Subjunctive 1

Subjunctive Mood
Before learning the subjunctive mood, it is important to understand the difference between a tense and a mood. A tense, like present indicative or future, tells when something happens. A mood on the other hand, is a reflection of the type of events that are going on, or a reflection of the situation. By now you have probably already learned present indicative. The “present” is the tense, or when the events happens, whereas the “indicative” is the mood. In Spanish there are two main moods to learn, Indicative and Sunjunctive.

Indicative mood tends to be more objective and certain.

Yo no tengo amigos. I have no friends.
Nosotros fuimos a la playa.We went to the beach
Ellos son fuertes. They are strong

Subjunctive tends to be more subjective or possible, but not certain.

Es triste que no tenga amigos. It is sad that I don’t have friends.
Me alegré que fuéramos a la playa. I was happy that we went to the beach.
Es posible que ellos sean fuertes.It is possible that they are strong.
A great acronym to help remember when to use subjunctive is WEDDING. When any verbs under the WEDDING categories are “indicated”, or are used in the indicative mood, and followed by the word “que”, the following verb in the sentence will be in the subjunctive mood. Just remember that the tenses need to match. Always use a past tense with another past tense (moods can be different), and present with a present. The exception is future subjunctive, in which you would just use a present subjunctive form. Have a look at the WEDDING acronym below.

Some verbs that cause subjunctive mood
Wishes, Wants, Wequests
querer – to want, desire
aconsejar – to advise
mandar – to order, command
prohibir – to prohibit, forbid
pedir – to ask for something
rogar – to beg
decir – to tell
oponerse a – to be against
tolerar – to tolerate
desear – to desire
insistir en – to insist
suplicar – to implore, to beg
exigir – to demand
preferir – to prefer
permitir – to permit
sugerir – to suggest
recomendar – to recommend
Emotions
esperar – to hope
tener miedo – to be afraid
alegrarse de – to be happy about something
sorprenderse de – to be surprised
temer – to fear, to be afraid
Ojalá – I hope that, I hope so
Doubt
dudar – to doubt
no pensar – to not believe (doubt)
no creer – to not believe (doubt)
¿pensar? – Do you think? (implies doubt)
¿creer? – Do you think? (implies doubt)
Denial
negar – to deny
rechazar – to refuse
desdecirse – to recant
prohibir – to prohibit
Impersonal Expressions
Es dudoso – it´s doubtful
Es importante – it is important
Es lástima – it’s a shame
Es mejor – it’s better
Más vale – better
Es triste– it is sad
Importa – it’s important
Es bueno – it’s good
Es malo – it’s bad
Es raro – it’s strange
Es justo – it’s fair
Es injusto – it’s unfair
No es obvio – it’s not obvious
Es escandaloso – it’s scandalous
Es menester – it’s necessary
Es necesario – it’s necessary 
Es preciso – it’s necessary
Es posible – it’s possible
Es imposible – it’s imposible
Es probable – it’s probable
Es indispensable – it’s indispensable
Vale la pena – it’s worthwhile
Es absurdo – it’s absurd
Es ridículo – it’s ridiculous
Es sorprendente – it’s surprising
Need
necesitar – to need
requerir – to require, need
Guilt, Grief
sentir – to be sorry
ponerse triste – to get sad

Remember! – All of the WEDDING verbs are used in the indicative mood and followed by the word “que”. Only then would you follow with a verb in the subjunctive mood.

In order to conjugate present subjunctive, the easiest way is to remember the “yo” form of present indicative, lose the “o”, and replace it with a new ending. A little rhyme to remember is – think “yo”, drop the “o”, opposite ending. “-AR” verbs get “e” endings and “-ER” and “-IR” verbs get “a” endings.

 

-AR Verb Endings in Subjunctive
Singular
Plural
Yo
-e
Nosotros
-emos
-es
Vosotros
-éis
El
Ella
Usted

-e
Ellos
Ellas
Ustedes

-en

 

Hablar
Singular
Plural
Yo
hable
Nosotros
hablemos
hables
Vosotros
habléis
El
Ella
Usted

hable
Ellos
Ellas
Ustedes

hablen

 

-ER and -IR Verb Endings in Subjunctive
Singular
Plural
Yo
-a
Nosotros
-amos
-as
Vosotros
-áis
El
Ella
Usted

-a
Ellos
Ellas
Ustedes

-an

 

Poner
Singular
Plural
Yo
ponga
Nosotros
pongamos
pongas
Vosotros
pongáis
El
Ella
Usted

ponga
Ellos
Ellas
Ustedes

pongan

There are a few irregularities in present subjunctive to be aware of:
1. verbs that end in -car, -gar, or -zar, will get a spelling change just like they do in the preterit indicative tense.

buscar – busque
pagar – pague
cazar cace

2. “-AR” and “-ER” stem changing verbs from present indicative have the same changes in present subjunctive. The nosotros form does not get a stem change.

cerrar – cierra, cierras, cierra, cerramos, cierran
3. “-IR” stem changers keep the stem change in all forms.

pedir – pida, pidas, pida, pidamos, pidais,pidan
4. The following verbs have irregular forms when conjugated in the present subjunctive:

dar – dé, des, dé, demos, deis, den
estar – esté, estés, esté, estemos, estéis, esten
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
 

 

———-
In order to conjugate verbs in the imperfect subjunctive, or past subjunctive, you need to be comfortable with the preterit indicative first. Start with the third person plural, the “ellos, ellas, ustedes” form, lose the last two letters, “-on”, and replace them with the new endings. There is only one set of endings for all verbs.

 

Imperfect Subjunctive Endings
Singular
Plural
Yo
-a
Nosotros
´-amos
-as
Vosotros
-ais
El
Ella
Usted

-a
Ellos
Ellas
Ustedes

-an

 

Poner – Imperfect Subjunctive
Singular
Plural
Yo
pusiera
Nosotros
pusiéramos
pusieras
Vosotros
pusierais
El
Ella
Usted

pusiera
Ellos
Ellas
Ustedes

pusieran

Only the “nosotros” form gets an accent mark in the imperfect subjunctive.

 

Practice Activities:

Present Subjunctive – Wedding Verbs (all)

Present Subjunctive – Impersonal Expressions 

Imperfect Subjunctive – Wedding Verbs

Imperfect subjunctive – Wedding Verbs 2

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