Conjugate verbs in El Imperfecto de Subjuntivo

We use El Imperfecto Subjuntivo in some subordinate clauses and in particularly polite requests.

Rather unusually, this tense has two conjugation forms. Take a look at these regular verb conjugations:

Conjugation 1 (used widely in speech in Spain, Latin America and South America)

 

 

ESTUDIAR
to study

COMER
to eat

VIVIR
to live

yo

estudiara

comiera

viviera

estudiaras

comieras

vivieras

él / ella / usted

estudiara

comiera

viviera

nosotros / nosotras

estudiáramos

comiéramos

viviéramos

vosotros / vosotras

estudiarais

comierais

vivierais

ellos / ellas / ustedes

estudiaran

 comieran

vivieran

 

Conjugation 2 (used more in written language and in Spain)

 

ESTUDIAR
to study

COMER
to eat

VIVIR
to live

yo

estudiase

comiese

viviese

estudiases

comieses

vivieses

él / ella / usted

estudiase

 comiese

viviese

nosotros / nosotras

estudiásemos

comiésemos

viviésemos

vosotros / vosotras

estudiaseis

comieseis

vivieseis

ellos / ellas / ustedes

estudiasen

 comiesen

viviesen

 

To conjugate ALL verbs in El Imperfecto Subjuntivo, you use the stem of the 3rd person plural (ellos, ellas) of El Pretérito Indefinido (without the -ron ending), to which you add the following endings:

1- Pretérito Indefinido stem + -ra, -ras, -ra, -ramos, -rais, -ran

2- Pretérito Indefinido stem + -se, -ses, -se, -semos, -seis, -sen

 ATTENTION:

All verbs that are irregular in the 3rd person of El Pretérito Indefinido are also irregular in El Imperfecto Subjuntivo:

Ojalá yo fuera una estrella de rock.
I wish I were a rock star.

Ojalá yo fuese una estrella de rock.
I wish I were a rock star.

Ojalá tú estuvieses aquí.
I wish you were here.

Tal vez él viviera en Isla Margarita.
Maybe he lived on Isla Margarita.

Ella dudaba mucho que él dijera que sí.
She very much doubted that he would say yes.

Tal vez ella dijese la verdad.
Maybe she told the truth.

El banco nos dijo que firmáramos los documentos.
The bank told us to sign the documents.

Tal vez vosotros pudierais hacer mejor el ejercicio.
 Maybe you all could do the exercise better.

No creo que aparcaran en el centro.
I don't think they parked in the centre.

 

 

Learn more about these related Spanish grammar topics

Examples and resources

El banco nos dijo que firmáramos los documentos.
The bank told us to sign the documents.


Ojalá nosotros comiéramos paella.
I wish we had paella.


Tal vez ella estudiase mucho.
Maybe she studied a lot.


Ojalá yo fuese una estrella de rock.
I wish I were a rock star.


Os pidieron que vaciarais vuestros bolsillos.
They asked you to empty your pockets.


Tal vez él viviera en Isla Margarita.
Maybe he lived on Isla Margarita.


Ella dudaba mucho que él dijera que sí.
She very much doubted that he would say yes.


Ojalá tú estuvieses aquí.
I wish you were here.


Yo esperaba que ella hablara con sus padres pronto.
I was hoping that she spoke with her parents soon.


Si viajara a Estados Unidos, visitaría Hollywood.
If I travelled to the United States, I would visit Hollywood.


Ojalá tú estuvieras aquí.
I wish you were here.


Ojalá ellos fueran al concierto de Beyoncé.
Maybe they went to the Beyoncé concert.


Ojalá nosotros viniésemos el año que viene.
I wish we could come next year.


Sería bueno que bajaran los precios.
It would be good if they lowered the prices.


Nos gustaría que empezaras a trabajar con nosotros.
We would like you to start working with us.


Tal vez vosotros pudierais hacer mejor el ejercicio.
 Maybe you all could do the exercise better.


No creo que aparcaran en el centro.
I don't think they parked in the centre.


Es imposible que llegase a tiempo.
It is impossible that he arrived on time.


Tal vez ella dijese la verdad.
Maybe she told the truth.


Q&A Forum 3 questions, 5 answers

PatiB1Kwiziq community member

Confusion about el imperfecto de subjuntivo translation above

I'm confused over the above example:  El banco nos dijo que firmáramos los documentos.

With the English translation provided (The bank told us to sign the documents), why is it not written as follows:

El banco nos dijo firmar los documentos.

What's confusing is the reason for the use of el imperfecto de subjuntivo in this example --- particularly with this English translation.

Pati Ecuamiga


Asked 2 months ago
InmaKwiziq team memberCorrect answer

Hola Pati

This type of sentence doesn't work the same way in English and Spanish grammatically. 

In English you say "To tell/ask someone to do something" 

"She asked her to buy some flowers."

In Spanish to express this, we use:

Decir/pedir [a alguien] que + subjunctive.

If main verb in the present:

Ella le pide que compre flores. (Present subjunctive)

If main verb in the past:

Ella le pidió que comprara flores. (Imperfect subjunctive)

I hope this clarified it for you.

Saludos

Inma

 

Confusion about el imperfecto de subjuntivo translation above

I'm confused over the above example:  El banco nos dijo que firmáramos los documentos.

With the English translation provided (The bank told us to sign the documents), why is it not written as follows:

El banco nos dijo firmar los documentos.

What's confusing is the reason for the use of el imperfecto de subjuntivo in this example --- particularly with this English translation.

Pati Ecuamiga


Sign in to submit your answer

Don't have an account yet? Join today

KarenC1Kwiziq Q&A regular contributor

‘Estudiar’ a poor choice for the example conjugation

In the initial table of conjugation, I feel that ‘estudiar’ is a poor choice of example for the ‘ar’ verbs. Because this particular verb happens to have an ‘i’ before the infinitive ending, it blurs the differentiation between the conjugation of the ‘ar’ verbs and the ‘er’ and ‘ir’ verbs.  It would be instantly clearer if a verb such as ‘hablar’ were chosen as the example. 

Asked 5 months ago
InmaKwiziq team member

Hola Karen,

We chose "estudiar" as a basic and useful verb to use in a table showing three different verbs with different endings. We made sure that the infinitive endings were clearly highlighted and also the specific endings for each pronoun, so it shows clearly what happens when you conjugate them. Whichever verb you choose to conjugate in this tense, independently of the vowels that precede the infinitive -ar, -er, or -ir needs to follow the rule explained in the lesson (taking as a base the "ellos" form of their preterite, and add the Imperfecto de Subjuntivo endings). I can't see how using this verb would affect the learning of the content in this lesson. 

We appreciate you writing to us.

Un saludo cordial,

Inma

‘Estudiar’ a poor choice for the example conjugation

In the initial table of conjugation, I feel that ‘estudiar’ is a poor choice of example for the ‘ar’ verbs. Because this particular verb happens to have an ‘i’ before the infinitive ending, it blurs the differentiation between the conjugation of the ‘ar’ verbs and the ‘er’ and ‘ir’ verbs.  It would be instantly clearer if a verb such as ‘hablar’ were chosen as the example. 

Sign in to submit your answer

Don't have an account yet? Join today

MarcosB1Kwiziq community member

When do we use this tense instead of the regular subjunctiv?

Asked 6 months ago
InmaKwiziq team member

Hola Marcos

What do you mean by the regular subjunctive? Do you mean instead of the present subjunctive?

Inma

MarcosB1Kwiziq community member

Yes, that is what I meant.  I'm still learning the names of the tenses!  Thanks.

InmaKwiziq team member

Hi Marcos

Well, there are lots of different cases when we use one or the other. We have some general information about these two tenses and all the lessons to do with each of them at the bottom. 

El Presente de Subjuntivo

El Imperfecto de Subjuntivo

Hope this helps,

¡que pases un buen día!

Inma

 

When do we use this tense instead of the regular subjunctiv?

Sign in to submit your answer

Don't have an account yet? Join today

I'll be right with you...