Wouter
Subjunctive mood

Dear All,

As I am studying Spanish every morning and getting into a upper intermediate level of Spanish I have encountered the subjunctive. 

The subjunctive is one of the three moods in Spanish, the other two being the indicative and the imperative. The subjunctive is used to express desires, doubts, the unknown, the abstract and emotions.

It contrasts sharply with Dutch, where this mood in almost extinct. What about the other languages? Do Romance languages use it more than other? Any surprising facts about this mood and its usage?

Kind regards, Wouter


May 7, 2018 11:55 PM
Comments · 1

Broadly speaking, it's quite true that the subjunctive is widely used in modern Romance languages. As far as I know, all languages having a verbal mood that is called "the subjunctive" use it for roughly the same, except for those languages with optative mood besides subjunctive. Frankly, I think there is little to say about the subjunctive in Spanish that can't be applied to that of all the Romance languages. A fact I remember is that the future subjunctive is currently used in both conversational and written Portuguese, while in Spanish it's hardly ever used, not even in the modern written language: it's only found in a few fossilized fixed expressions, in literature (specially that from the 19th century and before) , in legalese and in purposely archaic speech.

You must take into account as well that there's some conflation between the imperative and the subjunctive in all instances but the affirmative second person (tú and vosotros) imperative.

In all other cases (negative imperatives with tú and vosotros, imperatives with usted and ustedes, first person plural imperative and third person imperatives) the forms used are those of the subjunctive. But keep in mind third person imperative is an old-fashioned construction used only in fixed expressions and legalese, and is often not even recognized  as an imperative form by most speakers. Examples can be found  on the Lord's Prayer:

Padre nuestro que estás en los cielos

Santificado SEA tu nombre

VENGA a nosotros tu reino

HÁGASE tu voluntad...


May 8, 2018
Wouter
Language Skills
Dutch, English, French, German, Portuguese, Spanish
Learning Language