Summary of how to form the present subjunctive

You can conjugate any verb in the Spanish language provided you know the infinitive, the yo-form for the present indicative, and the information given here.

Start with the first person singular (yo-form) of the present indicative.

1. If this form does not end in an -o, the verb is irregular in the present subjunctive; memorize the forms.

Yo-form, Infin-

Present subjunctive forms

pres. ind. itive yo Ud./él/ella nosotros vosotros Uds./ellos/ellas
soy ser: sea seas sea seamos seáis sean
estoy estar: esté estés esté estemos estéis estén
voy ir: vaya vayas vaya vayamos vayáis vayan
doy dar: des demos deis den
sé saber: sepa sepas sepa sepamos sepáis sepan

Note: the endings for the present subjunctive for all other verbs are:

Endings for -ar verbs: -e, -es, -e, -emos, -éis, -en
Endings for -er and -ir verbs: -a, -as, -a, -amos, -áis, -an

(These endings are or the most part the “opposite” conjugation endings of the present indicative.)

2. If the stem of the yo-form is exactly the same as the stem of the infinitive, the verb is regular; use this stem and attach the appropriate endings.  

Yo-form, Infin-

Present subjunctive forms

pres. ind. itive yo Ud./él/ella nosotros vosotros Uds./ellos/ellas
hablo hablar: hable hables hable hablemos habléis hablen
como comer: coma comas coma comamos comáis coman
vivo vivir: viva vivas viva vivamos viváis vivan

3. If the stem of the yo-form shows a stem change when compared to the stem of the infinitive (e > ie, o > ue, or u > ue) and it's an -ar or -er verb, the stem will undergo the same changes as in the present indicative (in all forms except for nosotros and vosotros); substitute the subjunctive endings for the indicative ones:

Yo-form, Infin-

Present subjunctive forms

pres. ind. itive yo Ud./él/ella nosotros vosotros Uds./ellos/ellas
vuelvo volver: vuelva vuelvas vuelva volvamos volváis vuelvan

4. If the stem of yo-form, when compared to that of the infinitive, shows that an -ir stem-changing verb is involved, all forms of the present subjunctive will have stem changes: the same ones as in the present indicative (e  > ie, o > ue, and e > i), plus special changes in the nosotros and vosotros forms (e > i, o > u):

Yo-form, Infin-

Present subjunctive forms

pres. ind. itive yo Ud./él/ella nosotros vosotros Uds./ellos/ellas
siento sentir: sienta sientas sienta sintamos sintáis sientan
duermo dormir: duerma duermas duerma durmamos durmáis duerman
pido pedir: pida pidas pida pidamos pidáis pidan

5. We are left with a yo form stem which is NOT the same as the one for the infinitive and which is NOT a stem-changing verb: use this stem for all forms of the present subjunctive:

Yo-form, Infin-

Present subjunctive forms

pres. ind. itive yo Ud./él/ella nosotros vosotros Uds./ellos/ellas
conozco conocer: conozca conozcas conozca conozcamos conozcáis conozcan
tengo tener: tenga tengas tenga tengamos tengáis tengan

Some of the verbs in this category:  caber (quepo), caer (caigo), conocer (conozco), decir (digo), hacer (hago), poner (pongo), salir (salgo), seguir (sigo), valer, (valgo), venir (vengo).  Remember that compounds based on these verbs also have special yo-forms, e.g.,  reconocer, deshacer, proponer, conseguir, etc.

6. Remember that spelling (or orthographic) changes take place in the subjunctive forms of some verbs to maintain the pronunciation of the consonant sound preceding the infinitive:

Infinitive ending Subj. ending

Examples

-car

>

-que

buscar > busque

-gar

>

-gue

pagar > pague

-zar

>

-ce

empezar > empiece

-cer or -cir

>

-za

ejercer > ejerza

-ger or -gir

>

-ja

coger > coja

Yo-form, Infin-

Present subjunctive forms

pres. ind. itive yo Ud./él/ella nosotros vosotros Uds./ellos/ellas
busco buscar: busque busques busque busquemos busquéis busquen
pago pagar: pague pagues pague paguemos paguéis paguen
empiezo empezar: empiece empieces empiece empecemos empecéis empiecen
ejerzo ejercer: ejerza ejerzas ejerza ejerzamos ejerzáis ejerzan
cojo coger: coja cojas coja cojamos cojáis cojan


Contact: Fred F. Jehle

Home: http://users.ipfw.edu/jehle/

Indiana University - Purdue University Ft. Wayne

S210 Main Page

Fort Wayne, IN 46805-1499 USA

URL: http://users.ipfw.edu/jehle/courses/presubj.htm