Opinions in indicative and subjunctive, this is one of the first uses of the subjunctive that our students learn at Spanishviaskype.com: “With affirmative opinions we use indicative; when they are negative, they go with subjunctive”; this is a mantra that intermediate level students repeat constantly.
However, at advanced levels, we find the need to introduce exceptions. Today we will show you all the options for expressing opinions in indicative and subjunctive in Spanish.
Opinions in Indicative and Subjunctive: pienso que…
As we said before, when we use an opinion verb in the affirmative form to introduce a clause, the subordinate verb is indicative. This is because the information we offer is based on reality, on facts, at least from the speaker’s point of view:
Creo que mañana lloverá.
Negative Opinions: no pienso que….
When we use opinions in indicative and subjunctive in Spanish, we may want to show that the information we give is false, we don’t really believe in it. In this case we use negative opinion verbs and the subordinate verb in the subjunctive.
No pienso que el idioma español sea difícil de aprender.
Opinions in negative interrogative sentences: no piensas que…?
On this occasion, we are in unknown territory for many students. When we ask a negative question with an opinion verb, we have two options. It is possible that the speaker wants to know the opinion of his interlocutor since he does not know the information. In this case, we use the indicative:
– ¿No te parece que es necesario preparar el examen DELE para aprobarlo?
– Claro, tienes que buscar un buen profesor.
However, if the speaker does not really want to know a piece of information, but what he wants is for his interlocutor to confirm his own opinion, he can ask an “echo question“; that is, a rhetorical question that expresses surprise at the interlocutor’s opinion. On this occasion, we will use the subjunctive.
– Las clases de conversación me aburren.
– ¿No te parece que sean divertidas? Pues, prueba en Spanishviaskype.com.
In this example, the second speaker is surprised that his friend is bored in conversation classes. So, he asks him a rhetorical question that could also be expressed like this: Me sorprende que no sean divertidas.
Opinions in the indicative and subjunctive: no pienses que….
Among the opinions in indicative and subjunctive in Spanish, this is one of the most curious variants. When we use the negative imperative of opinion verbs, the verb in the subordinate clause is in the indicative.
No pienses que he tenido algo que ver en el robo.
In this example, the speaker offers information that is real to him, it is a fact: he had nothing to do with the robbery.
As you can see, opinions in indicative and subjunctive in Spanish are not governed by mathematical rules. If you want to learn all the exceptions that will make you reach advanced levels in Spanish, reserve a trial lesson right now: ¿no crees que es la mejor idea?