HomeQ&AUse of the subjunctive . . .

Use of the subjunctive . . .


I'm still struggling with the use of the subjunctive and I'm wondering about the following statements made by Paralee in an answer posted in the reference section of SD on the use of the subjunctive this is a link to her posting

Paralee said the following:

Elements of the Subjunctive There are three main parts to a subjunctive sentence:

1.. Two Different Subjects

One subject in the main/independent clause, and one in the noun/dependent clause.

•Yo quiero que tú limpies el baño.

2.. A Relative Pronoun (Que, Quien, Como) This pronoun links the two clauses and translates to mean "that."

•Yo quiero que tú limpies el baño.

3.. Two Verbs: One WEIRDO and One Subjunctive

The WEIRDO (indicative) verb (see uses below) is the verb that signals the verb in the next clause will be in the subjunctive.

•Yo quiero que tú limpies el baño.

Now, here's what I don't understand. I have seen a recent set of answers on SD that stated that the subjunctive would/should/could be used in a sentence when there was no change of subject. this is a link to the question and answers

So my question is: Is it correct to use the subjunctive when there is no change of subject in the sentence but the two other requirements are met? That is, there is a relative pronoun such as "que" and there are two verbs--one being a WEIRDO, but there is no change of subject. For example: "I hope that I arrive on time" = "Espero que llegue (o llego??) a tiempo".

updated JUN 2, 2010
edited by Pajaro44
posted by Pajaro44

4 Answers


Is it correct to use the subjunctive when there is no change of subject in the sentence but the two other requirements are met?

Grammatically it might be correct, but it is very unusual, as you would have to use the subject again:

"I hope that I arrive on time" = "Espero que yo llegue a tiempo".

Espero que llegue a tiempo might mean : ..that he arrives on time.

I mean, this use it not unheard of, but it is less usual than

Espero llegar a tiempo, where no doubt about the who arises.

updated JUN 2, 2010
posted by 00494d19

I can see why you are confused....In that same lesson there are examples of using the subjunctive with no change of subject.

•Es necesario que Jaime lea este libro. (It is necessary that Jaime reads this book.)

•Es extraño que yo reciba un regalo porque no es mi cumpleaños. (It´s odd that I receive a gift because it isn´t my birthday.)

•Es increíble que los guepardos corran tan rápidamente. (It is incredible that cheetahs can run so quickly.)

updated MAY 29, 2010
posted by --Mariana--
Thanks, Marianne. I do understand that this type of impersonal subject in the main clause requires the use of the subjunctive in the subordinate clause. It was the answers on the posting for the question about translation of "I hope that I understand - Pajaro44, MAY 29, 2010
the question" that really confused me and started me looking up uses for the subjunctive. - Pajaro44, MAY 29, 2010

As with many such rules, it is incomplete. If you have a sentence that fulfills these three requirements, you will, almost certainly, need to use the subjunctive. However there are other cases in which one uses the subjunctive (and few, or only some, of these rules apply). For example, starting a sentence with "Ojalá que ..." (to express a wish/desire that something be the case) e.g. "¡Ojalá que tengas éxito!" One could argue (but it would be a stretch) that "Ojalá" simply means "I wish that ..." and, thus, serves as the independent clause, one could also appeal to the historical "If God wills ..." (which also supplies an independent clause).

On the whole, however, it would be better to think that the three requirements describe a situation in which the subjunctive is used rather than an exhaustive description of all the circumstances in which it is used.

updated MAY 29, 2010
posted by samdie

Hi, Pajaro.

You would say "Espero llegar a tiempo."

I believe that you are thinking of adverbial conjunctions. For example, "cuando", "tan pronto como", "en cuanto", etc.

Why don't you look for a link to those.

updated MAY 29, 2010
posted by mountaingirl123
It was this question and some of the answers posted that resulted in my confustion and started my search for more information on the use of the subjunctive: http://www.spanishdict.com/answers/143122/please-translate-i-hope-to-understand-the-question - Pajaro44, MAY 29, 2010
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