The Spanish Subjunctive
Language Resources

The Spanish subjunctive mood ("el subjuntivo") is used with impersonal expressions and expressions of opinions, emotions or points of view. It's also used for expressing denial, disagreement or volition as well as for describing situations that are doubtful or unlikely.

In English, the subjunctive mood is not distinguished very much from the indicative mood, which makes the subjunctive mood used in languages like Spanish, French and Italian a bit tricky for English-speakers to grasp.

So when do we use the subjunctive? There are four main circumstances:

  1. It helps us to express facts contrary to reality.
  2. It helps us to express doubt that something is or will be a fact.
  3. It helps us to express wishes, intents or commands for a possible state of being or action.
  4. It helps us to express how we feel about a possible state of being or action.

As you will soon see, the subjunctive is almost always used in dependent clauses that begin with the words que (that) or si (if).

Subjunctive Mood Tenses

Given that the subjunctive is almost exclusively used in dependent clauses, meaning that the form of the subjunctive you need to use depends upon the tense of the main clause verb as well as the time relationship between that main clause verb and the subjunctive verb.

If you're ready to start learning or reminding yourself how to form and use the difference subjunctive mood tenses, just click on the links below:

Subjunctive Mood Tenses Examples
Present subjunctiveMe alegro de que vengas.
(I am happy that you are coming.)
Present perfect subjunctiveMe alegro de que hayas venido.
(I am happy that you have come.)
Imperfect subjunctiveMe alegraba de que vinieras.
(I was happy that you came.)

Past perfect subjunctive

Me habría alegrado si hubieras venido.
(I would have been happy if you were to have come.)