Spanish Present Subjunctive
Language Resources

In terms of time, we use the present subjunctive when the main verb (in the independent clause) is in the present, future, present perfect or imperative tense and the subjunctive verb (in the dependent clause) refers to an action that takes place at the same time as or after the main verb.

Forming the Spanish present subjunctive

Below you can find the basic rules of forming the present subjunctive. Like any grammatical "rule", there are exceptions and irregularities, but we'll get to those later. In the meantime, get a grasp on the general rules:

  • Conjugate the verb into the first person singular form (yo)
    • escuchar --> escucho
    • comer --> como
    • escribir --> escribo
  • Drop the -o ending
    • escucho --> escuch_
    • como --> com_
    • escribo --> escrib_
  • Add the opposite endings
    • -AR VERBS
      "opposite endings"
      example: escuchar
      yo
      -e
      escuche
      -es
      escuches
      él, ella
      -e
      escuche
      nosotros/as
      -emos
      escuchemos
      vosotros/as
      -éis
      escuchéis
      ellos, ellas
      -en
      escuchen
    • -ER & -IR VERBS
      "opposite endings"
      example: comer
      example: escribir
      yo
      -a
      coma
      escriba
      -as
      comas
      escribas
      él, ella
      -a
      coma
      escriba
      nosotros/as
      -amos
      comamos
      escribamos
      vosotros/as
      -áis
      comáis
      escribáis
      ellos, ellas
      -an
      coman
      escriban

Using the Spanish present subjunctive

Like we said at the beginning of the page, the present subjunctive is used when:

  • the verb in the independent clause is in the present, future, present perfect or imperative tense
  • the dependent / subjunctive verb refers to an action that takes place at the same time as or after the action of the main verb

Aside from the time issue, take a look at the following table to learn about when to use the subjunctive

Why subjunctive? Example
Expression of doubt. Dudo que venga.
(I doubt that he'll come.)
Possible non-reality. Busco unos zapatos que sean cómodos.
(I'm looking for shoes that are comfortable.)
Expression of permission. El hotel no permite que entren los perros.
(The hotel does not allow dogs to enter.)
Expression of emotion. Siento que estés triste.
(I'm sorry that you are sad.)
Expression of a wish.Queremos que llegue.
(We want him to arrive.)
Expression of command. Dile que lave los platos.
(Tell him to wash the dishes.)
Expression of intent. Te doy mi número para que me llames.
(I'm giving you my number so that you call me.)
NegationNo es verdad que ella se vaya.
(It's not true that she's leaving.)