Conjugate pouvoir in Le Subjonctif Présent (subjunctive mood)

The verb POUVOIR is irregular in Subjonctif présent: 

que je puisse I can
que tu puisses you can
qu'il/elle/on puisse he/she/we can
que nous puissions we can
que vous puissiez you can
qu'ils/elles puissent they can
Note that its root puiss- is followed by the regular endings of Subjonctif présent:  -e, -es, -e, -ions, -iez, -ent

Look at these examples: 

Elle ne pense pas que je puisse le faire.
She doesn't think I can do it.

 

Il faut que tu puisses finir à temps.
You have to be able to finish on time.

 

Je ne pense pas qu'elle puisse se contrôler.
I don't think she can control herself.

 

Il faut que nous puissions réciter notre leçon.
We have to be able to recite our lesson.

 

Il est important que vous puissiez pratiquer votre français.
It is important for you to be able to practice your French.

 

Il faut qu'ils puissent utiliser Excel.
They have to be able to use Excel.

Learn more about these related French grammar topics

Examples and resources

Il faut que nous puissions réciter notre leçon.
We have to be able to recite our lesson.


Elle ne pense pas que je puisse le faire.
She doesn't think I can do it.


Je ne pense pas qu'elle puisse se contrôler.
I don't think she can control herself.



Il faut que tu puisses finir à temps.
You have to be able to finish on time.


Il est important que vous puissiez pratiquer votre français.
It is important for you to be able to practice your French.


Il faut qu'ils puissent utiliser Excel.
They have to be able to use Excel.


Q&A Forum 2 questions, 3 answers

BarbaraB2Kwiziq community member

Je ne pense pas que je puisse le faire

Hi Aurélie,  In the very first example you use the subjunctive with the same subject Je ne pense pas que je puisse le faire.  I thought that I had read a rule saying there must be two different subjects. ??

Asked 2 weeks ago
AlanC1 Kwiziq Q&A super contributor Correct answer

That's an interesting question, Barbara. Cécile and I were discussing that rule in the replies to this question: https://french.kwiziq.com/questions/view/2-subjects-subjonctif

I think there is such a rule, but penser and croire may be exceptions. Perhaps that's because they are often followed by the indicative, and it would be odd if you could say "je pense que je peux le faire" but not "je ne pense pas que je puisse le faire".

Among people who know more about these things than I do, there are differences of opinion. If you look at the following link and scroll down to the very bottom, Laura answers a question on exactly this example:

https://www.lawlessfrench.com/grammar/subjunctive/

Laura argues that you can't use the subjunctive and so you have to say "Je ne pense pas pouvoir le faire"

However in a thread on WordReference, the user "Maitre Capello" discusses a similar example using croire. https://forum.wordreference.com/threads/fr-ne-pas-croire-que-mode.643348/ He says:

Actually, Je ne crois pas que je puisse and Je ne crois pas pouvoir are both fine, but I prefer the former. (Note: I'm only talking about ne pas croire specifically. With some other verbs you have no choice but use an infinitive clause.) 

There's also a very useful thread here:

https://french.stackexchange.com/questions/39733/subjunctive-mood-when-the-the-subject-is-the-same-in-main-and-dependent-clauses

AurélieKwiziq team member
Always an interesting topic I'd say (and it's my personal opinion) that the usage rule would be that if the subject is the same in both clauses, using the infinitive is more elegant, as the alternative feels redundant, though is not grammatically incorrect. 

Therefore, we do tend to avoid using Subjunctive in such cases, and I will therefore adapt this example to make it more palatable.

Bonne journée !

Je ne pense pas que je puisse le faire

Hi Aurélie,  In the very first example you use the subjunctive with the same subject Je ne pense pas que je puisse le faire.  I thought that I had read a rule saying there must be two different subjects. ??

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AshB2Kwiziq community member

Hi Aurelie, could you tell me why the second vous is necessary in “Je veux que vous puissiez vous sentir comme chez vous”. Thx.

Asked 1 year ago
CécileKwiziq team memberCorrect answer

Hi Ash,

The second 'vous' is because the verb 'se sentir chez soi' (to feel at home) is reflexive and you need the extra pronoun as in :

Je veux que tu puisses te sentir chez toi .

Je veux qu'ils puissent se sentir chez eux ...

The reflexive pronouns are -

me, te, se, nous, vous, se 

Hope this helps!

Hi Aurelie, could you tell me why the second vous is necessary in “Je veux que vous puissiez vous sentir comme chez vous”. Thx.

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