Spanish subjunctive
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The Spanish subjunctive is a special verb form, called a mood, that is used in dependent clauses to indicate some sort of subjectivity, uncertainty, or unreality in the mind of the speaker. In Spanish, feelings like doubt and desire require the subjunctive, as do expressions of necessity, possibility, and judgment. It can be helpful to consider them in themed groups:

  1. Preferences, Advice, Needs, Desires, Orders
  2. Judgments, Emotions, Feelings
  3. Possibilities, Opinions, Doubts, Suppositions
  4. Additional Subjunctive Triggers

  Note that there are two additional conditions to meet before using the Spanish subjunctive:

1) Que
The dependent clauses is introduced by the relative pronoun que (that).

Quiero que tu lo hagas. I want you do it.
No es cierto que yo venga. It’s not certain that I will come (am coming).

2) Two subjects
The subjects of the dependent and main clauses are usually different. If the subjects are the same, the infinitive can be used instead of the subjunctive.

Quiero que vayas al museo. I want you to go to the museum.
Quiero ir al museo. I want to go to the museum.
Quiero que yo vaya al museo.  

There are hundreds of verbs, expressions, and conjunctions that call for the subjunctive, so it’s helpful to divide them into themes.

French subjunctive

Preferences, Advice, Needs, Desires, Orders (PANDO)

aconsejar que to advise
decir (a alguien) que to tell (someone to do something)
dejar que to let, allow
desear que to desire that
es hora que it’s time that
es importante que it is important that
es necesario que it is necessary that
es preciso que it is necessary that
evitar que to avoid
exigir que to demand that
hacer falta que to be necessary that
hacer que to make, force
impedir que to prevent
insistir en que to insist that
invitar que to invite
mandar que to order
necesitar que to need
pedir (a alguien) que to ask (someone to do something)
permitir que to permit
preferir que to prefer that
prohibir que to forbid
proponer que to propose that
querer que to want that
recomendar que to recommend
rogar que to request, beg
sugerir que to suggest that

French subjunctive

Judgments, Emotions, Feelings (JEF)

alegrarse de que to be happy that
es bueno que it’s good that
es conveniente que it’s convenient that
es difícil que  it’s hard
es extraño que it’s strange that
es fácil que  it’s easy
es increíble que  it’s incredible that
es interesante  it’s interesting that
es inútil que it’s useless that (there’s no point)
es justo que  it’s fair that
es (una) lástima que it’s a pity that
es malo que  it’s ( too) bad that
es mejor que it’s better that
es peor que it’s worse that
es preferible que it’s preferable that
es raro que it’s strange that
es triste que it’s sad that
es útil que it’s useful that
esperar que to hope that
estar contento que to be happy that
estar triste que to be sad that
extrañarse que to be amazed that
gustarse que to like
más vale que it’s better that
sentir que to regret, be sorry that
sorprenderse que to be surprised that
temer que to fear that
tener miedo que to be afraid that

French subjunctive

Possibilities, Opinions, Doubts, Suppositions (PODS)

aparecer que to appear, seem that
buscar … que* to look for
detestar que to hate
dudar que to doubt
es dudoso que it is doubtful that
es imposible que it is impossible that
es improbable que it is improbable that
es posible que it is possible that
es probable que it is probable that
negar que to deny
no es cierto que it is not certain that
no es claro que it’s not clear that
no es evidente que it is not obvious that
no es obvio que it is not obvious that
no es que it’s not that
no es seguro que it is not certain that
no es verdad que it is not true that
no estar seguro de que to not be certain than

* Whether to use the subjunctive with buscar depends on whether you know the person or thing exists – learn more.

Additional Spanish Subjunctive Triggers

 More Spanish Subjunctive



Spanish Subjunctive Tenses

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Spanish subjunctive

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