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The subjunctive – Il congiuntivo Posted by on Aug 13, 2021 in Grammar

Ciao a tutti! 

Today let’s talk about il congiuntivo, the subjunctive tense.

The subjunctive indicates a subjective attitude toward the action or situation described by the verb.

It is used to express wishes, thoughts, beliefs, worries, and doubt (voglio che (I want that), spero che (I hope that), penso che (I think that), credo che (I believe that), temo che (I’m afraid that), dubito che (I doubt that):

Penso che legga – (I think he’s reading)

Non sono sicura che abbia venduto la macchina – (I’m not sure that she sold her car)

Mi stupisco che lei sia ancora qui – (I’m surprised that she’s still here)

Ho paura che sia troppo tardi – (I am afraid it may be too late)

Desidero che venga con me – (I want her to come with me)

It is used after impersonal constructions and for the polite imperative (Lei):

Bisogna che venda la sua macchina – (It is necessary for him to sell his car)

Basta che lei mi dica con che treno arriverà – (It’s enough that she tells me which train she’s arriving on)

Si dice che sia un posto meraviglioso per passare le vacanze – (It is said that it’s a wonderful place to go on holiday)

Parli piano – (Speak slowly)

Prego, si accomodi – (Please make yourself comfortable)

Firmi qui per piacere – (Sign here please)

It is used after impersonal constructions such as è facile che, è difficile che (it’s likely that, it’s unlikely that), è meglio che (it’s better that), è un peccato che (it’s a pity that), non è giusto che (it’s unfair that)

è un peccato che tu non possa venire – (it’s a pity that you can’t come)
non è giusto che sia sempre lui a pulire la casa – (it’s unfair that it’s always him that has to clean the house)
è meglio che veniate oggi pomeriggio – (it’s better that you come this afternoon).

It is used following conjunctions built with che such as prima che (before), affinché (so that, in order that), a meno che non (unless), nel caso che (in case)

Dobbiamo partire prima che faccia buio – (we must leave before it gets dark)
Ci vediamo domani, a meno che non ci siano imprevisti – (see you tomorrow, unless anything unexpected happens.)
Nel caso che venga tardi e ti serva un passaggio, dammi un colpo di telefono, va bene?  (if it should get dark and you need a lift give me a ring, okay?)

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The subjunctive has four tenses: present, perfect, imperfect and pluperfect. Let’s look at the present tense today.

We construct the congiuntivo presente of regular verbs by modifying the ending of the infinitive form in the following way:

  • Verbs ending in –are, (parlare) (to speak) become:
    io parli, tu parli, lui parli, lei parli, noi parliamo, voi parliate, loro parlino
  • Verbs ending in ere, (credere) (to believe) become:
    io creda, tu creda, lui creda, lei creda, noi crediamo, voi crediate, loro credano
  • Verbs ending in ire, (dormire) (to sleep) become:
    io dorma, tu dorma, lui dorma, lei dorma, noi dormiamo, voi dormiate, loro dormano
  • Verbs ending in –ire which use the suffix –isco in the normal present tense, such as capire (to understand), follow the same rule in the present subjunctive:
    io capisca, tu capisca, lui capisca, lei capisca, noi capiamo, voi capiate, loro capiscano

Due to the fact that the singular forms of the present subjunctive all use the same ending, you’ll need to use the appropriate personal pronoun in order to avoid confusion: io parli, tu parli, lui parli, lei parli. 

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About the Author: Bridgette

Just your average Irish-American Italo-Francophone. Client Engagement for Transparent Language. Wannabe Digital Nomad.


Comments:

  1. Elliana:

    Another excellent post. Clear and well organized. Grazie.

  2. Tom Dawkes:

    Have a look at the – one of several Canzioni didattiche by Lorenzo Baglioni: see https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8bfYQZPLCEA&list=PLEonXPUILhvBCuriZbNBMsc4ds6A13bCC&index=2&t=0s . A real hoot!

  3. Jim Hartley:

    Isn’t “parli piano” and “si accomodi” the formal second person imperative tense? I’ve always thought of them this way.

  4. Rosanna McFarlin:

    le classi ed esercizi sono ben spiegati e di facile comprensione. Grazie.


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