Is the Spanish subjunctive impossible to learn for English speakers?
Let’s face it. For those who learn Spanish, the Spanish subjunctive can be a nightmare. If you have studied Spanish before, this video will resonate with you. If you haven’t, it will give you a great idea of what most students go through when they study the Spanish subjunctive:
Subjunctive Spanish or Spanish Subjunctive?! I’m Confused!
What is the Spanish Subjunctive?
If we take Wikipedia, we can say that …
The subjunctive is a grammatical mood found in many languages. Subjunctive forms of verbs are typically used to express various states of unreality such as wish, emotion, possibility, judgment, opinion, obligation, or action that has not yet occurred; the precise situations in which they are used vary from language to language. The subjunctive is an irrealis mood (one that does not refer directly to what is necessarily real) – it is often contrasted with the indicative, which is a realis mood.
Confused? Well, you are not alone!
Most learners find the Spanish Subjunctive very hard, to the point that even very advanced Spanish learners and even teachers and professors who are not native Spanish speakers fail to use them correctly. The good news is that it is usually made seem more complex than it really is. Why is this so? Well, it’s a huge topic! In an effort to make it more comprehensible for learners, the Spanish subjunctive is simplified and reduced to just very simplistic rules.
While it works great in the classroom in which all the sentences the students get are based on those simplified constructions, those students that venture beyond the classroom soon discover that there are way more exceptions than rules. This, of course, is not truly the case. It’s caused by the unreal simplification shown in the classroom in which all examples were basic and tried to fit a very limited rule. Let’s see this in more detail in the following video:
The High Price of Cheap Information on the Subjunctive Spanish – Spanish Subjunctive (Part 1)
As you can see, most problems to understand the Spanish subjunctive stem from the fact that students never get to see the big picture. They just see about 25% of the whole picture and make decisions based on this tiny percentage. No wonder why they think there are more exceptions than rules! They never even learned all the rules!
The High Price of Cheap Information on the Subjunctive Spanish – Spanish Subjunctive (Part 2)
How many of you have studied the subjunctive Spanish for ages and never even heard the word “subordinate clauses”? Although “subordinate clauses,” “noun clauses”, “adjective clauses”, “si clauses” is technical jargon, these are basic concepts that once you know them will simplify your life enormously. So in an effort to feed students more digestible bite-sized portions of this grammar item, most teachers are doing a disservice to their students dooming them to never really get this essential concept from the Spanish language.
The High Price of Cheap Information on the Subjunctive Spanish – Spanish Subjunctive (Part 3)
This third part of the subjunctive Spanish report blew my mind when I saw it for the first time. And it never ceases to amaze me. After years of living in the dark ages of the Spanish language, I could finally see the light. The millions of unpredictable exceptions I had, were actually unreal. The Spanish language follows a very predictable, mathematical pattern. If you know the rules, the Spanish subjunctive is really predictable, like a math equation. It’s crazy to think that with so many materials out there, such few people really get it.
Of course, all native Spanish speakers use it without a problem, but even native Spanish speaking teachers have a hard time to explain how the subjunctive Spanish works. Why? Well, it’s their language. They can use it, but when they need to study in order to teach it, they just read the books available in the market.
The problem with Grammar Books that teach the Subjunctive Spanish
Almost all Spanish grammar book covers the Spanish Subjunctive – Subjunctive Spanish. The problem is, that as this is a such a huge topic, and grammar books need to cover all other aspects of grammar, they can only devote a few pages to the Spanish subjunctive. For that reason, the explanations are too technical for most learners to understand. And to make matters worse, as we saw before , the explanations are simplified to a few basic concepts. They just teach about 25% of what the subjunctive is all about, and then they provide just a couple of exercises based on that 25% of
They just teach about 25% of what the subjunctive is all about, and then they provide just a couple of exercises based on that 25% of information. Most students that go through the book and finish working on the exercises, have the false idea that they “know” the subjunctive Spanish. However, the problems begin when they see that in real life people use it all the time and in all kinds of situations that were not originally contemplated in their study materials. That’s why they assume they must be exceptions. The problem is, there seem to be more exceptions than rules. It’s crazy and luckily, false.
The good news: the Spanish subjunctive can be mastered!
In my quest to learn the subjunctive Spanish, I came across a website that specializes in this elusive Spanish Grammar Topic. Unlike the rest of grammar books, this is not just a book but a complete Spanish Subjunctive eBook and Spanish Subjunctive Video Program that goes from zero knowledge of the Spanish subjunctive to pro, every step of the way. The explanations are extremely clear and simple to grasp AND, complex concepts are broken down in little parts. In addition, each of those parts is practiced extensively individually, so once they are put together, an otherwise hard topic just makes common sense to the student. I’ve been a lifelong Spanish learner.
In my more than 30 years studying Spanish, I had never been able to get a solid understanding of the subjunctive Spanish. The Spanish Subjunctive Video Program just changed my life. And the life of some of my friends who were going through the same situation. Today, about a year after doing the program, I can say I do know how the subjunctive Spanish really works and even if I make some mistakes here and there, I am more than 90% on target whenever I use it spontaneously. and getting better each day. I have no association with the creator of the program, so this mention of it is from the heart and not because of any commission or affiliate program whatsoever.
If you are struggling to use the Spanish subjunctive, check out Julio Foppoli’s program. I’m sure not only will you love it, but soon enough your Spanish will reach new heights.