From the Atlantic: To help with understanding the subjunctive, my French instructor has started giving me these “Subjonctif ou Indicatif” quizzes. The subjunctive is the terror of French students. You can go through any of my French posts and find people generally lamenting their ability to master the subjunctive. Part of the problem is that the subjunctive mood very much seems like a “mood.” In other words, as much as it carries literal information, it seems like the subjunctive also emotes. Likely other moods also emote information (hence the point in calling them moods)
As someone who began his career in poetry, and is constantly telling his kids that language must carry both emotional and literal information, I love the subjunctive. It’s like this dark, mysterious, achingly beautiful stranger. Which is different from saying I’ve mastered or I totally understand it. Mastery isn’t the point. This is language study and study–in and of itself–is rewarding. Continuez.