Master the 3 Spanish Moods
Discovering the three Spanish moods is like getting a key to a secret world that you didn’t even know existed—after which, nothing is the same and your Spanish skills improve dramatically!
In this blog post, I explore the three Spanish moods and show you what they look like in all the Spanish tenses.
Finally, you can challenge yourself with some fun quizzes about Spanish moods!
Spanish Tense vs Mood: A Short Introduction
Grammar terms are essential to learn at the beginning of your foreign language studies to help you understand the complexities of the language and give you the necessary tools to create a solid foundation for becoming fluent.
In this case, the difference between tenses and moods is a crucial piece of the grammar puzzle for Spanish learners like you to master.
While you may have heard the word “tense” before, the term “mood” is not so common to hear about. Here’s your chance to easily understand the difference between the two!
What is a Tense?
Tense refers to the time when the action of the verb occurs—whether in the present, past, or future. The basic reference frame is the present moment but there are some tenses that we understand in reference to other actions in the past or in the future. For example, the past perfect tense talks about actions that occurred before another past action.
You can also talk about simple tenses that are expressed with one word or compound tenses that need at least two words to be complete.
You can have a look at the article about 18 Spanish tenses to get to know more.
What is a Mood?
Moods do not refer to a moment in time but to a manner of expression. Keep reading to get a better understanding of what I mean!
There are three Spanish moods:
- Indicative Mood – Modo Indicativo
-to express assertion, facts, and objective statements
- Subjunctive Mood – Modo Subjuntivo
-to express reactions, feelings, doubts, insecurities
- Imperative Mood – Modo Imperativo
-to give direct orders and commands
Let’s have a look at each of the three Spanish moods in detail.
Spanish Indicative Mood
It’s the first of the Spanish moods you learn, even before you realize they exist. The indicative mood talks about actions, events, and states that are believed to be true. You use it to talk about facts or to describe something obvious.
Los gatos persiguen ratones.
Cats chase mice.
La Tierra gira alrededor del Sol.
The Earth goes around the Sun.
Ella es la directora de la escuela.
She is the principal of the school.
The indicative mood can be used in all Spanish tenses. Let’s see how you use it in present, past, future, and conditional tenses:
Mi hijo ha aprendido español viendo telenovelas colombianas.
My son has learned Spanish by watching Colombian soap operas.
Ayer compré cinco kilos de manzanas.
Yesterday, I bought five kilos of apples.
En aquel tiempo vivías cerca de mi.
At that time you lived close to me.
Ya había estudiado español antes de conocer a mi marido.
I had already studied Spanish before meeting my husband.
Mañana voy a ver a mis amigos.
Tomorrow, I’m going to see my friends.
Estudiaré más el año que viene.
I will study more next year.
A esa hora ya habré terminado de trabajar.
At that time, I will have finished working.
Conditional tenses are the equivalents to the English “would” and use verbs in the indicative mood. It applies both to the simple conditional, the continuous, and the conditional perfect.
Yo dormiría hasta las 10 am todos los días si pudiera.
I would sleep until 10 AM every day if I could.
Yo estaría ahora estudiando para mis exámenes si no fuera por ti.
I’d be studying for my exams now if it weren’t for you.
Yo habría vivido en Inglaterra, si no hubiera conocido a Juan.
I would have lived in England if I hadn’t met Juan.
Spanish Indicative Mood Quiz
Give it a try and test yourself! Conjugate verbs in the following indicative mood tenses.
1. Las chicas _____________ un periódicos
2. La directora de la empresa _____________ una junta ayer.
3. Mi hija _____________ en España toda la vida.
4. _____________ un carro. (Past)
5. En aquella época _____________ más calor.
6. Si no te hubiera conocido, me _____________ con Juan.
7. Yo la _____________ antes de mudarme aquí.
8. _____________ más. (Future)
9. Si pudiera, _____________ una moto.
10. Mañana, a esa hora ya _____________ de trabajar.
Spanish Subjunctive Mood
The subjunctive, called el subjuntivo in Spanish, expresses anything that the speaker considers abstract or even unreal. As such, you use it to talk about doubts, desires, wishes, and emotions. It’s considered the trickiest of the Spanish moods, but with practice and regular use, it becomes less intimidating.
How to Use the Subjunctive Mood
To know whether to use the subjunctive mood in Spanish, ask yourself three questions. If the answer to all of them is “yes,” then use the subjunctive!
- Are there two different subjects?
Yo quiero que tú te vayas.
I want you to go.
- Is there a relative pronoun that introduces the second part of the sentence?
Yo quiero que tú te vayas.
Learn more: How to Use Relative Pronouns in Spanish
- Is the first verb a WEIRDO verb? The WEIRDO is the acronym for Wishes, Emotions, Impersonal Expressions, Recommendations, Doubt/Denial, and Ojalá.
Yo quiero que tú te vayas.
Quiero expresses wishes, so it is a WEIRDO verb.
Learn more: An Easy Guide to the WEIRDO Subjunctive
Subjunctive Mood in Spanish Tenses
The subjunctive mood appears in many tenses similar to the indicative mood.
Deseo que lo tengas.
I want you to have it.
Es bueno que lo hayas comprado.
It’s good that you’ve bought it.
No creo que mi madre hablara ayer con la profesora.
I don’t think my mother spoke to the teacher yesterday.
Habría hablado con la profesora, si la hubiera visto.
She would have talked to the teacher if she had seen her.
All the forms of the future subjunctive are rarely used but they do exist, mainly in legal documents and literature. In this realm exists the future subjunctive and the Spanish future perfect subjunctive.
Adonde fueres, haz lo que quieras.
When in Rome, do as the Romans do.
Los asuntos que se hubiere acordado tramitar por el procedimiento de urgencia tendrán prioridad.
Priority will be given to those matters that fall under the emergency procedures provision.
Spanish Subjunctive Mood Quiz
1. Yo quiero que tú ___________ feliz.
2. No quiero que te ___________.
3. Deseo que me ___________. (You)
4. Es bueno que lo ___________. (You/Present)
5. No creo que ella lo ___________.
6. Si no te ___________, me habría casado con Juan.
7. Adonde ___________, haz lo que ___________.
8. Quiero que lo ___________.
9. Si ___________, compraría una moto.
10. Qué pasaría, si ___________ hermanos.
Spanish Imperative Mood
The final Spanish mood to cover is the imperative mood, which you use to tell someone to do something in a direct manner or to give orders and commands.
Different types of commands exist:
- affirmative and negative tú commands
- formal singular and plural commands
- nosotros commands
Affirmative Tú Commands
Give commands to your peers or somebody younger than you with tú commands. Simply use the third-person singular form of the present indicative.
Toma el café.
Drink the coffee.
Déjame en paz.
Leave me alone.
Negative Tú Commands
Tell your peers or somebody younger than you not to do something by using the second person singular form of the present subjunctive and add no or nunca before the verb.
No tomes el té.
Don’t drink the tea.
No me dejes.
Don’t leave me alone.
Singular Formal Usted Commands
Tell people you don’t know well or people older than you what to do! Both negative and affirmative forms use the third-person singular form of the present subjunctive.
No tome el té, tome el café.
Don’t drink the tea, drink the coffee.
Plural Formal Ustedes Commands
In Spain, use this form to give commands to a group of people formally, meanwhile in Latin America, you can use it to tell any group of people what to do. Both negative and affirmative ustedes commands use the third-person plural form of the present subjunctive.
No tomen el té, tomen el café.
Don’t drink the tea, drink the coffee.
Use these commands to tell yourself and others what to do (or make suggestions). It’s like English “let’s” or “let’s not.” Both negative and affirmative nosotros commands use the first-person plural form of the present subjunctive.
No tomemos el té, tomemos el café.
Let’s not drink the tea, let’s drink the coffee.
Spanish Imperative Mood Quiz
1. ____________ el café.
2. Pedro, ____________ el libro aquí.
3. No me ____________, por favor.
4. No ____________ esto!
5. No ____________ esto!
6. ____________ juntos.
7. No lo ____________.
9. ____________ ahora mismo.
10. ____________ un libro.
Congratulations! You just finished reading an article on all three Spanish moods and you’ve completed three quizzes!
If you want to take your knowledge to the next level, sign up for a free class with one of our friendly, Spanish-speaking teachers from Guatemala and practice the three Spanish moods in a one-to-one conversation.
Ready to learn more Spanish grammar? Check these out!
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- How to Master Verbal Periphrasis in Spanish
- How to Say ‘No’ in Spanish: Formal and Informal Expressions
- Conquer Direct Objects In Spanish With This Strategic Guide
- How to Use Spanish Infinitives as Nouns
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