25 Common Subjunctive Phrases in Spanish Conversation
Still confused by some subjunctive phrases in Spanish?
Or perhaps you get it now, but you’re ready to master it with a bit more practice.
This is normal. The subjunctive mood in Spanish is peculiar in that when you first learn it, it’s uncomfortably foreign—but magically once you practice it, it flows naturally.
That’s because you get used to hearing the verbs conjugated correctly in their subjunctive form and your ear becomes highly attuned to any errors in speech.
What can you do to improve your awareness of subjunctive phrases in Spanish even more?
Build your repertoire of common subjunctive phrases that you’ll hear regularly in Spanish conversation—which is exactly what we’ll do in this post.
First we’ll do a quick recap of what the subjunctive is and when you should use it, and then we’ll focus on learning 25 complete, helpful, and common subjunctive phrases that you can start using today.
The Subjunctive: A Brief Introduction
Mastering the subjunctive in Spanish is a tricky deal for Spanish learners, but I’m here to tell you that there’s no need to fret about it. Here at HSA we have taken good care of the subjunctive in our three-part series about it that I strongly recommend you read if you’re still unsure how this mood works.
What’s the Complication?
The main issue with the subjunctive is that it deals with non-existent realities, such as wishes, hopes, and possibilities, which by nature are vague ideas and situations. To help you master these entities we have some trigger words that work as subjunctive signals that let us know when it’s appropriate to switch to this mood.
When to Use the Subjunctive
We’ve also explored as many as 12 different cases when you should use the subjunctive, including noun clauses, future actions, and negative statements. My point is that if you really want to master the subjunctive mood, we have your back!
Now, it’s time to switch from “when” to “how.” Once you know when you should use the subjunctive, the next step is to know how to do it. No more trigger words or situations to identify, today you’ll learn 25 subjunctive phrases to use in real-life conversations.
25 Subjunctive Phrases to Use in Real Life
The following sentences will help you to sound more natural in your Spanish conversations, as they aren’t formulas that you can build for specific situations, but complete, culturally relevant, and common subjunctive phrases.
1. ¡Que los cumplas feliz!
This is what Argentinians say when they’re singing the happy birthday song. Instead of singing “happy birthday to you!” they sing ¡que los cumplas feliz! and yes, right there hidden in this cultural tradition you can find a verb conjugated in subjunctive.
2. Yo quiero pastel aunque sea un poquito
Keeping with the birthday celebrations in Latin America, this is another of the subjunctive phrases that come from a birthday song. In this case, it’s the birthday song people sing in countries such as Mexico in Guatemala to ask for a piece of cake right after blowing the candles. Yo quiero pastel aunque sea un poquito means “I want cake even if it’s just a little bit.”
Read more: Let’s Have a Birthday in Spanish!
3. Espero que tengas un buen día
“I hope you have a nice day” conjugates the verb tener in subjunctive as tengas, and it’s a phrase that you can use every day with every one you meet. If you switch to a more formal situation, the phrase becomes espero que tenga un buen día.
4. Ojalá que salga bien
This is a helpful phrase that you use when talking about projects or when someone is going to have a surgery. It means “I hope it goes well” and you could also say espero que todo salga bien.
5. Sea como sea
This is one of the most subjunctive phrases you will find in the Spanish language, as it includes the verb to be conjugated twice in this mood. While it seems a bit redundant, it actually means something like “not matter how,” or “at any cost.” You might say, tengo que aprobar este examen sea como sea (I have to pass this test at all costs).
6. Te recomiendo que veas esa película
How many times have you recommended a movie or a book? Well, this useful phrase will help you do exactly that in Spanish, “I recommend you watch that movie.” You can also simply change the verb and recommend a book instead: te recomiendo que leas ese libro.
7. Es gracioso que digas eso
“It’s funny that you say that” is one of the useful subjunctive phrases that comes handy when you want to add your own take into a conversation. A different version could be es gracioso que lo digas.
8. Me encanta que sonrías
“I love when you smile” conjugates the verb sonreír in subjunctive sonrías and it works with plenty of other verbs: Me encanta que – trabajes, comas, juegues, etc.
9. Odio que hagas eso
This case is the opposite of the previous subjunctive phrases, as it means “I hate when you do that” and conjugates the second verb in subjunctive: hagas. You can also change the verb and use it for many different situations: Odio que – te burles de mi, trabajes tarde, ronques, etc.
10. Es importante que lo sepas
“It’s important that you know it.” Change the second verb and you can use this phrase for many cases: Es importante que lo – leas, veas, comas, etc.
11. O sea
This is one of the most used subjunctive phrases in countries such as Mexico and Guatemala, as it has become a filler phrase. It means “in other words,” or “that is.”
12. Aunque sea difícil
“Even if it’s difficult.” This is a phrase that usually comes preceded by another idea that complements it. You can change the adjective and use it in many cases: Aunque sea – demasiado, poco, triste, etc.
13. Ojalá estuvieras aquí
One of the most useful subjunctive phrases in Spanish for people in love. “I wish you were here.”
14. Cuando tengas tiempo
A useful subjunctive phrase that means “when you have time.”
15. Es necesario que vayas al doctor
This impersonal expression in Spanish means “you need to go to the doctor,” and you can simply change the destination and use it in many other cases.
16. Para que veas
This is one of the most used subjunctive phrases in Spanish and it means “so that you see.” You can change the verb and use it in different cases: Para que – sepas, funcione, arranque, etc.
17. Cuantas veces sea necesario
Use this phrase to say that something should be done “as many times as needed.”
18. Cuando vengas
You can use this subjunctive phrase accompanied by another clause, for example: Compra una botella de leche cuando vengas a casa or “buy a bottle of milk when you come home.”
19. Espero que no tarde
If you’re waiting for a friend with someone else, you can use this phrase that means “I hope he/she doesn’t take long.”
20. Quiero que vuelvas
“I want you to come back.” You can use quiero que with other verbs too: Quiero que – cambies, te vayas, llueva, etc.
21. Es mejor que te vayas
If you’re done with someone, try using this subjunctive phrase that means: “You should leave.”
22. Temo que esté equivocado
“I fear that I might be wrong.” You can change the verb and use this phrase in different cases: Temo que – no salga bien, llueva, repruebe el examen, etc.
23. Es una lástima que pienses así
“It’s a pity that you think that way.” Notice how the verb pensar is conjugated in subjunctive: pienses.
24. Que lo sepa todo el mundo
A useful subjunctive phrase to say: “let everyone know.”
25. Que seas muy feliz
One of the most pronounced subjunctive phrases in weddings: “I wish you to be very happy.”
Practice Your New Subjunctive Phrases Today!
By now, you must be an expert in the subjunctive mood. You know how it works, when to use it, which words trigger it, and you have just learned 25 useful subjunctive phrases to use in your real-life Spanish conversations.
Sign up now for a free trial class with one of our native Spanish speaking teachers from Guatemala, and practice your newly learned subjunctive phrases today!
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