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Verbs: subjunctive/imperative

The subjunctive is one of the three moods in Spanish, the other two being the indicative (actions, events, facts) and the imperative (commands). Moods reflect how the speaker feels about an action while a tense refers to when an action takes place. The subjunctive mood is used to express desires, doubts, the unknown, the abstract, and emotions, which is the opposite of the indicative mood which is used to express actions, events, and states that are believed to be true and concrete.
- In general, the Indicative mood is objective and certain.
It is used to talk about actions, events, or states that are believed to be facts or true.
It is very typical in speech for making factual statements or describing obvious qualities of a person or situation.
- In general, the subjunctive mood is subjective and possible (but not certain).
It is used to talk about doubts, wishes, the abstract, emotions, and other unknown and non-factual situations.
It is commonly used in making recommendations, giving commands, and talking about how things make you feel.
It is also used to express opinions about another action.
<Subjunctive Present>
Ser: be (yo sea/tú seas/él sea/nosotros seamos/vosotros seáis/ellos sean)
Comer: eat (yo coma/tú comas/él coma/nosotros comamos/vosotros comáis/ellos coman)
Beber: drink (yo beba/tú bebas/él beba/nosotros bebamos/vosotros bebáis/ellos beban)
Pagar: pay (yo pague/tú pagues/él pague/nosotros paguemos/vosotros paguéis/ellos paguen)
Escribir: write (yo escriba/tú escribas/él escriba/nosotros escribamos/vosotros escribáis/ellos escriban)
Tener: have (yo tenga/tú tengas/él tenga/nosotros tengamos/vosotros tengáis/ellos tengan)
Ir: go (yo vaya/tú vayas/él vaya/nosotros vayamos/vosotros vayáis/ellos vayan)
Quiero que ellos tengan un coche: i want them to have a car
Quiero que bebas más agua: i want you to drink more water
Quiero que comas una manzana: i want you to eat an apple
Quiero que comamos pollo: i want us to eat chicken
Es probable que ellos no coman: It is likely that they do not eat
No quiero que él sea así: I do not want him to be like this
No quiero que el niño sea estudiante: I don't want the boy to be a student
Quiero que seas mi maestro: i want you to be my teacher
El ingeniero quizá vaya: the engineer may perhaps go
Ella me pidió que no vaya: she asked me not to go
Porque es muy importante que usted me escriba: because it's very important that you write to me
Quiero que nosotros tengamos más amigos: i want us to have more friends
Quiero que ellos sean mis amigos: i want them to be my friends
Quiero que tú seas mi amigo: i want you to be my friend
Quiero que mis hijas beban más agua: i want my daughters to drink more water
Ven cuando tengas tiempo: come when you have times
Hacer: do/make (yo haga/tú hagas/él haga/nosotros hagamos/vosotros hagáis/ellos hagan)
Firmar: sign (yo firme/tú firmes/él firme/nosotros firmemos/vosotros firméis/ellos firmen)
Vivir: live (yo viva/tú vivas/él viva/nosotros vivamos/vosotros viváis/ellos vivan)
Cerrar: close (yo cierre/tú cierres/él cierre/nosotros cerremos/vosotros cerréis/ellos cierren)
Pasar: pass/happen (yo pase/tú pases/él pase/nosotros pasemos/vosotros paséis/ellos pasen)
Querer: want (yo quiera/tú quieras/él quiera/nosotros queramos/vosotros queráis/ellos quieran)
Decir: say (yo diga/tú digas/él diga/nosotros digamos/vosotros digáis/ellos digan)
¡Como quieras!: as you wish!
Ella quiere que él le diga la verdad: she wants him to tell her the truth
Estás esperando que algo pase: you are waiting for something to happen
Él quiere que tú vivas por muchos años: he wants you to live for many years
Yo quiero que ellos firmen el contrato: i want them to sign the contract
Él no quiere que ellos cierren la puerta: he does not want them to close the door
¡Que viva el rey!: may the king live/long live the king!
Él puede dormir cuando quiera: he can sleep whenever he wants
La abogada quiere que yo firme todas las páginas: the lawyer wants me to sign every page
Ella puede ir cuando quiera: she can go whenever she wants
Llamar: call (yo llame/tú llames/él llame/nosotros llamemos/vosotros llaméis/ellos llamen)
Girar: turn/spin (yo gire/tú gires/él gire/nosotros giremos/vosotros giréis/ellos giren)
Venir: come/arrive (yo venga/tú vengas/él venga/nosotros vengamos/vosotros vengáis/ellos vengan)
Mirar: look at (yo mire/tú mires/él mire/nosotros miremos/vosotros miréis/ellos miren)
Llevar: take/carry (me lleve/te lleves/se lleve/nos llevemos/os llevéis/se lleven)
<Imperative>
Note that the negative informal commands use the tú form of the present subjunctive
Ser: be (tú sé/tú no seas/él sea/nosotros seamos/vosotros sed/ellos sean)
Comer: eat (tú come/tú no comas/él coma/nosotros comamos/vosotros comed/ellos coman)
Beber: drink (tú bebe/tú no bebas/él beba/nosotros bebamos/vosotros bed/ellos beban)
Pagar: pay (tú paga/tú no pagues/él pague/nosotros paguemos/vosotros pagad/ellos paguen)
Escribir: write (tú escribe/tú no escribas/él escriba/nosotros escribamos/vosotros escribid/ellos escriban)
Tener: have (tú ten/tú no tengas/él tenga/nosotros tengamos/vosotros tened/ellos tengan)
Ir: go (tú ve/tú no vayas/él vaya/nosotros vayamos/vosotros id/ellos vayan)
Come: eat.
No comas: don't eat.
Escribe: write.
No escribas: don't write.
Tú no escribas más: you, do not write more
No escribas tres ejemplos: do not write three examples
No comamos eso: let's not eat that
Bebamos más agua: let's drink more water
¡No pagues por ese emparedado!: do not pay for that sandwich!
No pagues por ella: do not pay for her
No bebas vino porque eres un niño: do not drink wine because you are a child
Por favor no sean así: you guys, please don't be like that
No seas mi estudiante: do not be my student
No tengas miedo: don't be afraid
¡Coman más rápido!: eat faster!
Comamos manzanas: let's eat apples
Hacer: do/make (tú haz/tú no hagas/él haga/nosotros hagamos/vosotros haced/ellos hagan)
Firmar: sign (tú firma/tú no firmes/él firme/nosotros firmemos/vosotros firmad/ellos firmen)
Vivir: live (tú vive/tú no vivas/él viva/nosotros vivamos/vosotros vivid/ellos vivan)
Cerrar: close (tú cierra/tú no cierres/él cierre/nosotros cerremos/vosotros cerrad/ellos cierren)
Pasar: pass/happen (tú pasa/tú no pases/él pase/nosotros pasemos/vosotros pasad/ellos pasen)
Querer: want (tú quiere/tú no quieras/él quiera/nosotros queramos/vosotros quered/ellos quieran)
Decir: say (tú di/tú no digas/él diga/nosotros digamos/vosotros decid/ellos digan)
No hagas una escena: do not make a scene
¡No cierren la ventana del cuarto!: do not close the bedroom window!
No cierre la puerta por favor: do not close the door please (usted)
No cierres la puerta, por favor: do not close the door please
No pases por aquí: do not pass through here
¡No me digas!: don't tell me
¡No me diga!: don't tell me (usted)
No firme la carta: do not sign the letter (usted)
Llamar: call (tú llama/tú no llames/él llame/nosotros llamemos/vosotros llamad/ellos llamen)
Girar: turn/spin (tú gira/tú no gires/él gire/nosotros giremos/vosotros girad/ellos giren)
Venir: come/arrive (tú ven/tú no vengas/él venga/nosotros vengamos/vosotros venid/ellos vengan)
Mirar: look at (tú mira/tú no mires/él mire/nosotros miremos/vosotros mirad/ellos miren)
Llevar: take/carry (tú lleva/tú no lleves/él lleve/nosotros llevemos/vosotros llevad/ellos lleven)
Gira en aquella esquina: turn at that corner
Ven cuando tengas tiempo: come when you have times
Llévame al hospital, por favor: take me to the hospital, please
Llévame a este hotel, por favor: take me to this hotel, please
Llévate a tu hija: take your daughter (with you)
¡Llama al doctor!: call the doctor! (tú)
¡Llamen a un doctor!: call a doctor! (ellos)
¡Llamen a la policía!: call the police! (ellos)
¡Llamen una ambulancia!: call an ambulance! (ellos)
¡Mira! Hay un gato en la cocina: look! there is a cat in the kitchen
¡Miren allí!: look there!
Gira a la izquierda: turn left
Gira a la derecha: turn right
Gira a la izquierda allí: turn left there
¡Ven y prueba el arroz!: come and try the rice!
Ven el martes, si es posible: come on tuesday, if it's possible
Mira por la ventana: look out of the window
Ven a nadar conmigo: come swim with me

Subjunctive vs Indicative

Luckily, many of the verbs and phrases that require the subjunctive fit into the acronym WEIRDO: Wishes, Emotions, Impersonal expressions, Recommendations, Doubt/Denial, and Ojalá.
Concept Related Verbs & Phrases
Wishes-desear, esperar, exigir, insistir, preferir, querer, pedir, necesitar, etc.
Emotions-alegrarse, enojar, sentir, encantar, lamentar, sorprender, etc.
Impersonal expressions-es extraño que, es importante que, es fantástico que, etc.
Recommendations-recomendar, sugerir, aconsejar, ordenar, mandar, insistir, etc.
Doubt and Denial-dudar, no creer, no estar seguro, no parecer, no comprender, no pensar, no es cierto que, etc.
Ojalá-n/a
<Parts of a Subjunctive Phrase>
There are three main parts to a subjunctive sentence:
1. Two Different Subjects
There will be one subject in the main/independent clause, and one in the noun/dependent clause.
Quiero que limpies el baño. (I want you to clean the bathroom.)
2. Two Verbs: One WEIRDO and One Subjunctive
There will be one indicative verb in the main/independent clause which will indicate the need for the Subjunctive (a WEIRDO verb - see above) and a second verb in the noun/dependent clause which will be in the Subjunctive.
Quiero que tú limpies el baño. (I want you to clean the bathroom.)
3. A Relative Pronoun (Que, Quien, Como)
This pronoun links the two clauses and can translate to mean “that,” but is often not translated at all into English.
Quiero que limpies el baño. (I want (that) you clean the bathroom./I want you to clean the bathroom.)
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