Using El Imperfecto de Subjuntivo with verbs giving advice/order (sugerir, recomendar, prohibir)

When we use a verb that is giving either advice or an order in El Presente or El Presente Progresivo, it is followed by El Presente de Subjuntivo. To learn about this see Using El Presente de Subjuntivo with verbs giving advice / order (sugerir, recomendar, prohibir)

This lesson explains how to use these same verbs in El Pretérito Indefinido, El Pretérito Imperfecto and El Pretérito Pluscuamperfecto, which are then followed by que + El Imperfecto Subjuntivo

sugerir (to suggest)

recomendar (to recommend)

advertir (to warn/to advise)

animar [a] (to encourage)

aconsejar (to advise)

prohibir (to ban)

ordenar (to order)

permitir (to allow)

necesitar (to need)

Let's see some examples:

Me sugirió que llegara temprano a la cita.He suggested that I arrive early to the appointment.

Le prohibieron que visitara a sus hijos.They forbade him to visit his children.

Nos advirtieron que hiciéramos la reserva con antelación.They advised us to make the reservation in advance.

Me habían recomendado que lo consultase con un abogado.They had recommended that I consult a lawyer about it.

Paula me animó a que fuese de excursión a la montaña.Paula encouraged me to go on an excursion to the mountains.

María me aconsejaba que tuviera un poco de paciencia con Miguel.Maria advised me to be a bit patient with Miguel.

Yo había ordenado a mi hijo que arreglara su habitación inmediatamente.I had ordered my son to tidy up his room immediately.

No nos permitieron que comiésemos en la reunión.They didn't allow us to eat during the meeting.

Necesitaba que vinieras a recogerme al aeropuerto.I needed you to come and pick me up from the airport.

Notice how most of them have a direct or indirect object indicating the person receiving the order, request, suggestion or encouragement (me, te, nos, le...)

Note that, as explained in Using El Presente de Subjuntivo with verbs giving advice / order (sugerir, recomendar, prohibir), the use of the present tense and present progressive for verbs giving advice or an order requires the use of the present subjunctive in the subordinate clause after que. However the use of past tenses with this type of verb triggers the imperfect subjunctive in the subordinate clause:

Te sugiero que vengas rápidamente.

I suggest that you come quickly.

Te sugerí que vinieras/vinieses rápidamente.

I suggested that you come quickly.

Also notice that in English, the subordinate clause doesn't change tenses. (that you come quickly)

Sometimes verbs giving advice / an order can be followed by an infinitive. In this case, "que" shouldn't be used. For example:

Pedro nos animó a ir a su fiesta.Pedro encouraged us to go to his party.

El médico me sugirió hacer un curso de meditación.The doctor suggested that I do [lit: suggested to me to do] a meditation course.

Sus padres le prohibían beber alcohol.His parents forbade him to drink alcohol.

This would be incorrect:

Pedro nos animó a que ir a su fiesta.

El médico me sugirió que hacer un curso de meditación.

Sus padres le prohibían que beber alcohol.

Using these verbs with El Pretérito Perfecto gives more flexibility to the subordinate clause. In this case it allows both El Presente de Subjuntivo and El Imperfecto Subjuntivo. Have a look:

Nos han prohibido que entremos en esta clase.They have forbidden us to go in this classroom.

Nos han prohibido que entráramos en esta clase.They have forbidden us to go into this classroom.

Want to make sure your Spanish sounds confident? We’ll map your knowledge and give you free lessons to focus on your gaps and mistakes. Start your Braimap today »

Learn more about these related Spanish grammar topics

Examples and resources

No nos permitieron que comiésemos en la reunión.They didn't allow us to eat during the meeting.
Le prohibieron que visitara a sus hijos.They forbade him to visit his children.
Nos advirtieron que hiciéramos la reserva con antelación.They advised us to make the reservation in advance.
Yo había ordenado a mi hijo que arreglara su habitación inmediatamente.I had ordered my son to tidy up his room immediately.
Me sugirió que llegara temprano a la cita.He suggested that I arrive early to the appointment.
Nos han prohibido que entremos en esta clase.They have forbidden us to go in this classroom.
María me aconsejaba que tuviera un poco de paciencia con Miguel.Maria advised me to be a bit patient with Miguel.
El médico me sugirió hacer un curso de meditación.The doctor suggested that I do [lit: suggested to me to do] a meditation course.
Nos han prohibido que entráramos en esta clase.They have forbidden us to go into this classroom.
Paula me animó a que fuese de excursión a la montaña.Paula encouraged me to go on an excursion to the mountains.
Sus padres le prohibían beber alcohol.His parents forbade him to drink alcohol.
Necesitaba que vinieras a recogerme al aeropuerto.I needed you to come and pick me up from the airport.
Me habían recomendado que lo consultase con un abogado.They had recommended that I consult a lawyer about it.
Pedro nos animó a ir a su fiesta.Pedro encouraged us to go to his party.
Clever stuff underway!