Present Subjunctive

Regular Verbs
Nearly all verbs in the present subjunctive are formed the same way. There are three steps in this formation: 1. Take the YO form of the present indicative. 2. Remove the O ending. 3. Add the following endings: -ar verbs: -er -ir verbs: -e, -es, -e -a -as -a -emos -éis -en -amos -áis -an

tome tomes tome tomemos toméis tomen

coma comas coma comamos comáis coman

escriba escribas escriba escribamos escribáis escriban

1. Go to the “YO” 2. Drop the “O” 3. Flip Flop your vowels

Caber Coger Conocer Destruir Distinguir Salir

quepo cojo

quepa, quepas, quepa, quepamos, quepáis, quepan coja, cojas, coja, cojamos, cojáis, cojan
conozca, conozcas, conozca, conozcamos, conozcáis, conozcan

destruyo dinstingo salgo

destruya, destruyas, destruya, destruyamos, destruyan distinga, distingas, distinga, distingamos, distingáis, distingan salga, salgas, salga, salgamos, salgáis, salgan pueda, puedas, pueda, podamos, podáis, puedan piense, pienses, piense, pensemos, penséis, piensen pida, pidas, pida, pidamos, pidáis, pidan (*see below for preterite –ir verb stem changing notes) juegue, juegues, juegue, juguemos, juguéis, jueguen *(see below for –gar verbs)

NOTE: Present tense stem changes will still occur in all forms EXCEPT nosotros & vosotros.


There is no stem change in the nosotros or vosotros forms, except in –ir stem-changing verbs. With these verbs, the following changes will take place:

O > UE verbs: O changes to U. E > IE verbs: E changes to I. E > I verbs: E changes to I.

durmamos; durmáis mintamos; mintáis pidamos; pidáis
TOCAR toque toquemos toques toquéis toque toquen EMPEZAR empiece empecemos empieces empecéis empiece empiecen

NOTE: -CAR, -GAR, - ZAR verbs 1. Go to the PRETERITE indicative “yo” CAR -- > QUE 2. Drop the accent mark GAR --> GUE 3. What you are left with is the subjunctive “yo” 4. Keep any present tense stem changes *except in ZAR --> CE the nosotros & vosotros forms

Expression of Desire: Verbs in the main clause which express a wish, a preference, a request, etc., will set up the need for the subjunctive in the subordinate clause. In these situations, the subject tells what he or she would like to happen: whether it will actually happen is not certain. Commonly used verbs of desire that require the use of the Subjunctive: esperar – to hope exigir – to demand insisitir en – to insist (on) ojalá – God willing; I strongly hope pedir (e>ie) to request
Examples: Él prefiere que yo hable. He prefers that I speak. Insistimos en que tengas el dinero. We insist that you have the money. Quiero que Juan estudie. I want John to study. -Literally: I want that John study.

preferir (e>ie) - to prefer querer (e>ie) - to want rogar (o>ue) - to pray, beg sugerir (e>ie) – to suggest

Ellos esperan que podamos bailar. They hope that we can dance. Ella pide que sirvan el café. She requests that you all serve the coffee. Espero que ellos vivan en esa casa. I hope that they live in that house.

Ignorance: Verbs in the main clause that express ignorance or doubt will set up the need for the subjunctive in the subordinate clause. In these situations, the subject acknowledges uncertainty or ignorance of the outcome of the action described in the subordinate clause. Commonly used verbs of ignorance that require the use of the Subjunctive: Dudar que – to doubt that No creer que* - to not believe that No estar convencido / a de que - to not be convinced that No estar seguro / a de que – to not be sure that No imaginarse que – to not imagine that No parecer que – To not seem that No pensar que – to not think that No suponer que – To not suppose that Temer que – to suspect, fear that

*Note: While the verbs listed in the negative will set up the use of the subjunctive, these same verbs in the affirmative will set up the indicative in the subordinate clause.

Affirmative / indicative:
Yo creo que Juan tiene el dinero. I think that John has the money.

Yo no creo que Juan tenga el dinero. I don’t think that John has the money.

3. Impersonal Opinion: An impersonal expression in the main clause which expresses emotion, uncertainty, unreality, or an indirect or implied command will set up the need for the subjunctive in the subordinate clause
conviene que es fantástico que es importante que es imposible que es improbable que es increíble que es (una) lástima que es mejor que es necessario que es posible que es probable que es preferible que es ridículo que es terrible que más vale que ojalá (que) pueder ser que it is advisable that it is fantastic that it is important that it is impossible that it is unlikely that it is incredible that it is a pity that; it is a shame that it is better that it is necessary that it is possible that it is probable that it is preferable that it is ridiculous that it is terrible that it is better that I hope (that); if only he (it, they, etc.) would, could might; God willing (that) it may be that

examples: Es una lástima que yo esté enfermo. It’s a pity that I’m sick. Es necesario que te vayas ahora. It is necessary that you go now. Ojalá que no llueva mañana. I hope it doesn’t rain tomorrow. Es mejor que comamos el apio. It’s better that we eat the celery. Es importante que miren este programa. It’s important that you all watch this program. Conviene que ellos sepan su dirección. It’s advisable that they know their address.

There are six verbs that do not follow the format described for formation in the present subjunctive. DISHES Dar dé des dé demos deis den Ir vaya vayas vaya vayamos vayáis vayan Saber sepa sepas sepa sepamos sepáis sepan Haber haya hayas haya hayamos hayáis hayan Estar esté estés esté estemos estéis estén Ser sea seas sea seamos seáis sean

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