Subjunctive notes #2

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Now that you know how to form the present subjunctive, let’s look at the reasons of why we use it.

W - Wishes, Wants, Desires

E - Emotions

I - Impersonal expressions

R - Requests

D - Doubt, Denial, Uncertainty

O - Ojalá

You will use the subjunctive when one of the above reasons is made on the part of the subject of your sentence. There are two parts of the sentence containing a subjunctive clause.

  1. the main clause – contains a subject and one of the above reasons

  2. the subordinate clause – contains that which is being considered (should use subjunctive form)

Example: I doubt that he works much.

The main clause is I doubt. The subordinate clause is he works much. Because uncertainty (doubt) is expressed in the main clause, we can use subjunctive in the subordinate clause. In Spanish this sentence would be written:

Yo dudo que él trabaje mucho.

REMEMBER: When you use subjunctive follow the formula:

  1. Subject 1 (S1) and WEIRDO verb 1 (V1) in first clause

  2. Subject 2 (S2) and SUBJUNCTIVE verb 2 (V2) in second clause

SO….. the subjects MUST be different and the first verb MUST be a WEIRDO reason verb, and the second verb will be conjugated in the subjunctive.


Let’s look at the acronym WEIRDO more closely.

W - Wishes, Wants, Desires

Subjunctive is used in expressions of advice, command, demand, desire, hope, permission, preference, request, suggestion, and prohibition.

Examples in English : i wish.jpg

I hope that you are happy.

I suggest that you buy the red car.

We demand that he pay in cash.

He prays that you get well.

You insist that we wash the dishes.

Verbs commonly used:
aconsejar to advise

desear to wish for

esperar to hope

exigir to demand

insister en to insist (on)

ojalá que God willing; I strongly hope

pedir (e>i) to request; to ask for

permitir to permit

preferir(e>ie) to prefer

prohibir to prohibit

querer (e>ie) to wish, to want

rogar (o>ue) to pray, beg

sugerir(e>ie) to suggest


suplicar to beg

Example 1: He prefers that I speak.

Él prefiere que yo hable.

Example 2: I want John to study.

Think this way: I want that John studies.

Yo quiero que John estudie.
Example 3: I hope that they live in the house.

Example 4: They pray that I speak Spanish.

Practice for W - Wishes, Wants, Desires

Write how you need to think in English and put in parentheses next to sentence if needed. Then translate to Spanish on the line.

  1. I hope that she speaks with me tomorrow.


  1. I want you to eat the bread. (I want that you eat the bread.)


  1. He wants me to write a letter. (He wants that I write a letter.)


  1. We pray that you are well.


  1. They want us to do it. ( )


  1. She hopes that you can come to the party.


  1. They suggest that you do it.


  1. I insist (on) that you (Uds.) work.


  1. He requests that we be here at 9:00.


  1. Why do you request that I do it?


  1. I prefer that we not leave the house until 5:00.


  1. She hopes that you know her.


  1. We insist (on) that you (tú) eat with us.


  1. Do you want me to count the money? ( )


  1. They suggest that we put the papers in the cabinet (el gabinete).


E - Emotions and feelings – (fear, joy, sorrow, regret, surprise)

Subjunctive is used in expressions of emotion. Most of these verbs are REFLEXIVE!

Examples in English:

Were you glad that she went to Europe?

Are you angry that he stood her up?

I am happy that you invited me to the North Formal.

Verbs commonly used:
alegrarse to make happy

alegrarse de to be happy that

asustarse to scare, to frighten

asustarse de to be scared, to be frightened

enojarse to anger

enojarse de to get angry

estar contento to be happy

estar triste to be sad

estar + feeling + de to be + feeling

extrañarse to be amazed at

molestarse to be offended

preocuparse to worry

preocuparse de to worry about

sentir to regret, to be sorry

sorprenderse to be surprised

temer to fear

tener miedo de to be afraid (of)
Example 1: She is happy that John wants to be her boyfriend.

Ella está contenta que John quiera ser su novio.

Example 2: I am amazed that you can form the subjunctive!

¡Yo me extraño que tú puedas formar el subjuntivo!

Example 3: We regret that she cannot come to the party.

Example 4: I fear that Mrs. Green doesn’t know the answer.

Practice for E – Emotions and Feelings

Translate to Spanish on the line.

  1. I fear that you don’t have time to finish the exam.


  1. I am happy that all of you can attend my party.


  1. I am sad that you don’t go with me.


  1. We are sorry that María is in the hospital.


  1. It bothers me (Me molesta) that people do not pick up their trash.


  1. I am sorry that we don’t have more blankets (cobijas).


  1. He is worried that she is not pretty.


  1. I am angry that my sister never does her chores.


  1. All of you are surprised that Mrs. Green has a Jaguar.


  1. We are happy that the test is easy.


I – Impersonal Expression of W.E.R.D., introduced by es + adjective; a verb or other expression that expresses influence.

Subjunctive is used in impersonal expressions that denote an element of subjectivity. When an impersonal expression is in the main clause it expresses emotion, uncertainty, or unreality.

Examples in English:

It’s possible that he reads it.

It’s necessary that all of you study?

It’s probable that he plays football professionally.

Verbs commonly used:
es aconsejable que It’s advisable that

es bueno It’s good

conviene que It’s advisable that

es difícil que It’s difficult that

es dudoso que It’s doubtful that

es fácil que It’s easy that

es fantástico que It’s fantastic that

es importante que It’s important that

es imposible que It’s impossible that

es improbable que It’s unlikely that

es increíble que It’s incredible that

es lástima que It’s a pity that; It’s a shame that

es malo que It’s bad that

es mejor que It’s better that

es necesario que It’s necessary that

es posible que It’s possible that

es preferible que It’s preferible that

es probable que It’s probable that

es raro que It’s rare that

es ridículo que It’s ridiculous that

es terrible que It’s terrible that

más vale que It is better that

ojalá que I hope that; if only he (it, they, etc.) would, could, might; God willing that

puede ser que It may be that
Example 1: It’s a pity that I’m sick.

Es una lástima que yo esté enfermo.

Example 2: It’s important that you watch this program.

Es importante que tú mires este programa.

Example 3: It’s necessary that you go now.
Example 4: It may be that the students receive an “F” if they don’t study.

Practice for I – Impersonal Expressions

Translate to Spanish on the line.

  1. It’s better that we eat in the kitchen.


  1. It’s necessary that you call them tomorrow.


  1. It’s preferable that you buy the eggs by the dozen (por docenas). ___________________________________________________________________________

  2. It’s unlikely that they’ll be ready by 5:00.


  1. It’s advisable that you (tú) have an attorney (el abogado) with you.


  1. It’s important that no one know (saber) that secret.


  1. It may be that Mrs. Green doesn’t teach anymore (not anymore=ya no + conjugated verb).


  1. It’s ridiculous that many politicians (los politicos) don’t tell the truth (la verdad).


  1. It’s impossible that I be in two places at the same time (al mismo tiempo).


  1. It’s incredible that she can speak twelve languages (los idiomas).


  1. It’s a shame that ice cream has many calories (las calorías).


  1. If only Esmeralda wouldn’t sing at (en) the wedding (la boda).


  1. It’s fantastic that we don’t have to sit (tener+que+infinitive)next to (al lado de)them.


  1. It may be that he isn’t what (lo que) he says he is.


  1. It’s impossible that I remain (quedarse) in this room one more minute.


R - Requests / Recommendations
Subjunctive is used with verbs of requesting, asking, demanding, commanding or causing. Basically, when you use commands in the formal (Ud./Uds.), nosotros (Let’s ____), and negative tú commands, you are forming them in the subjunctive.

OJO: If a sentence follows the regular formula for subjunctive and a request is being made, you will use subjunctive for the second clause.


No vayas (ir) – Don’t go!

No seas – (ser) – Don’t be!

No des – (dar) – Don’t give!

No estés – (estar) – Don’t be!

No sepas – (saber) – Don’t know!
Let’s see if you remember how to form these commands:

Tú Commands (negative only)

  1. Put in “yo” form

  2. Drop the “o”

  3. Add opposite endings:

    1. –AR – add “es”

    2. –ER/-IR – add “as”

  4. Put “no” in front of verb

Ex. Don’t speak.

No hables.
Don’t drive (conducer)

No conduzcas

CAR/GAR/ZAR verbs – make changes:

c > qu

g > gu

z > c


  1. dar dé Ud. or den Uds.

  2. estar esté Ud. or estén Uds.

  3. ir vaya Ud. or vayan Uds.

  4. ser sea Ud. or sean Uds.

  5. saber sepa Ud. or sepan Uds.

Usted and Ustedes Commands

(Formal Commands)

  1. Start with the yo form of the present indicative.

  2. Then, drop the –o ending.

  3. Add the following endings:

-ar verbs……… –e (for Ud.), -en (for Uds.)

-er and –ir verbs…–a (for Ud.), -an (for Uds.)

To make negative, just put no before the command.


– make changes:

c > qu

g > gu

z > c

Don’t pay.

No pagues.

Nosotros Commands

A nosotros command is like saying “Let’s” do something. Example: Let’s dance!


  1. Make the present tense “yo” form of the verb.

  2. Take off the “o” or “oy”.

  3. Add opposite nosotros endings: AR -emos

ER/IR - amos

Example: Let’s dance! = ¡Bailemos!

Let’s eat! = ¡Comamos!


  1. Stem-changing verbs will NOT change.

  2. EXCEPTION: - IR stem changing verbs will make the following changes:

oue verbs: o changes to u (Ex. dormir - ¡Durmamos!)

eie verbs: e changes to i (Ex. mentir - ¡Mintamos!)

ei verbs: e changes to i (Ex. pedir - ¡Pidamos!)

  1. Verbs ending in –car, -gar, -zar will make necessary orthographic changes

(for pronunciation)

cqu; ggu; zc

Ex. – tocar - ¡Toquemos!

pagar - ¡Paguemos!

comenzar – ¡Comencemos!

  1. Reflexive verbs – DROP the “s” of the conjugated verb before adding “nos.”

Otherwise, add all object pronouns directly.

Ex. levantarse – Levantemos + nos = ¡Levantémonos!

To make negative, just add the “no” before the verb


ir ¡Vamos! =Let’s go!

irse ¡Vámonos! =Let’s go away!

saber ¡Sepamos! =Let’s know!

ser ¡Seamos! =Let’s be!
Ex. Don’t sit down! – sentarse – sentemos + nos = ¡No nos sentemos!

Practice for R - Requests / Recommendations

Write the command on the line. As you can see, some of these sentences are requesting that another person do something.

____________ 1. Drive the car. (Ud.)

____________ 2. Wash your hands. (Uds.)

____________ 3. Don’t open the door. (tú)

____________ 4. Fill (llenar) the bottle with water. (Ud.)

____________ 5. I advise you to not rent scary movies. (tú)

____________ 6. Don’t leave (salir) before 8:00. (Ud.)

____________ 7. Let’s eat fruit and vegetables every day. (nosotros)

____________ 8. I ask that all of you send (enviar) the letters tomorrow. (Uds.)

____________ 9. Change (cambiar) your clothes (su ropa) after the game. (Ud.)

____________ 10. Tell your friend that we are not going to the party. (Ud.)

____________ 11. Don’t forget (olvidar) to buy milk. (tú)

____________ 12. Tell the truth (la verdad). (Uds.)

____________ 13. Let’s close the windows. (nosotros)

____________ 14. Let’s pay the bill. (nosotros)

____________ 15. Go to the store. (Ud.)

____________ 16. Brush (cepillarse) your teeth. (Ud.)

____________ 17. Let’s do the homework. (nosotros)

____________ 18. I advise you to throw (tirar) your homework in the garbage. (Uds.)

____________ 19. Don’t tell lies (las mentiras). (tú)

____________ 20. Pack (hacer) the suitcase (la maleta). (Ud.)

____________ 21. Let’s be careful (cuidarse). (nosotros)

____________ 22. I recommend you to buy a new hat (el gorro). (Ud.)

____________ 23. I advise you to never lie to Sra. Green. (tú)

DDoubt or Denial

Subjunctive is used when the subject of the main clause acknowledges uncertainty or ignorance of the outcome of the action described in the subordinate clause. There HAS TO BE DOUBT!

Examples in English:

I doubt that John has the money.

I do not think that the answer is correct.

I don’t believe that she stood him up. She is too kind.

Verbs commonly used:
dudar que to doubt that

no creer que to not believe that

no estar convencido(a)de que to not be convinced that

no estar seguro to not be sure that

no imaginarse que to not imagine that

negar que (e>ie) to deny that

no parecer que to not seem that

no pensar que (e>ie) to not think that

no suponer que to not suppose that

temer que to suspect, to fear that

Example 1: I do not think that we work on Saturdays.

Yo no pienso que nosotros trabajemos por los sábados.
Example 2: I am not convinced that he has a girlfriend.

No estoy convencido(a) de que él tenga una novia.

Example 3: I doubt that they are going to the movie theatre.

Example 4: I suspect that she is the criminal (el criminal).


If there is NO doubt, then you CANNOT use the subjunctive. Use the indicative.

For example,

I am sure that you are the best for the position. (Use regular indicative.)

Practice for D – Doubt,Denial, Uncertainty

Translate to Spanish on the line.

  1. I doubt that she eats in that restaurant.


  1. I don’t suppose that you will tell me his name .


  1. They don’t believe that he plays the piano. ___________________________________________________________________________

  2. She isn’t sure that the coffee is ready.


  1. We don’t think that the Colts will win the game.


  1. He is not convinced that I need so much (tanto) money.


  1. Why don’t you believe that we know him?


  1. We aren’t convinced that the moon (la luna) is made (ser) of green cheese.


  1. He doubts that they know the answer.


  1. She isn’t sure that we always tell the truth (la verdad).


  1. Why aren’t you convinced that I am always right (tener razón)?


  1. It doesn’t seem that he wants to be here.


  1. I’m not sure you can read this.


  1. He doesn’t believe that I’m his cousin.


  1. I don’t imagine that you believe my story (la historia).


O – Ojalá que

Spanish Word of the Day: ojalá

by RAMSES on NOVEMBER 13, 2008 · COMMENTS (15)

Spain and the Iberian Peninsula have a great history which has been influenced by different ethnic groups and languages. Most people think that Spanish only has been influenced by Latin, but forget that also the Celts and the Moors influenced customs and the Spanish language over time. One of the words of Arabic origin which is still used in Spanish is ojalá.

If you go to the roots of the word (in Arabic it’s وشاء الله – wa-šā’ allāh), you’ll see that it roughly means “if God [Allah] wants it” or “and may God will it”. However, the best translation nowadays is “hopefully”, “let’s hope” or “I hope”.
Some people may argue that it’s the same as esperar, but ojalá is definitely a stronger way of saying that you hope something will happen.
taken from

Write 2 sentences in Spanish using Ojalá que……

Subjunctive or Indicative?

Thinking of all the reasons under the acronym WEIRDO for using the subjunctive, decide if the sentence should be in the subjunctive or the indicative. Write S or I in the blank next to the sentence. On the other side of the sentence write the acronym of WEIRDO of why you chose the subjunctive. Leave it blank if choosing indicative.

_____ 1. He doubts that you will write to him. ________

_____ 2. They do not deny that the children are in the room. ________

_____ 3. They want us to answer that question. ________

_____ 4. It hurts me that you are angry. ________

_____ 5. She needs you to help her. ________

_____ 6. I am looking for a dress that has long sleeves. ________

_____ 7. She found a blouse that fit her well. ________

_____ 8. I am sure that you will go to see him. ________

_____ 9. He is afraid that he will be late. ________

_____ 10. I hope that you get well soon. ________

_____ 11. I know that girl. ________

_____ 12. There is no doubt that this is the best place to be. ________

_____ 13. His father tells them that they need to clean the garage. ________

_____ 14. I want to leave with you. ________

_____ 15. We doubt that the teacher is wrong. ________

_____ 16. I have a dog that barks a lot. ________

_____ 17. I want a dog that does not bark at all. ________

_____ 18. We are looking for those who smoke in the bathrooms. ________

_____ 19. It is a pity that Daddy can’t buy the horse. ________

_____ 20. I am happy because I got an A on the test. ________

_____ 21. I am pleased that you can come. ________

_____ 22. I know that he will be on time. ________

_____23. My brother has a green car. ________

_____ 24. It’s horrible that you are so stupid! ________

_____ 25. I am sorry that you are angry with me. ________

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