SUBJUNTIVO. Expressing Subjective Actions or States. An introduction to
the Present Subjunctive.
Let's take a look at the subjunctive!
Make sure you send me an e-mail if there is something you don't
am sure most of you are wondering what the subjunctive is?
What is the subjunctive? First of all, you need to understand
that the subjunctive is not a tense, it is a mood. In Spanish
there are three moods: the indicative (that's the one you have been studying
until now), the subjunctive and the imperative. The indicative mood is used to
state facts, ask questions, express actions or states of being that are
considered to be true by the speaker. The subjunctive mood is used to express
more subjective or conceptualized actions or states. The imperative mood is the
one used for the informal commands.
Even though you may not be familiar with
the concept of subjunctive, it also exists in English, though in the spoken
language it is rarely used. Here are some examples of the subjunctive in
God bless you.
I suggest you be there
If I were a rich man...
The subjunctive is mostly used in complex
sentences (those with more than one clause) in the subordinate or dependent
clause. Both clauses (the main clause and the subordinate clause) require a
conjugated verb. The clauses are often linked by the conjunction que,
which in Spanish cannot be omitted.
The typical sentence structure of a complex
sentence requiring the subjunctive is as follows:
Main Clause (Indicative mood) +
conjunction + Subordinate Clause (Subjunctive mood)
quiere que los alumnos estudien mucho.
The subjunctive is commonly used in complex
sentences when the verb in the main clause is a verb that expresses influence,
emotion, doubt or denial. Remember that the main clause verb will be in the
indicative mood, but these verbs will trigger the use of the subjunctive in
the subordinate clause. Examples of verbs which will trigger the subjunctive
are querer, desear, esperar, dudar and negar. Look at the
Julio desea que Luisa hable español.
esperan que el examen sea fácil.
duda que sus
amigos puedan ir a la fiesta.
With verbs that express emotion and
influence, there must be a different subject in each clause for the
subordinate clause to be in the subjunctive mood. If the subject is the
same, use the infinite for the second verb, and the conjunction que
will not be used.
| Juan quiere ir al cine
(no subject change)
| Juan wants to go
| Juan quiere que
Beatriz vaya al cine con él.
| Juan wants Beatriz
to go to the movies with him.
Forms of the Subjunctive.
constitutes your first real look at the subjunctive, you already learned some
its forms when you studied the formal commands. The
formal commands use the third person present subjunctive forms of the verb.
To form the
subjunctive, you will need to take the first person present indicative forms
of the verb
Infinitive 1st person prest. ind.
Drop the -o. This gives you the stem for the present subjunctive. For
the verbs listed above, you will be left with
trabaj-, habl-, cierr-, and hag-
Because you are taking the first person
present indicative form as your basis for the subjunctive, irregular yo-form
verbs and stem-changing verbs are going to have the same peculiarities in
the present subjunctive.
The endings for -ar
verbs have an -e throughout the conjugation, -er and -ir
verbs have an -a throughout the conjugation.
The same spelling
changes you learned when studying the preterite tense apply here. Remember
that these changes occur in order to retain the sounds of the infinitive and
only affect -ar verbs that end in -car, -gar, and -zar.
Verbs with irregular
yo forms show the irregularity in all forms of the present subjunctive.
-ar and -er stem-changing
vebs follow the stem-changing pattern of the present
indicative. The nosotros and vosotros forms do not show stem
verbs show a stem change in the same forms that have a change in the present
indicative. In addition, they show a second stem change in the nosotros and
vosotros forms (o changes to u, e changes to i).
A few verbs have
irregular present subjunctive forms.
dar: dé, des, dé, demos, deis, den
estar: esté, estés, esté, estemos, estéis, estén
haber: haya, hayas, haya, hayamos, hayáis, hayan
ir: vaya, vayas, vaya, vayamos, vayáis, vayan
saber: sepa, sepas, sepa, sepamos, sepáis, sepan
ser: sea, seas, sea, seamos, seáis, sean
Hay is an impersonal form of
the verb haber. The subjunctive of hay is haya, and
like hay, it does not change to the plural form before a plural