Vouloir dire

The Subjunctivisor!

Does vouloir dire require the subjunctive?

Vouloir dire may require the subjunctive, depending on whether it is used affirmatively, negatively, or interrogatively:

Par exemple…

Je veux dire qu’ils savent tout.
I mean they know everything.

Je ne veux pas dire qu’ils sachent tout.
I don’t mean they know everything.

Est-ce que tu veux dire qu’ils sachent tout ?
Do you mean they know everything?

Note that if (1) vouloir dire is used in the negative with (2) an inanimate subject (including an indefinite relative pronoun), the subjunctive and indicative are both acceptable:

Par exemple…

Ça ne veut pas dire que tu peux / tu puisses jouer pendant toute la journée.
That doesn’t mean you can play all day.

The Subjunctivisor!  |  Subjunctive lesson

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