The Spanish Subjunctive

Tuesday, August 10, 2004

Learn Spanish

The Preterit Tense for Regular Verbs

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The subjunctive tense in spanish is used to express ideas for which the speaker knows or doubts exist in the real world. For example: I doubt John is coming today. The form of the subjunctive for regular -ar, -er, and -ir verbs is layed out here.

For the -ar verbs, using hablar as an example, the subjunctive endings are:
hable = I speak (subjunctive)
hables = you speak (subjunctive)
hable = you (form.) speak, he/she speaks (subjunctive)
habléis = we speak (subjunctive)
hablen = you (fam. pl.) speak (subjunctive)

For -er verbs, using comer as an example, the present subjunctive endings are:
coma = I eat (subjunctive)
comas = you eat (subjunctive)
coma = you (form.) eat, he/she eats (subjunctive)
comamos = we eat (subjunctive)
comáis = you (fam. pl.) eat (subjunctive)
coman = you (form. pl.)/they eat (subjunctive)

And finally for the -ir verbs, using vivir as an example, one can see that the subjunctive endings are identical to the -er verbs:
viva = I live (subjunctive)
vivas = you live (subjunctive)
viva = you (form.) live, he/she lives (subjunctive)
vivamos = we live (subjunctive)
viváis = you (fam. pl.) live (subjunctive)
vivan = you (form. pl.)/they live (subjunctive)

It will help to see the subjunctive at work in some short sentances.

Juan quiere que yo aprende español.Juan wants me to learn Spanish.
Él dudo que tú manejes.He doubts that that you drive.
Quiero que ella viaje conmigo.I want her to travel with me.
No creas que escuchemos al profesor.You don't belive that we listen to the professor.
Dudo que lo aceptéis.I doubt that you (fam. pl.) will accept it.
Paco recomienda que ellas llegen a las seis.Paco recommends that they (fem.) arrive at six.
Ella quire que yo coma.She wants me to eat.
Quiero que tú barra el piso.I want you to sweep the floor.
No creo que él beba vodka.I don't believe that he drinks vodka.
Ellos quieren que leamos Sabato.They want us to read Sabato.
Dudo que comáis carne.I doubt you (fam. pl.) eat carne.
¿No creas que ellos lo lean?You don't believe that they read it?
Quiero que él escriba.I want him to write.
Juan no crea que tú vivas aquí.Juan dosn't belive that you live here.
Él quiere que ella decida.He wants her to decide.
Recomiendo que salamos.I recomend we leave.
Aconsejo que ella traducáis el libro.I advise that she translate the book.
Juan quiere que ellos escriban.Juan wants them (masc.) to write.

Subjunctive of Stem-Changing Verbs

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For -ar and -er stem changing verbs, the stem change applies as usual, except there is no change in the nosotoros and vosotros forms. However, in -ir verbs having the stem-change o:ue, in the present subjunctive the o is changed to a u, and in those having an e:ie stem change, the e changes to an i.

recomiendeI recomend
recomiendesyou recomend
recomiendeyou (form.) recomend, he/she recomends
recomendemoswe recomend
recomendéisyou (fam. pl.) recomend
recomiendenyou (form. pl.)/they recomend
recuerdeI remember
recuerdesyou remember
recuerdeyou (form.) remember, he/she remembers
recordemoswe remember
recordéisyou (fam. pl.) remember
recuerdenyou (form. pl.)/they remember
mientaI lie
mientasyou lie
mientayou (form.) lie, he/she lies
mintamoswe lie
mintáisyou (fam. pl.) lie
mientanyou (form. pl.)/they lie
duermaI sleep
duermasyou sleep
duermayou (form.) sleep, he/she sleeps
durmamoswe sleep
durmáisyou (fam. pl.) sleep
duermanyou (form. pl.)/they sleep

Irregular Present Sujunctive Forms

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Sometimes the present subjunctive forms of common verbs are irregular and must be memorized.

I give
desyou give
you (form.) give, he/she gives
demoswe give
deisyou (fam. pl.) give
denyou (form. pl.)/they give
estéI am (estar)
estésyou are (estar)
estéyou (form.) are, he/she is (estar)
estemoswe are
estéisyou (fam. pl.) are (estar)
estényou (form. pl.)/they are (estar)
sepaI know (saber)
sepasyou know (saber)
sepayou (form.) know, he/she knows (saber)
sepamoswe know (saber)
sepáisyou (fam. pl.) know (saber)
sepanyou (form. pl.)/they know (saber)
seaI am (ser)
seasyou are (ser)
seayou (form.) are, he/she is (ser)
seamoswe are (ser)
seáisyou (fam. pl.) are (ser)
seanyou (form. pl.)/they are (ser)
vayaI go
vayasyou go
vayayou (form.) go, he/she goes
vayamoswe go
vayáisyou (fam. pl.) go
vayanyou (form. pl.)/they go

Present Subjunctive Form of Verbs Irregular in yo

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The formula to create the present subjunctive form for verbs irregular in yo, (which also works for regular verbs), starts with the first person present indicative. If the final -o is removed, what remains is the subjunctive stem, which can be used to create the conjunctive forms.

trato = tratar, first person present indicative
trat- = tratar, subjunctive stem
trata, tratas, trata, tratamos, tratáis, tratan

conozco = conocer, first persent present indicative
conozc- = conocer, subjunctive stem
conozca, conozcas, conozca, conozcamos, conozcáis, conozcan

quepaI fit
quepasyou fit
quepayou (form.) fit, he/she fits
quepamoswe fit
quepáisyou (fam. pl.) fit
quepanyou (form. pl.)/they fit
pongaI put
pongasyou put
pongayou (form.) put, he/she puts
pongamoswe put
pongáisyou (fam. pl.) put
ponganyou (form. pl.)/they put
traigaI bring
traigasyou brings
traigayou (form. pl.)/they bring
traigamoswe bring
traigáisyou (fam. pl.) bring
traiganyou (form. pl.)/they bring

Conjunctions Requiring the Subjunctive

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Some conjunctions strongly indicate the subjunctive form will be required. If you use the conjunctions below, be prepared to use the subjunctive.

The conjunctions cuando, hasta que, tan pronto como, and en cuanto require the subjunctive when they are used to indicate the uncertain future, or in commands.

en caso de quein case
sin quewithout
con tal (de) queprovided that
a menos queunless
para quein order that
antes de quebefore
hasta queuntil
tan pronto como, en cuantoas soon as

Examples of the Subjunctive

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Here I'll simply list some examples that I found interesting of the subjunctive at work

Necesitan un apartamento que esté cerca de la universidad.They need an apartment that is close to the university.

posted by Blair Fraser at 7:44 am | 1 comments

  • Great Help.
    What is rogar in the present subjunctive form?

    By Anonymous Naz, at 3:09 pm  

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