The Present Spanish Subjunctive 2 – Hopes and Maybes

maybe scaleSubjunctive and Indicative.

For us to study the Spanish Subjunctive, we must also understand the way we refer to the present tense. It’s called the “indicative”, which is purely the present tense, the one that we learn when we first begin to study Spanish.

Most times, when talking about this subject we ask: “Subjunctive or not subjunctive?” when really a better question would be: “Subjunctive or indicative?”

The Triggers.

Now that we have gotten into the meat of this subject, we can start looking at the real triggers that signal the need for the present Spanish subjunctive.

Probably, the most common element in 90% of all subjunctive sentences is the word QUE. As I explain in the video, QUE is I heavily worked word in Spanish and often causes confusion with students as they see it appearing “por todos lados” in their studies.

If you want to refresh your understanding of QUE, then why not take a look at our video blog on this subject.

What you must be cautious of, however, when working with the Spanish subjunctive, is not to imagine that it’s QUE  is the only word that triggers it off.

Rather, it is the appearance of QUE with other sentence structures that normally creates a need to use the subjunctive.

A frequent confusion.

Many students get a little confused about where to place the subjunctive verb once the trigger has been fired off. I explain in the video blog that normally the subjunctive is placed in the verb that FOLLOWS the trigger. Sometimes I have heard students placing the subjunctive on the trigger verb. This is not correct.


Here’s an example of how it works most times :

Espero que (trigger) mañana venga (following verb) temprano.


Tal vez (trigger) no quiera (following verb) decírnoslo.

So, as you can note, the Spanish subjunctive appears in the verb that follows the trigger and not in the trigger itself.

Also, typically, once the following verb has been used in the subjunctive, that’s everything done and you don’t need to continue adding each verb in the subjunctive.


Él espera que ( trigger) yo le llame (following verb) cada día porque se siente (normal indicative) muy solo.


Two or more in a row.

Of course, the exception to this suggestion is when there is a continuation of the “hope” across more than one verb.


Mi amiga espera que (trigger) vaya (following verb) a su fiesta y que (continued trigger) traiga (following verb) comida y bebida, también.

Here, you can see that although there isn’t a new trigger verb, by adding QUE, the trigger is extended and thus requires another subjunctive verb to follow it.

With this in mind, now it’s time to look at the video and start adding these handy triggers to your spoken Spanish.


Buena suerte.

Gordon 🙂

Video for This Spanish Lesson

Audio for This Spanish Lesson