Uses of the Present Subjunctive  

Present Subjunctive Use of Subjunctive

The subjunctive mood is used primarily in dependent clauses. Of course, the subjunctive mood is used on other occasions as well, depending on the type of clause, the action/state involved, and its relationship to other elements in the sentences such as the governing verb.

Dependent Clauses (view lesson here)

The subjunctive is usually used in dependent clauses introduced by que or another subordinating conjunction.

Wishes, Hopes, and Fantasies (view lesson here)

esperar, ojalá que, etc.

Yo espero que a Juan le guste la música.
I hope that John likes the music.

Requests, Suggestions, Intentions (view lesson here)

Verbs of influence are used to express influence over actions that the subject would or would not like somebody else to do, but cannot directly control.

querer, decir, pedir, insistir, preferir, recomendar, etc.

El profesor quiere que tú hagas la tarea.
The teacher wants you to do the homework.

Express Doubt, Possibilities, Uncertainties (view lesson here)

When the main clause expresses less than 100% certainty about the truth of a que-clause, the verb is in the subjunctive.

pensar que, quizás, tal vez, no saber, no creer, dudar, negar, es posible, es probable, etc.

Es probable que el tren llegue con retraso.
The train will probably arrive late.

Marcos duda que el jardinero trabaje hoy.
Marcos doubts that the gardener will work today.

Es posible que vayamos a la playa mañana.
It's possible that we'll go to the beach tomorrow.

Unrealized or Hypothetical Events, Situations, or Entities (view lesson here)

cuando, en cuanto, mientras, hasta, etc.

Le hablaré cuando vuelva.
I will speak to him when he returns.

Llámame en cuanto llegues.
Call me as soon as you get there.

Expressing Judgement or Emotion to an Event (view lesson here)

The subjunctive mood is used in a subordinate clause following the expression of an emotion or judgement.

sentir, alegrarse de, es bueno, es malo, es una lástima, es increíble....

Me alegro de que hayas venido.
I am glad that you have come.

Necessity or Obligation (view lesson here)

es necesario, es preciso, hace falta que, etc.

Es necesario que usted coma.
It is necessary that you eat.

Es preciso que trabaje.
It is necessary that you work.

Commands (view lesson here)

Use the Subjunctive in all direct commands for usted, ustedes, and nosotros and in negative commands for tú and vosotros.

Camina más despacio. - Walk slower. - Indicative
No camines tan rápido. - Don't walk so fast. - Subjunctive

Usted, Ustedes
Díga(n)me mentiras. - Tell me lies. - Subjunctive
No me diga(n) la verdad. - Don't tell me the truth. - Subjunctive

Comed con nostros. - Eat with us. - Indicative
No comáis los frijoles. - Don't eat the beans. - Subjunctive

Comamos. - Let's eat. - Subjunctive
No comamos. - Let's not eat. - Subjunctive

You can conjugate any verb in the Spanish language provided you know the infinitive.

Start with the first person singular (yo-form) of the present indicative.

1. If this form does not end in an -o, the verb is irregular in the present subjunctive; memorize the forms.

Yo-form - Infinitive Present Subjunctive Forms

                yo     tú    Ud./él/-la  nosotros   vosotros  Uds. 

soy    ser:     sea    seas   sea         seamos     seáis     sean 
estoy  estar:   esté   estés  esté        estemos    estéis    estén 
voy    ir:      vaya   vayas  vaya        vayamos    vayáis    vayan 
doy    dar:     dé     des    dé          demos      deis      den 
sé     saber:   sepa   sepas  sepa        sepamos    sepáis    sepan 

Note: the endings for the present subjunctive for all other verbs are:

Endings for -ar verbs

-e - emos - es - eis - e - en

Endings for -er and -ir verbs

-a - amos - as - áis - a - an

(These endings are or the most part the “opposite” conjugation endings of the present indicative.)

2. If the stem of the yo-form is exactly the same as the stem of the infinitive, the verb is regular; use this stem and attach the appropriate endings.

Yo-form, Infin- Present subjunctive forms

              yo     tú     Ud./él/-la  nosotros    vosotros  Uds. 

hablo hablar: hable  hables  hable       hablemos   habléis   hablen 
como  comer:  coma   comas   coma        comamos    comáis    coman 
vivo  vivir:  viva   vivas   viva        vivamos    viváis    vivan 

3. If the stem of the yo-form shows a stem change when compared to the stem of the infinitive (e > ie, o > ue, or u > ue) and it's an -ar or -er verb, the stem will undergo the same changes as in the present indicative (in all forms except for nosotros and vosotros); substitute the subjunctive endings for the indicative ones:

Yo-form, Infin- Present subjunctive forms

                yo     tú      Ud./él/-la  nosotros vosotros Uds.

vuelvo volver:  vuelva vuelvas vuelva      volvamos volváis  vuelvan

4. If the stem of yo-form, when compared to that of the infinitive, shows that an -ir stem-changing verb is involved, all forms of the present subjunctive will have stem changes: the same ones as in the present indicative (e > ie, o > ue, and e > i), plus special changes in the nosotros and vosotros forms (e > i, o > u):

Yo-form, Infin- Present subjunctive forms

                yo      tú       Ud.     nosotros  vosotros  Uds.

siento sentir:  sienta  sientas  sienta   sintamos  sintáis  sientan 
duermo dormir:  duerma  duermas  duerma   durmamos  durmáis  duerman 
pido pedir:     pida    pidas    pida     pidamos   pidáis   pidan

5. We are left with a yo form stem which is NOT the same as the one for the infinitive and which is NOT a stem-changing verb: use this stem for all forms of the present subjunctive:

Yo-form, Infin- Present subjunctive forms

                 yo      tú      Ud.      nosotros   vosotros  Uds.

conozco conocer: conozca conozcas conozca conozcamos conozcáis conozcan 
tengo   tener:   tenga   tengas   tenga   tengamos   tengáis   tengan 

Some of the verbs in this category:

caer (caigo)         salir (salgo)
conocer (conozco)    seguir (sigo)
decir (digo)         valer (valgo)
hacer (hago)         venir (vengo)
poner (pongo)

Remember that compounds based on these verbs also have special yo-forms, e.g., reconocer, deshacer, proponer, conseguir, etc.

6. Remember that spelling (or orthographic) changes take place in the subjunctive forms of some verbs to maintain the pronunciation of the consonant sound preceding the infinitive:

Infinitive ending Subj. ending Examples

-car > -que

    buscar > busque

-gar > -gue

    pagar > pague

-zar > -ce

    empezar > empiece

-cer or -cir > -za

    ejercer > ejerza

-ger or -gir > -ja

    coger > coja

Yo-form, Infin- Present subjunctive forms

                 yo      tú       Ud.     nosotros  vosotros Uds.
busco buscar:    busque  busques  busque  busquemos busquéis busquen 
pago pagar:      pague   pagues   pague   paguemos  paguéis  paguen 
empiezo empezar: empiece empieces empiece empecemos empecéis empiecen 
ejerzo ejercer:  ejerza  ejerzas  ejerza  ejerzamos ejerzáis ejerzan 
cojo coger:      coja    cojas    coja    cojamos   cojáis   cojan 

subjunctive Spanish

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