In this lesson, I will cover some uses of the Imperfect subjunctive in Spanish. If you know the Subjunctive, you know that you have to use it with objectives. A subject does an action for a target of another subject. So, we always use the Subjunctive when we use these phrases:

Para que (for/in order to)

Con el objeto de que (in order to)

A fin de que (in order to)

For example:

Los políticos hacen promesas para ganar elecciones. (Politicians make promises to win elections.)

Los políticos hacen promesas para que la gente los vote. (Politicians make promises so the people vote for them.)

So, when the verb before para que is in the Present Indicative, the verb after para que will be in the Present Subjunctive.

But, when the verb before the connector (para que) is in Past, the verb after the connector will be in Imperfect Subjunctive.

Josefina tiró dinero al mar para que la gente supiera que a ella no le interesa el dinero. (Josephine threw money into the sea to let people know that she is not interested in money.)

El maestro escribió una nota a los padres, a fin de que supieran lo que estaba pasando en la escuela. (The teacher wrote a note to parents so that they knew what was happening at school.)

Natalia y Mario hicieron una boda con el objeto de que sus amigos les hicieran regalos. (Natalia and Mario had a wedding so that his friends would give them gifts.)

Sometimes, an objective can be expressed like a desire; and remember that it needs Subjunctive too:

Los padres de Gabriel dejaron de darle dinero porque querían que él buscara un trabajo. (Gabriel’s parents stopped giving him money because they wanted him to get a job.)

María José le dijo la verdad a Pedro porque esperaba que él la entendiera. (María José told the truth to Peter because she expected that he would understand.)

Other use of the Subjunctive is with orders from a subject to another subject. When the principal verb is in the Present Indicative, we usethe Present Subjunctive, but when it is in Past, we need to use Imperfect Subjunctive.

Te pido (I ask you)

Te ruego (I beg you)

Te suplico (I beg you)

Te ordeno (I order you)

Te pido que limpies la casa, porque van a venir mis padres. (I ask you to clean the house because my parents are coming.)

Te pedí que limpiaras la casa porque iban a venir mis padres, finalmente tuve que hacerlo yo. (I asked you to clean the house because my parents were coming; in the end I had to do it.)

Te ruego que te portes bien, porque si no tendré que enviarte a la dirección. (I beg you to behave well, because if not I’ll have to send to the principal.)

Te rogué que te portaras bien, y no lo hiciste, ahora tendrás que ir a hablar con el director. (I begged you to behave yourself, and you did not, now you’ll have to go talk to the director.)

via Learning Spanish Reviews Blog » Uses of the Imperfect Subjunctive in Spanish.

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