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How To Use The "Subjunctive" In Spanish

If you are learning Spanish, you may have heard of the "subjunctive" and wonder what it means and how to use it. In this article, we will explore the meaning of the subjunctive in Spanish, how to say it in Spanish, and some regional differences. We will also provide some sample sentences in Spanish to English to help you better understand how to use the subjunctive in context.

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What is "Subjunctive" in Spanish?

In Spanish, the "subjunctive" is a grammatical mood that is used to express doubt, possibility, emotion, or other subjective information. If you are looking to translate the word "subjunctive" from English to Spanish, you would use the word "subjuntivo" (IPA: /suβxunˈtivo/).

Meaning of "Subjunctive" in Spanish

The subjunctive is used to talk about things that may or may not happen, hypothetical situations, and to express opinions or desires.

  • Expressing doubt or uncertainty: The subjunctive is often used in sentences that express doubt or uncertainty about a statement. For example: No creo que venga. (I don't think he/she is coming), Dudo que tenga tiempo. (I doubt he/she has time.)

  • Expressing emotion or wish: The subjunctive is used to express emotions or wishes. For example: Espero que venga pronto. (I hope he/she comes soon.), Ojalá que tengas éxito. (I hope you succeed.)

  • Describing hypothetical situations: The subjunctive is used to describe hypothetical or imaginary situations. For example: Si fuera rico, viajaría por el mundo. (If I were rich, I would travel around the world.), Si tuviera más tiempo, leería más libros. (If I had more time, I would read more books.)

  • Expressing doubt in a negative sentence: When a sentence is negative, the subjunctive is used to express doubt or uncertainty. For example: No creo que haya terminado. (I don't think he/she has finished.), No es seguro que llegue a tiempo. (It's not certain that he/she will arrive on time.)

  • Giving advice or making a suggestion: The subjunctive is used to give advice or make a suggestion. For example: Te sugiero que estudies más. (I suggest that you study more.), Es mejor que no salgas tarde. (It's better that you don't go out late.)

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How to Use the "Subjunctive" in Spanish 

The subjunctive mood in Spanish is used to express uncertainty, doubt, emotion, desire, or hypothetical situations. It is often used in dependent clauses that begin with certain conjunctions, such as "que," "como si," "a menos que", "sin que", and "antes de que", among others. In addition, the subjunctive has different conjugations for each person —yo, tú, él/ella/usted, nosotros/as, vosotros/as, ellos/ellas/ustedes—, and irregular verbs often have irregular subjunctive forms as well.

Sample Sentences

Here are five sample sentences you can use to use the "subjunctive" in Spanish:

  • Espero que ella venga a la fiesta.

(I hope she comes to the party.)

  • Si tuviera más dinero, viajaría más.

(If I had more money, I would travel more.)

  • Me alegra que estés aquí conmigo.

(I'm glad you're here with me.)

  • Quiero que estudies para el examen.

(I want you to study for the exam.)

  • Esperaba que hubiera más gente en la reunión.

(I was expecting there to be more people at the meeting.) 

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Regional Differences

While the subjunctive is used in all Spanish-speaking countries, there are some regional differences in how it is used. For example:

  • In Spain, the subjunctive is used more frequently than in Latin America.
  • In some Latin American countries, such as Mexico, the use of the subjunctive is more relaxed and may not be used as often in everyday speech.


In conclusion, the subjunctive is an important grammatical mood in Spanish used to express doubt, possibility, emotion, and other subjective information. The subjunctive is used in all Spanish-speaking countries, but there are some regional differences in how it is used. By understanding how to use the subjunctive in context, you can better communicate in Spanish.

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