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Easily forming the Present Subjunctive

This is an easy way of forming the tense but I am not explaining when you use it because I have written separate articles on this. The main times that you will use it is after certain verbs and certain conjunctions.
The subjunctive is a way of expressing something that may not be a fact.
You may notice the similarities to this tense with the command (or imperative) tense.

There is a term called "personal endings". This just refers to common endings to most of the tenses for example, you may notice that all the nosotros forms end in -mos. You will need to know these but it does help with noticing the patterns in the other tenses too.

Swap the final A↔E

To form the Present subjunctive, take whatever you use for the usted form in the present tense and swap an a for an e, or an e for an a, basically, swap over a↔e. Once you have this word, add on these endings:
Subject pronoun General "personal endings" for verbs
yo / él / ella / usted do not add anything
(familiar) tú -s
nosotros -mos
ellos / ellas / ustedes -n
For the vosotros form, take the word for the nosotros form and swap the -mos for an -is whilst keeping the stress in the same place (when speaking or writing). In writing, you will have to decide whether you use the accent or not (mostly you will) but in speech, it is easier because you do not have to think about it. Incidentally, this is what you do with some of the other tenses too.

hablar = to speak
(usted) habla = you speak - swap the a for an e
Subject pronoun hablar meaning
yo hable I might speak
(familiar) tú hables you might speak
él / ella / usted hable he / she / you might speak
nosotros hablemos we might speak
(familiar) vosotros habléis you all might speak
ellos / ellas / ustedes hablen they / you all might speak

vender = to sell
(usted) vende = you speak - swap the e for an a
Subject pronoun vender meaning
yo venda  I might sell
(familiar) tú vendas  you might sell
él / ella / usted venda  he / she / you might sell
nosotros vendamos  we might sell
(familiar) vosotros vendáis  you all might sell
ellos / ellas / ustedes vendan  they / you all might sell

This method also works for verbs which has a stressed letter that splits in to two such as acertar (stressed e→ie) or aprobar (stressed o→ue). This includes some verbs that have this change and maybe some other irregularity (such as volver which has an oddity with the past participle, hemos vuelto = We have returned)
Present subjunctive:
Subject pronoun acertar aprobar
yo acierte apruebe
(familiar) tú aciertes apruebes
él / ella / usted acierte apruebe
nosotros acertemos aprobemos
(familiar) vosotros acertéis aprobéis
ellos / ellas / ustedes acierten aprueben
Notice on the nosotros and vosotros forms, the letter did not split up in to two because the stress is not on it.

Regular spelling changes

It is a common thing to change the spelling of some verbs (and other types of words) to keep the sound in speech. When you say these words, you do not have to think about it. Just guess. You do not have to worry about it too much when reading but if a word does look a little odd, say it and listen to how you said it. You should recognize it. It is only when writing them that you have to think about it. You may notice that the 'c' and 'g' in English are pronounced differently in front of an e or an i such as cat, certain, gate, general. In Spanish, they want to preserve sounds when words change. If you still cannot see why they change these letters, say it without changing them and the word will sound differently (apart from the last example).


c→qu (to keep a 'k' sound)
To keep a 'k' sound, sometimes the c has to be changed in to a qu (in Spanish, the k sound is usually written as 'qu' or a 'c').
Busca, busque (if you used a 'c', it would sound something like bus-theh)

c→z (to keep the English "th" sound)
vence, venza

g→gue / gui (to keep a soft 'g' sound)
To keep a soft 'g' sound in front of e or i, sounding like the g in English (but softer, let air pass at the top of the tongue), you have to use gue or gui. These are pronounced in a similar way to the English words guess and guitar, but softer.
llega, llegue

gue / gui → g
The reverse is true
consigue, consiga (you would never spell it with ...siguea)

g→j (to keep the gutteral sound)
recoge, recoja

z→c (to keep a nice spelling)
The Spanish like the English "th" sound in front of an e or an i to be spelt with a 'c', so you swap a 'z' for a 'c':
empieza, empiece


The most common verbs often have exceptions. The verb estar looks like an exeption but it does follow the above pattern, it just looks a little odd (usted está→esté). The verb dar has an accent on dé to distinguish it from the word de but I have noticed that some Spanish speakers miss it out on the internet and texts. The forms for caber = to fit seem to be based from yo quepo = I fit. Notice that the accent on the nosotros and vosotros forms are missed out only when it makes no difference to the sound.

Subject pronoun dar caber estar haber ir saber ser
yo quepa esté haya vaya sepa sea
(familiar) tú des quepas estés hayas vayas sepas seas
él / ella / usted quepa esté haya vaya sepa sea
nosotros demos quepamos estemos hayamos vayamos sepamos seamos
(familiar) vosotros deis quepáis estéis hayáis vayáis sepáis seáis
ellos / ellas / ustedes den quepan estén hayan vayan sepan sean

Verbs with e→i and o→u
Some verbs have an odd change of letter e→i or o→u. I suggest you learn these separately. Have a look at dormir, morir, divertir but servir can be formed the way I have described previously.
I will put the present tense and the subjunctive tense next to each other so you can see the changes. If this is still confusing, do not worry about it and learn it separately. I'm only writing this to show you a pattern:

Subject pronoun Divertir
Present tense
Present subjunctive
yo divierto divertí divierta
(familiar) tú diviertes divertiste diviertas
él / ella / usted divierte divirtió divierta
nosotros divertimos divertimos divirtamos
(familiar) vosotros divertís divertisteis divirtáis
ellos / ellas / ustedes divierten divirtieron diviertan

o→u when the following i sounds like a y
Subject pronoun Dormir
Present tense
Present subjunctive
yo duermo dormí duerma
(familiar) tú duermes dormiste duermas
él / ella / usted duerme durmió duerma
nosotros dormimos dormimos durmamos
(familiar) vosotros dormís dormisteis durmáis
ellos / ellas / ustedes duermen durmieron duerman

[ENGLISH]Have you found an error or do you want to add more information to these pages?
You can contact me at the bottom of the home page.

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