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Subjuntivo - Spanish Subjunctive with Verbs and Impersonal Expressions
The Spanish subjunctive mood is usually considered the most difficult verb form for students, but hopefully this lesson will simplify matters for you. In Parts I and II, we learned about Spanish subjunctive conjugations. In Part III, we'll take a look at using the Spanish subjunctive with verbs and impersonal expressions. In Part IV, we'll examine the subjunctive with conjunctions and relative pronouns, and in Part V, we'll look at the subjunctive in adjective clauses.
The subjunctive is a verb mood, not a tense. Mood refers to the attitude of the speaker toward the action/condition of the verb - how likely/factual the statement is. The subjunctive mood is subjective; it expresses emotional, potential, and hypothetical attitudes about what is being expressed - things like will/wanting, emotion, doubt, possibility, necessity, judgment. The "normal" verb mood is called the indicative and is used for factual or definite statements about reality.
The Spanish subjunctive is often found in dependent clauses introduced by que (that). The subjects of the dependent and main clauses are usually different (if the subjects are the same, the infinitive can be used instead of the subjunctive).
The subjunctive is used when the main clause expresses subjectivity, as summarized below. (Some of the English translations may seem a little awkward: "that" is not always required in English, and we sometimes use a completely different structure which avoids the subjunctive altogether)
I. Verbs/expressions of will or want which express an order, a need, a piece of advice, or a desire:
II. Verbs/expressions of emotion or feeling which indicate fear, happiness, anger, regret, surprise, or other sentiments or biases.
III. Verbs/expressions of doubt, possibility, opinion
*Busco un libro que me interese (it may not exist = doubt)
Note: the following verbs and expressions do not take the subjunctive when they are used in the affirmative, because they express facts which are considered certain. When negative or interrogatory, they require the subjunctive (Example: ¿Crees que él sea triste? Si, creo que es triste; No, no creo que sea triste):
The verbs dudar (to doubt) and negar (to deny) take the subjunctive when they are affirmative, but not when they are negative.
That's it for the Spanish subjunctive with verbs and impersonal expressions; time to move on to the subjunctive with conjunctions.
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