Spanish double meaning verbs are a matter that concerns our students on Polysemic verbs are always tricky words that need time and effort to master them. However, if we add the subjunctive in this equation, the difficulty grows exponentially.

Today, we’re bringing here some Spanish double meaning verbs that change their sense if they are used in indicative or subjunctive.

1. Decir: to inform or to influence, that is the question

The verb decir and many other verbs of communication, such as indicar, comentar or explicar, are used to express information and facts in an objective way. We should use indicative in the following clause:

Mi jefe me dijo que no había trabajado bien durante todo el año.

Nevertheless, we can also use these verbs to request, command or advise; in other words, to influence somebody:

Mi jefe me dijo que me fuera a casa porque estaba despedido.

In the first example, the boss gave me an information; on the other hand, in the second example, the boss ordered me to go home.



2. Temer: one of the Spanish double meaning verbs that scare the most

Are you afraid of the Spanish double meaning verbs? That is exactly what the verb temer means. But if you suspect that something negative is going to happen, you should use the indicative and the reflexive form of temer:

Me temo que mi pasaporte está caducado.

Another meaning of temer with the indicative is the sense of excuse or apology when we can’t help somebody.

Me temo que no tenemos ese libro en este momento. Lo siento.

However, if you feel that fear or you are afraid of something, you should use the subjunctive, instead:

Temo que me roben el pasaporte cuando esté en el aeropuerto.

3. Sentir: the sense of feelings

The verb sentir in Spanish offer you the choice of expressing the perception by the senses or feeling an emotion. The perception is something objective, it’s what you see, hear, smell… For you, it’s a fact, so we use the indicative:

Siento que mi nivel de español está mejorando.

On the contrary, if you feel sorry, sad or happy about something, you should use subjunctive:

Siento que hayas suspendido el examen DELE. Deberías tomar clases en

In the first example, you realize that your Spanish level is improving; maybe, it’s because you sound more natural speaking or because you make less mistakes. In the last example, I am sorry because you failed your exam.

4. Comprender and entender: two Spanish double meaning verbs to understand the subjunctive

These two verbs, comprender and entender, can mean the process of understanding or gaining knowledge; this idea is expressed with the indicative.

Comprendo que el subjuntivo expresa muchas ideas: deseos, sentimientos, hipótesis…

Nevertheless, we also use them to judge or evaluate something as logical, understandable. In this case, we use the subjunctive:

Entiendo que los estudiantes necesitemos mucho tiempo para dominar el subjuntivo.

In the first sentence, I know that the subjunctive can express many meanings because I have studied them. On the other hand, in the second sentence, I think it’s logical that students need many time to master the subjunctive, because it’s too difficult.

In conclusion, Spanish double meaning verbs in indicative and subjunctive are very useful to express different intentions and senses. If you want to reach an advanced level, you should learn them carefully. On, we’ll help you. Reserve some lessons and learn many other verbs of this kind. Do you want to try it first? Of course, reserve a trial lesson here and start speaking Spanish from the very first moment.