Imperfect Subjunctive I


  1. The written lesson is below.
  2. Links to the quizzes, test, etc are to the left


In unit 7 we introduced the Subjunctive and we gave it a simple approach with the goal of making this topic less troublesome than it usually is made.We explained the difference between tense and mood. We referred to Subjunctive as a mood and we studied the present subjunctive as  a tense within the subjunctive mood.

In this unit we will be covering another tense within the subjunctive mood; the Imperfect Subjunctive.

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

Here are some examples of the uses of imperfect subjunctive in Spanish:

1. To indicate an action in the past in the same situations where the subjunctive would be required in the present:

Era interesante que Jorge me leyera las noticias. (imperfect subjunctive)
It was interesting that Jorge would read to me the news.

Es interesante que Jorge me lea las noticias (present subjunctive)
It is interesting that Jorge reads to me the news.

2. After the expression ojalá (or ojalá que) :

Ojalá que nevara mañana. (imperfect subjunctive)
I hope that it would snow tomorrow.

Ojalá que nieve mañana. (present subjunctive)
I hope that it snows tomorrow.

3. In “if” clauses to indicate contrary-to-fact or unlikely events:

Compraría un coche nuevo si tuviera dinero. (imperfect subjunctive)
I would buy a new car if I had the money.

4. 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:


Quise que (él) me escribiera.
I wanted him to write me.


Quería que mi hijo me escribiera cada día.
I wanted my son to write me every day.

Past Perfect

Había querido que mi hijo me escribiera en su ausencia.
I had wanted that my son to write me in his absence.


Querría que mi hijo me escribiera durante su viaje.
I would like my son to write me during his trip.

5. When the verb in the main clause is in the present but it refers to a previous occurrence:

No me gusta que (él) llegara con ella.
It does not seem fine to me that he arrived with her.

Es bueno que Uds. vinieran juntos.
It’s good that you arrived together.

Es obvio que (él) quisiera haber tenido novia.
It’s obvious that he would have wanted to have a girlfriend.

6. To indicate politeness:

Quisiera asistir a la reunión.
I would like to attend the meeting.

¿Pudiera ir con Uds.?
Could I go with you?

Tú debieras ofrecerle ayuda.
You should offer help to him/her.