Pretérito Imperfecto de Subjuntivo

The Spanish imperfecto de subjuntivo is an advanced form of the subjuntivo, used to express doubt, uncertainty or subjectivity that was held in the past, about events that were still to come at the point being referenced.

Conjugating the Imperfecto de Subjuntivo

Unusually, the Subjuntivo Imperfecto has two conjugations for each person – which on this site are referred to as the (se) and (ra) forms – either of which can be used interchangeably, correctly, without altering meaning.

To conjugate either form of the imperfecto, de subjuntivo the root of the third person plural of the pretérito indefinido is used. The same endings are used for AR, ER and IR verbs, but the stem is adjusted slightly to make phonetic sense.

FormStem(ra) endingsStem(se) endings

Irregular Verbs in the Imperfecto de Subjuntivo

The Subjuntivo Imperfecto does not have irregular verbs, although it inherits any irregularities from the its stem, which may be irregular. Ie, Hacer is irregular in preterite form, and the 3rd person plural form has the stem hicieron. Hacer is conjugated as hici in this tense, not as hace.

Verbs such as Morir are irregular only in 3rd person form (murió, murieron) and that irregularity is carried through to the subjuntivo imperfecto.

Even verbs such as ser, which are extremely irregular in the preterite form, will follow the same pattern as all other verbs in the subjuntivo imperfecto.

When to use the Imperfecto de Subjuntivo

The subjuntivo imperfecto needs a trigger phrase to proceed it, in the same way as for the presente de subjuntivo. For the imperfecto de subjuntivo to be chosen, the trigger phrase would be in a past tense (pretérito indefinido or imperfecto) and the action referred to would be in the future at the point being referred to.

Other uses for the Imperfecto de Subjuntivo

Oraciones condicionales.

Test Yourself!

The bad news is there are two conjugations. The good news is, it doesn’t matter which one you use.


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