Present Subjunctive in Spanish Grammar

Introduction

The present subjunctive (presente subjuntivo) is used in dependent clauses to express wishes, doubt, personal opinions and feelings in the present or future. Some forms of the imperative are identical to the subjunctive forms.

Learn about the conjugation and usage of the Spanish present subjunctive mood with Lingolia. Then test yourself in the exercises. See indicative tenses for information about present indicative and tense comparison for the difference between the indicative and subjunctive mood in Spanish grammar.

Example

Zeichnung

Me gustaría que jugasemos al baloncesto.

Sin embargo no creo que el tiempo nos acompañe esta tarde.

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Usage

We use the present subjunctive in Spanish in the following cases:

  • negative suppositions about a present or future likelihood, using
    no + creer/pensar/parecer/considerar + que
    Example:
    No creo que el tiempo nos acompañe.I don’t think the weather is going to play along.
  • hypothetical conditions/consequences in the present or future, using expressions such as:
    como, aunque, a pesar de que, por más que, cuanto, de modo que …
    Example:
    Jugamos al baloncesto, a pesar de que el tiempo no nos acompañe. We’re playing basketball, although the weather isn’t playing along.
  • to indicate a present or future likelihood, using adverbs such as:
    quizá(s), tal vez, probablemente, posiblemente, ojalá …
    Example:
    Quizás el tiempo no nos acompañe.Perhaps the weather isn’t going to play along.
  • after the following phrases:
    antes de que, sin que, cuando, apenas, después (de), en cuanto, hasta que, mientras, tan pronto como …
    Example:
    Vamos a jugar al baloncesto hasta que el tiempo nos acompañe.We’re going to play basketball as long as the weather plays along.
  • negated imperative (all forms), positive imperative (1st person plural; polite form usted/ustedes)
    Example:
    ¡No jueges al baloncesto con lluvia!Don’t play basketball in the rain!
    ¡Juguemos todos!Let’s all play!

Verbs and expression with the subjunctive

The following lists outline the verbs and expressions which are followed by the subjunctive mood.

Dependent Clauses

In a dependent clause, the present subjunctive indicates an action that takes place in the present or the future. In this case, the verb in the main clause must also have a connection to the present or the future.

The verb in the main clause has to be in one of the following tenses, and the action in the subjunctive should take place at the same time or later.

tense main clause dependent clause
present Me alegro de…I’m happy that … que venga.he’s coming.
progressive (estar + gerundio) Me estoy alegrando de…I’m currently happy that …
future Me alegraré de…I will be happy that …
future (ir + a) Voy a alegrarme de…I’m going to be happy that …
future perfect Me habré alegrado de…I will have been happy that …
perfect Me he alegrado de…I’ve been happy that …
imperative ¡Alégrate de que venga!Be happy that he’s coming!

Conjugation of Spanish Verbs in Present Subjunctive

To conjugate verbs in the present subjunctive, we take the present indicative conjugations and change the vowel in the ending as follows: -ar verbs form the subjunctive with -e, while -er/-ir verbs form the subjunctive with -a. Except for the 2nd person plural of -ir verbs which is formed with -áis. The table below provides an overview of present subjunctive verb conjugation.

persona -ar
hablar
-er
aprender
-ir
vivir
yo hable aprenda viva
hables aprendas vivas
él/ella/usted hable aprenda viva
nosotros/-as hablemos aprendamos vivamos
vosotros/-as habléis aprendáis viváís
ellos/ellas/ustedes hablen aprendan vivan

Some verbs are irregular:

infinitive 1st person sing. translation
dar give
estar esté be
haber haya have, possess
ir vaya go
saber sepa know (a fact)
ser sea be

Exceptions

Irregular conjugations

  • For some verbs, a -g- is inserted before the ending. Sometimes this changes the word stem as well.
infinitive1st person sing.translation
asir asga grab, grasp
caer caiga fall
decir diga say
hacer haga do, make
poner ponga set, place
salir salga go out, leave
tener tenga have, possess
traer traiga bring
valer valga value (to be worth)
venir venga come
ver vea see
  • In order to keep the pronunciation the same, we have to change the last letter of the word stem for some -er/-ir verbs.
    Example:
    c to z → mecerrock, sway - meza
    g to j → cogertake, lift - coja
    gu to g → distinguirdistinguish - distinga
    qu to c → delinquircommit a crime - delinca
  • The exact opposite change takes place for some -ar verbs.
    Example:
    z to c → cazarhunt - cace
    g to gu → investigarinvestigate - investigue
    c to qu → provocarprovoke - provoque
  • For some verbs, the stem vowel changes from e to i.
    Example:
    e to i → servirserve - sirva, sirvas, sirva, sirvamos, sirváis, sirvan
  • For verbs ending in -uir, we add a y before all endings in the subjuntivo presente.
    Example:
    sustituirsubstitute, replace - sustituya, sustituyas, sustituya, sustituyamos, sustituyáis, sustituyan
  • For verbs that end in -ducir or in vowel + -cer, we add a -z before the -c. The exceptions to this rule are the verbs hacer, mecer and cocer.
    Example:
    traducirtranslate - traduzca
    conocerknow (be familiar with) - conozca
    but:
    hacerdo, make - haga
    mecerrock, sway - meza
    cocercook - cueza

Irregular singular and 3rd person plural conjugations

  • For some verbs, the stem vowel changes from -e to -ie or from -o to -ue in the singular and in the 3rd person plural.
    Example:
    e zu ie → cerrarschließen - cierre, cierres, cierre, cerremos, cerréis, cierren
    o zu ue → recordarsich erinnern - recuerde, recuerdes, recuerde, recordemos, recordéis, recuerden
  • For many verbs that end in -iar or -uar, as well as for prohibir and reunir, we add an accent on the -i or -u in the singular and in the 3rd person plural.
    Example:
    espiarspy - espíe, espíes, espíe, espiemos, espiéis, espíen
    actuaract - actúe, actúes, actúe, actuemos, actuéis, actúen
    prohibirprohibit, ban - prohíba, prohíbas, prohíba, prohibamos, prohibáis, prohíban
    reunirgather - reúna, reúnas, reúna, reunamos, reunáis, reúnan