Spanish Grammar in Use
The subjunctive (subjuntivo) is one of three moods in Spanish (indicative, imperative, and subjunctive). A mood is a grammatical term which helps categorize verb tenses. The subjunctive mood is used more frequently in Spanish than in English. It has two simple tenses, present and past (or imperfect), and two compound tenses, present perfect and pluperfect. It expresses several concepts, such as a wish, hope, or doubt, as well as an obligation or a necessity. One such expression which is always followed by the subjunctive is para que… so that…
Because the subjunctive often occurs in subordinate clauses, the subordinating conjunction que is usually found before the the subjunctive forms.
Will, Desire, and Orders
The subjunctive is used in dependent clauses after expressions of will, desire, and orders whenever there are two different subjects in the two clauses linked by the subordinating conjunction que. Here is a list of common verbs expressing will and desire:
|querer que||to want that …|
|pedir que||to ask that …|
|preferir que||to prefer that …|
|ordenar que||to order that …|
|esperar que||to hope that …|
|mandar que||to order that…|
|desear que||to desire that …|
|exigir que||to require that …|
Emotions and Reactions
The subjunctive is used after expressions of emotion and reactions to something. Remember that the subjunctive is found in the subordinate clause of sentences that contain a change of subject from the main clause to the subordinate clause. A very common structure that triggers the subjunctive is es + adjective + que expressing opinions. Here is a list of common expressions of emotion with which the subjunctive is found in the subordinate clause:
|me gusta que||I like that||es fundamental que||it is key that|
|me molesta que||it annoys me that||sentir que||to be sorry that|
|me encanta que||I am delighted that||es bueno que||it is good that|
|me sorprende que||I am surprised that||es inútil que||it is useless that|
|es bonito que||it is nice that||temer que||to fear that|
|es importante que||it is important that||es urgente que||it is urgent that|
|es triste que||it is sad that||tener miedo de que|
|es justo que||it is fair that||es absurdo que||it is absurd that|
The expressions es cierto que, it is true that, es obvio que, it is obvious that, es verdad que, it is true that, and es evidente que, it is evident that are exceptions since they are followed by the indicative and not by the subjunctive.
However, when these expressions are used in the negative, in the subordinate clause the subjunctive is used.
No es evidente que tengas razón. It is not evident that you are right.
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