What is the subjunctive and when should it be used?

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The subjunctive is a mood (not tense) used fairly commonly in Spanish. It can be formed in the present and past tenses (the present form of subjunctive is used when talking about the future also). At GCSE level, you are not usually expected to understand it fully, but using it in exams is a good way to add flair to your work. For this reason it would probably be easiest to learn a few set phrases that you know contain or are followed by the subjunctive.

It is used in various circumstances; those most likely to be relevant to your work include: phrases containing doubt ("no pienso/creo que..."- i dont think that, "es posible que..." - it is possible that) and when talking about your future ("cuando sea mayor" - When I am older).

If you are confident on using the present subjunctive, a phrase containing the imperfect (past) subjunctive could be used to make your work even more impressive. A phrase such as "si fuera el primer ministro..." (if i were prime minister...) includes the imperfect subjunctive and is also a useful way of introducing the conditional tense. 

Kieran N. GCSE Maths tutor, GCSE History tutor, GCSE Spanish tutor

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