Using the Subjunctive Adverb Clauses Adverbs, remember, answer the question “where,” “why,” “how,” “when,” “to what extent,” “under what circumstances.” We ate before he left. We ate . . . When? Before he left. We cried because he left. We cried . . . Why? Because he left. We will cry unless he leaves. We will cry . . . Under what circumstances? Unless he leaves. Sometimes figuring out what question the clause answers isn’t quite so easy, but adverb clauses usually don’t start with que/that or quien/who, so you can pretty well bet that any clause that starts with one of those words is a noun or adjective clauses. Most other conjunctions—although, if, when, after, before, until, etc.—introduce adverb clauses. There are certain conjunctions that introduce adverb clauses and REQUIRE the subjunctive: a menos que sin que con tal que para que de manera que de modo que antes de que unless without provided that so that so that so that before According to the previous slide, “que” doesn’t introduce adverb clauses. That’s true; “que” by itself doesn’t. In all of these, it’s just a part of the conjunction. a menos que con tal que de manera que antes de que unless provided that so that before sin que para que de modo que without so that so that Vamos a salir a menos que nos ayudes. – We’re going to leave unless you help us. Vamos a salir con tal que nos ayudes.– We’re going to leave provided that you help us. Vamos a salir para que nos ayudes. – We’re going to leave so that you’ll help us. Vamos a salir antes de que nos ayudes. – We’re going to leave before you help us. “Sin que” is going to seem kind of strange to you, because we don’t have an equivalent conjunction in English: Vamos a salir sin que nos ayudes. – We’re going to leave without your helping us. As you can see, in English, rather than using a clause, we use a prepositional phrase. There are some conjunctions, called “time conjunctions,” that SOMETIMES require the subjunctive. después de que hasta que cuando tan pronto como en cuanto after until when as soon as as soon as If the action in the dependent clause has not yet occurred, it needs the subjunctive: We will eat as soon as you arrive. In the above sentence, you haven’t arrived yet, so “as soon as” must be followed by the subjunctive: Comeremos tan pronto como llegues. He’s going to study after you leave. – Va a estudiar despues de que salgas. You haven’t left yet. I’m going to read until we eat. – Voy a leer hasta que comamos. We aren’t eating yet. However, if the action has already occurred, you use the indicative, not the subjunctive: We ate as soon as you arrived. You’ve already arrived, so you use the indicative, not the subjunctive: Comimos tan pronto como llegaste. Similarly . . . He studied after you left. – Estudió después de que saliste. You already left. You may have concluded that if the verb is in the past tense, you’re going to need the indicative. That isn’t necessarily so. Consider this sentence: I was going to eat as soon as Juan left. During the time frame of this sentence, Juan hadn’t left. You need the subjunctive— imperfect subjunctive: Yo iba a comer tan pronto como Juan saliera. So, if the action has not yet occurred, you use the subjunctive after the time conjunction. If it has occurred, you use the indicative. But there’s one more consideration: If the action occurs habitually, you use the indicative: We always eat as soon as he arrives. – Siempre comemos tan pronto como llega. . . . as opposed to the following: We’re going to eat as soon as he arrives. – Vamos a comer tan pronto como llegue. In the red sentence, we’re not talking about a one time occurrence. We’re talking about something that’s a regular, habitual occurrence. In the blue sentence, we’re talking about a particular occasion, and on this particular occasion, his arrival hasn’t happened yet. Click here to go to a brief practice exercise.