Using the imperfect subjunctive after the conjunction como si (subordinate manner clauses)

In Spanish the conjunction como si (as if/like) is used to form subordinate clauses. These clauses express the way something is done. It is always followed by the subjunctive. In this lesson we will explain how it works with El Imperfecto Subjuntivo.

Have a look and listen to the following examples:

Pedro se comporta como si fuera un adolescente.
Pedro behaves as if he were a teenager.

Me habla como si quisiera convencerme.
He talks to me as if he wanted to convince me.

Nos trataron como si fuésemos delincuentes.
They treated us as if we were criminals.

Notice how the subordinate clause introduced by como si is followed by El Imperfecto Subjuntivo.
Unlike in English where as if is often followed by a past tense in the indicative, in Spanish como si can never be followed by a tense in the indicative or El Presente de Subjuntivo.

Have a look:

Lo tomó como si se tratara de una broma. (Imperfect subjunctive)
He took it as a joke. [as if it was a joke]

Lo tomó como si se trata / se trató / se trataba de una broma. (No indicative)
Lo tomó como si se trate de una broma. (No present subjunctive)

See also Conjugate verbs in El Imperfecto de Subjuntivo.

Learn more about these related Spanish grammar topics

Examples and resources

Me habla como si quisiera convencerme.
He talks to me as if he wanted to convince me.


Nos trataron como si fuésemos delincuentes.
They treated us as if we were criminals.


Pedro se comporta como si fuera un adolescente.
Pedro behaves as if he were a teenager.


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