Spanish Grammar: Subjunctive with Adjective Clauses

Spanish Grammar: The Subjunctive - Adjective Clauses

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Spanish Grammar: Subjunctive with Adjective Clauses
la gramática española: el subjuntivo con las cláusulas adjetivas 

  • The subjunctive is a verb mood, not a tense in terms of time.
  • Utilized in adjective (descriptive) clauses.


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The subjunctive is used when we do not know if the action will take place. If we know that it is or will be a reality, the indicative is used. The subjunctive is used to express doubt, how a person feels about an action or state of being, a wish, intent or command. It can also be used to express facts that are the opposite of reality.

Adjectives are specific words that help modify a noun. Adjective clauses are phrases that help describe another phrase (usually called the antecedent) connected with a word like QUE. The subjunctive is used in an adjective clause when the antecedent is indefinite, unknown, or is nonexistent.

So, here’s a statement that has a known (definite) antecedent.

Yo tengo un gato que corre rápido.
I have a cat that runs fast.

See how corre stays in the indicative (not subjunctive). It doesn’t work because we all know that I have cat. No surprises here.

However, here’s an unknown statement.

Yo quiero un gato que corra rápido.
I want a cat that runs fast.

Since we don’t have a cat that meets the description, and are only describing a hypothetical one, we use the subjunctive.


¿Hay algo aquí que le guste?
Is there something here that you like?Hay alguien aquí que le conozca?
Is there someone here that knows you?



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