Adverbial Clauses Spanish  

Present Subjunctive Adverbial Clause
Overview

Adverbial clauses are introduced by conjunctions, such as para que (so that), antes de que (before), and hasta que (until). The indicative or subjunctive mood may be required in the adverbial clause depending on various factors.

If no change of subject is involved and if the adverbial expression deals with something that is viewed as completed, habitual, or factual, the indicative is used.

No Change in Subject - Factual - indicative

Ahorra su dinero para poder comprar un coche.
He's saving his money so he can buy a car,

If the situation in the adverbial clause is viewed as something hypothetical or anticipated —rather than completed, habitual, or factual— then the subjunctive is required.

Hypothetical or Anticipated Event - subjunctive

Nosotros no saldremos hasta que limpiemos la casa.
We won't leave until we clean the house.

Adverbial conjunctions, such as those below, are ALWAYS followed by the subjunctive because they always indicate a pending/hypothetical action or state.

a fin de que - so that
a condición de que - on the condition
a menos que - unless
a no ser que - lest, unless
antes (de) que - before
con tal (de) que - provided that
en caso de que - in case
no sea que - lest, so that ... not
no fuera que - lest, so that ... not
para que - so that
sin que - without

Note: Where de is given in parentheses above, it is optional; that is, the conjunction "before" may be expressed as antes que or antes de que.

No voy a menos que venga ella.
I'm not going unless she comes.

Salgo a la una con tal que se termine todo.
I leave at 1:00 provided everything is done.

Trabaja mucho para que vivan bien.
She works hard so they (can) live well.

No hago nada sin que lo sepan.
I don't do anything without their knowing it.

Normally a preposition is used when no change of subject is involved; it is followed by an infinitive, not the subjunctive or indicative.

Mi hijo vive para tocar la guitarra.
My son lives to play the guitar.

Ganaré antes de salir.
I'll win before I leave [before leaving.]

Adverbial Conjunctions of Time

The following adverbial conjunctions deal with time, and are followed by the subjunctive when they introduce an anticipated situation. If they introduce one which is viewed as completed or habitual, they are followed by the indicative.

a medida que - as, according as
cuando - when
dado que - granted that, in case that
después (de) que - after
en cuanto - as soon as
hasta que - until
luego que - as soon as
mientras - while
nada más que - as soon as
por más ... que - no matter how much, however much
por mucho que - no mater how much, however much
siempre que - whenever, every time that
tan pronto como - as soon as

Por lo general lo hago cuando nos levantamos. - indicative
I usually do it when we get up.

Lo haré cuando nos levantemos. - subjunctive
I'll do it when we get up.

Siempre me lavo los dientes después que comemos. - indicative
I always brush my teeth after we eat.

Me lavaré los dientes después de que comamos. - subjunctive
I'll brush my teeth after we eat.

Los alumnos lo repiten hasta que el profesor está satisfecho. - indicative
The students repeat it until the professor is satisfied.

Los alumnos lo repetirán hasta que él esté satisfecho. - subjunctive
The students will repeat it until he is satisfied.

Trabajamos mientras ellos descansan. - indicative
We work while they rest.

Trabajaremos mientras ellos descansen. - subjunctive
We will work while they rest.

Other adverbial conjunctions:

Aunque (although, even though, even if). The indicative is used if a fact is involved or the outcome is known; otherwise the subjunctive is used:

Lo haré aunque no le gusta. - indicative
I'll do it, even though she doesn't like it. [It is a fact that she doesn't like it.]

Lo haré aunque no le guste. - subjunctive
I'll do it, even though she may not like it.

De modo que, de manera que (so that; in such a way that). These two expressions are identical. If used similarly to para que (in order that, indicating the purpose of an action), they require the subjunctive; they are used with the indicative if they mean “in such a way that” [followed by the actual result or outcome]:

Escribe de modo que todos la entienden. - indicative
She writes in such a way [i.e., so clearly] that everyone understands her.

Escribe de modo que todos la entiendan. - subjunctive
She writes so that everyone will [might be able to] understand her.

Como is followed by the subjunctive if it used to mean “if”, by the indicative if it means “because” [at the beginning of a sentence], and by either the indicative or the subjunctive (depending on hypothetical/future aspect) if it means “how(ever)”:

Como vayas conmigo, te pago la entrada. - subjunctive
If you go with me, I'll pay for your ticket.

Como no estás listo, me voy sin ti. - indicative
Since you're not ready, I'll go without you.

Lo hago como dijiste. - indicative
I'll do it like you said.

Lo haré como digas. - subjunctive
I'll do it however you (might) say.

adverbial clauses Spanish


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