I. Further uses of the subjunctive

In addition to its use in subordinate clauses, the subjunctive is used after impersonal expressions (followed by che) such as the ones below.

è meglio- “it is better”

-“it is necessary”


è necessario

è giusti- “it is right”

è possibile- “it is possible”

è incredibile- “it is incredible”

“since,” “as,”

“granted that,” “given that”

The subjunctive is also used after such conjunctions as the following:


benchè                              dato che

quantunque                          posto che

sebbene                             caso mai- “in case”


avanti che                          finchè- “until” (referring to future)


prima che                           eccetto che…non

purchè- “provided that”             a meno che…non

“so that”,

“in order that”

perchè                              senza che- “without”



The subjunctive is sometimes used in a dependent clause following the relative superlative of an adjective or an equivalent expression such as il migliore (the best), il solo or l’unico (the only), il primo (the first), l’ultimo (the last), etc. The subjunctive is most likely to occur in sentences which involve a question of judgment or opinion, whether expressed or implied. The subjunctive is also used when there is doubt as to the existence or the attainability of a person or object sought.



accidente = incidente
to assemble, to meet, to gather
each, each one
colle (m.)
to awaken, to arouse
young woman
fonte (f.)
source; spring
to flee
to infuse
plot (of a play or event, story)
miglio (pl., miglia)    mile
 *non bisogna      one must not   *novella
short story
 *pochissimi, -e   very few  principe (m.)     prince
picture, painting
to retire
to draw, to pull


to bring up, to raise
wood, forest
to sit on (eggs)
*nonostante notwithstanding, in spite of
raggiungimento    attainment, achievement *ricorrere
to resort (to), to have recourse (to) (irreg.)
risuonare (also risonare)
to resound, to echo
round; sonorous, full (-toned)
to choose, to select (irreg.)
sottoposto  subjected *uovo (pl. f., uova)    egg


Last revised on October 5, 2017.

II. Present perfect subjunctive

The present perfect subjunctive is formed by adding the past participle of the main verb to the present subjunctive of the auxiliary (avere or essere).

The literal translation of the present subjunctive is “may have” plus the meaning of the past participle of the main verb (che io abbia fatto– “that I may have done”; che tu sia partito– “that you may have left”). Very often though, the “may have” need not be used. The translation must always depend on good English. For example, the sentence Mi dispiace che siate stato malato could be translated literally “I am sorry that you may have been ill,” but in good, normal English, one says “I am sorry (that) you were ill.”

The present perfect subjunctive has the same uses as the present subjunctive, except for the sequence of tenses. Compare:

Son contento ch’egli stia bene. –“I am glad that he is well.”

Son contento ch’egli sia partito. –“I am glad he left.”

Vorrà ch’io vada con lui. –“He will want me to go with him.”

Digli che parli con Roberto! –“Tell him to speak with Robert!”

Non gli dire che te l’abbia detto io. –“Don’t tell him that I told you.”

Dubiterà ch’io sia uscito. –“He will doubt that I went out.”

Thus, as the foregoing examples show, a main verb in the present, future, or imperative may be followed by a verb in the present subjunctive or in the present perfect subjunctive. The present perfect subjunctive will be used whenever the action of the dependent clause is past in relation to the principal clause.


coloro che
those (people) who
to cook
to err, to be mistaken
to shout, to cry
in ritardo 
mi dispiace
I am sorry
to remember
to turn
to hope



Last revised on January 30, 2017.

III. Irregular verbs

Rimanere (basic meaning: to remain)

Present indicative: rimango, rimani, rimane, rimaniamo, rimanete, rimangono

Present subjunctive: rimanga, rimanga, rimanga, rimaniamo, rimaniate, rimangano

Past absolute: rimasi, rimanesti, rimase, rimanemmo, rimaneste, rimasero

Stem for future and conditional: rimarr-: rimarrò, etc.; rimarrei, etc.

Past participle: rimasto, conjugated with essere: sono rimasto (-a), etc.

Tenere (basic meaning: to keep)

Present indicative: tengo, tieni, tiene, teniamo, tenete, tengono

Present subjunctive: tenga, tenga, tenga, teniamo, teniate, tengano

Past absolute: tenni, tenesti, tenne, tenemmo, teneste, tennero

Stem for future and conditional: terr-: terrò, etc.; terrei, etc.

Past participle: tenuto, conjugated with avere: ho tenuto, etc.

Conjugated like tenere: detenere (to hold; to keep), mantenere (to maintain),

ottenere (to obtain), ritenere (to hold, to retain; to think, to deem; to consider, to regard), sostenere (to support, to sustain), trattenere (to keep, to detain, to retain).


another’s, other people’s
as, since; for
his own, one’s own, their own; typical, characteristic
search, quest
protection, defense


Last revised on April 19, 2017.

IV. Comparative of equality

The comparative of equality, in English “as…as,” is expressed in Italian in the following ways.

tanto…quanto (or: tanto…come)


Giovanni è tanto alto quanto Maria. –“John is as tall as Mary.”

Egli parla così chiaramente come il professore. –“He speaks as clearly as the teacher.”

Note that the first term may be omitted.

È ricco come suo padre. –“He is as rich as his father.”


*dilettevole      delightful, pleasant, agreeable *furbo
cunning, artful, crafty (cf. furberia)
thief, robber
to steal; to rob
bag; sack
silly, stupid


Last revised on January 30, 2017.