# 12.12: Structure - Expressions impersonnelles avec le subjonctif

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## Objectif

In this section, you will learn how to use the sbjunctive with impersonal expressions

## Media Alternative

Listen to the audio clips that follow on this page to hear the French pronunciation of vocabulary and examples presented.

## On étudie !

(a) Here are some common impersonal expressions that « trigger » a subjunctive mood:

Expressions impersonnelles suivies du subjonctif
Français Anglais
il vaut mieux que it’s better/best that
il est essentiel que it’s essential that
il est indispensable que it’s essential that
il faut que it’s necessary that
il est important que it’s important that
il est bon que it’s good that
il est dommage que it’s a shame that
il est possible que it’s possible that

Il vaut mieux que vous ne le fassiez pas. (You better not do it.)

Il n’est pas bon que les gosses ne puissent pas jouer sur le terrain de jeu. (It’s not good that the kids cannot play on the playground.)

Il est impossible que tout le monde vienne. (It is impossible for everyone to come.)

### Flashcards

Study the Quizlet vocabulary flashcards. Listen and repeat the French pronunciation.

### Note

English also uses the subjunctive, as we see with the verb "speak" (instead of "speaks") in this example:

"It is essential" that an interpreter "speak" two languages fluently. (Il est indispensable qu’un interprète parle deux langues couramment.)

Exprimer l'obligation avec Il faut et le subjonctif. (Expressing obligation with Il faut and the subjunctive).

To express necessity or obligation, we can use the verb devoir (je dois…) and falloir (il faut…) followed by infinitives:

Il doit acheter un billet d’avion. (He must buy a plane ticket.)

Il faut obtenir un billet. (It is necessary to buy a ticket. / One must buy a ticket.)

In these two examples, we are only dealing with one subject: Il (he) and Il (It), respectively. It is a different story when we have two subjects.

If, for example I want to say It is necessary that you get a visa, I am now dealing with two separate subjects and two separate clauses:

It is necessary. You buy a ticket.

To join them together I can use the conjunction "that" :

It is necessary that you buy a ticket.

This turns clause 1 into the main or dominant clause, and clause 2 into the subordinate clause. In French, you join the clauses with the conjunction que.

Il faut… + Tu achètes un billet ➔ Il faut que tu achètes un billet.

(b) When Il faut is followed by an infinitive, it expresses a general obligation without mentioning a specific person. It’s somewhat impersonal because it could apply to anyone:

Il faut faire de l’exercice. (One must exercise, People need to exercise, You have got to exercise.)

(c) When a specific person is mentioned, the Il faut is followed by the conjunction que and a conjugated verb in the subjunctive mood.

Il faut + Tu fais de l’exercice. (It is necessary You exercise.) ➔ Il faut que tu fasses de l’exercice. (It is necessary that you exercise.)

(d) The present subjunctive is also used after expressions of necessity in the past tense or the future tense:

Il était important que vous voyiez ça. (It was important that you see that.)

Il a fallu que nous nous reposions d’abord. (We had to rest first.)

Il faudra qu’ils attendent un peu. (They’ll have to wait a little while.)

Il vaudra mieux que tu viennes. (It’ll be better if you come.)

## On pratique !

### Activité A

Choisissez la forme correcte du verbe.

1. Il est dommage qu’on ne ________ (fait / fasse) pas du covoiturage.
2. Il est possible que les pays ________ (prenent / prennent) des mesures pour baisser les émissions de gaz.
3. Il vaut mieux que vous vous ________ (mobilisez / mobilisiez) maintenant.
4. Il faut que le gouvernement ________ (interdise / interdit) les voiture utilisant des combustibles fossiles.
5. Il est indispensable que tu ________ (vas / ailles) visiter les parcs nationaux.
6. Il est important que nous ________ (réduisions / réduisons) la pollution.
7. Il ne faut pas que tu ________ (fais / fasses) ça.
8. Il est essentiel que nous___________(pouvions / puissions) protéger l’environnement.

## On approfondit !

### Ressources en ligne

Use the following resources to type accents and/or search for words:

• Accents: ç, à, é, è, â, ê, î, ô, û, ù, ë, ï, ü
• Dictionnaire français-anglais

### Exercice 1 : vocabulaire (expressions impersonnelles + infinitif, préparatifs de voyage)

This page titled 12.12: Structure - Expressions impersonnelles avec le subjonctif is shared under a CC BY-NC 4.0 license and was authored, remixed, and/or curated by William J. Carrasco, Shahrzad Zahedi, & Caren Barnezet Parrish.