that is said to be the most horrible thing in the grammar of Roman languages - the subjonctif. So far, we have shown the indicativ, which is used to express real things.

Tu veux aller a Paris. You want to go to Paris.
Je mange du gateau. I eat cake.

It is a mode of verbs that expresses something irreal, something that we wish, desire, fear - but - what did not (yet) happen. The translation into English is not that easy, one could think of the conjunctive mood in English- However, here we have two difficulties:
1) It is hardly ever actively used
2) It distinguishes from the indicative mode in only a few cases.
Then again it is often substituted by the conditional with modals (would / could) and this is, what's mainly used to translate the subjunctive mood of Roman languages into English.

I wish you would not work so long hours.
She only pretended that she would study law, but in fact she is a doctor.

In detail things are a bit more complicated, but we will come to this step by step. Let's first check, how does the subjunctive mood look like in French.

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