The Subjunctive Mood

The subjunctive mood (el subjuntivo) is subjective; it expresses emotional, potential, and hypothetical attitudes about what is being expressed — things like will/wanting, emotion, doubt, possibility, necessity, and judgment. Subjunctive conjugations are similar to imperative conjugations, in the sense that the endings “switch”: — AR verbs take on E endings, and — ER and — IR verbs take on A endings.

— AR Verbs

— ER and — IR Verbs

— e — emos

— a — amos

— es — éis

— as — áis

— e — en

— a — an

Stem-changing verbs use the same endings for subjunctive conjugations as regular verbs but may undergo spelling changes. Stem-changing — AR and — ER verbs follow the rules for regular verbs: they use the same stem as in the present tense and thus maintain their stem changes in the subjunctive. However, stem-changing — IR verbs are irregular in the subjunctive.

Most verbs that have an irregular first person singular (yo) conjugation in the present indicative tense use that conjugation as the basis for their subjunctive stem. For example: conocer > conozco > conozca.

FACT

Dar and estar have irregular subjunctive forms due to accents: dé, des, dé, demos, deis, den; esté, estés, esté, estemos, estéis, estén.

Some verbs have an irregular subjunctive stem that must be memorized: haber (perfect auxiliary verb), ir (to go), saber (to know), and ser (to be). The following verb groups change the final letter in the stem due to the issue of hard/soft vowels:

  • Verbs that end in car — (C > QU).

  • Verbs that end in gar — (G > GU).

  • Verbs that end in zar — (Z > C).

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  3. Conjugating Spanish Verbs
  4. The Subjunctive Mood
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