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Spanish Subjunctive of the Day - July 14, 2015

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Today I am going to cover verbs of doubt, denial and negation that when used in the main clause require the use of subjunctive in the dependent clause.


{ main clause with verb of doubt } + que + { subjunctive clause }

Basically when the main clause is expressing doubt, the subordinate clause is constructed in subjunctive.

Here is a short and incomplete list of such verbs:

Dudar - to doubt
Negar - to deny
Negarse - to refuse
No parecer - to not
No creer - to not believe
No pienso - to not think
No imaginarse - to not imagine
No decir - to not say
No suponer - to not suppose
No significar - to not signify
No ser verdad - to not be true
No ser cierto - to not be certain, to be unsure
No estar seguro - to be uncertain
Ser dudoso - to be doubtful

Note that when the main clause is logically inverted, it no longer express doubt and the subordinate clause should be constructed in indicative.

Well, this is what the text books on this subject often say but dudar , negar, ser dudoso come with special treatment that even the inverted form may be constructed in subjunctive mood to interject a degree of doubt. In other words, the speaker is leaving the door open that the main clause might be arguable.


Dudo que ella vaya a la fiesta. Ella va a tener un examen el día siguiente por la mañana - I doubt that she is going to the party. She has an exam the following day in the morning. (Subjunctive: expressing doubt outright)

No dudo que ella vaya a la fiesta. Tenía muchas ganas de bailar - I don't doubt she is going to the party. She was eager to dance (Subjunctive: I am highly certain but leaving the door open to the possibility)

No dudo que ella va a la fiesta. Me llamó para decirlo - I don't doubt that he is going to the party. She called me to tell that (Indicative: I am very certain that she is coming to the party)

Él niega que haya habido un error en sus cálculos - He denies that there has been a mistaker in his calculations

No creíamos que ustedes hubieran llegado - We did not believe you had arrived

Creíamos que ustedes habían llegado - We believed that you had arrived (Indicative: Expressing our believe even if it may turn out wrong later is expressed by an indicative statement.)

No pienso que esta lección sea tan fácil - I don't think that this class is so easy

Pienso que esta lección es bastante difícil - I think this class is rather difficult.

No nos imaginábamos que ella dijera tal cosa - We did not image that should would say such a thing

Nos imaginábamos que ella iba a decir tal cosa - We were expecting that she was going to say such a thing

Link to Spanish Subjunctive of the Day - July 13, 2015: https://www.duolingo.com/comment/9541622

3 years ago

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Link to Spanish Subjunctive of the Day - July 15, 2015: https://www.duolingo.com/comment/9570035

3 years ago