Subjunctive

Grammar Glossary for Spanish Students

soccer ball
If I were young, I would be a soccer player. (Si fuera joven, sería futbolista.). Photo by Michelle Milla; licensed via Creative Commons.

Definition: The subjunctive mood is used not to indicate that something is being asserted but that it is contrary to fact, supposed, doubted, feared or desired. The subjunctive mood barely exists in English, although more so in writing than in speech. In contrast, the subjunctive mood is an essential feature of the Spanish language.

In Spanish, the subjunctive mood is used most commonly in a dependent clause, usually one beginning with que.

In some cases, in both English and Spanish, a past-tense form of the subjunctive can be used to state a contrary-to-fact condition after "if" (si in Spanish).

Also known as: Subjuntivo in Spanish.

Examples: The boldface verbs are in the subjunctive mood: If I were young, I would be a soccer player. (Si fuera joven, sería futbolista.) I demand that he study. (Le exigo que estudie).

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Erichsen, Gerald. "Subjunctive." ThoughtCo, Mar. 2, 2017, thoughtco.com/subjunctive-in-spanish-3078328. Erichsen, Gerald. (2017, March 2). Subjunctive. Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/subjunctive-in-spanish-3078328 Erichsen, Gerald. "Subjunctive." ThoughtCo. https://www.thoughtco.com/subjunctive-in-spanish-3078328 (accessed December 18, 2017).