Help with Spanish

Help with Spanish

From Karla Davisio

The subjunctive mood is often the most difficult verb tense for Spanish-language students to master. This is due to the fact that the subjunctive is not used nearly as much in English as it is in Spanish.

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The subjunctive mood is often the most difficult verb tense for Spanish-language students to master. This is due to the fact that the subjunctive is not used nearly as much in English as it is in Spanish. The best way for students to understand this challenging verb tense is to review examples written by paper writing websites and services.

Overview

In general, the subjunctive mood refers to actions that are viewed as doubtful, hypothetical, or incomplete. In other verb tenses, such as the simple present, actions are regarded as real events that occurred. The subjunctive, however, pertains to a more complex and imaginary realm. Conjugating verbs in the Spanish subjunctive is fairly straightforward; the complicated part is recognizing the contexts in which it is appropriate.

Context #1: To refer to a future event

If you wish to describe an action that has not yet taken place, it should be conjugated in the subjunctive. 

'Mandame un mensaje cuandos *llegues.*'

Send me a message when you *arrive.*

Context #2: To make a negative statement

In Spanish, when the first clause of a sentence contains a negation (i.e. not), the second verb should be conjugated in the subjunctive tense. A negation changes the meaning of the sentence, as it usually expresses doubt or denial. 

'No digo que *sea* algo malo.'

I am not saying that it *is* a bad thing.

Context #3: To indicate uncertain existence

If you are unsure whether an item exists, you should use the Spanish subjunctive. In the following example, the subjunctive is used because it is not known whether this type of food can be found anywhere. 

'Quiero comer algo que *sea* tanto saludable como sabroso.'

I want something to eat that *is* both healthy and tasty.

Context #4: To express wishes and desires

The Spanish subjunctive is required when you are referencing events that you would like to see happen. This is because it is not guaranteed that these wishes will be fulfilled.

'Esperamos que *tengas* exito en tu nuevo trabajo.'

We hope you *are* successful in your new job.

Context #5: With impersonal expressions

Impersonal expressions are those expressions that do not have a subject - it is wonderful that, it is unfortunate that, it is strange that, etc. In this case, use the Spanish subjunctive because these statements are subjective. They convey opinions and suggestions. 

'Es genial que *sigas* estudiando el frances.'

It is great that you *continue* to study French.

The Subjunctive Tense in English

In the works of Shakespeare and other writers of the past, the English subjunctive is used profusely. However, the subjunctive tense in modern English is far more rare. The subjunctive is only visible in a handful of very specific structures, such as:

-It is vital that Sean not *fall* asleep during the lecture.

-If I *were* you, I would forget about what happened. 

-We can buy another pizza if need *be.* 

The Spanish subjunctive can be challenging for students, but it is not unmanageable if you understand when it should be utilized. Study these examples and you will master this aspect of the language in no time!

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