We use the Imperfect Subjunctive when referring to events or
ideas that did not, cannot and will not happen.

The Imperfect Subjunctive uses the 3-part formula just as the Present Subjunctive does. Each one of these three components MUST be in place.

1

2

3

Subject #1 (indicative verb)

(Select one of the WEIRDO categories)

Past Tense Indicative Verb Options:

1. imperfect
2. preterite
3. past perfect
4. conditional

5. conditional perfect

Que

This is the conjunction necessary
to introduce the subjunctive clause

Subject #2 + verb in the subjunctive

(the person or thing in our WEIRDO world that didn’t happened or couldn’t happen)

Verb Options: Subjunctive
mood in the Past

1. imperfect (past) subjunctive
[for a simultaneous or future state or action]
OR
2. past perfect subjunctive [for a prior state or action]

There is only one set of endings in the imperfect subjunctive, regardless if the verb ends in -Ar ,-Ir
or
-Er
.

Yo

Él, ella, usted

Nosotros*

Vosotros

Ellos, ellas, Uds.

ra ras ra -ramos rais ran

* Note:
the Nosotros form has an accent on the vowel that immediately precedes
the “r” in “-ramos.”

The third person plural Ellos/as, ustedes form in the Past Subjunctive always ends in “-RAN”
in as opposed to the Preterite which ends in “-RON”.

We form the past subjunctive by taking the third
person plural
(Ellos, ellas, ustedes) form of the preterite
past tense
, and then adding the appropriate Imperfect subjunctive
ending.

For example, let’s conjugate Tener:

  1. We start with the Preterite 3rd
    person plural : Tuvieron (irregular)
  2. We drop the “-ron” ending:
    tuvie-
  3. We add one of the appropriate
    -ra/ -ras/ -ra/ -’ramos/ -rais/ -ran” endings
  4. we’ll use the “” form for this example:
    tuvieras

Examples of the Imperfect Subjunctive:

Yo

Él, ella, usted

Nosotros

Ellos, ellas, Uds.

Hablar

hablara hablaras hablara habláramos hablaran

Comer

comiera comieras comiera comiéramos comieran

Vivir

viviera vivieras viviera viviéramos vivieran
We use the Past (Imperfect) Subjunctive in the dependent clause (following “que“) when the main clause (Subject #1) is in the past tense [the Preterite, the Imperfect or the Conditional.]

Past Imperfect Subjunctive

Preterite

Yo le recomendé que
él
bebiera cuatro vasos de agua
cada día.

Imperfect

Yo quería que él
bebiera cuatro vasos de agua cada día.

Conditional

Yo querría que él
bebiera cuatro vasos de agua cada día.

Past Perfect

Yo había querido que él
bebiera cuatro vasos de agua cada día.

Remember that the word “que” introduces the
dependent clause.

The Present Subjunctive
refers to things which MAY still happen (however unlikely!)

We use the Present Subjunctive when the main clause is in the present tense:

Present Subjunctive

Present

Quiero que él beba cuatro vasos de agua cada día

Present Perfect

Yo le he recomendado que él beba cuatro vasos de agua cada día

Future

Le voy a recomendar que
él
beba cuatro vasos de agua
cada día

Future

Yo le recomendaré que él
beba cuatro vasos de agua cada día

via The Imperfect Past Subjunctive.

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