In Spanish we have three ‘moods’. The INDICATIVE, the SUBJUNCTIVE & the IMPERATIVE.
INDICATIVE MOOD is used for opinions, intentions, facts or beliefs. Believing something makes it a ‘fact’. This is the mood we use the most, & the one we learn first. They – the opinions, intentions, facts or beliefs – are usually the main or primary clause in a sentence, the main focus of what is being said.
We’ll call these DECLARATIONS.
SUBJUNCTIVE MOOD is used for talking about something which is unknown, wanted, hoped for, hypothetical or contrary to fact or belief. What is liked, hoped for wanted etc. They are usually the secondary clause in a sentence. Not the main focus. Very often the word ‘que’ will be present between the two clauses. ‘Que’ isn’t a fail safe ‘trigger’ for the subjunctive, but can give you pause to think – ‘’Do I need the subjunctive?’’
We’ll call these NON-DECLARATIONS
IMPERATIVE MOOD is used for giving an instruction. This mood will be discussed separately.
Here are some examples showing declaration & non-declaration clauses.
I hope that they’ll come to visit us.
|I hope that||they’ll come to visit us|
|Declaration of fact / primary clause||Non-declaration of what is hoped for / secondary clause|
|Espero que||vengan a visitarnos|
When we move to Spain, we’ll learn to speak Spanish.
|When we move to Spain,||we´ll learn to speak Spanish.|
|Non-declaration, / hypothetical situation – the when is unknown secondary clause||Declaration of intention / primary clause|
|Cuando nos mudemos a España,||aprenderemos a hablar español.|
It’s incredible that they eat so much!
|It’s incredible that||they eat so much!|
|Declaration of belief / opinion||Non-declaration secondary clause|
|¡Es increíble que||coman tanto!|
As soon as Javier arrives, he’ll head for the beer.
|As soon as Javier arrives,||he’ll head for the beer.|
|Non-declaration of hypothetical situation. It isn’t known if, or when, he’ll arrive||Declaration of belief of what he’ll do|
|Tan pronto como llegue Javier,||se dirigirá a la cerveza.|
I love it that there are so many good restaurants here.
|I love it that||there are so many good restaurants here.|
|Declaration of fact||Non-declaration of what is loved / secondary clause|
|Me encanta que||haya tantos restaurantes buenos aquí.|
It’s interesting that he wants to go.
|It’s interesting that||he wants to go.|
|Declaration of belief or opinion / primary clause||Non-declaration of what the opinion is / secondary clause|
|Es interesante que||él quiera ir.|
Hopefully we’ll have good weather!
|Hopefully we’ll have good weather!|
|Non-declaration of something wished for|
|¡Ojalá que tengamos buen tiempo!|
|AR verbs||ER verbs||IR verbs|
Stem changing verbs (shoe verbs)
The stem changing verbs in the present indicative have the same changes in the present subjunctive. The only difference is that E to I stem changes will change for every conjugation. The verb endings follow the regular subjunctive endings, just as they do in the present indicative.
|O to UE eg poder||E to IE eg cerrar||E to I eg pedir|
Verbs with irregular ‘yo’ forms in the present indicative.
When a verb has an irregular ‘yo’ conjugation in the present indicative, we take that stem as the stem for the subjunctive, for all conjugations.
|VERB||INDICATIVE YO FORM||SUBJUNCTIVE STEM|
|conocer & other verbs ending ‘cer’/ ‘cir’||conozco||conozc|
The six truly irregular verbs
NB. This is intended as a first introduction to using the subjunctive mood, which is why only the present subjunctive conjugations are given in the tables here. As you continue on your journey with the Spanish, you might come across sentences which perhaps don’t seem to fit this method – but they really are subtleties, & by the time you get there, using the subjunctive will be second nature!