Il semble

The Subjunctivisor!

Does il semble require the subjunctive?

Il semble may require the subjunctive, depending on what the speaker means to say.

1) When expressing a fact, something that is obviously true, il semble que is followed by the indicative.

Par exemple…

Il semble qu’elle veut conduire.
It seems that she wants to drive.
(She told me this and now I’m telling you.)

2) When expressing a doubt or possibility, il semble que is followed by the subjunctive.

Par exemple…

Il semble qu’elle veuille conduire.
It seems like she might want to drive.
(I told her I was driving and she seemed disappointed.)

3) The subjunctive is also used after negative and interrogative statements.

Par exemple…

Il ne semble pas qu’elle veuille conduire.
It doesn’t seem like she wants to drive.

Semble-t-il qu’elle veuille conduire ?
Does it seem like she wants to drive?

4) When expressing a possibility along with an opinion, you can use the conditional.

Par exemple…

Il semble qu’elle pourrait conduire mieux que toi.
It seems like she might drive better than you.

Il semble que is an impersonal verb construction.

Related: Does il me (te, lui …) semble need the subjunctive?

The Subjunctivisor!  |  Subjunctive lesson

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French subjunctivisor

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