November 29, 2009

Dictionary entries include present subjunctive

As you have probably noticed, entries for verbs in the French dictionary contain a "mini verb table" listing some of the most common verb forms for that verb. A minor change has been made so that these tables now display the present subjunctive form of the verb.

As explained in more detail in the French grammar section, the subjunctive forms are special forms used to mark a non-assertion. In other words, they're the rough equivalent of English structures such as him coming, for them to help, where the emphasis is not so much on an actual action taking place, but more on a "snapshot" of an envisaged situation.

For most verbs, the subjunctive forms are not so complicated provided you know the "normal" (indicative) present tense plus, for the nous and vous forms, the French imperfect tense. However, for a few verbs, subjunctive forms can look quite different from the normal present tense form. (For example, the present tense of aller is usually je vais etc, but the corresponding subjunctive form is j'aille.)

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