Subjunctive: Using Adverbial Clauses THE CD MP in Spanish

Subjunctive: Using Adverbial Clauses AAA SPACES in Spanish

Subjunctive: Relative Clauses using NADA, NADIE, NINGUNO

SUBJUNCTIVE with verbs of VOLITION (want, wish, desire) W [WEIRDO]

SUBJUNCTIVE with verbs of EMOTION (me gusta, me sorprende, etc) E [WEIRDO]

SUBJUNCTIVE with IMPERSONAL EXPRESSIONS (es bueno, es importante, etc) I [WEIRDO]

SUBJUNCTIVE with verbs of REQUEST or RECOMMENDATION (pedir, mandar, sugerir) R [WEIRDO]

SUBJUNCTIVE with verbs of DOUBT or DENIAL (dudar, negar, no pensar etc) D [WEIRDO]



COMO SI - How to say AS IF in Spanish

Si clauses in Spanish / If clauses / Contrary to fact or hypothetical situations

Past Si Clauses in Spanish

Difference between SI CLAUSES and PAST SI CLAUSES in Spanish

Super-Simple Spanish Subjunctive Rule Book [22-page PDF]

A Quick Note On Forming The Subjunctive

The Subjunctive mood is primarily used in the following three tenses: the present subjunctive, the present perfect subjunctive, and the imperfect subjunctive.

Hereʼs an example of each (note, all the subjunctives in examples in this report are highlighted in bold):

Present Subjunctive
Es importante que estudies - Itʼs important that you study

Present Perfect Subjunctive
Me alegro de que hayas venido - Iʼm really glad you came

The Imperfect Subjunctive
Si hablara español mejor, no tendría que ir a clase - If I spoke Spanish better, I wouldnʼt have to go to class

If you need to brush up on how to form the subjunctive, then I highly recommend these two excellent webpages from Indiana University:

1. Forms of the Present Subjunctive

2. More Subjunctive Tenses (Present Perfect, Imperfect etc)

Irregular Present Subjunctive: DISHES

How to remember the irregular present subjunctives: You do the DISHES:

Dar......... dé,des etc
Ir............ vaya,vayas etc
Saber..... sepa,sepas etc
Haber......haya,hayas etc
Estar...... esté,estés etc
Ser..........sea,seas. etc


Rule 1: The Subjunctive After ʻQueʼ

The subjunctive frequently follows ʻqueʼ, and is used after verbs that express:

A. Wishes, hopes, and desires (For example: esperar que, desear que, querer que)

Quiero que vengas - I want you to come
Espero que vayas - I hope you go

B. Disbelief, doubt, and denial (For example: no creer que, dudar que, negar que)

No creo que sea verdad - I donʼt think itʼs true
Dudo que venga - I doubt that heʼll come
Niego que ella estuviera allí - I deny that she was there

C. Possibility and hypothesis (For example: ser posible que, ser probable que)

Es posible que vengan - It's possible they'll come
Es probable que vaya - Itʼs likely that Iʼll go

D. Requests and commands (For example: pedir que, decir que, exigir que)

Te pido, por favor, que me vengas a buscar esta tarde - Iʼm asking you to come and get me this afternoon
Digo que no llegues tarde - I ask that you donʼt get back late
Te exijo que me trates con respeto - I demand that you treat me with respect

E. Opinions with adjectives and adverbs (For example: es fantástico que, es una vergüenza que, es injusto que, es bueno que, es malo que, está bien que, está mal que, el hecho de que)

Es importante que estudies - Itʼs important that you study
Es normal que vengan - Itʼs normal that they come
El hecho de que vuelvas a trabajar es una buena noticia - The fact that you are going back to work is good news

F. Obligations and suggestions with adjectives and adverbs (For example: Es mejor que, hace falta que, es necesario que, aconsejo que, recomiendo que)

Es mejor que te vayas - It'd be better for you to go
Hace falta que aprendas más - You need to learn more
Es necesario que vuelvas - Itʼs necessary that you return
Te aconsejo que tengas cuidado - I advise you to be careful
Te recomiendo que te levantes pronto - I recommend that you get up early

G. Emotional reactions (For example: siento que, lamento que, me gusta que, me alegro (de) que, me extraña que, me sorprende que, tengo miedo (de) que)

Siento que no quieras venir - I'm sorry you don't want to come
Me gusta que ella me ayude - I like it that she helps me
Me alegro (de) que te guste - Iʼm happy that you like it
Me extraña que no hayan aparecido - Itʼs strange that they havenʼt shown up
Me molesta que te llamen fuera de horas de trabajo - It bothers me that they call you outside working hours

H. “Negation of perception” (For example: No veo que, no digo que, no me acuerdo que, no noto que)

No veo que me ayudes - I donʼt see that youʼre helping me
No digo que sea verdad - Iʼm not saying that itʼs true
No me acuerdo que lo dijera - I donʼt remember having said that
No noto que estén tristes - I canʼt tell that theyʼre sad

Rule 2: Emphatic Expressions (Commands and Desires)

First up, we have the negative imperative commands in the informal tu and vosotros forms (basically, telling people you know well not to do something!):

¡No te vayas! / ¡No os vayais! - Don't go!
¡No digas eso! / ¡No digáis eso! - Don't say that

And secondly, the shortened wishes and desires that are usually delivered energetically, in a quick burst of speech, after a Que:

¡Qué tengas un buen día! - Have a good day!
¡Qué lo pases bien! - Have a good time!
¡Qué aproveche! - Enjoy your meal!
¡Qué te vayas! - Leave already/Get out!
¡Ojalá (que) nieve este año! - Hopefully it will snow this year!

Rule 3: With Imperatives And Usted and Ustedes

When we use the usted and ustedes form to address someone formally, a subjunctive is necessary when issuing commands (basically, telling people you donʼt know well to do something):

¡Ponga sus manos encima de la mesa! - Put your hands on the table! (Delivered to someone you would address as Usted)
¡Salgan por la puerta principal por favor! - Leave by the main door please! (Said to a group of people you would address as Ustedes)

Rule 4. Required With Certain Conjunctions

Certain conjunctions are always followed by the subjunctive in Spanish, starting with this one, that you are likely to use most:

- Para que (so that)
Es para que no te olvides - It's so that you don't forget

- Sin que (without)
Vamos a entrar sin que nos vean - We'll go in without them seeing us

- A menos que (unless)
Iremos a menos que nos digan que no - Weʼll go unless they tell us not to

- Con tal de que (as long as)
Me da igual a qué restaurante ir con tal de que quedemos a cenar - I donʼt care which restaurant we go to as long as we meet for dinner

Rule 5: When NOT To Use The Subjunctive

True statements do not take the subjunctive in affirmative sentences or questions, but DO take it in the negative form:

For example, with the verb creer:

Affirmative (Indicative): Creo que va a llover - I think itʼs going to rain
Question (Indicative): ¿Crees que va a llover? - Do you think itʼs going to rain?
Negative (with subjunctive): No creo que vaya a llover - I donʼt think itʼs going to rain.

This rule applies to all the following sets of verbs:

creer/pensar/opinar que - to think/believe that
suponer que - to suppose that
es evidente que - it's evident that
está claro que - it's clear that
es cierto que/es verdad que - it's true that
es que - it's that
sucede/ocurre que - what's going on is that
parece que - it seems that
está demostrado que - it's shown that
resulta que - it turns out that
(es) seguro que - surely
es obvio que - itʼs obvious that

Also, the following two constructions do not take the subjunctive, even though they look like they deserve one:

No cabe duda de que - there's no doubt that
No cabe duda de que tienes razon - there is no doubt that you are right

Menos mal que - Thank goodness that
Menos mal que vivimos en España - Thank goodness we live in Spain

Also DO NOT use the subjunctive (even though your brain feels like it should...) after the expressions a lo mejor and seguramente. Leave the verb in the indicative:

A lo mejor están aquí - Perhaps they're here (están = Indicative)
Seguramente me lo merezco - Iʼm sure I deserve it (merezco = Indicative)

Rule 6: When To Use Present And Present Perfect Subjunctive, or The Imperfect Subjunctive

A. If the first verb is in the present, present perfect, future, or imperative, the second (dependent) verb will usually be in the present subjunctive or the present perfect subjunctive:

Quiero que vengas - I want you to come (present subjunctive)
Ella querrá que vayamos - She'll want us to go (present subjunctive)
Habla para que te oigan - Speak so that they hear you (present subjunctive)

Dudo que haya comido ya - I doubt sheʼs eaten already (present perfect subjunctive)
Me alegro de que hayas disfrutado del video - Iʼm delighted that you enjoyed the video (present perfect subjunctive)

B. If the first verb is in any past tense or a conditional, the second verb will usually be in the imperfect subjunctive.

Me sorprendió que él no hablara inglés - It surprised me that he didnʼt speak English (imperfect subjunctive)

Me gustaría que vinieras - I'd like you to come (imperfect subjunctive)

Rule 7: Non-existence!

The subjunctive gets a bit trickier in situations where you have to consider the speakerʼs attitude toward, certainty, or knowledge about, whatever he/she is talking about.

Less knowledge or certainty about something, for example, will often mean using the subjunctive.

Context is important here, as is the different meaning you can convey by using subjunctive, rather than indicative.

We use the subjunctive when we donʼt specify, or are not sure, if a certain person, place, or thing exists. If you are sure the thing exists, you can use the indicative.

Imagine I want to buy a T-Shirt with a photo of Elvis on it, so I walk into a T-Shirt shop and say one of the following two things:

Busco una camiseta que lleva una foto de Elvis (lleva = indicative)
Busco una camiseta que lleve una foto de Elvis (lleve = subjuncive)

Both sentences mean the same: I am looking for a T-Shirt with a photo of Elvis on...

BUT, in the first sentence I use the Indicative, because I KNOW that this shop has such a T-Shirt, because I saw it there last week.

Prior knowledge makes me feel solidly indicative.
But in the second sentence I donʼt know whether this shop has such a T-Shirt or not - and all that hopeful uncertainty, or lack of prior knowledge, brings out the subjunctive in me!

More subjunctive examples of the non-existence principle:

Busco una persona que sea responsable - Iʼm looking for a person who is responsible (but I donʼt have anyone in mind, hence subjunctive)

Busco unos zapatos que sean cómodos y no muy caros - Iʼm looking for some shoes that are comfortable and not very expensive (Not sure if you have any...)

Quiero vivir en una ciudad que tenga buen transporte público - I want to live in a city that has good public transport (I donʼt know any)

Pararemos donde podamos - Weʼll stop where we can (not sure where yet)

No hay nadie aquí que tenga una casa en la playa - Thereʼs no one here who has a house at the beach (no one meets the criteria = non-existence)

Cualquier cosa que compres les va a gustar - Whatever you buy, theyʼre going to like (the gift still hasnʼt been decided yet)

Rule 8: Aunque - A Tricky Conjunction

'Aunque' (even though) can be used with the indicative or subjunctive; it depends on if what you're saying is a fact, or if it's not yet a fact, respectively.

You can think of this as if you are using 'aunque' to say 'although' or 'even though' (indicative) or if you're using it to say 'even if' (subjunctive):

Aunque me gusta, no lo voy a comprar - Even though I like it, I'm not going to buy it (verb in indicative)
Aunque me gustara, no lo compraría - Even if I liked it, I wouldn't buy it (verb in subjunctive)
Me gusta el azul aunque prefiero el verde - I like the blue one although I prefer the green one (verb in indicative)
Iré aunque esté muy cansada - I'll go even if I'm very tired (verb in subjunctive)

Rule 9: Time expressions

With time expressions like cuando (when) and en cuanto que (as soon as), we use the subjunctive when the action hasnʼt happened or been completed yet, and the indicative for things that have already happened. Here are two examples that shows this in action:

Entramos cuando la gente deje de aplaudir - We'll go in when people stop clapping
Entramos cuando la gente dejó de aplaudir - We went in when people stopped clapping

En cuanto que lo haya hecho, te lo diré - As soon as I've done it, I'll tell you
En cuanto (que) salieron del barco, buscaron un bar - As soon as they got off the boat, they looked for a bar.

More time expressions that work like "En Cuanto Que":

Apenas, nada más que, and tan pronto como also mean "as soon as" when followed by a verb (you can replace "En cuanto que" with any of these in the example above.)

And some MORE important time expressions...

Below are five more important time expressions that use the subjunctive when the action hasnʼt happened or been completed yet, and the indicative for things that have already happened:

1. Desde que - Since

Desde que empiece la película no quiero oiros hablar - Once the film has started, I donʼt want to hear you talking
Desde que empecé a hacer yoga no me ha vuelto a doler la espalda - Since I started doing yoga, my back hasnʼt ached again

2. Después (de) que - after

Después de que comamos me voy al parque a dar un paseo - After weʼve eaten Iʼm going for a walk in the park
Indicative: Después de que llegué al cine no había entradas - After I got to the cinema there were no tickets left

3. Hasta que - until

No voy a ir al Museo del Prado hasta que vengas a Madrid - Iʼm not going to the Prado museum until you come to Madrid
No me tomo un café hasta que llego al trabajo - I donʼt have a coffee until I get to work

4. Mientras que - while

Mientras que dejes de fumar no me importa que tomes chicle - While you stop smoking I donʼt mind that you chew gum
Mientras que voy en el coche voy aprendiendo español - While Iʼm in the car I learn Spanish

5. Siempre que - every time/whenever

Siempre que vengas a Madrid, ven a vernos - Whenever you come to Madrid, come and see us
Siempre que voy a Madrid, voy a verles - Every time I go to Madrid I go to see them

N.B. Antes de que (before) always takes the subjunctive:
Llámame antes de que te vayas - Call me before you go

Rule 10: Conditionals

For "if" conditionals (with si) you use the indicative for likely conditions in the present or the future:

Si viene, dormirá aquí - If he comes, he'll sleep here (all in the indicative).

But you use the subjunctive for hypothetical, unlikely, or impossible conditions in the past, present, or future. Hint: If your sentence has "would" somewhere in it in English, youʼll probably use the imperfect subjunctive in Spanish.

Here are some examples of hypothetical "if" sentences with ʻwouldʼ that take the imperfect subjunctive:

Si fuera rico, viajaría por todo el mundo - If I were rich, I'd travel all over the world
Si tuviera un coche, podría evitar el Metro - If I had a car, I could avoid the Metro

And here are two examples where we talk about something that could, or might, have happened in the past, and use the pluperfect subjunctive:

Si me lo hubieras dicho, no habría ido - If you had told me, I wouldn't have gone
Si no hubiera venido a España, me habría ido a Francia - If I hadnʼt come to Spain, Iʼd have gone to France

Note 1: You NEVER use the present subjunctive after ʻsiʼ (if) in Spanish.
Note 2: Do you know what the Spanish is for ʻPluperfect Subjunctive?ʼ...
Pluscuamperfecto de Subjuntivo! Try saying that fast five times in a row!

Rule 11: Comparative Conditional Sentences

You also use the imperfect subjunctive in comparative conditional sentences with como si and igual que si:

Me trata como si fuera una niña - He treats me like Iʼm a little girl
Me habla igual que si fuera idiota - He talks me as if I were an idiot

Rule 12: Como

We can use como in the indicative or the subjunctive, depending on what we want to say:

Como se retrasen, nos vamos - If they get delayed, weʼll leave
(We arenʼt sure if theyʼre arriving or not, this is a conditional situation)
Como se retrasan, nos vamos - Since theyʼre delayed, weʼre going to leave
(We already know theyʼre not arriving, they rang to say that they are delayed)

A Note About Ojalá

If we use the expression ʻojaláʼ followed by present subjunctive, we believe something is a possibility:

¡Ojalá (que) haya entradas todavía! - Hopefully there are still tickets!

But if we use it with the imperfect subjunctive, we think itʼs impossible/improbable:

¡Ojalá (que) fuera rico! - If only I were rich!

Cool Stuff and Expressions

Below are some common phrases and expressions that you often hear in Spain, that use the subjunctive. Using any of these appropriately will make you sound Super-Spanish!
Note: We canʼt guarantee these will all work in Latin/South America.

!Tengo una movida en casa que no veas! - Everything is crazy at home! (usually negative, e.g. because my son is ill/my husband has lost his job)
¡Que te vaya todo muy bien! - I hope everything goes well / Good luck!
¡Que te mejores! - Get well soon!
¡Que sueñes con los angelitos! - Sweet dreams! (Literally, I hope you sleep/dream with the angels!)
¡Que te cunda mucho! - I hope you get lots of work done!
¡Que me dejes en paz! - Leave me alone/in peace!
¡Maldita sea! - Damn it!
¡Que se besen! - Kiss each other! (Shouted to the bride and groom during the banquet at Spanish weddings!)

Subjunctive versus Indicative: WEIRDO vs. SPOCK

The subjunctive is one of the three moods in Spanish, the other two being the indicative (actions, events, facts) and the imperative (commands). Moods reflect how the speaker feels about an action while a tense refers to when an action takes place. The subjunctive mood is used to express desires, doubts, the unknown, the abstract, and emotions, which is the opposite of the indicative mood which is used to express actions, events, and states that are believed to be true and concrete.

General Rules for Indicative vs. Subjunctive

- In general, the Indicative mood is objective and certain.

• It is used to talk about actions, events, or states that are believed to be facts or true.
• It is very typical in speech for making factual statements or describing obvious qualities of a person or situation.

- In general, the subjunctive mood is subjective and possible (but not certain).

• It is used to talk about doubts, wishes, the abstract, emotions, and other unknown and non-factual situations.
• It is commonly used in making recommendations, giving commands, and talking about how things make you feel.
• It is also used to express opinions about another action.

Here are some examples of the differences:

1. Victoria estudia español.
(Victoria studies Spanish.)
This states an objective fact that Victoria studies Spanish.

Dudo que Victoria estudie español.
(I doubt that Victoria studies Spanish.)
The introduction of doubt makes it impossible to present the statement that Victoria studies Spanish as an objective fact.

2. Es cierto que Victoria estudia español.
(It is certain that Victoria studies Spanish.)
From the viewpoint of the speaker, the statement that Victoria studies Spanish is an objective fact.

Es posible que Victoria estudie español.
(It is possible that Victoria studies Spanish.)
From the viewpoint of the speaker, the idea that "Victoria studies Spanish" is not an objective fact, but a hypothetical situation which may or may not be true.

3. No dudo que Victoria estudia español.
(I don’t doubt that Victoria studies Spanish.)
The lack of doubt on the part of the speaker allows him to present this statement as an objective fact.

Es bueno que Victoria estudie español.
(It is good that Victoria studies Spanish.)
Es bueno que expresses the speaker’s subjective opinion about Victoria studying Spanish.

Words or Phrases that Indicate the Subjunctive or Indicative

Because there must be some uncertainty or subjectivity to warrant the use of the subjunctive, you will find either uncertainty or certainty in the verb in the main clause of a sentence. It is very helpful if you can recognize the verbs and phrases in the main clause that indicate the subjunctive and tell them apart from similar clauses that warrant the indicative.

SUBJUNCTIVE: Luckily, many of the verbs and phrases that require the subjunctive fit into the acronym WEIRDO: Wishes, Emotions, Impersonal expressions, Recommendations, Doubt/Denial, and Ojalá. Each of these concepts has its own article for more details.

Wishes: desear, esperar, exigir, insistir, preferir, querer, pedir, necesitar, etc.

Emotions: alegrarse, enojar, sentir, encantar, lamentar, sorprender, etc.

Impersonal expressions: es extraño que, es importante que, es fantástico que, etc.

Recommendations: recomendar, sugerir, aconsejar, ordenar, mandar, insistir, etc.

Doubt and Denial: dudar, no creer, no estar seguro, no parecer, no comprender, no pensar, no es cierto que, etc.


INDICATIVE: And just to be fair to the indicative, we have an acronym for that too: SPOCK: Speech and communication, Perceptions, Occurrences and events, Certainty, and Knowledge and understanding.

Speech and communication: Decir, describir, gritar, indicar, mencionar, repetir, revelar, señalar, asegurar, comentar, afirmar, aludir a, etc.

Perceptions: Notar, observar, oír, percibir, encontrarse, ver, etc.

Occurrences and events: Ocurrir, suceder, pasar, acontecer, etc.

Certainty: es claro que, es seguro que, es cierto que, es obvio que, no es posible que, es evidente que, etc.

Knowledge and understanding: Creer, saber, averiguar, leer, enterarse de, aprender, etc.

There are three main parts to a subjunctive sentence:

1. Two Different Subjects

There will be one subject in the main/independent clause, and one in the noun/dependent clause.

• Quiero que limpies el baño. (I want you to clean the bathroom.)

2. Two Verbs: One WEIRDO and One Subjunctive

There will be one indicative verb in the main/independent clause which will indicate the need for the Subjunctive (a WEIRDO verb - see above) and a second verb in the noun/dependent clause which will be in the Subjunctive.

• Quiero que tú limpies el baño. (I want you to clean the bathroom.)

However, if you find a sentence with a main clause followed by a second clause and the verb in the main clause introduces the idea of certainty or objectivity, you will use the indicative. Only verbs in the main clause that indicate a concept that is uncertain and subjective will require the subjunctive.

• Es cierto que limpias el baño. (It is true that you are cleaning the bathroom.)

3. A Relative Pronoun (Que, Quien, Como)
This pronoun links the two clauses and can translate to mean “that,” but is often not translated at all into English.
• Quiero que limpies el baño. (I want (that) you clean the bathroom./I want you to clean the bathroom.)

The acronym WEIRDO helps many students remember when to use the Subjunctive instead of the Indicative. This article discusses the first letter: W for Wishes and Wants.

Wishes and Wants in the Subjunctive

Wishing, wanting, demanding, desiring, expecting, ordering, and preferring all fall into this category.

Also mentioning the nonexistence or indefiniteness of something that is desired falls into this category.

Because the noun clause or dependent clause represents what we want from someone else, the actions are possible but may never occur, thus they are in the subjunctive mood and not the indicative.

• Espero que él me compre unas flores. (I hope that he buys me flowers.)
• Esperamos que cocines bien. (We hope that you cook well.)
• No hay nadie que quiera sacar la basura. (There is no one that wants to take out the trash.)
• No tengo un hombre que me compre flores. (I don’t have a man to buy me flowers.)

The following verbs are commonly used to express a wish or a want and, when used as the verb in the main clause of a sentence, will indicate that the following verb in the dependent clause will be in the subjunctive. (When no subject change occurs, the verb that follows is generally placed in the infinitive.)

agradecer to be grateful
insistir to insist
no tener not to have
buscar to look for
mandar to order
pedir to request
desear to wish
necesitar to need
preferir to prefer
esperar to hope/to expect
no encontrar not to find
querer to want
exigir to demand
no haber there is/are not

The acronym WEIRDO helps many students remember when to use the Subjunctive instead of the Indicative. This article discusses the second letter: E - Emotions.

Emotions with the subjunctive

Being annoyed, angry, happy, regretful, sad, scared, or surprised all fall into this category. Any personal reaction to a situation is emotional. The focus is not on a factual observation of a situation but how it makes the subject feel. Since how a person feels is always subjective, you use the subjunctive.

• Me alegro de que sonrías. (It makes me happy that you smile.)
• ¿Les molesta que él escuche la música fuerte? (Does it bother you that he listens to loud music?)
• Siento mucho que no puedan venir a la fiesta. (I’m sorry that they can’t come to the party.)

Useful Verbs of Emotion:

alegrarse de to be glad
gustar to like
quejarse to complain
encantar to be delighted
lamentar to regret
sentir to feel
enojar to be angry
maravillar to astonish
sorprender to surprise
estar contento, enojado, triste, etc. to be glad, angry, sad, etc.
molestar to annoy
temer to fear
tener miedo de/a que to be afraid that
extrañarse que to be amazed that

The acronym WEIRDO helps many students remember when to use the Subjunctive instead of the Indicative. This article discusses the third letter: I - Impersonal expressions.

Impersonal expressions with the subjunctive

Impersonal expressions work a lot like emotions in that they are someone’s opinion or value judgement. They focus on the subjectivity of the statement and not on the actual truth or reality of the situation.

Almost any phrase with the es + adjective + que can be an impersonal expression as long as it doesn’t state any truth (es verdad que), certainty (es cierto que), or fact (es hecho que). These are indicative. But their opposites (no es verdad que, etc.) are subjunctive.

• Es necesario que Jaime lea este libro. (It is necessary that Jaime reads this book.)
• Es extraño que reciba un regalo porque no es mi cumpleaños. (It’s odd that I receive a gift because it isn’t my birthday.)
• No es cierto que mi hermano venga. (It is not certain that my brother is coming.)
• Es probable que vayamos a la playa. (It is probable that we are going to the beach.)

Useful Impersonal Expressions (not a complete list!):

es absurdo/aconsejable/comico/desalentador/dificil/doloroso/extrano/facil/fantastico/imposible/improbable/incierto/indispensable/malo/mejor/menester/posible/preciso/preferible/preocupante/ridiculo/una pena/terrible

es agradable it is nice
es bueno it is good
es curioso it is curious
es dudoso it is doubtful
es esencial it is essential
es estupendo it is great
es extraño it is strange
es importante it is important
es increíble it is incredible
es necesario it is necessary
es probable it is probable
es raro it is rare
es recomendable it is recommended
es una lástima it is a pity
es urgente it is urgent
no es cierto
no es verdad it is not true
es vergonzoso it is a disgrace

mas vale it is better that
mejor que it is better than
conviene que it is advisable that
puede ser que it is possible that

The acronym WEIRDO helps many students remember when to use the Subjunctive instead of the Indicative. This article discusses the fourth letter: R - Recommendations.

Recommendations and Requests with the subjunctive

When a person recommends, suggests, wants, or asks another person to do (or not do) something, the subjunctive is used since whether the person will do what is recommended is uncertain and possibly may not happen. In this case, the que separates the recommender from the recommendation.

• Mi doctor recomienda que beba más agua. (My doctor recommends for me to drink more water.)
• Suplico que mi hija tenga más cuidado. (I beg my daughter to be more careful.)
• Sugieren que leas este libro. (They suggest for you to read this book.)
• Dicen que veamos esa película. (They say for us to watch that movie.)

Useful Verbs of Recommendation:

aconsejar to advise
proponer to suggest
sugerir to suggest
decir to say
recomendar to recommend
suplicar to beg
ordenar to order
rogar to beg
dejar to let, allow
exigir to demand
hacer to make/to force
insistir to insist
mandar to order
prohibir to forbid

The acronym WEIRDO helps many students remember when to use the Subjunctive instead of the Indicative. This article discusses the fifth letter: D - Doubt.

Doubts and Denials with the subjunctive

Doubt indicates that a person thinks something is unreal, or hypothetical. To doubt or deny something is to question its connection with reality, making it uncertain.

• Dudo que él tenga mi número de teléfono. (I doubt that he has my phone number.)
• No creen que los extraterrestres existan. (They don’t believe that aliens exist.)
• Niegas que la camisa sea mía. (You deny that the shirt is mine.)
• No estoy seguro que mi madre venga. (I am not sure that my mother is coming.)

Useful Verbs of Doubt:

dudar to doubt
no creer not to believe
no pensar not to think
negar to deny
no estar seguro not to be sure
no suponer not to assume
no comprender not to understand
no parecer not to seem

Indicative or Subjunctive?
Comprender (to understand), creer (to believe), estar seguro (to be sure), parecer (to seem), pensar (to think), and suponer (to assume) are all indicative as they indicate what the subject knows, believes, thinks to be true and a part of reality.

The acronym WEIRDO helps many students remember when to use the Subjunctive instead of the Indicative. This article discusses the last letter: O - Ojalá.

Ojalá with the subjunctive


Ojalá is a Spanish word with Arabic origins. Originally, it meant “Oh, Allah!" and may have been used in prayers. Nowadays, it has taken on several more general meanings: "I hope to God..." "I hope..." or "If only..."

Ojalá can introduce a subjunctive phrase with or without the relative pronoun que.

• ¡Ojalá que recuerde nuestro aniversario! (I hope to God he remembers our anniversary.)
• ¡Ojalá llueva! (I hope it rains!)
• ¡Ojalá que venga el padre Noel. (I hope Santa Claus comes!)

Uncompleted Actions

Uncompleted or prospective actions with the subjunctive

The subjunctive mood is used to express desires, doubts, the unknown, the abstract, and emotions, the opposite of the indicative mood which is used to express actions, events, and states that are believed to be true and concrete. Uncompleted actions, while not part of our WEIRDO acronym, is an important group of circumstances that require the use of the subjunctive.

• Limpiaré el cuarto después de que salgan. (I will clean the room after they leave.)
• Me hablará tan pronto como llegue. (He will speak with me as soon as I arrive.)
• No iremos a la playa a menos que vayan también. (We won’t go to the beach unless they go as well.)

These sentences describe what a person will do IF another action is completed. These prospective actions are speculative in nature and there is no real assertion made as to whether or not they will occur. When one action is conditional upon another action being completed, you will use the subjunctive to convey that uncertainty. Many phrases with conditional circumstances have a connecting phrase or conjunctive expressions which introduce time limitations, conditions, concessions, or results.

Time Limitations

These conjunctions or conjunctive expressions give the condition that something be done at a certain time.

antes (de) que before
hasta que until
cuando when l
uego que as soon as
después (de) que after
siempre que whenever
en cuanto as soon as
tan pronto como as soon as
mientras while

• Llámame antes de que vengan. (Call me before they come.)
• Estemos aquí hasta que llegue nuestro amigo. (Let’s stay here until our friend arrives.)
• Cuando vea a sus padres dará los saludos. (When I see your parents, I will tell them hello.)


These expressions introduce the idea of unless something else happens, the other will not either.

dado que given that, since
a no ser que unless, lest
en caso (de) que in case (that), if
que whether
a menos que unless, lest
sea que whether, if
con/a condición de que on condition that
siempre y cuando que provided that, as long as
con tal (de) que provided that
sin que without
con tanto que provided that

• Debemos esperarnos aquí dado que regrese. (We should wait here since she might return.)
• No voy, a no ser que no vayas conmigo. (I am not going unless you go with me.)
• Me iré, sea que se decidan a salir o no. (I will leave whether they decide to go or not.)


These expressions introduce the idea of an action despite something else.

aunque * although, even if, though
aun cuando even if, even when
a pesar de que * in spite of
por…que however

• Aunque sea un hombre difícil, sabe los negocios. (Although he might be a difficult man, he knows business.)
• Aun cuando no tenga nada, no debe perder la esperanza. (Even if you have nothing, you shouldn’t lose hope.)
• Por delicioso que sea, no quiero comerlo. (However delicious it may be, I don’t want to eat it.)

  • These phrases do not always take the subjunctive. If the conditional statement is considered hypothetical, you will use the subjunctive and if it is factual, you will use the indicative
• Aunque es un hombre difícil, sabe los negocios. (Although he is a difficult man, he knows business.)


These expressions introduce the idea of a purpose for another action.

a fin de que
de manera que
de modo que
para que in order (that), so that, so as

• Vine para que tenga suficiente gente para el juego. (I came so that you would have enough people for the game.)
• Voy a cerrar las ventanas a fin de que no entren moscas. (I am going to close the windows so that flies won’t come in.)
• Estudiaré mucho de manera que entienda mejor el español. (I will study a lot so I can understand Spanish better.)

From the Routledge Frequency dictionary (p. 142)
Subjunctive Triggers

Verbs: querer, esperar, gustar, temer, importar, preferir, desear, creer, parecer, poder, pensar, suponer, saber. decir, pedir, hacer, dejar, permitir, evitar, impedir, conseguir, proponer, exigir, ordenar

Adjectives: posible, necesario, probable, mejor, dificil, imposible, bueno, importante, preciso, conveniente, natural, logico, justo, raro, imprescindible, inutil, preferible, extano, facil, indispensable, normal, cierto, comun, habitual