Language Guide
Verbs
Impersonal Expressions with the Subjunctive

Impersonal Expressions with the Subjunctive

Quick Answer

The subjunctive (el subjuntivo ) is one of three moods in Spanish, and it is often used to talk about impersonal expressions.

WEIRDO

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

  • Phrases beginning with the negated forms of the above phrases (no es verdad que , etc.) use the subjunctive.

Check out these examples.

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.
 

Useful Impersonal Expressions

The table below shows some useful impersonal expressions you can use with the subjunctive.

SpanishEnglishSpanishEnglish
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

You can find more on the differences between the subjunctive and the indicative here!

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