Spanish Present Subjunctive – Learn and Practice

Welcome 😊 to our grammar lesson on the Spanish Present Subjunctive (“Presente del Subjuntivo”).

We use the Present Subjunctive in certain types of sentences that express subjectivity: desire, doubt, emotion…

A couple of sentences with verbs in Spanish Present Subjunctive
A couple of sentences with verbs in Present Subjunctive (in green)

By the end of this lesson, you will be able to conjugate verbs in Present Subjunctive and use them in sentences.

You will also find a Quiz and Exercises to practice. Let’s start!

Conjugation of verbs in Present Subjunctive

Endings

The following table shows the endings we add to form the Present Subjunctive:

 Verbs in -arVerbs in -er, -ir
yo-e-a
-es-as
él-e-a
nosotros-emos-amos
vosotros-éis-áis
ellos-en-an


Regular verbs

Here are some regular verbs in Present Subjunctive, using the endings we just learned:

 hablar

to speak

comer

to eat

vivir

to live

yohablecomaviva
hablescomasvivas
élhablecomaviva
nosotroshablemoscomamosvivamos
vosotroshabléiscomáisviváis
elloshablencomanvivan


Irregular verbs

Irregular verbs in Present Subjunctive add the same endings as regular verbs, but they present an irregularity in the stem.

But… which verbs are irregular? Easy: any verb that has an irregular “yo” form in Present Indicative is irregular in Present Subjunctive.

Let’s study the different types:

1) Verbs with any of the following irregularities in the Present Indicative’s “yo” form:

  • c becomes zc
  • letter g appears
  • letter y appears

… have that same irregularity in Present Subjunctive for all persons:

Verbyo form in Present Indicative Present Subjunctive
conocer

to know

conozcoconozca, conozcas, conozca, conozcamos, conozcáis, conozcan
traducir

to translate

traduzcotraduzca, traduzcas, traduzca, traduzcamos, traduzcáis, traduzcan
hacer

to do

hagohaga, hagas, haga, hagamos, hagáis, hagan
tener

to have

tengotenga, tengas, tenga, tengamos, tengáis, tengan
influir

to influence

influyoinfluya, influyas, influya, influyamos, influyáis, influyan
intuir

to sense

intuyointuya, intuyas, intuya, intuyamos, intuyáis, intuyan


2) Verbs in -ar / -er where e becomes ie in the Present Indicative’s “yo” form, have that same irregularity in Present Subjunctive for all persons, except “nosotros” and “vosotros”:

Verbyo form in Present Indicative Present Subjunctive
pensar

to think

piensopiense, pienses, piense, pensemos, penséis, piensen
perder

to lose

pierdopierda, pierdas, pierda, perdamos, perdáis, pierdan



3) Verbs in -ir where e becomes ie in the Present Indicative’s “yo” form, have that same irregularity in Present Subjunctive for all persons, except “nosotros” and “vosotros”, where e becomes i:

Verbyo form in Present Indicative Present Subjunctive
preferir

to prefer

prefieroprefiera, prefieras, prefiera, prefiramos, prefiráis, prefieran
sentir

to feel

sientosienta, sientas, sienta, sintamos, sintáis, sientan



4) Verbs where e becomes i in the Present Indicative “yo” form, have that same irregularity in Present Subjunctive for all persons:

Verbyo form in Present Indicative Present Subjunctive
pedir

to ask for

pidopida, pidas, pida, pidamos, pidáis, pidan
repetir

to repeat

repitorepita, repitas, repita, repitamos, repitáis, repitan



5) Verbs where o becomes ue in the Present Indicative’s “yo” form, have that same irregularity in Present Subjunctive, for all persons except “nosotros” and “vosotros”:

Verbyo form in Present Indicative Present Subjunctive
contar

to tell

cuentocuente, cuentes, cuente, contemos, contéis, cuenten
poder

can

puedopueda, puedas, pueda, podamos, podáis, puedan



6) Exceptions to type 5: For the verbs “dormir” and “morir”, o becomes u for “nosotros” and “vosotros” and ue for the other persons:

Verbyo form in Present Indicative Present Subjunctive
dormir

to sleep

duermoduerma, duermas, duerma, durmamos, durmáis, duerman
morir

to die

mueromuera, mueras, muera, muramos, muráis, mueran



7) For the verb “jugar”, u becomes ue for all persons except “nosotros” and “vosotros”. Also, “g” becomes “gu” for all persons:

Verbyo form in Present Indicative Present Subjunctive
jugar

to play

juegojuegue, juegues, juegue, juguemos, juguéis, jueguen


8) Very irregular verbs

Finally, here are 7 very irregular verbs that don’t belong to any of the previous types:

 dar

to give

estar

to be

ir

to go

yo
esté
vaya
des
estés
vayas
él
esté
vaya
nosotrosdemos
estemos
vayamos
vosotrosdeis
estéis
vayáis
ellosden
estén
vayan

 saber

to know

ser

to be

ver

to see

yosepaseavea
sepasseasveas
élsepaseavea
nosotrossepamosseamosveamos
vosotrossepáisseáisveáis
ellossepanseanvean

 haber

(auxiliary verb)

yohaya
hayas
élhaya
nosotroshayamos
vosotroshayáis
elloshayan


Spelling changes

Regardless of a verb being regular or irregular in Present Subjunctive, it may also have a spelling change at the end of its stem, for pronunciation reasons.

For example, take the verb “marcar”. That verb is fundamentally regular, but still requires a change for all persons: the “c” must become “qu”, so that it keeps the “k” sound.

Here are some examples of spelling changes:

VerbPresent Subjunctive
coger (g → j)

to take

coja, cojas, coja, cojamos, cojáis, cojan
marcar (c → qu)

to mark

marque, marques, marque, marquemos, marquéis, marquen
pagar (g → gu)

to pay

pague, pagues, pague, paguemos, paguéis, paguen
seguir (gu → g)

to continue

siga, sigas, siga, sigamos, sigáis, sigan
utilizar (z → c)

to use

utilice, utilices, utilice, utilicemos, utilicéis, utilicen
vencer (c→ z)

to defeat

venza, venzas, venza, venzamos, venzáis, venzan

Uses of the Present Subjunctive

We use the Present Subjunctive in certain types of sentences that express subjectivity: desire, doubt, emotion…

Here are the most frequent types of sentences where we use it:

a) After many verbs in Present Tense that express subjectivity (querer, esperar, necesitar, desear, gustar, preferir, interesar, preocupar, molestar…), followed by “que”:

Nosotros queremos queestudies más.
We want you to study more.

Espero que Miguel venga a mi cumpleaños.
I hope Miguel will come to my birthday.

Ellos prefieren que yo no diga nada.
They prefer me not to say anything.

No me gusta que hables así.
I don’t like you talking like that.

Nos preocupa que nos ataquen.
We are worried they might attack us.


b) After verbs in Present Tense that express a plea, order or advice (pedir, rogar, ordenar, aconsejar, prohibir…), followed by “que”:

Te aconsejo que lo investigues.
I advise you to look into it.

Mis padres me prohiben que salga de noche.
My parents forbid me to go out at night.


c) After these expressions of disbelief or doubt in Present Tense:

  • no creer que (only when “no” is before “creer”)
  • no pensar que (only when “no” is before “pensar”)
  • dudar que

El director no cree que eso sea importante.
The director doesn’t think that’s important.

Dudo que compremos el coche.
I doubt we will buy the car.


d) In sentences starting with “que” where we wish someone something:

¡Que tengas buen viaje!
Have a nice trip!

¡Que lo paséis bien!
You guys have a nice time!


e) After “ojalá” or “ojalá que”, when we express a wish that seems realistic:

Ojalá ganemos el partido.
Hopefully we win the game.

Ojalá que ellos tomen la decisión correcta.
Hopefully they make the right decision.


f) After these phrases that express a degree of probability about something present or future:

  • posiblemente
  • probablemente
  • tal vez, quizás
  • puede que
  • es posible que
  • es probable que

Quizás vayamos a Ecuador en verano.
Maybe we will go to Ecuador in the summer.

Es posible que ellos nos llamen.
They may call us.


g) After expressions with this structure: [es + adjective + que…]:

Es bueno que vosotros digáis la verdad.
It is good that you guys tell the truth.

Es importante que sepamos la verdad.
It’s important for us to know the truth.


h) After “para que” and “a fin de que”, which express intention:

Te regalo esta tele para que veas tu serie favorita.
I give you this TV so you can watch your favorite series.


i) For an expected future event introduced by “cuando”:

Llámame cuando llegues al hotel.
Call me when you get to the hotel.

Cuando terminéis el libro, lo comentaremos.
When you guys finish the book, we’ll talk about it.


j) For an expected future event introduced by “hasta que”:

No pagaré el ordenador hasta que funcione.
I won’t pay for the computer until it works.


k) For an expected future event introduced by “antes de que” and “después de que”:

Los niños estudian antes de que sus amigos lleguen.
Children study before their friends arrive.

No pises el suelo después de que yo friegue.
Don’t step on the floor after I mop.


l) For necessary conditions introduced by: “siempre que, a condición de que, siempre y cuando”.

Puedes ir a la fiesta siempre que lleves ropa elegante.
You can go to the party as long as you wear elegant clothes.

Siempre y cuando seas amable, la gente te tratará bien.
As long as you are nice, people will treat you well.


m) For a hypothetical obstacle (introduced by: “salvo que, a no ser que”) that may cause something not to happen.

Cocinaré carne, a no ser que seáis vegetarianos.
I will cook meat, unless you guys are vegetarians.


n) For a hypothetical obstacle (introduced by: “aunque, a pesar de que”) to something that ends up happening anyway,

Aunque no quieras, iremos a la playa.
Even if you don’t want to, we’ll go to the beach.


o) For the desired qualities of something or someone, introduced by “que, donde, quien”:

Busco un piso que tenga 3 habitaciones.
I am looking for an apartment that has 3 bedrooms.

Queremos vivir en una zona donde haya supermercados.
We want to live in an area where there are supermarkets.

Queremos una compañera de piso que no fume.
We want a flatmate who doesn’t smoke.


p) In some phrases like the English “whatever you want, as they want…”, which express indecision or leave a decision to someone else:

Podemos ir al cine o al teatro, lo que sea.
We can go to the movies or the theater, whatever.

Lo que tú digas.
Whatever you say.

Como ellos quieran.
As they want.

Practice

Quiz

Take this short Quiz about the Present Subjunctive:


Exercise 1

Conjugate the following verbs in Present Subjunctive for the given person. Click on the gray spaces to see the solutions.

We have included every type of regular and irregular verb taught in this lesson:

1) yo trabaje (trabajar)
2) tú comprendas (comprender)
3) él piense (pensar)
4) nosotros sintamos (sentir)
5) vosotros repitáis (repetir)
6) ellos cuenten (contar)
7) yo duerma (dormir)
8) tú juegues (jugar)
9) él conozca (conocer)
10) nosotros tengamos (tener)
11) vosotros influyáis (influir)
12) ellos sean (ser)

Exercise 2

In the following sentences, fill the gaps conjugating the verbs in brackets in Present Subjunctive:

1) Buscamos un profesor que sepa francés y alemán. (saber)
We are looking for a teacher who knows French and German.

2) Antes de que tú preguntes , voy a decirlo todo. (preguntar)
Before you ask, I’ll say everything.

3) Cuando nosotros hablemos bien español, haremos un viaje a Chile. (hablar)
When we speak Spanish well, we will take a trip to Chile.

4) Es importante que vosotros pongáis los libros en la estantería. (poner)
It is important that you guys put the books on the shelf.

5) ¿Quieres que llame o prefieres que mande un mensaje? (llamar, mandar)
Do you want me to call or do you prefer me to send a message?

6) No creo que ellos comprendan el problema. (comprender)
I don’t think they understand the problem.

7) Ojalá hagas cosas interesantes y aprendas mucho. (hacer, aprender)
I hope you do interesting things and learn a lot.