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Comer Imperfect Subjunctive Conjugation

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.

The Spanish verb 'comer' means 'to eat.' This lesson covers the forms of 'comer' in the imperfect subjunctive, a tense you'll need to talk about wishes, make suggestions or express surprise.

I'd Like You to Eat With Me Tomorrow!

Are you planning to invite your Spanish-speaking friends to have lunch with you? Would you like to suggest eating at a specific restaurant? What would you wish you could eat every single day?

To talk about this in Spanish, you need the imperfect subjunctive forms of the verb comer (pronounced: koh-MEHR), which means 'to eat.' Its name may sound complicated, but don't worry! Let's go over the main contexts in which these forms can be used.

We'll even hear a conversation between Paula and her friends, who are going to eat some delicious Peruvian food this weekend. Let's begin!

The verb comer means to eat.
comerconjugation

Imperfect Subjunctive of Comer

The subjunctive is a set of verbal forms we use to express subjective information, like wishes, hopes or imaginary situations.

To form the imperfect subjunctive in Spanish, we need to follow these steps:

  1. Take the third person plural form of the preterite: (ellos) comieron, in this case.
  2. Get rid of the ending so you're left with the stem: comie-.
  3. Add the two possible set of endings.

Note: The imperfect subjunctive is the only tense that allows two possible conjugations (-RA and -SE). You can use them indistinctly.

VERB: comer (koh-MEHR) - to eat

Subject
Pronoun
Imperfect
Subjunctive
Pronunciation Translation
yo comiera/
comiese
(koh-MYEH-rah/
koh-MYEH-seh)
I ate
comieras/
comieses
(koh-MYEH-rahs/
koh-MYEH-sehs)
you ate
él/ella
usted
comiera/
comiese
(koh-MYEH-rah/
koh-MYEH-seh)
he/she ate
you (formal) ate
nosotros/
nosotras
comiéramos/
comiésemos
(koh-MYEH-rah-mohs/
koh-MYEH-seh-mohs)
we ate
vosotros/
vosotras
comierais/
comieseis
(koh-MYEH-riys/
koh-MYEH-says)
you all ate
ellos/ellas
ustedes
comieran/
comiesen
(koh-MYEH-rahn/
koh-MYEH-sehn)
they ate
you all ate

Note: Only Spaniards use the form vosotros/as when addressing a group of people in an informal situation. In the rest of the Spanish-speaking countries, everyone uses the form ustedes in any situation.

Uses & Examples of Comer in the Imperfect Subjunctive

Now that you're familiar with the imperfect subjunctive of comer, it's time to practice! The imperfect subjunctive forms always appear in specific structures. Let's see the main ones.

Expressing Wishes

You can express wishes by using the imperfect subjunctive after either of these expressions:

  • Me gustaría que (I'd like that)
  • Me encantaría que (I'd love that)

Paula is a foodie and loves tasting new dishes and flavors. She wants to eat out this weekend and her friend Diego knows many great places to go. Let's hear what they say.

Paula: Me gustaría que comiéramos juntos este fin de semana. (I'd like us to eat together this weekend.)

Diego: Sí, me encantaría que comiésemos en el restaurante peruano del centro. (Yes, I'd love us to eat in the Peruvian restaurant in the center.)

Paula: ¡Estupendo! (Great!) Dicen que el ceviche y los anticuchos son deliciosos allí. (They say that ceviche and anticuchos are delicious there.)

Voy a invitar a Pedro y a María. (I'm going to invite Pedro and María.)

Y me gustaría que tu hermano comiese con nosotros también. (And I'd like your brother to eat with us too.)

Translation: I would love us to eat in the Peruvian restaurant.
peruvian

Later that day, Diego tells his brother about Paula's idea:

  • A Paula le encantaría que comieras con nosotros el sábado. (Paul would love for you to eat with us on Saturday.)

Expressing Surprise or Disappointment

Use these expressions followed by an imperfect subjunctive form to indicate that you were expecting (or not) a specific result.

  • Esperaba que (I was expecting that)
  • No esperaba que (I wasn't expecting that)
  • Deseaba que (I wished that)
  • No deseaba que (I didn't wish that)

On Saturday, Paula meets her friends outside the Peruvian restaurant. Everyone's there except for Pedro. Paula is disappointed.

Paula: Esperaba que Pedro comiera con nosotros. (I was expecting Pedro to eat with us.)

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