Table of Contents
I. Conjunctions Followed by the Indicative
All conjunctions that are followed by a verb in the indicative fall into one of two groups.
A. Conjunctions Indicating a Causal Relationship
The distinctions between parce que, puisque, and comme used as a conjunction are slight indeed; you need not worry about them. Car is a bit different, since it is the only one of this group that is not a subordinating conjunction (which is to say it can be used in an independent clause.)
parce que = “because”
- Elle ne dit rien parce qu’elle a peur de son mari. (She doesn’t say anything because she is afraid of her husband.)
puisque = “since”
- Puisque vous n’aimez pas la cuisine chinoise, nous dînerons dans un restaurant coréen. (Since you don’t like Chinese food, we’ll dine in a Korean restaurant.)
comme = “as; since”
- AS: Faites comme vous voulez. (Do as you wish.)
- SINCE; Comme vous n’aimez pas la cuisine chinoise, nous dînerons dans un restaurant coréen. (Since you don’t like Chinese food, we’ll dine in a Korean restaurant.)
car = “for”
- J’étais sûr qu’il était mort, car sa poitrine avait cessé de se soulever. (I was sure he was dead, for his chest had stopped moving.)
- Ne vous étonnez pas si votre femme vous a reproché sans cause; car les femmes sont volontiers capricieuses. (Don’t be surprised if your wife criticized you without any reason; for women like to follow their whims.)
B. Conjunctions Indicating a Temporal Relationship (Simultaneous or Posterior)
All temporal conjunctions are followed by the indicative, except conjunctions indicating anteriority (beforeness), for which see II.C below.
- “when” (simultaneous)
Includes “while,” “whereas,” and “as soon as”
- “after” (posterior)
- “when” (simultaneous)
- “before” (anterior)
quand = “when”
lorsque = “when, whenever”
comme = “as” (= “at the same time as”)
pendant que = “while”
alors que = “while; whereas”
tandis que = “whereas”
tant que = “as long as”
aussitôt que = “as soon as”
dès que = “as soon as”
après que = “after”
depuis que = “since” (= “since the time that”)
II. Conjunctions Followed by the Subjunctive
All other subordinating conjunctions are followed by the subjunctive. Several groupings can be made, after which the exercise loses its usefulness.
The three concessive conjunctions are: bien que, quoique, and encore que.
See the French Language File Concessive Constructions Part V.
afin que = “so that, in order that”
pour que = “so that, in order that”
C. Expectation (“Beforeness”)
avant que = “before”
jusqu’à ce que = “until”
Similarly, attendre que (meaning “to wait until”) is followed by the subjunctive.
de peur que = “for fear that” or “for fear lest”
de crainte que = “for fear that” or “for fear lest”
The remaining conjunctions involve conditionality, possibility, or denial.
à moins que = “unless”
pourvu que = “provided that’
à condition que = “on the condition that”
non que = “not that”
sans que = “without (somebody’s doing something)”
soit que = “whether”