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Spanish Grammar A1 ⮟
Ser and Estar in Spanish for Beginners
Está and Hay in Spanish to Express Location
The Present Indicative in Spanish
The verb querer in Spanish: how to use it
The Verb Gustar in Spanish
Demonstratives in Spanish and Adverbs of Place
Possessive Adjectives in Spanish
The Present Continuous in Spanish: Estar + Gerund
The Gerund in Spanish: Form and Basic Uses
Expressions of Quantity in Spanish: Muy and Mucho
Spanish Grammar A2 ⮟
Present Perfect Indicative in Spanish
The Past Simple in Spanish
The Preterite Imperfect Indicative in Spanish
Indicative past tenses in Spanish
How to Express Future in Spanish
How to use por and para in Spanish
Possessive Pronouns in Spanish
Comparative Adjectives in Spanish
Ya in Spanish: Meaning and Usage
Subject Personal Pronouns in Spanish
Expressing Obligation in Spanish
Spanish Grammar B1 ⮟
The Pluperfect Indicative in Spanish
The Future Simple in Spanish
The Conditional Simple in Spanish
The imperative mood in Spanish
The present subjunctive in Spanish
Verbal Periphrasis in Spanish
General Rules of Accentuation in Spanish
Expressing Wishes with the Subjunctive in Spanish
The Use of Cuando with Indicative and Subjunctive
Position of Object Pronouns in Spanish
Spanish Grammar B2 ⮟
Advanced Uses of Conditional Simple
The Future Perfect in Spanish
The Conditional Perfect in Spanish
Present Perfect Subjunctive in Spanish
How do I use the past imperfect subjunctive?
The Pluperfect Subjunctive in Spanish
How to express probability in Spanish
Conditional Clauses in Spanish
Verbs of Change in Spanish
Reported Speech in Spanish
Spanish Grammar C1 ⮟
The passive Voice in Spanish
Adverbial Clauses of Manner in Spanish
Adverbial Clauses of Cause in Spanish
Clauses of Purpose in Spanish
Conditional Conjunctions in Spanish
Uses of the Pronoun SE with Syntactic Function
Uses of the Pronoun Se as a Verb Mark
The Indeterminate Feminine in Spanish

Expressing wishes with the subjunctive in Spanish

Expressing wishes with the subjunctive is probably the first contact that students of Spanish have with this verb mood.

It is necessary to remember that we use the indicative mood to express information, realities and descriptions in an objective way. However, the subjunctive helps us to express other subjective nuances: the unreal world, probabilities, expectations, will and, of course, wishes.

However, today we are going to focus on expressing wishes with the subjunctive in Spanish.



Wishes with the infinitive

When we speakers wish something for the future, we are usually a bit selfish; in other words, our wish is going to benefit ourselves. In this case, our sentence has only one subject. Therefore, in this situation expressing wishes with the subjunctive is not an option; it is only necessary to conjugate the main verb and the subordinate verb is used in the infinitive.

Main verb + infinitive

There are many verbs that can introduce wishes in Spanish. Let’s look at some of them:

  • Desear
  • Esperar
  • Querer
  • Anhelar
  • Pedir
  • Rogar
  • Apetecer
  • Tener ganas de

Let’s put some of them in context:

Deseo vivir en una ciudad más cosmopolita pero mis padres no quieren mudarse. Por eso, mis hermanos y yo nunca tenemos ganas de hacer nada en esta ciudad. Sin embargo hoy me apetece ir al cine.

Nevertheless, we sometimes become more generous and make wishes for other people. In these cases expressing wishes with the subjunctive is necessary.

Expressing Wishes with the Subjunctive: Different Subjects

Indeed, when the two verbs have different subjects, we must conjugate both. To do so, we must use the main verb (usually in the present indicative) and the subordinate verb in the present subjunctive. To do this, we join both clauses with the conjunction que.

Main verb + que + present subjuntive

Before we continue, in this article you can remember how to conjugate the present subjunctive in Spanish.

Let’s look at some examples expressing wishes with subjunctive in Spanish:

Dentro de dos meses tengo el examen DELE. Espero que mi profesor me ayude a prepararlo. Solo deseo que las tareas no sean muy difíciles, aunque en siempre me piden que me tranquilice y confíe en sus profesores.

As we can see in the examples above, the subjects are different. Let’s see how the verb tenses change depending on the subjects:

  • Quiero comer = yo quiero y yo voy a comer

  • Quiero que comas = yo quiero y vas a comer

Although it may seem that everything is already explained and the rule is very clear, there are always exceptions. Let’s look at the most popular ones.

Expressing Wishes with Subjunctive: Ojalá

Expressing wishes with subjunctive is possible using a very well known term in Spanish: ojalá. This word has its origin in the Hispanic Arabic expression, law šá lláh (if God wills).

Actually, we are not dealing with a verb, but with an interjection (an exclamatory expression). Consequently, we must conjugate the subordinate verb in the subjunctive, since, otherwise, we would not know who is making the wish. We can use the connector que or omit it.

¡Ojalá (que) tengas suerte mañana y consigas ese trabajo!

¡Ojalá (que) no llueva y podamos ir al parque!

Omission of the Main Verb: Que Tengas…

In spoken language and in the colloquial register, we usually make wishes for other people by eliminating the main verb. In this way, we only need the conjunction que and the subordinate verb in the present subjunctive.

¡Que tengas buen viaje y que os lo paséis muy bien!

¡Qué mala suerte has tenido! ¡Que te recuperes pronto!

Now you know that expressing wishes with subjunctive in Spanish is easy. But, is it possible to use the imperfect preterite subjunctive to express wishes? Can we express frustrated wishes in the past? You can get the answer by reserving classes with us at Our teachers will be happy to teach you all about the subjunctive and wishes: ¡ojalá quieras aprender español con nosotros!

Infographics about expressing wishes with the subjunctive in Spanish