The Italian subjunctive
If you’re here, it means you probably already heard about congiuntivo (the subjunctive).
If you haven’t, here’s a quick explanation of what it is: the subjunctive is a verbal mood or a verb category, like the indicative.
We usually use the subjunctive to talk about hopes, hypotheses, desires, fears, possibilities, and doubts.
We use the subjunctive a lot in Italian. You’ll usually find it after the word che and after certain words.
There are four types of subjunctive in Italian:
- Congiuntivo presente (present subjunctive)
- Congiuntivo passato (past subjunctive)
- Congiuntivo imperfetto (imperfect subjunctive)
- Congiuntivo trapassato(past perfect subjunctive)
In today’s lesson, we’re going to focus on three words that need the subjunctive:
What are the words that need the subjunctive in Italian?
There are many words that need the subjunctive such as sembra che, in caso, non sapevo che, nonostante, magari, and prima che.
In this post, we’re going to focus on those words that end in –unque:
- Qualunque o qualsiasi: whichever
- Ovunque: wherever
- Chiunque: whoever
The –unque denotes generality or a degree of uncertainty.Since we use the subjunctive to express uncertainty, these words trigger the use of the subjunctive.
Just so you know, these words can be followed by any of the four subjunctives, depending on what you want to say.
Additionally, a sentence containing one of these words and the subjunctive needs to be complemented with another sentence. It’s the same in English: you can’t just say wherever you go and that’s it.
You need to complete your sentence, like in the example below:
Vi seguirò ovunque voi andiate.
I’ll follow you wherever you go.
You can check out our blog post about other meanings of these words and how they’re formed.
How to form qualunque + subjunctive?
Qualunque and qualsiasi are synonyms so they’re interchangeable.
They both mean whichever. It’s easy to remember this since you can split the words in two: quale (meaning which) + –unque or –siasi (meaning ever).
These words can be used as adjectives or words for describing other words:
Qualunque vestito tu scelga ti starà bene.
Whichever dress you choose will look good on you.
Qualsiasi cosa tu dicessi, non le andrebbe bene.
Whichever thing you said wouldn’t be fine for her.
Qualunque cosa io avessi fatto non sarebbe stato abbastanza.
Whichever thing I did wouldn’t have been enough.
How to form ovunque + subjunctive?
Ovunque means wherever. It’s a shortened version of dovunque formed by dove (meaning where) + unque (meaning ever) and it’s really common.
Here are some examples:
Saremo con te ovunque tu vada.
We’ll be with you wherever you go.
Verrei a trovarti ovunque tu fossi.
I’d come to see you wherever you were.
How to form chiunque + subjunctive?
Chiunque means whoever. It’s easy to remember because it’s made up of chi (meaning who) + –unque (meaning ever).
Here are some examples:
Chiunque dica che non è vero mente!
Whoever says it’s not true is lying.
Chiunque avesse voluto dire qualcosa avrebbe potuto farlo.
Whoever wanted to say something could have done so.
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Ora lo vedo grazie alla tua spiegazione.
CHI, Qual[E], [D}ov[E] + que -ever = doubt, possibility
Ora lo vedo grazie alla tua explicazione. CHI, QUAL, [D]OV [E] + que (ever) = doubt…