Using the Subjunctive in Indirect Commands: Expressing wishes and requests that hopefully affect the actions of others


The subjunctive, as we have mentioned in class, is a more subjective tense than the present indicative. The subjunctive tense is often used to express the speakerís personal wishes, preferences, desires, recommendations, suggestions, and requests that someone else do something.


Mi mamá quiere que yo saque buenas notas en la universidad.

Yo te recomiendo que tú estudies mejor para el examen de español.

El doctor de Javier le aconseja que él evite las comidas con mucha grasa (fat).

As stated in class, the subjunctive can be broken down into a formula that looks something like this:

Subject #1 influences: Subject #2 influenced
(expression of wish to influence) + que + (action influenced)
indicative + conjunction + subjunctive
[Main Clause] + conjunction + [Dependent/Secondary Clause]

The main idea is that the subject found in your main clause must differ from the subject found in the secondary or dependent clause.

Mi abuela prefiere que mi abuelo no fume en casa.

Javier insiste en que yo salga con él .(ha ha!)

Siempre les sugiero a mis estudiantes que asistan a la clase todos los días.


If your sentence has no change of subject between your main clause and your dependent clause, it is best to use the infinitive, and not the que + subjunctive construction:

Quiero ir al Caribe is better than Quiero que yo voy al Caribe.

(I want to go to the Caribbean vs. I want myself to go / I want that I go to the Caribbean).


Online Exercise: Subjunctive with Indirect Commands