The Complete Guide to Mastering the Spanish Subjunctive | Blog FluentU in Spanish (2023)

The Complete Guide to Mastering the Spanish Subjunctive | Blog FluentU in Spanish (1)

VonFrancisco J. VareYThe Complete Guide to Mastering the Spanish Subjunctive | Blog FluentU in Spanish (2)Nick Last update:

For a long time I could not understand the Spanish subjunctive.

I was comfortable talkingIn the presentbut he hesitated trying to remember the conjugation of the subjunctive.

And sometimes I couldn't even remember whether to use the subjunctive in a given situation.

But the Spanish subjunctive is not as difficult as I thought. So, in this post, I will guide you so that you can master it too.


  • What is the Spanish subjunctive?
  • English subjunctive vs. Spanish
  • When to use the subjunctive in Spanish
    • 1. When you see trigger words
    • 2. In certain situations (using the WEIRDO method)
    • 3. When there are two sentences with different subjects
    • 4. To express future probabilities, intentions and speculations
  • How to conjugate a Spanish verb in the subjunctive
  • Common mistakes with the subjunctive

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What is the Spanish subjunctive?

There are three moods in Spanish:indicative,Imperativeand subjunctive.

The indicative is the most common form used to talk about facts and observations, while the imperative is used for commands, commands, and instructions.

the subjunctive moodWhat we are talking about today is used to express:

  • Desires, longings, doubts and assumptions
  • emotions and possibilities
  • obligations or needs

But first, what is the difference between a mode and a tense?

A tense tells us when the action takes place.This place in time can be the past, present, or future. On the other hand, a state of mind does not locate the action at a certain moment, but rather talks about we feel about the action.

English subjunctive vs. Spanish

While English speakers often have major problems with the subjunctive, there is a subjunctive mood in English.

However, it is much less common than in Spanish and more associated with formal speech and writing. Still similar enough to provide a foundation for understanding the Spanish subjunctive.

Think about the following sentences:

"If IguerraIf I were you, I would call the police."

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"It is important that youMaybeHere."

"Desireguerraa little bigger."

When to use the subjunctive in Spanish

1. When you see trigger words

Certain trigger words tell you that your sentence must be conjugated in the subjunctive.

The subjunctive often appears in subordinate clauses (clauses that cannot stand alone as a complete sentence) beginning withEra:

it's possibleEralet's go out late(We will probably leave late).

That's goodErato have free time(I'm glad you have free time).

Also note the beginning of sentences:it's possibleYmiThat's good.

Some other common subjunctive triggers are:

  • It is important that… (It is important that …)
  • I doubt it…(doubt that...)
  • It is good that …(well that…)
  • Is bad that... (It is a pity that …)
  • wait that...(hope/wish that…)
  • Is better than… (is better than…)
  • It is strange that... (It's strange that...)
  • It is possible that… (It is possible that…)
  • It is likely that… (It is likely that…)
  • It's necessary that… (It's necessary that…)
  • Bis… (Bis…)
  • With a little luck…(with a little luck…)
  • It is not certain that...(not sure that…)
  • While… (during/during…)
  • Sin… (sin…)
  • I want that... (want something...)

2. In certain situations (using the WEIRDO method)

The WEIRDO method is a great way to memorize six situations in which the subjunctive is used in Spanish.

This is what it means, plus a few examples:


I hope you fall in love with me(I hope he falls in love with me).


I love that you call me(I love when you call me).

Ipersonal expressions

It is important that you come.(It is important that you come).

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I recommend that you do not drink alcohol.(I recommend not to drink alcohol).


I doubt he's 30 years old.(I doubt I'm 30)/I dont think it's worth it.(I dont think it's worth it).

obitch(With a little luck)

I hope to win the lottery.(I hope to win the lottery).

3. When there are two sentences with different subjects

if you havetwo clauses in one sentence and each of them has a different subject, use the indicative (or the imperative when appropriate) for the main clause and the subjunctive forthe subordinate.

Just as a quick refresher, a sentence is a related group of words that contains a subject and a verb.

Now to our examples:

(I) want (you) to tell the truth.(I want you to tell the truth).

(You) tell (him) not to come back.(Tell him not to come back).

(We) We need Ana to help us.(We need Ana to help us).

4. To express future probabilities, intentions and speculations

Spanish also uses the subjunctive to express future probabilities, intentions, and speculation.

Apart from some of the expressions included in the activation method that can be used for future purposes (such asIt is possible that…), there are two important situations in which Spanish uses the subjunctive:And(when) + a future actionand insecondConditions(a type of condition used to visualize situations that are realistically impossible or improbable).

.Instead of using the future tense, use the subjunctive afterAndfor future promotions:

i will call you whengo back.(I'll call you when I get back.)

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Andlet's get thereAt home we pack our bags.(We'll pack our bags when we get home.)

Spanish uses "si +imperfect subjunctive, simple conditional"for the second conditions.

For example:

Youtsiderich, I would buy a house.(If I were rich I would buy a house).

Yyou'll learnotherwise, you would pass the exam.(If you studied more, you would pass the exam.)

Ultimately, the best way to master the subjunctive is to practice using it with native speakers and listening to the Spanish media. the videos influidU, for example, are a good option as you can see the subjunctive in context, with the addition of interactive subtitles for more effective learning.

The videos are authentic, i. h were created by and for native speakers so that you can see how the subjunctive and other parts of the Spanish language are actually used.

How to conjugate a Spanish verb in the subjunctive

The subjunctive conjugations are pretty easy, as long as you've already locked in the present indicative and imperative conjugations.

All you have to do is follow two steps:

Paso 1:Start with the verb root used for thatpresent tense in first person

Paso 2:Change the ending depending on the theme (using the conjugation tables below).-Arkansasverbs end in-mi,-es, -emos, -in,Y-er/-irverbs end in-a, -as, -amos, -an.

Here are some examples of indicative and subjunctive forms:

Meet(I think) →foundmi(Meeting)

You dance (you dance) → Dancees(you dance)

Have(They have)→ Tenga(They have)

we make(we do/do)→ witchamos(we do/do)

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Regular present subjunctive endings

Pronoun-AR verbsVerbs -IR and -ER
you he she-mi-A

Irregular verbs in present subjunctive

There are only six verbs that are specifically irregular in the present subjunctive.

you he sheHeSepaFurtherlightGOODNeed
Usarelet us knowlet's belet usPopulationlet's go
OfareKnowMaybehaveAn opportunityLeave

Common mistakes with the subjunctive

I have been teaching Spanish for 20 years and I have discovered that 99% of my students make the same mistakes, have the same problems and are equally lost learning the Spanish subjunctive.

But if you stick to the rules and follow all the information provided in this post, you won't have any problems with this environment. The subjunctive is as hard as you make it.

  • Not everyone "Era"triggers the subjunctiveThere are countless situations in whichErafollows the subjunctive, butthis only applies if we have a subjunctive triggeror use one of the methods described above.

    Many times,Erait's just a "normal"Era,and follow whatever is necessary, not necessarily the subjunctive:

The young manEralive there is great.(The boy who lives there is tall).

HaveErabuy water(I need to buy some water).

  • There is a difference between "I don't think so"Y "I don't believe it"They look very similar and contain the exact words in a different order, but whileI don't think soneed the callsignI don't believe ityou need the subjunctive:

I don't think soamas.(I think you don't love me).

I don't think soAmes.(I don't think you love me).

  • Although"can be used in the subjunctive or indicativeAlthough(even if/although) can be followed by both the indicative and the subjunctive depending on the message you want to convey.

    By using the wordAlthough,remember itfact = significantYDoubt/condition = subjunctive:

AlthoughIt's raining, let's go to the park.(Even if it rains, we go to the park).

Althoughregeneration, let's go to the park.(Even if it rains, we go to the park).

  • If in doubt, use the callsign.If you're having trouble deciding whether to use the subjunctive, you probably don't need to.

    Of course, that's better advice when chatting with friends than taking one.exam DELE.

    However, if you have already decided to flip a coin, choose the callsign. Your friends won't care and will probably correct you.

It is worth remembering that most subjunctive sentences in Spanish make sense even without the subjunctive conjugation of the verb.

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Spanish speakers will understand what you are trying to say. So don't stress if you miss a subjunctive.

Don't be afraid to add a subjunctive conjugation whenever it occurs to you! Even if you're wrong, they'll likely understand.

Download:This blog post is available as a convenient, portable PDF that you can take anywhere.Click here for a copy. (Discharge)


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