When to use the subjunctive #1: EMOTION
Let’s presume that you know how to conjugate verbs in the subjunctive mood, but your big problem is when to use it. Well, don’t worry: That’s everybody’s problem! Learn pointer #1: The subjunctive is subjective, and we often express subjectivity with verbs of emotion.
Which of these sentences is correct?
The first thing to notice is “que”, the pronoun that’s connecting the primary and secondary clauses, “me alegro” and the bit about where Pepe’s living. Clauses, as a reminder, are parts of a compound sentence that could be sentences all by themselves because they contain a verb.
The second thing to notice is that the subject of the primary clause (yo) and the secondary clause (Pepe) are different. This is a prerequisite for subjunctive mood in a two-clause sentence.
Finally, notice that the emotion expressed in the primary clause forces the secondary clause verb to be in the subjunctive verb.
WHY, you may ask? After all, Pepe actually lives with us, right? Yes, he does so it’s hardly a hypothetical statement. But the emotion expressed in the first clause projects itself onto the secondary clause, causing the subjunctive mood to be required. In other words, it’s not just that Pepe is living with us, it’s that I am happy that he is.
In other words: The subjunctive expresses the subjective.
Can you think of more emotions and connect them with statements in the subjunctive?
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