The Subjunctive Form

The subjunctive form is the 'polite' form for Kiswahili verbs used to make requests, suggestions or give directions.


Verbs ending in -a, change to -e

If the verb ends with an -a then change to -e and drop the tense infix.

Kuenda (to go)

Uende (you should go), twende (we should go)


Nisome (I should read), wasome (you should read)

Verbs ending with other letters

Drop the tense infix only.

Kuhisi (to feel)

Uhisi (you should feel), mhisi (you (pl) should feel)

Kukumbuku (to remember)

Nikumbuku (I should remember)

Monosyllabic Verbs

Drop the ku prefix for monosyllabic verbs


Nile (I should eat)


Nije (I should go)

Expressing Purpose with the Subjunctive

The subjunctive can also be used to express a purpose clause, in the form of "in order to...". In this form you use ili to introduce the subjunctive clause.

Walienda hospitali ili wamuone daktari

They went to the hospital (in order) to see the doctor (from Kuona)

Anajifunza Kiswahili ili afanye kazi Kenya

He is learning Kiswahili (in order) to work in Kenya (from Kufanya).

Negating the Subjunctive

Use -si- infix

Use -si- between the subject prefix and the verb stem.


Tusiende (We should not go)


Nisipige picha (I should not take pictures)

Useful linking words


Its better that/to.., ought to..


It's necessary that/to..., must



ni bora

Its better that/to....


It's necessary that/to...

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