Spanish Grammar


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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

The Use of Cuando with Indicative and Subjunctive

The use of cuando is quite simple to understand. However, Spanish learners can easily make mistakes when they need to use it spontaneously. In this free grammar resource we are going to explain the use of cuando with indicative and subjunctive in Spanish.

Before continuing, it might be a good idea to review how the present subjunctive is formed in Spanish.

Generally, subordinate time clauses in our language are introduced by some connector (cuando, mientras, hasta que…). In this way, speakers can express actions that occur before, after or at the same time as others. Let’s see how it works:



The use of cuando to talk about past actions

If we express actions in the past that the speaker has as real events and finished in that time, the use of cuando requires a verb in indicative.

Cuando fui a Madrid el año pasado, compré muchos regalos.

In this sentence, my visit to Madrid was a real event and ended. In higher levels we will see how it is possible to express an action in the past that would take place at a later time. We will use the subjunctive in this case.

Frequent actions in the present with cuando

If the actions are in the present and express habits, we will also use the indicative, since they are real events known by the speaker.

Cuando voy a Madrid cada año, normalmente compro muchos regalos.

The use of cuando to talk about the future

However, the use of cuando in the future is different. If the speaker expresses future actions, we will use the subjunctive. This is because these actions are not yet real events and might not happen.

Cuando vaya a Madrid el año que viene, compraré muchos regalos.

As we can see, the use of cuando in Spanish seems quite easy. However, not all connectors behave in the same way (antes, después, al…). But we will study these exceptions in further articles.


Infographics about the use of cuando in Spanish