The subjunctive with indefinite people
and things
(El subjuntivo con las cláusulas adjetivales)
Queremos un
presidente que
sea honrado.
An adjective describes, limits, or modifies a noun.
A clause that modifies a noun is an adjective
clause.
ADJECTIVE
Admiramos un político honrado.
We admire an honest politician.
ADJECTIVE CLAUSE
Óscar Arias es un político que es honrado.
Óscar Arias is a politician who is honest.
The subjunctive is used in an adjective clause when
it refers to a person or object that is indefinite or
does not exist.
INDEFINITE ANTECEDENT
Buscamos una paz que sea duradera.
We are looking for a peace that is lasting.
Necesitan un ejército que respete los
derechos de los ciudadanos.
They need an army that respects the rights
of the citizens.
The subjunctive is used in an adjective clause when
it refers to a person or object that is indefinite or
does not exist.
NONEXISTENT ANTECEDENT
No hay ningún candidato que me guste.
There is no candidate that I like.
No hay nadie que yo conozca en esta
reunión.
There is no one that I know at this meeting.
When the dependent clause refers to a person or
thing that is certain or definite, the indicative is
used.
Hay alguien aquí que conozco.
There is someone here that I know.
Ése es el político que me gusta.
That is the politician that I like.
Necesitamos al activista que se expresa bien.
We need the activist who expresses
himself well. (We know him.)
In questions where it is precisely the existence
of the person or object that is being asked about,
the subjunctive is used.
¿Conoce usted un soldado que haya ido
a la guerra?
Do you know any soldier who has gone
to war?
¿Hay alguna persona que no quiera una
paz duradera?
Is there anyone who doesn’t want a
lasting peace?
FIN
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The subjunctive with indefinite people and things