The subjunctive – regular verbs: Italian grammar lesson 203


Unlock the secrets of the Italian subjunctive mood! This guide will help you master the congiuntivo presente with ease, impressing even native speakers with your fluency. Dive into the nuances of expressing hopes, desires, and doubts like a true Italian!

  • Subjunctive Basics: The congiuntivo presente is your go-to for anything uncertain or wishful. Don’t sweat the small stuff; Italians will get your point even if you slip up. 😉
  • Conjugation Patterns: Keep the root from the indicative mood, slap on the right endings, and voilà! You’ve got the subjunctive down. For io, tu, and lui/lei, endings are twinsies.
  • Spot the Subjunctive: After phrases like Penso che or Spero che, the subjunctive pops up. Negative statements? Subjunctive’s still your buddy.
  • Trigger Words: Words like prima che (before) and senza che (without) are like a bat-signal for the subjunctive. They just love hanging out together!
  • Real-life Examples: Get your hands dirty with some examples. They’re the bread and butter for nailing the subjunctive. Practice makes perfect, am I right?

My thoughts

Welcome to the Italian subjunctive!

Even some native speakers make mistakes and use the subjunctive incorrectly. So, using it correctly will make you seem smart, and you’ll probably receive compliments.

Anyway, don’t worry about making mistakes when you first try to put them into practice. Italians will still understand what you mean if you use it incorrectly.

Just so you know, the congiuntivo consists of four tenses: presentepassato,imperfetto, and trapassato.

In this lesson, we’re going to focus on the congiuntivo presente, which is the present of the subjunctive, and we’ll go little by little.

What’s the subjunctive?

The subjunctive is a verbal mood, a verb category, like the indicative. We use the present of the subjunctive to talk about hopes, hypotheses, desires, fears, possibilities, and doubts.

We find it mostly after the main clause, and it’s usually preceded by the conjunction che.

You’ll notice that the presence of the subjunctive in Italian doesn’t always translate into the present tense. This is because it depends on what you want to say.

Let’s have a look at some examples. Make sure you pay attention to the purpose of each sentence (whether it is to talk about hope, desire, doubt, etc.).

Voglio che tu sia felice.

I want you to be happy.

Spero che loro stiano meglio.

I hope they are better.

Ho paura che mia sorella perda il lavoro.

I’m scared my sister might lose her job.

È possibile che le cose non vadano bene.

It’s possible that things won’t go well.

How to conjugate regular verbs?

To form the present of the subjunctive in Italian, you have to keep the root of the verb in the present of the indicative (parl-, ved-, part– if we take the roots of the verbs below) and add the correct endings, which are in bold in the table below:

parlare vedere partire
io parli veda parta
tu parli veda parta
lui/lei parli veda parta
noi parliamo vediamo partiamo
voi parliate vediate partiate
loro parlino vedano partano

You probably noticed the following aspects:

  • for io, tu and lui/lei the ending is the same.
  • for noi (parliamo, vediamo, partiamo), the subjunctive looks exactly like the present of the indicative (which means you probably won’t get it wrong) same for tu parli
  • for voi and in parlino the presence of the letter i

Let’s have a look at some examples:

Mi sembra che lei non parli sul serio.

I think she’s not talking seriously.

Non credo che Marco veda bene.

I don’t think Marco can see well.

Anna non vuole che i nonni partano.

Anna doesn’t want her grandparents to leave.

Lei preferisce che io compri questa casa.

She prefers that I buy this house.

Non voglio che tu creda a quello che ti dicono.

I don’t want you to believe what they tell you.

Spero veramente che vi sentiate meglio.

I really hope you feel better.

Practice with Quizlet

Here's a set of flashcards and quizzes to practice this grammar topic.

What are some common phrases preceding the subjunctive?

You probably already noticed this (and if not, you can check above) some key phrases are followed by the subjunctive.

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When they’re negative, they are also followed by the subjunctive.

Here they are:

  • Penso cheI think that
  • Credo che: I believe that
  • Spero cheI hope that
  • È possibile che: It’s possible that
  • Sembra che: It seems that or It seems like

Other than the conjunction che, you’ll find the subjunctive after the following phrases:

Here are some examples:

Lei vuole venire a meno che tu non parli sul serio.

She wants to come unless you’re not talking seriously.

Compra il biglietto prima che cambi idea.

Buy the ticket before I change my mind.

Va bene purché tu dica la verità.

It’s fine, provided that you tell the truth.

What does subjunctive in Italian mean?

The Italian language makes use of the subjunctive verb form in various contexts to express a range of emotions and attitudes. This grammatical structure is frequently employed to convey desires, hopes, and aspirations, as well as to express uncertainty or doubt. In addition, the subjunctive is utilized in Italian to express thoughts and beliefs, such as opinions or judgments about a particular subject or situation.

How do you form the present subjunctive in Italian?

If you want to create the present tense of the subjunctive in Italian, you need to maintain the root of the verb in the present indicative form. For instance, if we consider the roots of verbs like "parlare," "vedere," and "partire," the roots would be "parl-," "ved-," and "part-," respectively. After that, you should add the appropriate endings to complete the formation.

Italian word of the day
Hai voglia di fare una passeggiata?
Do you feel like going for a walk?
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