Unit 11: Introduction to the subjunctive, commands, translation considerations (part 2)
11.2 Forms of the Present Subjunctive
Forms of regular verbs have their subjunctive ending in what is often called the “opposite vowel.” For –ar verbs, the opposite vowel is e. For –er and –ir verbs, the opposite vowel is a. With regular verbs, it now becomes more important to know whether the verb’s form in the subjunctive is from an –ar versus an –er or –ir verb, as the endings in the present subjunctive versus the present indicative normally differ by only one vowel.
|él, ella, Ud.||tome||lea||abra|
|ellos, ellas, Uds.||tomen||lean||abran|
Subjunctive forms of –ar and –er verbs undergo the stem change in the same persons as in the present indicative:
|él, ella, Ud.||piense||vuelva|
|ellos, ellas, Uds.||piensen||vuelvan|
In –ir stem-changing verbs, the e to ie type gives an i in the first and second persons plural:
The o to ue type of stem-changing verbs uses a u in these same two persons:
In –ir stem-changing verbs of the e to i type, the entire present subjunctive shows the stem change:
Remember that verbs ending in vowel plus –cer or –cir insert a z in the first person singular of the indicative, which appears in the entire present subjunctive, as it is the first person singular of the present indicative on which the present subjunctive is based (except in stem-changing verbs and the four irregular verbs):
These forms of the subjunctive of irregular verbs may be easier to recognize than those of regular verbs. This is one of many cases in Spanish in which one tense “builds on” another. By mastering or recognizing earlier-studied forms, it becomes easier to recognize other new ones as they are presented.
Other verbs irregular in the first person singular that undergo the same phenomenon are:
infinitive > 1st person sing. Present Indicative
|decir > digo||diga|
|hacer > hago||haga|
|oír > oigo||oiga|
|poner > pongo||ponga|
|salir > salgo||salga|
|traer > traigo||traiga|
|venir > vengo||venga|
|ver > veo||vea|
The verbs dar and estar are technically irregular in the present subjunctive because of the accent marks on some forms, which indicate spoken stress and also differentiate them from otherwise identical forms.
|yo||dé (versus de [prep.]||esté (versus este [dem. adj.])|
|él, ella, Ud.||dé||esté|
|ellos, ellas, Uds.||den||estén|
The only truly irregular verbs in the present subjunctive are the following four, in which the differences from the present indicative should help these forms stand out:
The ir + a + infinitive construction, which renders future meaning without using the future tense in the indicative mode (e.g., Sé que van a tener tiempo), can also do the same in the subjunctive mode.
|Dudo que vayan a tener tiempo para hacer todo lo necesario.||I doubt that you’re going to have time to do everything necessary.|