Spanish Grammar

The present subjunctive in Spanish

The present subjunctive in Spanish is the first step of your “stairway to subjunctive”. Mastering the subjunctive is one of the keys to open the door of the advanced levels. Of course, on, we want to help you deal with it.

How to form the present subjunctive in Spanish

The construction of the present subjunctive in Spanish is not too difficult if you learnt the present indicative accurately. Of course, we mean the irregular forms. However, let’s start from the beginning and take a look at the regular verbs.

How to form the regular verbs

As we said before, the key is the present indicative. So, follow these steps to form the present subjunctive in Spanish:

1. Focus on the first person singular (yo): trabajo, como, vivo.

2. Drop the -o ending to get the root: trabaj…, com…, viv

3. Add these endings:

  • For -ar verbs: -e, -es, -e, -emos, -éis, -en.
  • For -er and -ir verbs: -a, -as, -a, -amos, -áis, -an.

Present subjunctive in Spanish

Now that you know the regular forms, let’s take a look to the irregular ones.

How to form the irregular verbs

The irregularities are what make tough a verbal system in all languages. The present subjunctive in Spanish is not an exception. We need to difference three kinds of irregular verbs.

1. Verbs with spelling changes in the first person singular (yo)

Just follow the step 1 that we learnt before and use the root for all the forms:

The verb tener in the present subjunctive

2. Verbs with stem changes

As the present indicative, we have verbs with stem changes (e>ie, o>ue). We just need to change all the forms except nosotros and vosotros. The only exceptions we have are the verbs with this change e>i, like pedir. In this case, the changes persist in all the forms:

Irregular verbs with stem changes in the present subjunctive


3. Other irregular verbs

Of course, there are verbs that don’t follow any kind of rule. Unfortunately, they are often the most used ones. Let’s see some of them:

Other irregular verbs in present subjunctive

When to use the subjunctive in Spanish

The present subjunctive in Spanish is mainly used to express an action in the present or the future in a subordinate clause that requires the usage of the subjunctive. Here, the big question is when does that clause require the subjunctive? Of course, that is the main problem with this verbal mode and that is what you will learn in further articles and in our lessons via Skype. Nevertheless, in the meantime we can say that we use the subjunctive when we express feelings, doubts, speculations, irreal thoughts, wishes and commands.

We hope you enjoy this article, but now it’s your turn to show your skills. Please, leave a comment below trying to conjugate some verbs in the present subjunctive in Spanish. Test yourself!