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The jussive (abbreviated JUS) is a grammatical mood of verbs for issuing orders, commanding, or exhorting (within a subjunctive framework). English verbs are not marked for this mood. The mood is similar to the cohortative mood, which typically applies to the first person by appeal to the object's duties and obligations,[citation needed] and the imperative, which applies to the second (by command). The jussive however typically covers the first and third persons.[1] It can also apply to orders by their author's wish in the mandative subjunctive.




In the German language, the jussive mood is expressed using the present subjunctive (named "Konjunktiv I" or "Möglichkeitsform I" in German). It is typical of formal documents or religious texts, such as the Bible. Because it was more common in past centuries, it has often survived in proverbs:

Es kehre jeder vor seiner eigenen Tür.
It sweep+SBJV+PRES+3S everyone in front of his own door
Everybody should sweep in front of his own door (Everybody should mind his own business).

It is still common that recipes are written in jussive mood:

Man nehme drei Eier
One take+SBJV+PRES+3S three eggs
Take three eggs

Apart from that, jussive mood is still quite common in contemporary German. However, the pronouns he, she, and it might not be used directly; otherwise jussive would be mistaken for a dated form of courteous imperative. Instead, they will have to be replaced by "who", "someone", "everyone", "the new colleague" and so on:

Wer noch eine Karte braucht, melde sich bei mir
Who still a ticket need+IND+PRES+3S, report+SBJV+PRES+3S self at me
If someone still needs a ticket, just contact me.

Finally an example for jussive that would have served as a courteous imperative when addressing people of lower, but not lowest, rank:

Komme Er her und helfe Er mir!
come+SUBJ+SBJV+3S he here and help+SBJV+PRES+3S he me!
Come over and help me!

Note that Er is written in capital letters here. Even if this construction is not used anymore in common German, it will be recognized as being an imperative (German Wikipedia lists the example "Sei Er nicht so streng!" as a historic form of an imperative).


In the Latin language, the present subjunctive can convey jussive meaning in the third person (jussive subjunctive or coniunctivus iussivus):[2]

  • Adiuvet ("Let him help.")
  • Veniant ("Let them come.")

A jussive use of the present subjunctive is also attested for the second person in sayings and poetry, as well as in early Latin.


The jussive mood in modern Russian serves as an imperative (for issuing orders, commanding or requesting), but covers third person instead of second person. Always formed with a particle пусть, which is derived from the verb пускать (to let, to allow).

Imperative: Беги!


Jussive: Пусть бежит (similar to Let him run)


Yet there is a separate imperative form in Finnish, jussive mood is used for 3rd person, when imperative is not suitable. Jussive's ending is -koon ~ -köön in singular and -koot ~ -kööt in plural. Jussive could be used to express speakers position or opinion that somebody is allowed to do something or that somebody is expected to do something.

  • Eläköön! ("Let-he/she/it-live", Hooray!)
  • Noudattakoon ("person-is-declared-to-obey", typical expression in legislative context)
  • Tapahtukoon tahtosi ("Let-it-happen your-will", let thy will be done)


The jussive mood, called the volitive in Esperanto, is used for wishing and requesting, and serves as the imperative. It covers some of the uses of the subjunctive in European languages:

Iru! (Go!)
Mi petis, ke li venu. (I asked him to come.)
Li parolu. (Let him speak.)
Ni iru. (Let's go.)
Benu ĉi tiun domaĉon. (Bless this hovel.)
Mia filino belu! (May my daughter be beautiful!)


Classical and Standard Arabic verbs conjugate for at least three distinct moods in the imperfect: indicative, subjunctive and jussive. In the dialects, these moods are not morphologically marked.

The jussive is used after the preposition li- 'to' to express a command to a third person.

'Let him do it.'

A further use of this mood is in negative commands.

لا تأخذ ذلك اللحم
lā ta’xudh dhālika l-laḥm
not take.jus.2sg.masc that the-meat
'Don't take that meat.'

The jussive form is also used in past tense sentences negated by lam (but not ).

لم تأكل الدجاج
lam ta’kuli d-dajāj
not.past eat.jus.3sg.fem the-chicken
'She didn't eat the chicken.'


  1. ^ Loos, Eugene E.; Anderson, Susan; Day, Dwight H., Jr.; Jordan, Paul C.; Wingate, J. Douglas (eds.). "What is jussive mood?". Glossary of linguistic terms. SIL International. Retrieved 2010-03-13.
  2. ^ Hanslik, Rudolf; et al. (1950). Lateinische Grammatik (in German). Vienna: Hölder-Pichler-Tempsky.[page needed]
  3. ^ Allen and Greenough's New Latin Grammar for Schools and Colleges. Ginn and Company. 1903.[page needed]

Further readingEdit

  • Dobrushina, Nina (2012). "What is the jussive for? A study of third person commands in six Caucasian Languages". Linguistics. 50 (1): 1–25. doi:10.1515/ling-2012-0001.
  • Bar-Adon, Aaron (1966). "New Imperative and Jussive Formations in Contemporary Hebrew". Journal of the American Oriental Society. 86 (4): 410–3. doi:10.2307/596497. JSTOR 596497.
  • Orlinsky, Harry M (1941). "On the Cohortative and Jussive after an Imperative or Interjection in Biblical Hebrew". The Jewish Quarterly Review. 31 (4): 371–82. doi:10.2307/1452235. JSTOR 1452235.
  • Huehnergard, John (1987). "The Feminine Plural Jussive in Old Aramaic". Zeitschrift der Deutschen Morgenländischen Gesellschaft. 137 (2): 266–77. JSTOR 43379556.
  • Palmer, F. R. (2001). "Imperative and Jussive". Mood and Modality. Cambridge University Press. pp. 136–42. ISBN 978-0-521-80479-0.