Using the subjunctive with verbs that express "wish" and "feeling" (conditional in the main clause)

When we introduce a sentence with a verb that expresses a wish or a feeling, whether affirmative or negative, it is followed by the subjunctive

Let's see how it works when the verb in the main clause (expressing the wish or feeling) is conjugated in the conditional tense.

For example:

  • "Desearía que" (I [would] wish that...)
  • "Me preocuparía que.../no me preocuparía que..." (I would/wouldn't worry that...)
  • "Preferiría que..." (I'd prefer that...) 
  • "Me gustaría que.../no me gustaría que" (I would like that...)

Desearía que todo pasara rápido y pudiéramos dejar esto atrás.I would like everything to go quickly and be able to leave this behind.

¿No le preocuparía que su hijo se quedara soltero para siempre?Wouldn't she worry that her son remained single forever?

A ti no te gustaría que Ramiro te engañase.You wouldn't like Ramiro to cheat on you.

Nosotros preferiríamos que fuésemos al restaurante del centro.We'd prefer if we all went to the restaurant in the centre.

Me gustaría que ustedes vinieran a mi boda.I'd like you to come to my wedding.

In all the examples above, what is wished for or felt is that something happens or does not happen in the future or at the moment of speaking. This is always expressed with El Imperfecto Subjuntivo.

Note that if the subject in the main clause and the subordinate clause is the same, then we omit que and use the infinitive. For example:

A mí me preocuparía tener que seguir trabajando a los 70 años.
I'd worry if I had to continue working when I'm 70 years old.

Te entristecería ver a tus hijos sin trabajo durante mucho tiempo.
You would be sad to see your children out of work for a long time.

Bear in mind that wish and feeling verbs sometimes take "si" instead of "que", but the usage is the same. For example:

Me encantaría si pudieses venir conmigo.I'd love it if you could come with me. [you=tú]

Te pondrías muy triste si me vieras sufrir.You would become sad if you saw me suffer.

See also Using the subjunctive with verbs that express "wish" and "feeling"

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Examples and resources

Nosotros preferiríamos que fuésemos al restaurante del centro.We'd prefer if we all went to the restaurant in the centre.
Desearía que todo pasara rápido y pudiéramos dejar esto atrás.I would like everything to go quickly and be able to leave this behind.
A ti no te gustaría que Ramiro te engañase.You wouldn't like Ramiro to cheat on you.
Me encantaría si pudieses venir conmigo.I'd love it if you could come with me. [you=tú]
Te pondrías muy triste si me vieras sufrir.You would become sad if you saw me suffer.
Me gustaría que ustedes vinieran a mi boda.I'd like you to come to my wedding.
¿No le preocuparía que su hijo se quedara soltero para siempre?Wouldn't she worry that her son remained single forever?
Let me take a look at that...