Spanish Subjunctive Triggers Spanish Verb Conjugation

Welcome to the Subjunctive Triggers lesson. Here you’ll learn phrases trigger the subjunctive tense in Spanish. Become familiar with them and you’ll be well on your way to becoming fluent in the subjunctive tense. Memorize them and you can master the majority of the subjunctive tense. As mentioned in the previous lesson, most of the subjunctive triggers show hope, doubt or desire. Usually also there’s a change of subject and the phrase that comes directly after a subjunctive trigger is conjugated in the subjunctive tense. Let’s take a look at them now.

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Phrases That Trigger the Subjunctive

to doubt Dudar que… to prefer Preferir que… unless  A menos que… It’s important Es importante que…
to need Necesitar que… to desire Desear que… so that Para que… It’s difficult Es difícil que…
to hope Esperar que… to insist on Insistir en que… I or we hope Ojalá (que)… It’s necessary Es necesario que…
to ask Pedir que…  to like  Gustar que… Without Sin que… It’s possible Es posible que…
to think No pensar que… to tell Decir que… Before Antes que… Maybe Tal vez…
to want Querer que… not to believe No creer que… Provided that Con tal de que…    

Phrases That Do Not Trigger the Subjunctive

Pienso que Creo que Sé que

These phrases don’t show doubt. They state confidence in the speaker’s thoughts or ideas. So, the subjunctive isn’t used after these phrases. Sometimes if you want to show doubt, you can throw in the subjunctive tense that will indicate doubt in certain situations. For example, where “Creo que” shows confidence, “No creo que” shows a lack of confidence or doubt. An example would be “No creo que él pueda ir”, or in English “I don’t think (believe) he can go.” Also, the affirmative phrase “Pienso que” shows confidence, but the phrase “No pienso que” shows doubt and would trigger the subjunctive.

Now we’ll practice all of the triggers using the “ella” form of the verb “comer” conjugated in the subjunctive tense afterward. To give you a brief preview of our next lesson, to conjugate “comer” in the subjunctive tense for “ella”, since the verb is an “er” verb, you put on an “a” or in other words the “opposite ending”. We’ll learn more about that in the next lesson. Are you ready?

I doubt she will eat Dudo que coma
We need her to eat Necesitamos que coma
He hopes she will eat Espera que coma
Juan, did you ask her to eat Juan, ¿Pediste que coma?
They don’t think she will eat No piensan que coma
All of you want her to eat Quieren que coma
Maria prefers that she eats Maria prefiere que coma
I desire that she eats Deseo que coma
We insist that she eats Insistimos en que coma
He likes her to eat Le gustar que coma
Pablo tells her to eat Pablo le dice que coma
They don’t think (believe) she will eat No creen que coma
Unless she eats A menos que coma
So that she eats Para que coma
We hope/I hope that she will eat Ojalá (que) coma
Without her eating Sin que coma
Before she eats Antes que coma
Provided that she eats Con tal de que coma
It’s important that she eats Es importante que coma
It’s difficult for her to eat Es difícil que coma
It’s necessary for her to eat Es necesario que coma
It’s possible for her to eat Es posible que coma
Maybe she will eat Tal vez coma

Now, just a quick reminder, if you want to say “It’s important to eat”, you simply say “Es importante comer”. However, if you want change the subject, you have to say “It’s important that she eats” and remember, like you learned in the last lesson, there’s a change of subject from “it” to “she”.

Not Subjunctive Subjunctive
It’s important to eat It’s important that she eats
(No change of subject) (change of subject)