Does subjunctive past ever follow vouloir que

DianeC1Kwiziq community member

Does subjunctive past ever follow vouloir que

The subject of the lesson says subjunctif présent always follows vouloir que. If the sentence is in the past "elle a voulu que"' what happens to the subjunctive? Is it really in the present "elle a voulu que le chien parte" or should the subjunctive past be used? "'elle a voulu que le chien soit parti."'

Asked 4 years ago
CécileKwiziq team memberCorrect answer

Hi Diane,

You are correct in thinking that sometimes vouloir que will be followed by the subjunctive past.

I am thinking of a banal example like -

Je voudrais qu'ils partent I'd like them to go 

and 

Je voudrais qu'ils soient partis = I'd like them (to be) gone

The important bit is that it is always followed by a subjunctive.

So thanks for pointing this out and I will alter the lesson title accordingly.

 

AlanC1 Kwiziq Q&A super contributor

Hi Cécile, 

Can we be sure that "soient partis" is a past subjunctive in your example, rather than a present subjunctive plus a past participle acting as an adjective, as in the English translation? Is it possible to find a similar example with a verb that uses avoir to form the past tense? 

It seems slightly odd to me to combine "je voudrais" or "I would like" with a past tense, since it seems to indicate a desire that the past be changed. However, I know that many English speakers do find it acceptable, as discussed in this thread: https://languagelog.ldc.upenn.edu/nll/?p=3941

According to Le Grevisse de l'etudiant:

Après un conditionnel présent comme verbe principal, quand le verbe de la proposition doit être au subjonctif, il se met au présent ou à l'imparfait.

Je voudrais qu'il vienne ou qu'il vînt. (Littré)

I was thinking of something like "elle aurait voulu que le chien soit parti" = "she wished that the dog had gone", where "soit parti" could be replaced by "ait quitté la maison", say.

Does subjunctive past ever follow vouloir que

The subject of the lesson says subjunctif présent always follows vouloir que. If the sentence is in the past "elle a voulu que"' what happens to the subjunctive? Is it really in the present "elle a voulu que le chien parte" or should the subjunctive past be used? "'elle a voulu que le chien soit parti."'

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