Mastering the Imperfect Subjunctive in Spanish: A Comprehensive Guide (2023)

Welcome to our in-depth exploration of the imperfect subjunctive in Spanish, a linguistic facet often overlooked by many Spanish learners. Contrary to popular belief, this mood is not as uncommon as it might seem at first glance. In fact, its prevalence extends far beyond what most realize. In this guide, we will unravel the intricacies of the imperfect subjunctive, providing you with practical insights and ready-to-use phrases, even if you're just starting your Spanish journey.

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1. When Do You Use the Imperfect Subjunctive in Spanish?

The imperfect subjunctive finds its place after verbs and expressions denoting doubt, emotion, desire, possibility, uncertainty, or conditionality. Its temporal versatility allows it to refer to past, present, or future events, contingent on the context.

2. Imperfect Subjunctive Conjugation

While verb conjugations are essential, we present a shortcut. Start using the imperfect subjunctive with key expressions before delving into conjugation tables.

-AR Verbs:

Subject Conjugation
Yo -ara, -ase
-aras, -ases
Él/Ella -ara, -ase
Nosotros/as -áramos, -ásemos
Vosotros/as -arais, -aseis
Ellos/as, Ustedes -aran, -asen

-ER/-IR Verbs:

Subject Conjugation
Yo -iera, -iese
-ieras, -ieses
Él/Ella -iera, -iese
Nosotros/as -iéramos, -iésemos
Vosotros/as -ierais, -ieseis
Ellos/as, Ustedes -ieran, -iesen

3. Imperfect Subjunctive Examples

Let's delve into real-life application with a monologue illustrating the use of the imperfect subjunctive to express emotions, desires, and conditions.


Hay un chico que busca una pareja que lo quiera tal como es. Él espera que su próxima relación sea auténtica y basada en el amor verdadero...

In this narrative, the subjunctive paints a vivid picture of the boy's aspirations and desires.

4. The Uses of Imperfect Subjunctive Spanish

The imperfect subjunctive serves various purposes, including expressing hypothetical actions, wishes, doubts, and making polite recommendations. Its flexibility in conveying uncertainty about past events sets it apart.

Common Applications:

  1. Hypothetical Actions: Express unreal actions in the past.
  2. Wishes and Desires: Convey desires or regrets about past events.
  3. Doubts and Uncertainty: Express skepticism or uncertainty about past events.
  4. Polite Recommendations: Make suggestions subtly and politely.

5. Practice Section – Fill in the Blanks With the Correct Form of the Imperfect Subjunctive in Spanish

Exercises to reinforce your understanding of the imperfect subjunctive.

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In conclusion, this guide aims to equip you with a profound understanding of the imperfect subjunctive in Spanish. Whether you're a beginner or seeking to refine your language skills, mastering this mood opens doors to nuanced expression and cultural fluency. Immerse yourself in the richness of the imperfect subjunctive, and elevate your Spanish communication to new heights.


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