SubjunctiveStart first lesson
Unlike the present indicative, the present subjunctive is generally subjective. For specifics on when to use the subjunctive instead of the indicative, see our article on subjunctive vs. indicative.
Conjugating Verbs in the Present Subjunctive
To conjugate a verb in the present subjunctive, you must first remember what the present indicative yo form of the verb in question is. This is because the stem of present subjunctive verbs comes from the yo form of the present indicative. For many verbs, this will be the same as the infinitive stem, but for many others, such as verbs with spelling changes, stem-changing verbs, and irregular verbs, it will be different.
Present Subjunctive Stem Formula
The formula for finding the present subjunctive stem of a verb is the following:
present subjunctive stem = yo form of present indicative minus o ending
Here are a few examples of present subjunctive stems.
|Infinitive||Yo Present Indicative Form||Present Subjunctive Stem|
Regular Present Subjunctive Endings
Once you have the stem, you will add the present subjunctive ending that matches your subject. There are only two ending sets for the present subjunctive: one for -ar verbs and one for both -er and -ir verbs.
|Subject||-ar Verb Endings||-er and -ir Verb Endings|
|usted, él, ella||e||a|
|ustedes, ellos, ellas||en||an|
|usted, él, ella||e|
|ustedes, ellos, ellas||en|
|usted, él, ella||a|
|ustedes, ellos, ellas||an|
In the table below are full present subjunctive conjugations for hablar, tener, and vivir.
Irregular Present Subjunctive Verbs
There are only six truly irregular verbs in the subjunctive. You'll find the conjugations for each of these verbs in the tables below.
Present Subjunctive Conjugations of Dar, Estar, and Ser
Present Subjunctive Conjugations of Haber, Ir, and Saber
To remember these six verbs, just think of the mnemonic DISHES:
Tildes Mean A Lot!
The tilde on dé is used to distinguish it from the preposition de.
Stem Changes in the Present Subjunctive
1. e> ie and o> ue Stem Changes with -ar and -er Verbs
For verbs in this group, the e in the last syllable of the stem (the yo form of the present indicative) changes to ie, or the o in the last syllable of the stem (the yo form of the present indicative) changes to ue. All subjunctive forms follow the stem change except for nosotros and vosotros, which use the infinitive stem.
Present Subjunctive Conjugation Table for Querer
2. e> ie and o> ue Stem Changes with -ir Verbs
All e> ie and o> ue stem-changing -ir verbs follow the same changes as in the present indicative, except the nosotros and vosotros, forms, in which the e changes to i and the o changes to u.
Present Subjunctive Conjugation Table for Sentir
Present Subjunctive Conjugation Table for Dormir
3. e> i Stem Changes with -ir Verbs
All e> i stem-changing -ir verbs in the present indicative maintain the stem change in all forms of the present subjunctive.
Present Subjunctive Conjugation Table for Pedir
Some verbs in the present subjunctive undergo spelling changes. This often occurs for reasons of pronunciation, and these changes often match those of verbs with spelling changes in the preterite. Let's take a look at some of these verbs.
1. -ger and -gir Verbs
- Verbs ending in -ger and -gir have a j instead of a g in the subjunctive. The base form for these verbs is the first person form of the present tense, which undergoes a spelling change.
Present Subjunctive Conjugation Table for Escoger
2. -car, -gar, and -zar Verbs
- Verbs ending in -car, -gar, and -zar undergo a change in the final consonant before -ar. These consonants change to qu, gu, and c, respectively. Some of these verbs, such as empezar, also undergo stem changes.
Present Subjunctive Conjugation Table for Sacar
Present Subjunctive Conjugation Table for Llegar
Present Subjunctive Conjugation Table for Empezar
The present subjunctive stem for the verb averiguar is averigü-.
Learn more about the subjunctive with the following articles: