Subjunctive with Negative and Indefinite Pronouns

Le subjonctif avec pronoms négatifs et indéfinis

The subjunctive is required after any type of construction that indicates negativity or doubt, including negative pronouns and indefinite pronouns followed by a relative pronoun.

Negative pronouns

Ne … personne and ne … rien call for the subjunctive.

Par exemple…

Je ne connais personne qui sache lire le latin.   I don’t know anyone who knows how to read Latin.
Elle ne veut rien que tu vendes.   She doesn’t want anything that you’re selling.

Indefinite pronouns

Quelqu’un qui and quelque chose qui require the subjunctive when they indicate that you’re not sure whether such a person or thing exists.

Par exemple…

Rappelez-moi s’il y a quelqu’un qui se souvienne de son nom.   Call me back if there’s someone who remembers his name.
Je veux quelque chose qui puisse simplifier la vie.   I want something that can simplify life.

 Look at the difference when you do know it exists:

J’ai trouvé quelqu’un qui se souvient de son nom.   I found someone who remembers his name.
J’ai acheté quelque chose qui peut simplifier la vie.   I bought something that can simplify life.

  More French subjunctive

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French subjunctive
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