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Using Le Subjonctif after penser, trouver. savoir, croire, prétendre + que in the negative

Look at these expressions of positive and negative (using negations) opinions (i.e. using affirmative or negative sentences):

Je pense que c'est génial.
I think (that) this is great.

Je ne pense pas que ce soit nécessaire.
I don't think (that) it's necessary.

Ils croient que Luc peut le faire.
They believe that Luc can do it.

Ils ne croient pas que Martha puisse le faire.
They don't believe that Martha can do it.

 

Note that with the following expressions of opinion, the mode of the following verb changes whether the opinion is expressed in an affirmative or negative form (using negative structures like ne...pas etc).

penser que + Indicatif  (to think that) /  ne pas penser que + Subjonctif  

trouver que  (to find that)

savoir que (to know that)

croire que  (to believe that)

prétendre que (to claim that)

 

Note that many people nowadays happen to make the mistake of using the Indicative mode instead of the Subjunctive. But that's not a reason to do it yourself! 

 

Learn more about these related French grammar topics

Examples and resources

Je pense que c'est génial.
I think (that) this is great.


Il prétend que ce n'est pas légal.
He claims that it's not legal.


Je ne sais pas que ce soit vrai.
I don't know that this is true.


Je ne prétends pas que ce soit comme ça partout.
I don't claim it's like that everywhere.


Tu sais qu'elle est comme ça.
You know that she's like that.


Elle trouve que son copain fait des efforts.
She finds that her boyfriend makes efforts.


Elle ne trouve pas qu'il fasse beaucoup d'effort.
She doesn't find that he makes much effort.


Ils ne croient pas que Martha puisse le faire.
They don't believe that Martha can do it.


Je ne pense pas que ce soit nécessaire.
I don't think (that) it's necessary.


Ils croient que Luc peut le faire.
They believe that Luc can do it.


Micro kwiz: Using Le Subjonctif after penser, trouver. savoir, croire, prétendre + que in the negative
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Q&A

katya

Kwiziq community member

1 December 2017

3 replies

subjunctive for croire

Hello, If I want to ask "do you think that we will win?" do I use the subjunctive even though it's in the future? That is, do I say: "Crois-tu qu'on gagne?" or similarly "crois-tu que nous gagnions?" OR do I say "Crois-tu qu'on va gagner?"/ "Crois-tu que nous allons gagner?" Merci en avance, Katya

Cécile

Kwiziq language super star

23 March 2018

23/03/18

Hi katya ,


Indeed as Chris says and as stated in the lesson you refer to, you only use the subjunctive after a negative use of croire ( and then not always). In the example you give, it will be,


Tu crois qu'on va gagner? 


Hope this helps!

Ron

Kwiziq community member

2 December 2017

2/12/17

Bonjour Katya,
Here is a link on this site that explains the usage of the subjonctif:
https://www.lawlessfrench.com/grammar/subjunctive/
Aussi, il y a l'explication suivant:
Emploi du subjonctif
Le subjonctif est un mode utilisé pour exprimer un doute, un fait souhaité, une action incertaine qui n'a donc pas été réalisée au moment où nous nous exprimons.
Le subjonctif s'emploie avec des verbes exprimant l'envie, le souhait, le désir, l'émotion, l'obligation, le doute ou l'incertitude.
Exemples :
- J'aimerais qu'il soit là.
- Il faut que tu ailles aux urgences.
- Il est possible qu'il vienne en train.

So, because this is a «guess» or uncertainty, doubt as to whether or not the team will win, the subjonctif would be proper usage.
Crois-tu qu'on gagne?
Crois-tu que nous gagnions?

Chris

Kwiziq community member

4 December 2017

4/12/17

Croire only uses the subjunctive when used in a negative sense, as in: "Je ne crois pas qu'il vienne." -- I don't believe that he comes. Otherwise you use the indiciative mood: "Je crois qu'il vient." or "Tu crois qu'il vient?"

In your example, therefore, you would use the indicative. The use of "on" instead of "nous" in this example makes it sound a bit more colloquial and everyday. Also, the future proche expresses a more immediate future than the future simple. Either one will be correct, it depends on context.

So if you're sitting next to a friend watching a soccer match of your team, you would most likely say: "Tu crois qu'on va gagner?"

-- Chris (not a native speaker).

Aurélie

Kwiziq language super star

6 March 2017

1 reply

Nicholas asked: "Pourquoi il n'y a pas un ne explétif ?"

"Nous ne trouvons pas que vous fassiez trop de bruit." (We don't think you make too much noise.)

Aurélie

Kwiziq language super star

6 March 2017

6/03/17

Bonjour Nicholas !

You won't use the "ne explétif" in sentences where the main verb (before "que") is already in the negative form.

À bientôt !

Jennifer

Kwiziq community member

29 September 2016

2 replies

Il faut qu'ils sachent conduire

Just to test it. Is the rule as follows. If these verbs are preceded with something like il faut subjuntive, if not and positive, indicative, if not and negative subjunctive, subjunctive? Eg il faut qu'ils sachent conduire, ils savent conduire, ils ne sachent pas conduire. Correct or not please?

Laura

Kwiziq language super star

1 October 2016

1/10/16

Bonjour Jennifer,


No, that's not how it works.


The subjunctive/indicative question only comes up when there's a relative clause - that is, "verb + que + verb." The first verb is what determines whether the second verb has to be subjunctive.


Il faut que always needs the subjunctive: Il faut qu'il sache, Il ne faut pas qu'il sache, Il faut qu'il ne sache pas.


The lesson you asked this question about is on a particular set of verbs that require the indicative when the verb is affirmative, but the subjunctive when it's negative.


Je pense qu'il le sait --> Je ne pense pas qu'il le sache.


Ils savent conduire / Ils ne savent pas conduire - no subjunctive because there's no que.


You might like to take a look at some more explanatory lessons:


Introduction to French subjunctive
A simple little lesson on the French subjunctive

Jennifer

Kwiziq community member

1 October 2016

1/10/16

Merci bien

sue

Kwiziq community member

9 September 2016

1 reply

I don't think!

Would there be much of a difference between. I don't think it is interesting and I think it is not interesting. The first would be wth subjunctive and the second with the indicative. Would there be any preference to use one rather than the other. Would there be a slight change in meaning? thankyou.

Laura

Kwiziq language super star

11 September 2016

11/09/16

Bonjour Sue,

It's exactly the same difference in meaning in French and English. I think it is not interesting / Je pense qu'il n'est pas intéressant is stronger but much less common.
Getting that for you now.