Conjugating Irregular Spanish Verbs in the Present Subjunctive

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  • 0:03 The Present Subjunctive
  • 2:05 Irregular Verbs
  • 4:45 Practice Sentences
  • 9:17 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Pablo Serna

Pablo has taught college Spanish at the University of Missouri and Central Methodist University, and has a master's degree in Spanish literature.

In this lesson, we will learn how to conjugate and use the Spanish verbs dar, estar, haber, ir, saber and ser in the present subjunctive tense. We will also practice vocabulary related to literature and book genres.

The Present Subjunctive

Today, we will look at the Irregular verbs dar, estar, haber, ir, saber and ser. They are irregular in more than just the present subjunctive, but today we will focus only on the present subjunctive. Do you remember when to use the present subjunctive?

The present subjunctive is used to express a hypothetical situation, doubt, influence or certain emotions in the present tense. We conjugate verbs in the subjunctive when there are four specific elements involved:

  1. A trigger: Verb or expression that indicates a hypothetical situation, doubt, influence or emotion.
  2. The word 'que:' This 'que' is the word 'that' that you would use in English in sentences like: 'I hope that you get well.' It is different than eso(a)(s), ese, (that one) and qué (what).
  3. Two clauses: A main clause in the present indicative and a subordinate clause.
  4. Two subjects: For most of the subjunctive tenses, we would need two different subjects, each of them performing an action.

To conjugate a regular verb in the present subjunctive, take the 'yo' form of the verb in the present tense, then get rid of the letter 'o,' and add the following endings according to the subject:

-AR -e, -es, -e, -emos, -éis, -en

-ER -a, -as, -a, -amos, -áis, -an

-IR -a, -as, -a, -amos, -áis, -an

Irregular Verbs in the Present Subjunctive

Understanding how to conjugate regular verbs in the subjunctive can shed light on the sense behind the irregular verbs. Look at and memorize the following verbs conjugated in the present subjunctive:

Person Dar (to give) Estar (to be)
Yo esté
des estés
Él/ella/usted esté
Nosotros demos estemos
Vosotros deis estéis
Ellos/ellas/ustedes den estén

Notice these two verbs are irregular because of the accent marks and also because the present tense 'yo' forms are doy and estoy and so the endings -oy are removed before adding the present subjunctive endings.

Person Haber (to have) Ir (to go)
Yo haya vaya
hayas vayas
Él/ella/usted haya vaya
Nosotros hayamos vayamos
Vosotros hayáis vayáis
Ellos/ellas/ustedes hayan vayan

These two verbs are very similar making them easier to memorize together.

Person Saber (to know) Ser (to be)
Yo sepa sea
sepas seas
Él/ella/usted sepa sea
Nosotros sepamos seamos
Vosotros sepáis seáis
Ellos/ellas/ustedes sepan sean

Saber and ser are similar in the present subjunctive. Ser simply has the letter 'p' removed in the conjugation compared to saber. Practice saying all these verbs out loud multiple times to help memorize each conjugation. Go back over this portion of the video and repeat each verb with me and remember: pronunciation is an important part of learning a language.

¡Vamos a Practicar!

Complete the sentences with the correct form of the verb in the present subjunctive. The answers are at the end of the lesson.

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