The Grammar Page

Grammar Basics



The Practice Zone

The Subjunctive Weirdo: When to use the Subjunctive

Other constructions where we need to use the Subjunctive

When NOT to use the Subjunctive

Quia Quiz: Past Imperfect Subjunctive

Colby: Practice with the Imperfect Past Subjunctive

Colby: Practice Si clauses with the imperfect subjunctive and the conditional

Past Perfect Subjunctive

Review the Conditional

How to form the Present 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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We use the Imperfect Subjunctive when referring to events or ideas that did not, cannot and will not happen.

The Imperfect Subjunctive uses the 3-part formula just as the Present Subjunctive does. Each one of these three components MUST be in place.




Subject #1 (indicative verb)

(Select one of the WEIRDO categories)

Past Tense Indicative Verb Options:

1. imperfect
2. preterite
3. past perfect
4. conditional
5. conditional perfect


This is the conjunction necessary to introduce the subjunctive clause

Subject #2 + verb in the subjunctive

(the person or thing in our WEIRDO world that didn't happened or couldn't happen)

Verb Options: Subjunctive mood in the Past

1. imperfect (past) subjunctive [for a simultaneous or future state or action]
2. past perfect subjunctive [for a prior state or action]

There is only one set of endings in the imperfect subjunctive, regardless if the verb ends in -Ar ,-Ir or -Er.


Él, ella, usted



Ellos, ellas, Uds.

ra ras ra -'ramos rais ran

* Note: the Nosotros form has an accent on the vowel that immediately precedes the "r" in "-ramos."

The third person plural Ellos/as, ustedes form in the Past Subjunctive always ends in "-RAN" in as opposed to the Preterite which ends in "-RON".

We form the past subjunctive by taking the third person plural (Ellos, ellas, ustedes) form of the preterite past tense, and then adding the appropriate Imperfect subjunctive ending.

For example, let's conjugate Tener:

  1. We start with the Preterite 3rd person plural : Tuvieron (irregular)
  2. We drop the "-ron" ending: tuvie-
  3. We add one of the appropriate "-ra/ -ras/ -ra/ -'ramos/ -rais/ -ran" endings
  4. we'll use the "" form for this example: Tú tuvieras

Examples of the Imperfect Subjunctive:


Él, ella, usted


Ellos, ellas, Uds.


hablara hablaras hablara habláramos hablaran


comiera comieras comiera comiéramos comieran


viviera vivieras viviera viviéramos vivieran
We use the Past (Imperfect) Subjunctive in the dependent clause (following "que") when the main clause (Subject #1) is in the past tense [the Preterite, the Imperfect or the Conditional.]

Past Imperfect Subjunctive


Yo le recomendé que él bebiera cuatro vasos de agua cada día.


Yo quería que él bebiera cuatro vasos de agua cada día.


Yo querría que él bebiera cuatro vasos de agua cada día.

Past Perfect

Yo había querido que él bebiera cuatro vasos de agua cada día.

Remember that the word "que" introduces the dependent clause.

The Present Subjunctive refers to things which MAY still happen (however unlikely!)

We use the Present Subjunctive when the main clause is in the present tense:

Present Subjunctive


Quiero que él beba cuatro vasos de agua cada día

Present Perfect

Yo le he recomendado que él beba cuatro vasos de agua cada día


Le voy a recomendar que él beba cuatro vasos de agua cada día


Yo le recomendaré que él beba cuatro vasos de agua cada día