Impersonal Expressions with the Subjunctive


The subjunctive is one of the three moods in Spanish, the other two being the indicative (actions, events, facts) and the imperative (commands). You can find more on the differences between the subjunctive and the indicative here!


Many of the verbs and phrases that require the subjunctive fit into the acronym WEIRDO: Wishes, Emotions, Impersonal expressions, Recommendations, Doubt/Denial, and Ojalá. In this article, we're going to take a look at impersonal expressions.

Impersonal Expressions

Impersonal expressions work a lot like emotions in that they express someone’s opinion or value judgement. They focus on the subjectivity of the statement and not on the actual truth or reality of the situation.

Almost any phrase using the formula es + adjectivo + que can be an impersonal expression as long as it doesn’t state a truth (es verdad que ), certainty (es cierto que ), or fact (es un hecho que ). Phrases beginning with these statements use the indicative.

However, phrases beginning with their opposites, (no es verdad que , etc.) use the subjunctive.

Es necesario que Jaime lea este libro.
It is necessary that Jaime read this book.
Es extraño que reciba un regalo porque no es mi cumpleaños.
It’s odd for me to receive a gift because it isn’t my birthday.
No es cierto que mi hermano venga.
It is not certain that my brother is coming.
Es probable que vayamos a la playa.
It is probable that we are going to the beach.

Some Useful Impersonal Expressions

es agradable
it is nice
es estupendo
it is great
es necesario
it is necessary
es urgente
it is urgent
es bueno
it is good
es extraño
it is strange
es probable
it is probable
es vergonzoso
it is a disgrace
es curioso
it is curious/weird
es importante
it is important
es raro
it is rare, it is strange/odd
no es cierto
it is not certain
es dudoso
it is doubtful
es increíble
it is incredible
es recomendable
it is recommended
no es hecho
it is not a fact
es esencial
it is essential
es malo
it is bad
es una lástima
it is a pity
no es verdad
it is not true

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