Para que followed by El Imperfecto de Subjuntivo (purpose subordinate clauses)

In Spanish, the most commonly used connective to introduce a purpose clause (La oración subordinada de finalidad) is "para que...". It introduces a clause expressing the purpose of the main clause. This connective is always followed by the subjunctive, not the indicative.

To see how "para que" works with El Presente de Subjuntivo see this lesson about subordinate clauses Using adverbial clauses para que, antes (de) que, hasta que, con tal (de) que, etc. + El Presente de Subjuntivo (present subjunctive).

Here we will explain how "para que" is used with El Imperfecto Subjuntivo.

Para que... + El Imperfecto de Subjuntivo

To use it with El Imperfecto Subjuntivo, we need a past tense in the main clause. Have a look at the following examples:

Le regalé el diccionario para que lo usara en clase.
I gave him the dictionary for him to use it in class / so that he'd use it in class.

Blanca estaba organizando un viaje para que tuvieran una segunda luna de miel.
Blanca was organising a trip so that they'd have a second honey moon.

Me sujetaba del brazo para que yo no pudiese escapar.
He was holding my arm so that I couldn't escape.

If the main clause is in El Pretérito Perfecto, then both El Presente de Subjuntivo and El Imperfecto Subjuntivo can be used after para que:

He salido antes del trabajo para que podamos comer juntos. (El Presente de Subjuntivo)
I left work early so that we can/could eat together.

He salido antes del trabajo para que pudiéramos comer juntos. (El Imperfecto Subjuntivo)
I left work early so that we can/could eat together.

Important:

The subject in the main clause and in the subordinate clase must be different for the use of subjunctive. If the subject is the same in both clauses then we will need the infinitive after "para" (without "que").

Have a look at these two different sentences:

Same subjects:

Me senté en primera fila para ver mejor el partido.
I sat in the first row so that I could see the match better.

Different subjects:

Me senté en primera fila para que tú me vieras mejor.
I sat in the first row so that you could see me better.

Other connectives that introduce purpose are:

  • con el fin de que...
  • a fin de que...
  • a que...
  • con el objeto de que...
  • con el propósito de que...

Learn more about these related Spanish grammar topics

Examples and resources

Me senté en primera fila para ver mejor el partido.
I sat in the first row so that I could see the match better.


Me sujetaba del brazo para que yo no pudiese escapar.
He was holding my arm so that I couldn't escape.


Blanca estaba organizando un viaje para que tuvieran una segunda luna de miel.
Blanca was organising a trip so that they'd have a second honey moon.


Le regalé el diccionario para que lo usara en clase.
I gave him the dictionary for him to use it in class / so that he'd use it in class.


Me senté en primera fila para que tú me vieras mejor.
I sat in the first row so that you could see me better.


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