Creer in Spanish: Past Participle & Subjunctive

Instructor: Maria Elena Knolle Cano

Maria Elena has taught Spanish and German to learners of all levels in Europe, Asia and Australia and has a Master's degree in Cultural Studies and Communication.

In this lesson, we will focus on the important Spanish verb ''creer'' (to believe, think, trust) and how to build its past participle. We will also learn how to form the subjunctive mood of ''creer''.

The Subjunctive Mood

Do you love to dream yourself away sometimes? To think about what-if scenarios, letting your mind wander and lose yourself in your imaginación ('imagination')? In that case, you will be excited to learn more on how to express this with the subjunctive mood!

Note that we are talking about a mood, not a tense. Other tenses you might have studied before belong to the indicative mood: they simply state facts. The purpose of the subjunctive mood is to express theoretical, imaginary, unreal, hypothetical, or unconfirmed situations and conditions. As Spanish is a very expressive language, this mood plays a crucial role in daily communication.

dreaming of possibilities that might happen with the subjuntivo, subjunctive
dream scene

Creer Conjugations in the Subjunctive

Generally, it's much more simple to conjugate the present subjunctive mood than you might think: the first step consists in remembering how to conjugate the present tense. For '-er' verbs such as creer (to believe, think, trust), take the yo ('I') conjugation of creer, which is creo ('I believe'). Done? Excellent, now drop the 'o' - we are looking at cree now.

You are expecting a specific ending to come along now, aren't you? Well, you are absolutely right!

The next step in creating the subjunctive forms of creer is to add specific endings for the different pronouns:

Pronoun Verb in the subjunctive Pronunciation Translation
Yo crea Yoh KRAY-ah I might believe
creas KRAY-ahs You might believe
Él, ella, Usted crea KRAY-ah He, she, you (formal) might believe
Nosotros, nosotras creamos kray-AH-mohs We (male, female) might believe
Vosotros, vosotras creáis kray-AHIYS You (plural male, female) might believe
Ellos, ellas, Ustedes crean KRAY-ahn They (male, female), you (plural formal) might believe

See, that was quite easy, right? Let's see how we can use these newly learned forms in example sentences When reading these, please take into account that the subjunctive mood can oftentimes not be translated one on one into English. The English translation should therefore not be taken literally, but as an attempt to convey the subjunctive mood as accurately as possible.

Example Sentences

  • Espero que mis hijos crean en Papa Noel. ('I hope my children may believe in Santa Claus.')
  • Aunque yo crea que valga la pena, lo importante es lo que creas tú. ('Even though I might believe that it's worth it, the important thing is what you may believe.')
  • A pesar de que creas que no lo conseguiré, te demonstraré lo contrario. ('Despite you may believing that I won't achieve it, I will prove you wrong.')
  • Prefiero que ella crea en sí mismo que en mí. ('I prefer that she may believe in herself than in me.')
  • Lo que nosotros creamos es nuestro secreto. ('What we might believe is our secret.')
  • Mientras que vosotros creáis en mí seguiré luchando. ('While you might believe in me I will keep fighting.')
  • Yo espero que ellos crean en mi proyecto. ('I hope that they may believe in my project.')
  • Durante el tiempo que tú creas en nuestro futuro, todo está bien. ('As long as you may believe in our future, everything is fine.')

As you might have noticed, the subjunctive mood doesn't just express desire, hope, or preference but also doubts, opinions, and incomplete actions.

creer en algo es saludable, to believe in something is healthy
the power of faith

Let's leave the subjunctive mood aside for now and learn another form that the verb creer can take: the past participle.

The Past Participle Of Creer

Now that we have ventured into the worlds of 'might' and 'maybe', it's time to step back in time and learn how to build the past participle of creer, a very useful form that can function as an adjective or a verb in combination with the verb haber to form the perfect tenses.

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