Using the Subjunctive in Noun Clauses

Spanish Tutorial

Using the Subjunctive in Noun Clauses


Out of the three moods in Spanish (indicative, subjunctive, and imperative), the subjunctive mood can be one of the hardest to understand.

While the most commonly used mood, the indicative, expresses certainty and fact, the subjunctive mood does the opposite–expressing doubt and uncertainty. The subjunctive appears in noun, adjective, and adverb clauses.

Noun Clause
– takes the place of a noun or pronoun (The teacher doubts it. The teacher doubts that the student studies.)
– In Spanish, the noun clause is usually preceded with que (El profesor duda que el estudiante estudie.)

When to use Subjunctive in a Noun Clause
1. Expressing influence or desire
– El profesor espera que el estudiante estudie.
– The professor hopes that the student studies.
2. Expressing doubt
– El profesor duda que el estudiante estudie.
– The professor doubts that the student studies.
3. Expressing emotion or judgement
– El profesor se alegra que el estudiante estudie.
– The professor is happy that the student studies.
When to use Indicative in a Noun Clause
1. Expressions that report, observe, or state truth.
– El profesor sabeque el estudiante estudia.
– The teacher knows that the student studies.

Sample Problem

Conjugate the verb using present indicative or present subjunctive

Él espera que ella _____(venir).


1. Identify that the sentence is a noun clause
2. Locate the main verb (espera = to hope)
3. The main verb (to hope) is a desire, so we know that we will use the subjunctive
4. Conjugate the verb in the noun clause (venir -> venga)
Note: Spanish Dict offers a nice conjugation chart – link

Él espera que ella venga.

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