Spanish Subjunctive – Part 3 – Imperfect
On Part 1 of the Spanish subjuntivo series, we learned what the subjuntivo is. As you already know, the subjunctive is a mood that allows us to express ideas, thoughts, desires, possibilities, and doubts. Because it is a mood and not a tense, we can use it in both the present tense to refer to a current action – see Part 2 of the subjuntivo series – or in the imperfect tense to refer to actions or events that don’t occur in a specific point in time.
Today, we’ll explore the conjugation of the subjunctive in the imperfect!
Imperfect Subjunctive Conjugation
The conjugation of regular verbs in the subjunctive mood is just as simple in the imperfect as it is in the present tense! Have a look at the table below, and take a note of your observations!
These are some rules that will help you learn the conjugation of verbs in the imperfect subjunctive even faster:
- We always use a tilde – accent – on the first person plural, nosotros. In the case of the -ar ending, the tilde goes on the a before the r. In the case of the -er and -ir endings, the tilde goes on the e after the i:
- In the case of -ar endings, you add the conjugation after the infinitive -ar ending. This is similar to the ending of the simple future tense but without the tilde of the future tense – yo is an exception and you replace the ‘é’ with an ‘a’.
- The conjugations of –er and -ir verbs use the same endings, which are added to the stem after removing the ending -er and -ir:
-iera, -ieras, -iera, -iéramos, -ieran, -ieranExamples: tuviera, comieras, hubiera, saliéramos, bebieran
As with the present tense, the imperfect subjunctive has irregular verbs. Below you’ll find a list of some of the commonly used irregular verbs. Keep in mind that while the endings remain the same, the stem changes!
Uses of the Imperfect Subjunctive
We use the imperfect subjunctive in two different ways:
- In dependent clauses and adjective clauses introduced by the relative pronoun que when the previous clause uses a past tense verb. We always need to make sure our tenses match!
Me gustó que trajeras postre.
I like that you brought dessert.
- In conditional clauses – si (if) clauses.
Si fuera lunes, iría al mercado.
If it were Monday, I would go to the market.
To read a detailed explanation on how to use the subjunctive in both present and imperfect tenses, follow this link!
Test yourself by conjugating the verbs in parenthesis! Remember that Spanish doesn’t require you to use personal pronouns like you do in English, so use the English translations to make sure you conjugate the verb in the correct form!
- Ella me dijo que _____ (venir) mañana.
She told me to come tomorrow.
- No pensamos que _____ (ser) una buena idea.
We didn’t think it was a good idea.
- Su mamá le dijo que se _____ (poner) un suéter.
Her mom told her to put on a sweater.
- Nosotros le dijimos que ______ (ver) una película.
We told her to watch a movie.
- Ellos necesitaban que _____ (traer) un pastel.
They needed us to bring a cake.
The more you practice, the more comfortable you’ll feel using the subjunctive in everyday conversation, so book a free class with us and let’s practice together everything we’ve learned on the subjuntivo series!
- viniera (me – I – yo viniera)
- fuera (it – la idea – ella fuera)
- pusiera (her – she – ella pusiera)
- viera (her -she – ella viera)
- trajéramos (us – we – nosotros trajéramos)
Want More on the Subjunctivo Series? Check these out!
Part 3: Spanish Subjunctive – How to Conjugate the Imperfect Tense (you are here)
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