The Grammar Page

Grammar Basics



The Practice Zone

How to form the Present Subjunctive

The Subjunctive 3-part formula in detail

The Subjunctive Weirdo: When to use the Subjunctive

Other constructions where we need to use the Subjunctive

When NOT to use the Subjunctive

Although I expect that you are doing all of the Grammar Notes and textbook readings as well as the online activities and homework, I cannot stress enough the importance of doing so now. The Subjunctive is a form that does not have a simple counterpart in English. The only way to become comfortable with the Subjunctive is to practice.

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The Present Subjunctive

The Subjunctive is not a tense but a mood. What does that mean? It is called a mood because it doesn't deal with factual reality but with opinions, feelings, suppositions, dreams and speculation. We use the Subjunctive to mentally and emotionally organize our world in terms of others.

We use the Indicative tense (Present, Preterite, Imperfect...) to express what occurs in the present or past reality.

Some people say there is no Subjunctive in English but this isn't true. It is less apparent and less conscious than in Spanish. The Subjunctive form in English is identical to the infinitive, we can only see the Subjunctive in irregular verbs or in the third-person singular form (He, She, It.)

For instance, if your mother has a cold, the doctor might recommend that she drink 4 glasses of water a day. Normally, the conjugation is "She drinks"; but the Subjunctive form drops the "s".

Another example is that the State requires that you be 21 years old to purchase alcohol. Or even, "If I were King, I would eat Ben & Jerry's ice cream daily." These are all examples of the Subjunctive Mood in English.

In Spanish there are defined conjugations for the Subjunctive that are used frequently in everyday conversations. In Spanish, the Subjunctive represents the things we imagine others doing (or not doing) or how we feel about events that have happened to others. It encompasses things that are rhetorical in our minds or emotional in our hearts.

There is a 3 part formula for using the Subjunctive. Each one of these three components MUST be in place.




Subject #1 (indicative verb)

(Select one of the WEIRDO categories)


This is the conjunction necessary to introduce the subjunctive clause

Subject #2 + verb in the subjunctive

(the person or thing in our WEIRDO world)