Subjunctive in subordinate clauses
The subjunctive is used in subordinate clauses, introduced by che (that), after expressions of emotion (joy, sorrow, fear, etc.), doubt, ignorance, will, desire, command, prohibition, preference, believing, thinking, hoping.
Common phrases that require the use of the subjunctive mood include:
Credo che… — I believe that…
Suppongo che… — I suppose that…
Immagino che… — I imagine that…
È necessario che… — It is necessary that…
Mi piace che… — I like that…
Preferisco che… — I prefer that…
Sono felice che… — I am happy that…
Sono contento che… — I am content / happy that…
Non vale la pena che… — It’s not worth it that…
Non suggerisco che… — I’m not suggesting that…
Può darsi che… — It’s possible that…
Penso che… — I think that…
Dubito che… — I doubt that…
Temo che… — I fear that…
Non sono certo che… — I’m not sure that…
È probabile che… — It is probable that…
Ho l’impressione che… — I have the impression that…
This means that, if you encounter any iteration of these phrases above, the following clause must use the subjunctive.
Sono contento che lui venga. — I am glad (that) he is coming.
Non so se lei lo sappia. — I don’t know if she knows it.
Egli dubita che Lei possa farlo. — He doubts (that) you can do it.
Preferiamo che tu vada con Carlo. — We prefer that you go with Charles.
Credo che loro lo sappiano. — I believe (that) they know it.
NOTE: The literal translation of the present subjunctive is “may” plus the meaning of the verb (che io lo faccia — “that I may do it”), but as these examples illustrate, the translation should always depend upon good English. Thus, Sono contento che lui venga means literally “I am glad that he may come,” but in standard, natural-sounding English, this would be “I am glad he is coming (will come).”
NOTE: convenga, dica, and possa are 3d sing. pres. subj. forms of convenire (to suit, to be suitable, to be fitting), dire, and potere, respectively.
|alcuno (pron.) anyone, anybody||ciarlare
to talk idly, to chat, to chatter
he who of
to demand, to require
end, aim, object, goal
to deny; to refuse
foolishness, stupidity, stillness
|superbia arrogance, pride||talmente
so; to such an extent
to fear, to be afraid
|alcun, alcuno (adj.)
senza…alcun without any
to eat (something); to feed (on something)
[we] must, are to (1st pl. pres., dovere)
to go mad, crazy; to go out of one’s mind (cf. pazzo, mad, crazy)
|impronta impression, mark|
besides; moreover; furthermore
|lettore (m.) reader||Luogotenenza lieutenancy||ospite (m. or f.) host(ess); guest|
|que’ = quei||rabbuiarsi
to get sulk
wrong, mistaken (cf. sbagliare, to make a mistake; sbagliarsi, to be mistaken; sbaglio, mistake)
to get upset
|valere (irreg.) quanto to be equivalent to, to be the same as; to be worth||voltare le spalle (a qualcuno)
to turn one’s back on someone