Imperfect Subjunctive

Imperfecto de subjuntivo

The imperfect tense of the subjunctive mood is used to express the same subjectivity as the present subjunctive, but in the past.

The imperfect subjunctive has three main uses:

1. Express subjectivity in the past after the same verbs, impersonal expressions, and conjunctions as the present subjunctive. For the imperfect subjunctive to be needed, the verb in the main clause has to be in one of the following tenses/moods: preterite, imperfect, conditional, or pluperfect.

Quería que lo hicieras.   I wanted you to do it.
Fue una lástima que no pudiera venir.   It was too bad that he couldn't come.
Yo iría al banco para que tuviéramos dinero.   I would go to the bank so that we'd have money.

2. Make a very polite request or suggestion (only with the verbs deber, poder, and querer).

Quisiera dos libros, por favor.   I'd like two books, please.
¿Pudiera Ud. ayudarnos?   Could you (possibly) help us?

3. In conditional sentences (si clauses) and with the conjunction como si.

Si tuviera dinero, iría contigo.   If I had money, I would go with you.
Me escucha como si fuera su profesor.   He listens to me as if I were his teacher.

Page 2: Imperfect subjunctive conjugations

Spanish subjunctive tenses