Using the subjunctive

We use the subjunctive in the following cases:

  • To express a feeling, hope or desire, using verbs such as essere contento/triste/felice che (to be glad/sad/happy that), desiderare che (to hope that), sperare che (to hope that), volere che (to want “that”): 

Siamo contenti che andiate a visitare il nostro Paese. andare, congiuntivo presente

We are glad that you are going to visit our country.

Spero che stiate bene stasera. stare, congiuntivo presente

I hope you are well this evening.

  • To express a need, with phrases such as bisogna che (there is a need that), occorre che (it is necessary that) or è necessario/essenziale/importante che (it is necessary/essential/important that):

Bisogna che tu venga alla riunione. venire, congiuntivo presente

You need to come to the meeting.

È essenziale che finiate questo progetto. finire, congiuntivo presente

It's essential that you finish this project.

  • To express doubt or fear:

Dubito che Toni resti a casa. restare, congiuntivo presente

I doubt that Toni will stay at home (literally, “…that Toni stays at home”).

Ho paura che Paolo non venga stasera. venire, congiuntivo presente

I'm afraid that Paolo won't come this evening (literally, “…that Paolo doesn't come this evening”).

  • To express opinions after the verbs credere (to believe), pensare (to think), immaginare (to imagine): 

Credo che tu sia stanco. essere, congiuntivo presente

I believe you are tired.

  • After certain conjunctions and expressions such as benché (although), sebbene (even though), in modo che (so that), nonostante (despite, although), affinché (so that), etc.

Cosa devo fare affinché tu lo capisca? capire, congiuntivo presente

What must I do so that you understand?

Ho sonno, nonostante siano solo le nove. essere, congiuntivo presente

I'm sleepy, even though it's only nine (literally, “… they're only nine”).

Note: the subjunctive is almost always preceded by che (that).

Mi dispiace che tu non sia qui oggi. essere, congiuntivo presente

I'm sorry that you are not here today.

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