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Present subjunctive and imperfect subjunctive in Spanish

Last lesson you were given an introduction to the subjunctive. It’s now time to learn how to conjugate regular and irregular verbs in the subjunctive mood.

This lesson we cover the present and the imperfect tenses. In the next lesson, you will learn the conjugations for the present perfect and the past perfect subjunctives.

Present Subjunctive

Regular Verbs

To form the regular verbs in the present subjunctive, add the following endings after dropping the infinitive ending

“-ar” verbs

(yo) -e

(tú ) -es

(él/ella, usted) -e

(nosotros/-as) -emos

(vosotros/-as) -éis

(ellos/-as, ustedes) -en

Example: hablar

(yo) hable

(tú ) hables

(él/ella, usted) hable

(nosotros/-as) hablemos

(vosotros/-as) habléis

(ellos/-as, ustedes) hablen

“-er” and “-ir” verbs

(yo) -a

(tú ) -as

(él/ella, usted) -a

(nosotros/-as) -amos

(vosotros/-as) - áis

(ellos/-as, ustedes) -an



(yo) coma

(tú ) comas

(él/ella, usted) coma

(nosotros/-as) comamos

(vosotros/-as) comáis

(ellos/-as, ustedes) coman


(yo) viva

(tú ) vivas

(él/ella, usted) viva

(nosotros/-as) vivamos

(vosotros/-as) viváis

(ellos/-as, ustedes) vivan

Irregular Verbs

To cope with the irregular verbs in the present subjunctive, you need to know whether a verb is regular or irregular in the present indicative.

Verbs which are irregular only for “yo” in the present indicative

These verbs are not only irregular in the yo form but for all subject pronouns in the present subjunctive.

To conjugate such verbs in the present subjunctive, take the irregular yo form in the present indicative, drop the “o”and add exactly the same endings of the regular verbs given above.

For example “conocer” which is conjugated as conozco in the present indicative. Thus, we are going to add the endings to “conozc-“

(yo) conozca

(tú ) conozcas

(él/ella, usted) conozca

(nosotros/-as) conozcamos

(vosotros/-as) conozcáis

(ellos/-as, ustedes) conozcan

Let us take another example from this group ending in “–ir”: salir. Its yo form in the present indicative is salgo. Therefore, we will add the subjunctive endings to “salg-“

(yo) salga

(tú ) salgas

(él/ella, usted) salga

(nosotros/-as) salgamos

(vosotros/-as) salgáis

(ellos/-as, ustedes) salgan

Stem-changing verbs in the present indicative

These verbs are also stem-changing in the present subjunctive apart from the nosotros/-as and vosotros/-as forms:



(yo) cierre

(tú ) cierres

(él/ella, usted) cierre

(nosotros/-as) cerremos

(vosotros/-as) cerréis

(ellos/-as, ustedes) cierren


(yo) piense

(tú ) pienses

(él/ella, usted) piense

(nosotros/-as) pensemos

(vosotros/-as) penséis

(ellos/-as, ustedes) piensen


(yo) vuelva

(tú ) vuelvas

(él/ella, usted) vuelva

(nosotros/-as) volvamos

(vosotros/-as) volváis

(ellos/-as, ustedes) vuelvan

You need to pay special attention to the conjugation of stem-changing ir verbs. Because their nosotros and vosotros forms should be changed as well. Here the following applies. For the stem-changing verbs of  “o->ue” type, the o in the stem becomes “u”. For the stem-changing verbs of  “e->ie” type, the “e” in the stem becomes i. And for the verbs of “e->i” type, the e in the stem becomes i.



(yo) sienta

(tú ) sientas

(él/ella, usted) sienta

(nosotros/-as) sintamos

(vosotros/-as) sintáis

(ellos/-as, ustedes) sientan


(yo) duerma

(tú ) duerma

(él/ella, usted) duermas

(nosotros/-as) durmamos

(vosotros/-as) durmáis

(él/ella, usted) duerman

Completely irregular verbs

There are completely irregular verbs in the present subjunctive. They are given in the vocabulary section below.

When to use the present subjunctive

If the main clause is one of the following tenses and the subjunctive verbs is to refer to an action that takes place at the same time as or after the main verb, use the present subjunctive: present indicative, present perfect tense, future or imperative.

yo espero que tú vayas conmigo. (I hope that you go with me)

In the above sentence, the first person hopes that the other person will do something in the future, hence present subjunctive is used.

Imperfect Subjunctive

Regular verbs

To form the imperfect subjunctive, take the third person plural of the preterite indicative and drop the ending –on and then add the following endings:

-a, -as, -a, -amos, -ais, an

(yo) -a

(tú ) -as

(él/ella, usted) -a

(nosotros/-as) -amos

(vosotros/-as) -ais

(ellos/-as, ustedes) -an

Note that the nosotros/-as and vosotros/-as forms must have written accent over the vowel preceding the ending



(yo) hablara

(tú) hablaras

(él/ella, usted) hablara

(nosotros/-as) habláramos

(vosotros/-as) hablarais

(ellos/-as, ustedes) hablaran  


(yo) comiera

(tú) comieras

(él/ella/usted) comiera

(nosotros/-as) comiéramos

(vosotros/-as) comierais

(ellos/-as/ustedes) comieran


(yo) viviera

(tú) vivieras

(él/ella/usted) viviera

(nosotros/-as) viviéramos

(vosotros/-as) viviérais

(ellos/-as/ustedes) vivieran

When to use the imperfect subjunctive

If the main clause is one of the following tenses and the subjunctive verb refers to an action that takes place at the same time or after the main verb, use the imperfect subjunctive: preterite, imperfect, past perfect or conditional tense.

Fue una lástima que no pudiera venir it was very bad that he could not come


Here are the verbs which are completely irregular in the present subjunctive:

ir (to go) vaya/vayas/vaya/vayamos/vayáis/vayan

ser (to be) sea/seas/sea/seamos/seáis/sean

estar ( to be) esté/estés/esté/estemos/estéis/estén

dar (to give) dé/des/dé/demos/deis/den

haber (to have) haya/hayas/haya/hayamos/hayáis/hayan

saber (to know) sepa/sepas/sepa/sepamos/sepáis/sepan

Let's Practice

Conjugate the following verbs in present subjunctive

All Exercises