HomeQ&AHow do I conjugate verbs in the present subjunctive?

How do I conjugate verbs in the present subjunctive?

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I also need to know how/when to use infinitive and indicative in the subjunctive's place.

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updated ENE 4, 2008
posted by Kasha4890

16 Answers

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Wow, did I use estar'I must really need sleep. Of course, you are right, it should be:
El hecho de que sea fuerta ha influida su éxito.

updated ENE 4, 2008
posted by manutd
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You need to use a form of ser in this case because fuerte is an adjective describing him. Estar is only used for conditions, locations and as a helping verb with present participles.

updated ENE 4, 2008
posted by Cherry
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Another example of how subjunctive is not always expressing doubt; the expression "el hecho de que" - "the fact that". You actually use the subjunctive with this:
El hecho de que esté fuerte ha influido su éxito.
"El hecho de que" is quite obviously not expressing any doubt, but...

updated ENE 4, 2008
posted by manutd
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As others have said, there's no easy explanation (for example, you try explaining when you would use it in English!). The rule i use in my head is ; if you are making a statement of fact, without emotion or uncertainty attached before the statement, then it will remain in the standard present, future, past & conditional tenses. The moment you attach an emotion, a feeling, a mindset or an uncertainty BEFORE the main statement of your sentence, then you go into the subjunctive.

Mi amigo esta muy feliz hoy
Si mi amigo esta feliz, entonces estoy feliz tambien
No estoy seguro que mi amigo este muy feliz hoy
Aunque mi amigo este feliz hoy, no estoy feliz
Es estupendo que mi amigo este feliz

(apologies for lack of accents)

This is how i would phrase typical sentences, using both the indicative & the subjunctive. The first 2 sentences are normal indicative. As i understand it, using 'if' in the present tense does not automatically put you in the present subjunctive (that then blows a BIG hole in the theory about the subjunctive purely being about expressing doubt...i mean, what word expresses doubt more than 'if' ').

Using 'if' in the past tense does put you firmly in the past subjunctive, however.

You can see that in the sentences where I have used the subjunctive, the main message of each statement is pushed back in the sentence, if you like, by a signal of emotion or feeling or uncertainty.

This is my understanding of the present subjunctive.

updated ENE 3, 2008
posted by elguapo
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Cherry,
I respectfully disagree. You're over thinking this.

updated ENE 1, 2008
posted by Voces
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The short answer to your question is no. I'll send you a pm with a detailed explanation.

The correction to your sentence is the following:
Deseo que esto sea fácil. Use the verb "ser" with the adjectives "fácil" and "difícil."

updated ENE 1, 2008
posted by Voces
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Very good points. As my teacher has explained, when earning the subjunctive the hardest part is not learning the conjugations, but rather understanding when to use this. The subjunctive isn't as much a tense, but rather a mood. When speaking, while in a pinch you can use the doubt rule, it is better to just learn it so that you know when to use it without thinking. But then, that rule is true for much of Spanish!

updated ENE 1, 2008
posted by manutd
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You might not see the element of doubt in those examples, but it is there.

Te doy el libro para que aprendas español. (I'm giving you the book so that you´ll learn Spanish.)
It is not definite that the Spanish will be learned just because a book was received.
Juan quiere hacerse médico cuando crezca. (Juan wants to be a doctor when he grows up.)
Unfortunately, not all kids get to grow up. Also we don't know when this might occur.
No se puede poner a esos niños en el mismo cuarto sin que se peleen. (You can't put those kids in the same room without them fighting.)
But they might not fight everytime.

Do you see my point'

updated ENE 1, 2008
posted by Cherry
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wouldn't those come under either uncompleted action or even if?

deseo que esto esté fácil. I wish that this was easy. esto esté doesn't seem right.

Por favor, corrige los errores, acentos, tiempo y agramaticales.

updated ENE 1, 2008
posted by motley
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This is why a little knowledge is a dangerous thing. Sorry, don't mind to offend or insult anybody here but there's a misconception that exists among English speakers that the subjunctive is only used when there is doubt or uncertainty. This is NOT true. Consider the following examples:
*
Te doy el libro para que aprendas español.* (I'm giving you the book so that you´ll learn Spanish.)
Juan quiere hacerse médico cuando crezca. (Juan wants to be a doctor when he grows up.)
No se puede poner a esos niños en el mismo cuarto sin que se peleen. (You can't put those kids in the same room without them fighting.)*
Aunque sea chica, a María no le gusta jugar con muñecas.* (Although she's a girl, Maria doesn't like playing with dolls.)

Not one single one of these sentences expresses uncertainty or doubt. However, there is a reason why the subjunctive is required. I could explain further but I'd be here for a few more hours typing. raspberry

Best thing to do is study the grammar, find a good book with practice exercises and then consult a forum like this when one has specific doubts. Otherwise, too much misinformation is spread and repeated and people continue to be confused by a topic that really shouldn't be that confusing. After all, there are some roughly 400 million Spanish speakers in the world, so the subjunctive can be learned. But it must be learned correctly in order for it to be used properly. It may not be as fun and easy as an online forum, but sometimes the best way to learn is to crack open a book and read.

I'll step off my soapbox now. smile Sorry if the tone of my message offends but I feel strongly about this.

updated ENE 1, 2008
posted by Voces
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I will be interested to hear when not to use it, please let us know.

updated ENE 1, 2008
posted by motley
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Well, my teacher is going to tell give us a section about subjunctive, and we have to know when to not use the subjunctive. I hope it's a shorter list to have when not to use it as compared to when to use it =P

updated ENE 1, 2008
posted by Kasha4890
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My book "Spanish Verb Tenses" by Dorothy Devney Richmond explains it this way for the present subj
Refers to uncertain present and future
Key Phrase: Main clause of uncertainty + que
7 subheadings

1 desire
2 ignorance
3 impersonal opinion
4 uncompleted action
5 vague or indefinite anticedent
6 maybe/perhaps
7 "even if"

updated ENE 1, 2008
posted by motley
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Wow, Kasha, that's a tall order. There are several rules and conditions under which the subjunctive is required in Spanish. In fact, the Spanish subjunctive is a huge part of Spanish grammar. It's not something one can easily and accurately summarize in a few lines. Two grammar books you may want to consider buying or at least looking at are "Correct Your Spanish Blunders" by Jean Yates and "A New Reference Grammar of Modern Spanish" by John Butt. Both books have chapters on the subjunctive with clear explanations on when and how it is used.

If you've got a more specific question, like an example of a sentence, and you want to know why the subjunctive is required, we can answer that. But talking generally about the subjunctive is much harder in a forum.

Good luck!

updated ENE 1, 2008
posted by Voces
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Use the subjunctive when there is implied doubt.
Espero que vengas a mi fiesta. I hope that you come to my party.

updated ENE 1, 2008
posted by Cherry
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