Learning Spanish has numerous benefits for both your social life and your career. While you’re be amped to learn the language, you may struggle along the way. One problem that a lot of people have when learning Spanish is knowing when to use a subjunctive in Spanish. After all, why does Spanish have two words, comemos and comamos, to mean “we eat?”
Today, we’re going to shed some light on what subjunctive is, how to use them, and give you a few tips on how to learn proper subjunctive use.
A Spanish subjunctive (el subjuntivo) is one of three “moods,” the other two being indicative and imperative. The Spanish moods are used to reflect your mood toward the statement. These moods include:
It’s important to note that there is a difference between subjunctive mood in Spanish and subjunctive tense in Spanish. Subjunctive tense refers to when something takes place, such as in the past, present or the future. Mood, however, refers to how someone feels about the action.
Although subjunctive mood isn’t used very often in English, you’ll find subjunctive mood in Spanish used quite frequently.
The subjunctive in Spanish gives you the ability to voice your concern, doubt, or conditionality. When using the subjunctive, the verbs will need a specific conjugation. The easiest way you’ll learn how to use a subjunctive is by learning what “triggers” will tell people what your sentence is going to be subjective.
Let’s take a look at these subjunctive Spanish examples:
The subjunctive verb in the first sentence expresses an indefinite outcome. The second sentence expressive an opinion about whether or not it is good to have free time. If we removed the subjunctive mood from these sentences, they would simply be:
Notice the “es probable” and “es bueno” are absent in the new examples? That’s because those two phrases are clear giveaways that the sentence is going to be subjective.
Here’s a brief list of common triggers for subjunctive mood in Spanish:
When you’re learning how to use the Spanish subjunctive, keep these rules in mind:
Always remember that when you’re using subjunctive in Spanish, you are going to be dealing with two subjects. This plays into the “uncertainty” element, because while you could have an inner monologue about why you love yogurt and take it as a fact. However, if you (subject 1) are talking to a friend (subject 2) about what you think they feel about yogurt, you can’t say for certain if it’s truthful or not.
With that said, if you know for a fact that he does like yogurt, you don’t have to add the “I think…” statement because you actually know that, yes, he likes yogurt.
Along with the theme of “uncertainty,” subjunctives are also used whenever you begin a statement with the word “When” and then talk about something you will do in the future.
Learning a new language is going to be tricky, especially when you’re trying to figure out when to use subjunctives in Spanish. However, when you keep the acronym, WEIRDO, in your mind, you’ll have a much easier time knowing when to use it.
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