French Grammar: The Subjunctive – Emotion and Opinion

Creative Commons Image via The LEAF Project

Creative Commons Image via The LEAF Project

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French Grammar: The Subjunctive – Emotion and Opinion
la grammaire française: le subjonctif – l’émotion et l’opinion

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The subjunctive is used when we are uncertain whether or not an action will take place. If we know that the action is or will be a reality, the indicative is used. The subjunctive is used to express doubt, how a person feels about an action or state of being, a wish, intent or command. It can also be used to express facts that are the opposite of reality.

For more information on the French Subjunctive, see LEAF French Grammar: The Subjunctive – Basics

The subjunctive is used with verbs and expressions that convey an emotional or mental reaction to the action in the dependent clause.  This can include such reactions as anger, fear, joy, sadness, sorrow, and surprise.

The verbs below are used in this way, and are therefore followed by the subjunctive:

avoir honte que … : to be ashamed that …

avoir peur que … : to be afraid that …

craindre que … : to fear that …

s’étonner que … : to be surprised/astonished that …

être content(e) que … : to be happy that …

être déçu(e) que … : to be disappointed that …

être désolé(e) que … : to be sorry that …

être époustouflé(e) que … : to be amazed that …

être étonné(e) que … : to be astonished that …

être fâché(e) que … : to be angry/furious that …

être furieux(-se) que … : to be angry/furious that …

être heureux(-se) que … : to be happy that …

être ravi(e) que … : to be delighted that …

être satisfait(e) que … : to be satisfied that …

être surpris(e) que … : to be surprised that …

être triste que … : to be sad that …

se fâcher que … : to get angry that/because …

se plaindre que … : to complain that …

redouter que … : to dread that …

regretter que … : to regret that …

se réjouir que … : to be glad that …

The impersonal expressions below are also used to convey an emotional or mental reaction, and are therefore followed by the subjunctive:

cela m’agace que … : it annoys me that …

cela m’énerve que … : it annoys me that …

cela m’ennuie que … : it annoys me that …

cela m’étonne que … : I’m surprised that …

il est agaçant que … : it is annoying/irritating that …

il est bizarre que … : it is strange/odd that …

il est curieux que … : it is strange that …

il est énervant que … : it is annoying/irritating that …

il est ennuyeux que … : it is annoying/irritating that …

il est étonnant que … : it is surprising that …

il est extraordinaire que … : it is extraordinary that …

The subjunctive is also used after verbs and expressions that convey an opinion, a judgment, or a possibility such as the following:

accepter que … : to accept that …

aimer que … : to like that …

approuver que … : to approve of … (someone/something doing something)

cela m’est égal que … : I don’t mind … (someone/something doing/not doing something)

c’est une chance que … : it is lucky that …

c’est un scandale que … : it’s scandalous/a disgrace that …

ce n’est pas la peine que … : it is not worth it that …

désapprouver que … : to disapprove of … (someone/something doing something)

être indigné(e) que … : to be indignant that …

s’indigner que … : to be indignant that …

justifier que … : to justify that …

il convient que … : it is suitable/advisable that …

il est absurde que … / c’est absurde que … : it is absurd that …

il est affreux que … / c’est affreux que … : it is awful that …

il est dommage que … / c’est dommage que … : it is too bad/a pity that …

il est embarrassant que … / c’est embarrassant que … : it is embarrassing that …

il est gênant que … / c’est gênant que … : it is embarrassing that …

il est heureux que … / c’est heureux que … : it is fortunate that …

il est impossible que … / c’est impossible que … : it is impossible that …

il est incroyable que … / c’est incroyable que … : it is incredible that …

il est juste que … / c’est juste que … : it is right that …

il est logique que … / c’est logique que … : it is logical that …

il est naturel que … / c’est naturel que … : it is natural that …

il est normal que … / c’est normal que … : it is normal that …

il est possible que … / c’est possible que … : it is possible that …

il est rare que … / c’est rare que … : it is not often/rare that …

il est regrettable que … / c’est regrettable que … : it is regrettable that …

il est ridicule que … / c’est ridicule que … : it is incredible that …

il est scandaleux que … / c’est scandaleux que … : it is disgraceful/scandalous that …

il importe que … : it matters that … / it is important that …

il n’y a aucune chance que … : there is no chance that …

il n’y a pas de danger que … : there is no danger that …

il se peut que … : it is possible that …

il suffit que … : it is enough that …

il vaut mieux que … : it is better that …

peu importe que … : little does it matter that …

quelle absurdité que … : what an absurdity that …

quel scandale que … : what a disgrace/scandal that …

These are just some examples of the verbs and expressions that convey emotion and opinion. There are many more!

Adapt: 

Je suis déçue que tu ne viennes pas.
I am disappointed that you (informal) are not coming.

Nous nous étonnons qu’il soit ici.
We are surprised that he is here.

Il est bizarre que tu ne puisses pas m’entendre.
It is strange that you (informal) cannot hear me.

Il est énervant qu’ils nous fassent attendre.
It is annoying that they (masculine) are making us wait.

Mon patron approuve que je parte en congé.
My boss approves that I go on leave.

C’est dommage qu’ils soient malades.
It’s too bad that they (masculine) are sick.

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