subjunctive vs. indicative...creo que....

subjunctive vs. indicative...creo que....


I just took a quiz on a site that teaches spanish and these are the ones that I got wrong they corrected for me....what I thought was in bold.

Creo que está feliz. creo que esté feliz

Es obvio que la ama. es obivo que la ame

Busco un estudiante que hable español. que habla español

Now for the first two I thouht that you were supposed to use the Subjuntvio. Can someone help me understand this?

updated ENE 9, 2015
edited by 0074b507
posted by NikkiLR

3 Answers


You declare a subordinate clause (e.g la ama, habla español) when you want to provide this information, belief, guess... regardless of the main sentence. If this clause is stated only because you are going to talk about something else or give your opinion about it, there is no declaration.

Declarations require indicative; lack of declarations are expressed in subjunctive.

  • Creo que está feliz.

Here you want to say that he/she is happy. To be more specific, that's what you think.

  • Es obvio que la ama.

Here you simply want to state a fact (being facts, they truth is obvious)

  • Busco un estudiante que habla español

You know there is one student that speaks Spanish (you've heard him/her, you know his/her name,...), so you declare it. By the way, you are looking for him

  • Busco un estudiante que hable español

You don't declare that you know there is such a student, because you don't know. You are looking for someone meeting such requirements.

updated JUN 10, 2016
edited by lazarus1907
posted by lazarus1907
If it's the first case with the estudiante, then is it better to say Busco A un estudiante que habla espanol. Because you already know this person. I remember my teacher once said if you know someone, then you buscar a . - honantong, ENE 9, 2015

Okay.. and what if you want to say "I think he loves her...(but I'm not sure)."

updated AGO 28, 2009
posted by NikkiLR

In the first two you are making a declaration about something.

No creo que...is usually the flag for the subjunctive, but not always, as you can declare what you don't believe as well as what you do believe. It's when you use it to express doubt that it takes the subjunctive.

Es obvio.., es evidente, es claro,,, es verdad...all are used in making declarations.

The last one depends on whether the man exists or not (contrary to fact).

Are you looking for a student (whom you know) that speaks Spanish (if you know him then he exists)

or are you looking for a student who can speak Spanish (and you don't know him-or more generally if he exists)

updated AGO 27, 2009
edited by 0074b507
posted by 0074b507
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