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Aprobar: Subjunctive & Past Participle

Instructor: Elena Sacramento Lechado

Elena has a PhD in linguistics from University of La Laguna (Spain). Currently, she teaches Spanish as a foreign language and creates teaching resources.

This lesson covers the Spanish verb ''aprobar'' ('to pass'). You will learn how to express doubts or wishes with this verb, i.e. in the subjunctive. Also, you will see how to talk about past events by using its past participle.

Introducing the Verb Aprobar

Is there any subject at school you find tricky and you are not sure if you will pass the class? Have you passed all your school tests so far? And what about the driver's license?

In order to answer these questions in Spanish, you will need to learn how to use the verb aprobar. Its basic meaning is 'to pass', in the sense of succeeding in an examination or test. However, it can also be used with the meaning of 'accepting a law or proposal' (i.e. aprobar una ley o propuesta).

Translation: To pass
pass

Subjunctive of Aprobar

The subjunctive is a set of verb forms that we use when we want to express doubts, uncertainty or wishes. The present subjunctive is quite similar to the present indicative, but with a slight difference - the ending main vowel changes. For verbs ending in -AR, it changes into '-e'; for verbs ending in -ER or -IR, it changes into '-a'. Since the verb aprobar is part of the first group, its ending main vowel will be '-e'.

Also, we need to take into account that aprobar is an irregular verb, so its stem will change into aprueb- in all singular forms and the third person plural. Therefore, its subjunctive will be as follows:

VERB: aprobar (ah-proh-BAHR) - to pass

Subject Pronouns Aprobar: Subjunctive Pronunciation Translation
yo apruebe ah-PRWEH-beh I pass
apruebes ah-PRWEH-behs you pass
él/ella usted apruebe ah-PRWEH-beh he/she passes - you formal pass
nosotros nosotras aprobemos ah-proh-BEH-mohs we pass
vosotros vosotras aprobéis ah-proh-BAYS you all pass
ellos/ellas ustedes aprueben ah-PRWEH-behn they/you all formal pass

Now take a look at the examples below and notice the expressions that precede the subjunctive forms.

Note: in Spanish the present subjunctive is used to talk about future possibilities/desires as well.

Examples

Diana is a very diligent student, but she is insecure at times. She talks to her older sister, Lara, about her exams:

Diana: No creo que apruebe mi examen de matemáticas. ('I don't think I will pass my Maths exam'.)

Lara: Pero si has estudiado mucho. ('But you have studied a lot'.) Espero que apruebes. ('I hope you pass'.) Estoy segura de que sí. ('I'm certain you will'.) Yo estoy preocupada por mi examen de conducir. ('I'm worried about my driving test'.)

Diana: ¡Ojalá aprobemos las dos! ('I wish both of us will pass'.)

Notice that subjunctive forms are used after expressions indicating negative suppositions or doubts (No creo que…) or wishes (Espero que… / Ojalá).

Present Perfect of Aprobar

The present perfect is a tense we use in order to talk about actions that have taken place in the past but may have an influence on the present. This tense is 'perfect' because it consists of two parts - the verb haber (the auxiliary 'have') and the past participle.

Past participles are generally formed by adding -ado (-AR verbs) or -ido (-ER/-IR verbs) to the verb stem, so in this case the past participle will be aprobado.


passed

Therefore, you will only need to remember how to conjugate the auxiliary verb depending on the person.

VERB: aprobar (ah-proh-BAHR) - to pass

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