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The subjunctive in Spanish and English


The subjunctive in Spanish is complicated and many students don’t understand it easily.

The subjunctive is a mood, rather than a tense.
Forms such as quiera instead of quiero, or vaya instead of voy are examples of the Spanish subjunctive. 

There are some phrases which are always followed by the subjunctive in Spanish. 

Examples of The Subjunctive in Spanish


1. Es possible que, es probable que, puede que,… + subjuntivo.

a) Es posible que estudie inglés (I may study English.)

b) Es possible que hubiera ido a tu fiesta si lo hubiera sabido (I may have gone to your party, if I had known about it before)

NOTE: If we want to express doubt, we often use the imperfect subjunctive. The present of subjunctive is frequently used to speak about the future.

Cuando llegue el paquete, te avisaré. (When the package arrives, I will let you know).
Tan pronto que tenga la información, te llamaré. (As soon as I have the information, I will call you). 

b. Normally we use the subjunctive in Spanish when the particle goes before the verb:

Quizás vaya a la fiesta (Maybe I might go to the party)

Posiblemente mañana no tengamos clases (We may not have lessons tomorrow)

There are some of them that can be used in subjunctive or indicative.

Examples:  Tal vez, quizás/ quizá, seguramente, probablemente,… + subjuntivo o indicativo.

NOTE: If you use the particle after the verb, you may use the indicative.

Voy, quizás, mañana a tu fiesta. ( Maybe I will go to your party tomorrow).

We use the subjunctive in Spanish with independent sentences

The independent sentences have only a verb and it is frequently used in subjunctive.

Deseo: (wish)

Ojalá + presente subjuntivo: Possible wishes for present or future.

Ojalá venga el maestro. (I hope the teacher comes)

Ojalá llegue a tiempo. (I hope I arrives on time)

Ojalá + presente perfecto subjuntivo: It expresses a desire of what we are yet to know.

Ojalá haya aprobado. (I hope I have passed it)

Ojalá + pretérito imperfecto subjuntivo: Impossible or unlikely desire for the present or future.

Ojalá viniera el maestro. (I wish the teacher came)

Ojalá + pretérito pluscuamperfecto: It is for an impossible desire in  the past.

Ojalá hubiera venido el maestro ayer. (I wish the teacher had come yesterday)

the subjunctive in spanish
Learn about the subjunctive in Spanish



Que + presente subjuntivo: ¡Que gane el mejor! May the best man win. 

Que + pret. Perfecto: Que haya aprobado, Dios mío! It has a sense of supplication.
I really pray to God that I have passed.

Que + pret. Imperfecto: The first part of the sentence is omitted.

Que viniera mi padre. (I wish with all my heart (this part is omitted) that my father would come. 

Que + pret. Pluscuamperfecto: It has no wish value. It means “no me importa” in the past.

Pedro ha suspendido el examen de conducir.- Que se hubiera fijado más-
Pedro has failed his driving test, he should have paid more attention. 

ASÍ: It is the same to as “ojalá” , but its meaning is totally negative. (The subjunctive in Spanish)

Así te mueras. I hope you die

Así te hubieras muerto. I wish you had died. 

AH SI / Quién to talk about impossible wishes.

Ah si vivierais en Madrid (nos veríamos a menudo) – I wish you lived in Madrid, (that way we could see each other often).

Quién is used to talk about your wishes.

Quién tuviera 20 años. – How I’d love to be 20!

Wishes without any particles.

Dios te oiga!¡Dios te oiga! May God hear you

Viva el Rey!¡Viva el Rey! Long live the King.

I hope this article “the subjunctive in spanish” has been useful for you.

(Espero que este artículo “El subjuntivo en español” haya sido útil para ti).

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