The imperfect
subjunctive
Mosaicos, p. 539
Introduction
✔ The past subjunctive is also called imperfect subjunctive.
✔ Formation: The imperfect subjunctive is formed based on the third
person plural form (Ellos, ellas, Ustedes) of the preterit.
Infinitive
(To talk)
Hablar
Preterit (3rd
person plural)
form
hablaron
Add new
endings
Drop
the
ending
(-on)
Imperfect
subjunctive
hablara
-a
hablaras
-as
Hablara
-a
-amos
-rais
-ran
Habláramos
hablarais
hablaran
Another example
Verb
Preterit 3er
person plural
Beber
bebieron
Change endings
Imperfect subjunctive
bebiera
a
as
Bebieron ➪ bebier + a
amos
rais
ran
bebieras
bebiera
bebiéramos
bebierais
bebieran
More examples
Verb ➪
Preterit 3er ➪
person plural
Change endings ➪
escribiera
Escribir ➪ escribieron ➪ escribie- ➪ escribieras
Imperfect subjunctive
escribiéramos
escribierais
escribiera
escribieran
cantara
cantáramos
Cantar ➪ cantaron ➪ cantar- ➪ cantaras
cantara
cantarais
cantaran
Ser, ir, estar and haber with
imperfect subjunctive
Verb ➪
Preterit 3er ➪
person plural
Change endings ➪
SER-IR
fuera
fueras
fuera
fuéramos
fuerais
fueran
Imperfect subjunctive
ESTAR
estuviera
estuvieras
estuviera
estuviéramos
estuvierais
estuvieran
HABER
hubiera
hubieras
hubiera
hubiéramos
hubierais
hubieran
When do we need to use the
imperfect subjunctive?
✔ The tense that is used in the main sentence, helps us to select the tense
we need to use in the subordinate clause:
➨ Present subjunctive: When the verb of the main sentence expresses a concept
about the subordinate clause in the present tense of indicative, then we use present
subjunctive in the subordinate clause.
Mis padres quieren que yo estudie idiomas (My parents want me to study languages)
Present indicative
Present subjunctive
➨ Imperfect subjunctive: When the verb of the main sentence expresses a concept
about the subordinate clause in the past tense (preterit or imperfect) of indicative,
then we use imperfect subjunctive in the subordinate clause.
Mis padres querían que yo estudiara idiomas (My parents wanted me to study languages)
Imperfect indicative
Imperfect subjunctive
“como si”
✔ Although the verb in the main sentence may be in the present or in the
past, use always past subjunctive after the expression “como si” (as if, as
though).
Elisa canta como si fuera una profesional (Elisa sings as if she was a professional)
Present indicative
Imperfect subjunctive
Elisa cantó como si fuera una profesional (Elisa sang as if she was a professional)
Preterit indicative
Imperfect subjunctive
Present and imperfect subjunctive:
examples
Present indicative
+
Present subjunctive
Deseo que tengas buena salud
(I hope you have good health)
Past
(imperfect,preterit)
indicative
+
Imperfect subjunctive
Deseaba que tuvieras buena salud
(I hoped you had good health)
Es importante que vayas a clase Era importante que fueras a clase
(It’s important that you go to
(It was important that you went to
class)
class)
Quiero que me ayudes
(I want you to help me)
Quise que me ayudaras
(I wanted you to helped me)
Espero que Ana venga a la
fiesta (I hope Ana comes to the
party)
Esperaba que Ana viniera a la
fiesta (I hoped Ana came to the
party)
Tener, pedir, comprar
☞ Can you conjugate the following verbs in the imperfect
subjunctive form?
Tener
Pedir
Comprar
☟
☟
☟
____________________
tuviera
____________________
pidiera
____________________
comprara
____________________
tuvieras
____________________
pidieras
____________________
compraras
____________________
tuviera
____________________
pidiera
____________________
comprara
____________________
tuviéramos
____________________
pidiéramos
____________________
compráramos
____________________
tuvierais
____________________
pidierais
____________________
comprarais
____________________
tuvieran
____________________
pidieran
____________________
compraran
Práctica
Espero que mi compañera ___________ su habitación.
Era importante que la casa _____________ grande.
Deseaba que mi padre ______________ a
verme el fin de semana.
a. limpie
e. viniera
i. sea
b. limpia
f. vienen
j. fuera
c. limpiara
g. vengan
k. es
d. limpió
h. vinieron
l. era
Práctica (cont.)
Espero que mi compañera ___________ su habitación.
Era importante que la casa _____________ grande.
Deseaba que mi padre ______________ a
verme el fin de semana.
a. limpie
e. viniera
i. sea
b. limpia
f. viene
j. fuera
c. limpiara
g. venga
k. es
d. limpió
h. vino
l. era
¡Buen trabajo!
Hoy hemos aprendido a usar el imperfecto de subjuntivo.
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Imperfect subjunctive