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Spanish Subjunctive of the Day - July 4, 2015

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Hi everyone. Happy 4th of July for those in U.S.A!

Today, I am going to talk about expressions that are used to express a subjective opinion. Let's jump right to the construction structure.


Es + { adjective } + que + { subjunctive }

Please note that in this structure, the first part itself is impersonal but the subjective is personalized. Otherwise, the verb in infinitive form would simply be added to the end of impersonal part and subordinate sentence would not be needed.

Also note that Es is simple present tense conjugation of the verb ser. This form is the most common but use of other tenses are also possible. For example, you may see Era when referring to a past situations.

Some adjectives (obviously incomplete):

aconsejable - advisable
bueno - good
malo - bad
mejor - better
peor - worse
horrible - horrible
genial - great , awesome
estupendo - splendid
fantástico - fantastic
magnífico - magnificent
maravilloso - marvelous
posible - possible
imposible - impossible
probable - probable
improbable - improbable
increíble - incredible, unbelievable
preciso - necessary, imperative
necesario - necessary
innecesario - unnecessary
esencial - essential
urgente - urgent
importante - important
interesante - interesting
notable - significant
raro - unusual, strange
extraño - strange
ridículo - ridiculous
curioso - curious
difícil - hard/unlikely
fácil - easy/likely

no es obvio (*) - not obvious
no es seguro (*) - uncertain
no es cierto (*) - untrue, not true
no es verdad (*) - untrue, not true
dudoso (*) - doubtful

Even though this list is pretty long, there are still many more adjectives that can trigger subjunctive. So, it is impossible to list or learn all the adjectives. I think after examining the list and examples, you will develop an intuition for these type of expressions in general.

(*) I've marked a few adjectives at the end of the list. These adjectives are about doubt/uncertainty and subordinate clause is constructed in subjunctive mood. However, if they are inverted, the doubt/uncertainty is removed and the dependent clause should be constructed in indicative mood. Well, that is what the textbooks on this subject often say and for certain sentences and context, indicative mood is definitely the way to go. However, sometimes, you will notice the inverted version also utilizing subjunctive mood as the person saying the sentence wants to maintain a degree of doubt/uncertainty and they leave the door open so to speak. This is most evident in examples of no es dudoso.


Es importante ver el mundo - It is important to see the world (Subjunctive is not needed)

Ver el mundo es importante - Seeing the world is important. (Same sentence as above, just re-arranged a bit)

Es importante que nuestros hijos vean el mundo - It is important that our children see the world / It is important for our children to see the world.

Era importante que nuestros hijos vieran el mundo - It was important that our children saw the world / It was important for our children to see the world.

Es preciso que lo hagas lo antes posible - It is necessary that you do it as early as possible / It is necessary for you to do it as early as possible.

Es increíble que hayan pagado tanto por la comida - It is unbelievable that they have paid so much on food.

Es difícil que ganen - It is unlikely that they win / It is unlikely for them to win / They are unlikely to win

Es verdad que él baila bien - It is true that he dances well (Indicative, es verdad is declaring a degree of certainty)

No es verdad que él baile bien - It is not true that he dances well (Subjunctive, we are not sure of how well he dances)

Es dudoso que yo haga la tarea cada noche - It is doubtful that I do homework every night. (Subjunctive as I am not certain I am/will be able to do homework every night)

No es dudoso que él hace la tarea para mantener su beca. Su mamá me lo dijo. - There is no doubt that he does homework every night to keep his scholarship. His mom told it to me. (Indicative, we have a witness to backup the declaration.)

No es dudoso que ella haga la tarea cada noche porque siempre saca buenas notas. - There is no doubt that she do homework every night because she always gets good grades. (Subjunctive, the fact that she always get good grades is a strong indication of her doing homework every night but there is also a possibility that she might not be doing homework every night so the speaker is leaving the door open to that lower possibility)

Link to Spanish Subjunctive of the Day - July 3, 2015: https://www.duolingo.com/comment/9388303

3 years ago


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I have added dudoso to the list which I had deliberately left it out initially because I felt it was a bit tricky to cover. With that addition, I've revised the note regarding the inversion of statements of doubt/uncertainty and created examples that include context to help determine to use indicative or subjective. I really hope this will be useful to all.

3 years ago

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Link to Spanish Subjunctive of the Day - July 5, 2015: https://www.duolingo.com/comment/9420155

3 years ago