Expressing Doubt and Denial with the Subjunctive
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 doubt and denial.
To doubt or deny something is to question its connection with reality or to express that it is hypothetical, which is why expressions of doubt and denial tend to trigger use of the subjunctive.
Useful Verbs of Doubt
These verbs and verb phrases are commonly used to express doubt.
|to doubt||to not believe|
|to not think||to deny|
|to be unsure||to not assume|
|to not understand||to not seem|
Doubting: Indicative or Subjunctive?
- Verbs that follow the verbs comprender (to understand), creer (to believe), estar seguro (to be sure), parecer (to seem), pensar (to think), and suponer (to assume) are normally used in the indicative.
- Verbs that follow the negated forms of the above verbs (no comprender, no parecer, etc.) are normally used in the subjunctive.
Check out these examples. The first example in each pair uses the indicative, while the second pair uses the subjunctive.
Finally, here are some more examples of the subjunctive used with phrases that introduce a sense of doubt or denial.