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© 2008 BITTERHANK
Brief Description
Setup Words
Verb Formation
Constructing a Sentence
Final Thoughts
Practice
What is “subjunctive”?
The present subjunctive is a “mood” in Spanish. It is used to
express uncertainty, doubt, emotional reaction, or future
actions. The subjunctive conjugation of a verb is usually
used in the second part of a sentence. For example, I may
say, “I want you to study.” You may or may not do it, so the
word “to study” would be conjugated in the present
subjunctive. The subjunctive is the opposite of the indicative
mood, which has all of the tenses that you already know. The
indicative is used to express what is completely true or false,
what is clear, or what is concrete. This module is only an
introduction to the concept of the subjunctive. Its uses are
vast!
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Setup Words
These words, used in the first clause of a sentence, set up the use of the
subjunctive in the second clause. What is said after these words may or may
not happen, so the conjugation of the second verb is not the present tense as
you know it.
• querer (ie) = to want
• sugerir (ie) = to suggest
• recomendar (ie) = to recommend
• insistir en = to insist
• esperar = to hope
• ojalá que = hopefully / it’s hopeful
Setup Words
I may want you to do something, but you may not do it.
I may suggest that you read the rest of this, but…
Your parents might recommend that you wash the dishes right away, but you
might not do it at all.
A friend may insist that you go with him, but you might not want to go.
You might hope that something happens, but it may not happen.
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Helpful Links
Colby
This site is AWESOME! It even has sound. It has the present
subjunctive and so many more topics for practice.
Spaleon.com
This site can also be used for other verb tenses.
Bowdoin
Look for “subjuntivo”. There are many other good
exercises.
Quia.com
Under “subcategory”, look for “subjunctive” or “subjuntivo”.
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Subjunctive in Context
To set up the subjunctive there are three
things that must be in the sentence.
1. One of the setup words
2. The word “que”
3. A subject change
Subjunctive in Context
Sugerimos que ellos duerman más.
Setup word:
we suggest
ellos:
que:
that
subject change
“duerman” = they sleep
This is the subjunctive
conjugation. They may or may
not do it, even though we
suggest that they do it.
Subjunctive in Context
Recomiendo que tú hagas la tarea.
Setup word:
I recommend
tú:
que:
that
subject change
“hagas” = you do
This is the subjunctive
conjugation. You may or may
not do it, even though I
recommend that you do it.
Subjunctive in Context
Ella quiere que yo viva en España.
Setup word:
she wants
yo:
que:
that
subject change
“viva” = I live (subjunctive)
I may or may not do it, even though
she wants me to. Note: In English
this would be, “She wants me to live
in Spain. In Spanish the infinitive is
not used, even though it sounds like it
should be.
Subjunctive in Context
In the examples that you see on the next slide, remember that the subjunctive is
used in the second half because it may or may not happen. If this sounds
strange to you, it’s because we don’t recognize the present subjunctive in our
spoken English.
Please also remember that the examples that use “querer” are going to sound
different in their English translations than the others. Consider the following
example.
I want you to go to the store.
Many students want to say:
Te quiero ir a la tienda.
The right translation is:
Quiero que vayas a la tienda.
The red example is not Spanish grammar, even though it sounds or looks like it
should be. Use the subjunctive after querer with que and a subject change.
Subjunctive in Context
Ojalá que entiendas bien esta lección.
(Hopefully you understand this lesson.)
Insistimos en que vosotros regreséis a tiempo.
(We insist that you all come back on time.)
Mi madre quiere que pongamos la mesa.
(My want wants us to set the table.)
¿Sugieres que yo se lo dé a ellos?
(Do you suggest that I give it to them?)
¿Esperáis que los Brown ganen el Super Bowl?
(Do you guys hope that the Browns win the Super Bowl?)
Home
Forming the Subjunctive
Verb Formation Menu
The Basics
Stem Changing Verbs
Spelling Changes
Irregular Verbs
Home
Forming the Subjunctive
In order to conjugate a verb in the present subjunctive, you have to
know well the conjugations of the present indicative (the present tense
that you already know).
First:
Use the “yo” form of the verb in the present tense.
hablo
Next:
vivo
com_
viv_
Drop the ‘o’
habl_
Last:
como
Add an opposite ending. This means for -ar verbs, use -er endings,
and for -er/-ir verbs, use -ar endings.
hable
coma
viva
Forming the Subjunctive
Subjunctive Verb Endings
-ar Verbs
-er Verbs
-ir Verbs
-e
-emos
-a
-amos
-a
-amos
-es
-éis
-as
-áis
-as
-áis
-e
-en
-a
-an
-a
-an
Forming the Subjunctive
Examples of Regular Verbs
caminar
camine
compartir
caminemos
comparta
compartamos
camines caminéis
compartas compartáis
camine
comparta
caminen
comprender
comprenda comprendamos
comprendas comprendáis
comprenda comparendan
compartan
Forming the Subjunctive
It doesn’t really mater what the “yo” form of the present is. If there is a stem
change or other spelling change in it, the change will be seen in the
subjunctive. Consider the following.
Infinitive
Present Indicative
Present Subjunctive
acostarse (ue)
me acuesto
me acueste
decir
digo
diga
divertirse (ie)
me divierto
me divierta
dormir (ue)
duermo
duerma
entender (ie)
entiendo
entienda
poner
pongo
ponga
preferir (ie)
prefiero
prefiera
Verb Menu
reírse (i)
río
ría
venir
vengo
venga
Forming the Subjunctive
-ar and -er stem changing verbs still have no stem change for nosotros and vosotros in
the present subjunctive. However, certain -ir verbs do. Note the following.
poder (ue)
acostarse (ue)
preferir (ie / i)
pueda
me acueste
prefiera
puedas
te acuestes
prefieras
pueda
se acueste
prefiera
podamos
nos acostemos
prefirimos
podáis
os acostéis
prefiráis
puedan
se acuesten
prefieran
Forming the Subjunctive
A note about -ir verbs
Stem changing verbs ending in -ir have multiple stem changes. They are the
only verbs that have stem changes in the preterit and present participle.
Whenever you see two choices after an infinitive the first is for the present
indicative and four conjugations of the subjunctive. The second is for the
nosotros / vosotros form of the subjunctive, the preterit, and the present
participle. See the following examples.
divertirse (ie / i)
present indicative
preterit
me divierto
nos divertimos
me divertí
nos divertimos
te diviertes
os divertís
te divertiste
os divertisteis
se divierte
se divierten
se divirtió
se divirtieron
present subjunctive
me divierta
nos divirtamos
te diviertas
os divirtáis
se divierta
se divierten
present participle
divirtiendo
Forming the Subjunctive
Here are some other -ir stem changing verbs that have changes in the
present indicative, present subjunctive, preterit, and present participle.
dormir (ue / u) = to sleep
medir (i / i) = to measure
mentir (ie / i) = to lie
morir (ue / u) = to die
pedir (i / i) = to aks for
preferir (ie / i) = to prefer
reírse (i / i) = to laugh
Verb Menu
servir (i / i) = to serve
vestirse (i / i) = to get dressed
Forming the Subjunctive
Spelling Changes for Pronunciation
Words ending with -gar / -car / -zar will have spelling changes in the
present subjunctive in order to maintain pronunciation.
For example, what is the subjunctive of “pagar”?
If you follow the earlier steps, you would say “page”.
The problem with that is that the hard “G” sound is lost. The word should
sound like “PA-gay”. The combination of “ge” makes it “PA-hey”.
A similar problem arises with -car verbs. “ce” sound like “say”, but the
sound should be “kay”.
Forming the Subjunctive
Spelling Changes for Pronunciation
To solve this problem verbs that end with -gar have “gue” in their endings.
You may remember a similar change in the first conjugation of the preterit.
However, in the subjunctive the spelling change is throughout all of the
conjugations.
pagar
pague
paguemos
pagues paguéis
pague
paguen
Forming the Subjunctive
Spelling Changes for Pronunciation
To solve this problem with -car verbs “que” is in their endings. Again, you
may remember a similar change in the first conjugation of the preterit.
However, in the subjunctive the spelling change is throughout all of the
conjugations.
clasificar
clasifique
clasifiquemos
clasifiques
clasifiquéis
clasifique
clasifiquen
Forming the Subjunctive
Spelling Changes for Pronunciation
The problem with -zar verbs is that the letters “ze” are never combined in
Spanish. Whenever that happens, the z changes to c.
bostezar
bostece
bostecemos
bosteces
bostecéis
bostece
bostecen
Verb Menu
Forming the Subjunctive
The following verbs are irregular in the subjunctive. Only the “yo” form of
the subjunctive is shown, but the other conjugations will follow the same
pattern as the regular verbs.
Infinitive
Present Indicative
Present Subjunctive
dar
doy
dé
estar
estoy
esté
haber
he
haya
ir
voy
vaya
saber
sé
sepa
Verb Menu
ser
soy
sea
Things to Keep in Mind
If there is no subject change, then there is no subjunctive.
I want to go with you.
Quiero ir contigo.
I want you to go with me. Quiero que vayas conmigo.
The second example uses the subjunctive because there is a subject change.
I can, I should, I need to, I have to, I want to, I’m going to, etc.
All of these are followed by an infinitive in Spanish if there is no subject change.
Don’t over think this. You knew how to do this in Spanish I.
Things to Keep in Mind
If there is no subject change, then there is no subjunctive.
Using a phrase with “hope” in it can be tricky.
Ellos esperan que tú hagas bien. They hope that you do well. (subjunctive)
Ellos esperan que yo haga bien.
They hope that I do well. (subjunctive)
How would you say, “They hope that they do well.”?
There’s no subject change, right? Could the same sentence be said in English,
“They hope to do well.”?
They hope that they do well. = Ellos esperan hacer bien. (infinitive)
Things to Keep in Mind
There is no future subjunctive.
Again, using esperar (to hope) or ojalá (hopefully) can be tricky.
Ella espera que vengan.
She hopes that they (will) come. (subjunctive)
Ojalá que él aprenda.
Hopefully he (will) learn. (subjunctive)
Even though in English we would use the future tense, it isn’t used in these
cases in Spanish. You can see that the two sentences above have two
possible translations. Basically, if everything else tells you that you should
use the subjunctive (setup verb / que / subject change) you should use it.
But don’t forget...
We hope that we’ll be able to go.
Esperamos poder ir. (infinitive)
If there is no subject change, don’t use the subjunctive.
Things to Keep in Mind
Be careful with “querer”.
As mentioned on previous slides, when a subjunctive sentence that uses “querer” is
translated into English, the subjunctive verb is an infinitive. This confuses many
students. In fact, it’s probably the #1 mistake that students make with the
subjunctive. Note the following.
Quiero que ellos estudien más.
I want them to study more.
Queremos que los niños se acuesten ahora.
We want the kids to go to bed now.
¿Queréis que yo os lo dé?
Do you guys want me to give it to you?
Sus padres quieren que ella saque la basura.
Her parents want her to take out the trash.
Mi mamá quiere que sepamos la verdad.
My mom wants us to know the truth.
Él quiere que tú seas simpático.
He wants you to be nice.
Ellos no quieren que ella vaya.
They don’t want her to go.
Mi papá quiere que yo ponga la mesa.
My dad wants me to set the table.
Things to Keep in Mind
Be careful with “querer”.
It may help to think that you’re saying, “I want that they study.” or “We want that the
kids go to bed.” It sounds a little funny, but it may keep you from using the infinitive
when the subjunctive should be used.
The examples below are WRONG. I’m showing them to you so that you can see
how, to many, it makes sense to write sentences this way.
Los quiero estuiar.
(I want them to study.)
Queremos los niños asostrarse.
(We want the kids to go to bed.)
¿Me queréis dároslo?
(Do you guys want me to give it to you?
These sentences are right: Quiero que ellos estudien.
Queremos que los niños se acuesten.
¿Queréis que yo os lo dé?
Things to Keep in Mind
Be careful with “querer”.
It’s not always wrong to use an infinitive after querer.
Remember: If there is no subject change, there is no subjunctive.
I want to call them.
Quiero llamarlos.
She wants to come.
Ella quiere venir.
They want to have fun.
Ellos quieren divertirse.
We want to laugh.
Queremos reírnos
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