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

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.


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.


Q&A Forum 5 questions, 8 answers

Improve the quiz questions

Both quiz questions are affirmative statements using verbs that do not use the subjunctive in the affirmative.

Thus, the answers do not use the subjunctive.

But the lesson is about using these verbs in the subjunctive in negative statements.

Asked 2 months ago

Maybe it's a bit of a trick question, geared at making you recognize the difference? Just guessing.

Improve the quiz questions

Both quiz questions are affirmative statements using verbs that do not use the subjunctive in the affirmative.

Thus, the answers do not use the subjunctive.

But the lesson is about using these verbs in the subjunctive in negative statements.

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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
Asked 1 year ago
CécileKwiziq language super starCorrect answer

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!

RonC1
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?
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).

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

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AurélieKwiziq language super star

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.)
Asked 2 years ago
AurélieKwiziq language super star
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 !

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.)

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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?
Asked 2 years ago
LauraKwiziq language super star

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

Merci bien

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?

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SueC1

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.
Asked 2 years ago
LauraKwiziq language super star
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.

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.

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