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Pour que (so that, in order that) is always followed by Le Subjonctif Présent (subjunctive mood)

Look at these sentences expressing a purpose:

J'apprends le tango pour que nous dansions ensemble.
I'm learning tango so that we may dance together.

Je lui explique pour qu'il comprenne.
I'm explaining to him so that he understands.

Je te le dis pour que tu ne sois pas surpris. 
I'm telling you so that you're not surprised.

Je te donne mes clés pour que tu puisses entrer.
I'm giving you my keys so that you can come in.

When something happens so that / in order that someone else does something in French, we use the expression pour que followed by a verb in the Subjunctive mood.

Note that you can also use the rarer and more elegant afin que + Subjonctif :

Je te donne mes clés afin que tu puisses entrer.
I'm giving you my keys so that you can come in.

 

See also how to conjugate in Le Subjonctif : 
Conjugate regular verbs in Le Subjonctif Présent (subjunctive mood)
Conjugate être in Le Subjonctif Présent (subjunctive mood)
Conjugate faire in Le Subjonctif Présent (subjunctive mood)
Conjugate pouvoir in Le Subjonctif Présent (subjunctive mood)
Conjugate prendre and derivatives in Le Subjonctif Présent (subjunctive mood)
Conjugate savoir in Le Subjonctif Présent (subjunctive mood) 
Conjugate avoir in Le Subjonctif Présent (subjunctive mood)


NOTE: The subjunctive in English has fallen out of use, so literal translations may seem archaic: Je lui explique pour qu'il comprenne. literally: I'm explaining to him so that he may understand. In modern English: I'm explaining to him so he can understand.

Learn more about these related French grammar topics

Examples and resources

J'apprends le tango pour que nous dansions ensemble.
I'm learning tango so that we may dance together.


Tu apporteras des citrouilles pour qu'on les sculpte?
Will you bring pumpkins for us to carve?


Je te donne mes clés afin que tu puisses entrer.
I'm giving you my keys so that you can come in.


comprendre


Je lui explique pour qu'il comprenne.
I'm explaining to him so that he understands.


être


Je te le dis pour que tu ne sois pas surpris. 
I'm telling you so that you're not surprised.


pouvoir


Je te donne mes clés pour que tu puisses entrer.
I'm giving you my keys so that you can come in.


Q&A

CrystalMaiden

Kwiziq community member

11 May 2018

1 reply

How much rarer is afin que? I always use it.

Aurélie

Kwiziq language super star

11 May 2018

11/05/18

Bonjour CrystalMaiden !


Afin que is not so much rarer as more elegant and high standard than pour que.


But you can use it as much as you like :)

Shruti

Kwiziq community member

5 March 2018

1 reply

Je te le dis pour que tu ne sois pas surpris.

Why here le has come ?

Aurélie

Kwiziq language super star

5 March 2018

5/03/18

Bonjour Shruti !


Here, le refers to what has been said previously:


-> I'm telling you [it] so that you're not surprised.


In French, when you use the verb dire, you will usually need to add "what" you're saying, either fully, or with a reminder pronoun like in this sentence.


See also:
https://french.kwiziq.com/revision/grammar/use-le-or-l-to-refer-to-previously-mentioned-complete-ideas


Bonne journée !

Shivani

Kwiziq community member

10 August 2017

2 replies

Doubt regarding one of the examples above

Tu amèneras des citrouilles pour qu'on les sculpte? I thought "amener" was used for people and animals. Shouldn't we use "apporter" here ?

Aurélie

Kwiziq language super star

10 August 2017

10/08/17

Bonjour Shivani !

Excellent question!
Technically, you are correct: amener is for people whereas apporter is for things.
Unfortunately, this is one of these very frequent mistakes most French natives make, including myself :)
I've now corrected this example :)

Merci et à bientôt !

Shivani

Kwiziq community member

10 August 2017

10/08/17

Merci beaucoup Aurélie !

Jennifer

Kwiziq community member

23 July 2017

2 replies

I am giving you the keys so that you can come in versus I am calling you so that you can come?

In the first sentence puisses entrer is used, in the second viennes with the can understood. Is it a general rule that can is as it were rolled into the subjunctive unless a physical possibility is being discussed?

Ron

Kwiziq community member

23 July 2017

23/07/17

Bonjour Jennifer,
I am unable to locate the phrase in the lesson for your comparative example: I am calling you so that you can come
For your second example, this is how I would/could state it:
Je vous appelle pour que vous pouvez venir. (this is technically incorrect)
For the first part of the example, the use of le subjonctif présent is correct.
One thing to keep in mind is this:
I think that the examples given are for demonstration of the grammar point. Here is another translation for the first example:
«Je vous remets les clés de sorte que vous pussiez entrer»
As one can readily see, this phrase also uses le subjonctif.
Having said that, there are phrase constructs that allow for not using le subjonctif, here is one link:
http://www.laits.utexas.edu/tex/gr/tas8.html
There are some schools of thought that teach this method. For myself, I prefer to learn le subjonctif usage correctly.
Bonne chance dans vos études en français.
Ron

Jennifer

Kwiziq community member

23 July 2017

23/07/17

The full sentences given were as follows:-
Je t'appelle pour que tu viennes - I'm calling you so you can come (in one of the quizes) and Je te donne mes clés pour que tu puisses entrer - I'm giving you my keys so that you may come in - from the pour que lesson. I just wondered why the first example did not use puisses venir which would have followed what the second example did.

Radhika

Kwiziq community member

4 August 2016

1 reply

Je ne peux pas trouver le leçon sur "subjonctif passé

Laura

Kwiziq language super star

4 August 2016

4/08/16

Bonjour Radhika, We don't have one here on Kwiziq yet, but here's one from a Partner site: French past subjunctive

Silken

Kwiziq community member

8 November 2015

1 reply

How do I form the subjonctif present?

Laura

Kwiziq language super star

9 November 2015

9/11/15

Bonjour Silken !

It depends on the verb, but all regular verbs and many irregular ones follow this pattern: https://www.french-test.com/revision/grammar/conjugate-regular-verbs-in-le-subjonctif-present-the-subjunctive-mood
Let me take a look at that...