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Imperfect Subjunctive

What is the Imperfect Subjunctive?

Imperfect Subjunctive 1, 2, 3

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The Imperfect tense of the subjunctive mood is used to express the same subjectivity as the Present subjunctive, but in the past.

To indicate an action in the past in the same situations where the subjunctive would be required in the Present:

e.g.

Era importante que Paola me trabajara en el centro. (Imperfect subjunctive) – It was important that Paola would work for me in the center

Es importante que Paola me trabaje en el centro. (Present subjunctive)  – It is important that
Paola works for me at the center.


– After the expression “ojalá” or “ojalá que” :

e.g.

Ojalá que lloviera mañana. (Imperfect subjunctive)
I hope that it would rain tomorrow.
Ojalá que llueva
mañana. (Present subjunctive)
I hope that it rains tomorrow.


– In if clauses to indicate contrary-to-fact or unlikely events:

e.g.

Aprenderías más rápido si estudiaras más (Imperfect subjunctive)
You would learn faster if you studied.


– When the verb in the main clause is in one of the past tenses or in the conditional, the Imperfect subjunctive is used in the dependent clause:

Preterite

Quise que él me visitara.
I wanted him to visit me.

Imperfect

Quería que mi amigo me visitara cada día.
I wanted my friend to visit me every day.

Past Perfect

He querido que mi amigo me visitara.
I had wanted that my friend to visit me .

Conditional

Querría que mi amigo me visitara.
I would like my friend to visit me.


– When the verb in the main clause is in the Present but it refers to a previous occurrence:

e.g.

Me gusta que ella llegara con él.
I like that she came with him

Es bueno que te comieras toda la comida
It’s good that you eat all the food


– To indicate politeness:

Quisiera ir contigo  I would like to go with you

¿Pudiera ir con ustedes?  – Could I go with you?

Ella debiera ayudarla – She should help her

 




imperfect subjunctive in Spanish

Imperfect Subjunctive 2

It is important to know that in Spanish there are two complete sets of conjugations in the Imperfect Subjunctive tense. In some Latin American countries only the “-a” form is used in the spoken Spanish, while the “-se” form is mainly used in literary work.

Note: You can conjugate in the “-a conjugation”  of the Imperfect Subjuntive by following the next steps:

1. take the third person plural of the Preterite form of any – ar– er and – ir verbs

2. drop the 
– on ending to find the root

3. add the following endings to that root

“- a” conjugation

– a, – as, – a, – amos, – ais, – an

e.g.

bailar – to dance

3rd person plural of the preterite of bailar = bailaron

we remove the 
– on ending

the root is bailar –

Subject – bailar ( to dance)

Yo (I)   bailar – a (regular)

Tú (You)(Informal) – bailar -as

Usted (You)(Formal)  bailar -a

Él/Ella(He/She)  bailar -a

Nosotros(as)(We)  bailár -amos

Vosotros(as)(You)(Informal)  bailar -ais

Ustedes(You)(Formal)  bailar -an

Ellos(as)(They)  bailar -an

 

correr – to run (irregular)

3rd person plural of the preterite of correr = corrieron

we remove the
 – on ending

the root is correr –

Subject – correr (to run)

Yo (I) – corrier-a

Tú (You)(Informal)  corrier-as

Usted (You)(Formal) – corrier-a

Él /Ella(He/She) – corrier-a

Nosotros(as)(We) – corriér-amos

Vosotros(as)(You)(Informal) – corriér-ais

Ustedes(You)(Formal) – corrier-an

Ellos(as)(They)  corrier-an

 

vivir – to live (irregular)

3rd person plural of the preterite of vivir = vivieron

we remove the
 – on ending

the root is vivir-

Subject  vivir (to live)

Yo (I) – vivier-a

Tú (You)(Informal) – vivier-as

Usted (You)(Formal)  vivier-a

Él/Ella(He/She)  vivier-a

Nosotros(as)(We)  viviér-amos

Vosotros(as)(You)(Informal)  viviér-ais

Ustedes(You)(Formal)  vivier-an

Ellos(as) (They) – vivier-an

 

Note: You
can conjugate in the 
“-se conjugation” of the Imperfect Subjuntive by following the next steps:

1. take the third person plural of the preterite form of any – ar– er and – ir verbs
2. drop the 
– ron ending to find the root
3. add the following endings to that root

“-se” conjugation

– se, – ses, – se, – semos, – seis, – sen

This rule works perfectly for all three families of verbs (– ar– er and – ir),

e.g.

bailar  to dance (regular)

3rd person plural of the preterite of bailar = bailaron

we remove the
 – ron ending



the root is baila-

Subject  bailar ( to dance)

Yo (I)  baila-se

Tú (You)(Informal)  baila -ses

Usted (You)(Formal) – baila -se

Él/Ella(He/She)  baila -se

Nosotros(as)(We) – bailá -semos

Vosotros(as)(You)(Informal) – baila -seis

Ustedes(You)(Formal) – baila -sen

Ellos(as)(They) – baila -sen

 

correr  to run (irregular)

3rd person plural of the preterite of correr = corrieron

we remove the
 – ron ending

the root is corrie-

Subject – correr (to run)

Yo (I)  corrie-se

Tú (You)(Informal)  corrie-ses

Usted (You)(Formal)  corrie-se

Él/Ella(He/She) – corrie-se

Nosotros(as)(We)  corrié-semos

Vosotros(as)(You)(Informal) – corrie-seis

Ustedes(You)(Formal) – corrie-sen

Ellos(as)(They)  corrie-sen

 


vivir – to live (irregular)

3rd person plural of the preterite of vivir = vivieron

we remove the 
– on ending

the root is vivier-

Subject  vivir (to live)

Yo (I) – vivie-se

Tú (You)(Informal)  vivie-ses

Usted (You)(Formal) – vivie-se

Él /Ella(He/She)  vivie-se

Nosotros(as)(We)  vivié-semos

Vosotros(as)(You)(Informal) – vivie-seis

Ustedes(You)(Formal)  vivie-sen

Ellos(as)(They)  vivie-sen


learn spanish how long does it take

Imperfect subjunctive 3

We know that in Spanish there are three kinds of verbs according to their ending:

1. – ar verbs
2. – er verbs
3. – ir verbs




Note: “- ar” and “- er” verbs do not change the stem in the Preterit. Therefore, there is no change in the stem of the Imperfect subjunctive:

repasar (to review) …repasaron (Preterite) 

yo ..repasara

tú…repasaras

usted/él/ella …repasara 

nosotros(as)..repasáramos 

vosotros(as)…repasarais

ellos(as)…repasaran

 

barrer (to sweep) …barrieron (Preterite) 

yo…barriera 

tú…barrieras

usted/él/ella…barriera 

nosotros(as)…barriéramos 

vosotros(as)…barrierais

ellos(as)…barrieran


Note: “- ir” verbs, however, change the stem in the preterite in both the third person singular and plural. Therefore, the spelling of the imperfect subjunctive is affected.

There are three different stem-changing groups within the “- ir” verbs:

1. “e>ie” stem-changing
“- ir” verbs: the “e” of the stem changes into “i” in the third person plural of the preterit.

sentir (to feel) …sintieron (Preterite) 

yo…sintiera

tú…sintieras

usted/él/ella…sintiera

nosotros(as)…sintiéramos

vosotros(as)…sintierais 

ellos(as)…sintieran (Imperfect subjunctive)

 

If there are two “e”s in the stem, it is the second one “e” that changes:

preferir (to prefer) …prefirieron (Preterite) 

yo…prefiriera

tú…prefirieras

usted/él/ella…prefiriera 

nosotros(as)…prefiriéramos

vosotros(as)…prefirierais

ellos(as)…prefirieran (Imperfect subjunctive)


2. “e>i” stem-changing
“-ir” verbs: the “e” of the stem changes into an “i”.

pedir (to ask for) …pidieron (Preterite) 

yo…pidiera

tú…pidieras

usted/él/ella…pidiera

nosotros(as)…pidiéramos

vosotros(as)…pidierais

ellos(as)…pidieran (Imperfect subjunctive)

 

– If there are two “e”s in the stem, it is the second “e” that changes:

repetir (to repeat) …repitieron (Preterite) 

yo…repitiera

tú…repitieras 

usted/él/ella…repitiera

nosotros(as)…repitiéramos

vosotros(as)…repitierais 

ellos(as)…repitieran


3. “o>u” stem-changing “-ir” verbs:
the
“o” of the stem changes to “u”.

dormir (to sleep)… durmieron (Preterite) 

yo…durmiera

tú…durmieras

usted/él/ella…durmiera 

nosotros(as)…durmiéramos 

vosotros(as)…durmierais 

ellos(as)…durmieran (Imperfect subjunctive)

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