Como/cuando/donde/quien with indicative or subjunctive

The most common way to express how/however,  when/whenever, where/wherever and who/whoever is by using clauses with como, cuando, donde and quien respectively. They can be used with the indicative and the subjunctive.

Using indicative tenses after como, cuando, donde and quien means that we are talking about known or specific situations. On the other hand, when it is used with the subjunctive, we are referring to something unknown or non-specific.

como Indicativo/Subjuntivo

Let's see some examples:

Puedes hacer el viaje como tú quieres.You can do the trip the way/however you want. [We already know he/she want to do the trip in a certain way]

Puedes hacer el viaje como quieras , en autobús o en tren.You can do the trip however you want, by bus or by train.

Podríamos cambiar el contrato como vosotros indicasteis.We could change the contract the way/how you indicated. [They already know what they suggested]

Podríamos cambiar el contrato como vosotros indicarais.We could change the contract however you would indicate. [whichever way that might be]

cuando Indicativo/Subjuntivo

Let's see some examples:

Hablo con ella cuando llega a casa.I will speak with her when she gets home. [specific situation]

Hablaré con ella cuando llegue a casa.I will speak to her whenever she arrives home. [We don't know when she will arrive]

Le pedí matrimonio cuando estaba más animada.I asked her to marry me when she was more cheerful. [specific situation/known]

Iba a pedirle matrimonio cuando estuviera más animada.He was going to ask her to marry him whenever she was more cheerful.

 

donde + Indicativo/Subjuntivo

Let's see some examples:

Sentaos donde hay sillas libres.Take a seat where there are free seats. [Known, we know where the free seats are]

Sentaos donde haya sillas libres.Take a seat wherever there are free seats. [Wherever that might be, we don't know]

Teníamos que sentarnos donde estaba nuestra familia.We had to sit where our family was. [Known information]

Teníamos que sentarnos donde estuviera nuestra familia.We had to sit wherever our family was. [Wherever that was, non specific, unknown]

 

quien + Indicativo/Subjuntivo

Here are some examples:

Ofreció el sofá a quien lo necesitaba.He offered the sofa to [someone] who needed it. [Known person]

Ofreció el sofá a quien lo pudiera necesitar.He offered the sofa to whoever might need it. [Unknown person]

Estuvo muy agradecida a quien pudo pasarle los apuntes de matemáticas.She was very grateful to the person who was able to pass on the notes from the maths lesson. [Known person]

Estaré muy agradecida a quien pueda pasarme los apuntes de matemáticas.I will be very grateful to whoever can pass the notes from the maths lesson.

 There are some common idiomatic set phrases using como + subjunctive:

Me va a costar mucho pero lo conseguiré como sea.It is going to be very hard but I will manage somehow.

-Creo que me voy a quedar en casa hoy. -Como quieras.-I think I'll stay home today. -As you like.

 See also:

 

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Examples and resources

Teníamos que sentarnos donde estaba nuestra familia.We had to sit where our family was. [Known information]
Iba a pedirle matrimonio cuando estuviera más animada.He was going to ask her to marry him whenever she was more cheerful.
Puedes hacer el viaje como tú quieres.You can do the trip the way/however you want. [We already know he/she want to do the trip in a certain way]
Teníamos que sentarnos donde estuviera nuestra familia.We had to sit wherever our family was. [Wherever that was, non specific, unknown]
-Creo que me voy a quedar en casa hoy. -Como quieras.-I think I'll stay home today. -As you like.
Hablaré con ella cuando llegue a casa.I will speak to her whenever she arrives home. [We don't know when she will arrive]
-Es mejor que nos quedemos aquí. -Vale, como quieras.-We'd better stay here. -As you please.
Estaré muy agradecida a quien pueda pasarme los apuntes de matemáticas.I will be very grateful to whoever can pass the notes from the maths lesson.
Ven cuando te apetezca. No tienes que avisarme antes.Come whenever you want. You don't need to tell me in advance. [Whenever that might be]
Me va a costar mucho pero lo conseguiré como sea.It is going to be very hard but I will manage somehow.
Hablo con ella cuando llega a casa.I will speak with her when she gets home. [specific situation]
Ofreció el sofá a quien lo necesitaba.He offered the sofa to [someone] who needed it. [Known person]
Sentaos donde hay sillas libres.Take a seat where there are free seats. [Known, we know where the free seats are]
Podríamos cambiar el contrato como vosotros indicasteis.We could change the contract the way/how you indicated. [They already know what they suggested]
Estuvo muy agradecida a quien pudo pasarle los apuntes de matemáticas.She was very grateful to the person who was able to pass on the notes from the maths lesson. [Known person]
No te preocupes por la distancia. Nos veremos como sea.Don't worry about the distance. We will see each other somehow.
Ofreció el sofá a quien lo pudiera necesitar.He offered the sofa to whoever might need it. [Unknown person]
Le pedí matrimonio cuando estaba más animada.I asked her to marry me when she was more cheerful. [specific situation/known]
Sentaos donde haya sillas libres.Take a seat wherever there are free seats. [Wherever that might be, we don't know]
Puedes hacer el viaje como quieras , en autobús o en tren.You can do the trip however you want, by bus or by train.
Podríamos cambiar el contrato como vosotros indicarais.We could change the contract however you would indicate. [whichever way that might be]
How has your day been?