More SubjunctiveStart first lesson
We know learning the subjunctive can be hard. ¡No te rindas!(Don’t give up!) Learning subjunctive trigger words (words that require the use of the subjunctive) will make knowing when to use the subjunctive mood more manageable!
It’s a good idea to study these subjunctive trigger words alongside the uses of the subjunctive. The easiest way to learn the uses of the subjunctive is with the acronym WEIRDO, which stands for Wishes, Emotions, Impersonal Expressions, Recommendations, Doubt/Denial, and Ojalá. These are all situations in which you're likely to use the subjunctive.
The trigger words listed are all in the present tense yoform. For more information on how to use these trigger words in different forms and tenses, check out the last paragraph of this article!
Wishes and Desires
Here's a list of phrases commonly used to express a wish or desire that trigger the subjunctive:
In this list we've also included trigger words that express the nonexistence of something.
|I’m looking for …. that/who|
|I don't know .... who/that|
|there isn't/aren't ... who/that|
|I don't have ... that|
Let’s check out some examples!
Since how a person feels is always subjective, you use the subjunctive. Take a look at this list of emotions that require the use of the subjunctive.
|lamento queor siento que||I’m sorry that|
|I’m happy that|
|I love it when|
|I find it odd that|
|I like/I like it when|
|it bothers me that|
|I’m surprised that|
|I’m scared that|
Let’s take a look at a few examples!
Here's a list of some useful impersonal expressions you can use with the subjunctive:
|it’s nice that||it’s great that|
|it’s necessary that||it’s urgent that|
|it’s good that||it’s strange that|
|it’s probable that||it’s a disgrace that|
|it’s curious/weird that||it’s important that|
|it’s rare/strange that||it’s not certain that|
|it’s doubtful that||it’s incredible that|
|it’s recommended that||it’s not a fact that|
|it’s essential that||it’s fantastic that|
|it’s bad that||it’s a pity that|
|it would be better if||it’s not true that|
Recommendations and Requests
When a person recommends, suggests, wants, or asks another person to do (or not do) something, the subjunctive is used. The following verbs are commonly used to give recommendations or to request something.
|I demand that|
|I insist that|
|I command that|
|I ask that|
|recomiendo queor aconsejo que||I recommend that|
|I suggest that|
Check out these examples!
Expressions of doubt and denial tend to trigger use of the subjunctive. Here's a list of phrases that are commonly used to express doubt:
|I doubt that|
|I deny that|
|I don’t think that|
|I’m not sure that|
|it doesn’t seem that|
|I don’t think that|
In addition to the WEIRDO subjunctive triggers, there are many adverb clauses in Spanish that trigger the use of the subjunctive. Here's a list:
|on condition that||in order (that), so that, so as|
|unless, lest||unless, lest|
|before||in spite of|
|even if, even when||although, even if, though|
|in order (that), so that, so as||in order (that), so that, so as|
|after||in case (that), if|
|as soon as||until|
|as soon as||as long as|
|in order (that), so that, so as||whether, if|
|whenever||provided that, as long as|
|without||as soon as|
Take a look at these examples!
Subjunctive Triggers Using Different Forms and Tenses
Most of the subjunctive triggers listed can be changed to a different tense and form. You can change the verbs to the past tense, but then you will need to make sure to use the imperfect subjunctive instead of the present subjunctive.