USING THE SUBJUNCTIVE TO DESCRIBE THE INDEFINITE OR THE NON-EXISTENT
Using the subjunctive to describe the unknown or the possibly nonexistent is different from using our normal equation ofS 1V1 + que = S 2V2. Instead of having a different subject on either side of the `que`, we are going to have TWO subjects on one side of the `que`, with a description of one of the subjects on the OTHER side of the `que`. With this new use of the subjunctive, our new formula becomes: S 1V1 + S2 + que = adjective clause.
Anadjective clause is a subordinate or dependent clause that describes a noun mentioned in the main clause. Use the indicative tense to describe a specific person, place, or thing that is KNOWN to exist. Use the subjunctive to describe a person, place, or thing that is only ASSUMED to exist:
Conozco un restaurante quesirve buena paella. (Speaker has a specific place in mind - indicative).
ŅConoces un buen restaurante quesirva buena paella? (Speaker does not have a specific place in mind; does not know if one exists Ė subjunctive).
Ellos viven en una casa quetiene una piscina grande. (The house specified is one that is known to existóbecause they are living there! = indicative! ).
Ellos buscan una casa quetenga una piscina grande. ( The house is indefinite and only assumed to exist, since they are looking for one that meets the requirement of having such a pool. Since they are looking, it means they have not yet found one! = subjunctive!).
** The subjunctive is also used to describe a non-existent noun:
No he visto a nadie quetenga mi libro. ( I havenít seen anyone who has my book).
No conozco a nadie quehaya comido una rama de fuego. ( I donít know anyone who has eaten a branch of fire/ who is a fire-eater).
Tengoun coche que tiene ventanas automáticas. (Indicates that the speaker is already in possession of the item, therefore the item exists.)
Peroquiero un coche que tenga un techo de sol, asientos de cuero, y aire acondicionado y que cueste menos de $12,000. (`Querer` indicates that the speaker wants to acquire such an item, and does not have it yet, therefore, it is assumed to be non-existent [aside from the fact that the speaker will probably not find all of those luxuries in a car for under $12,000!]).
Vivoen un apartamento que tiene solamente un dormitorio.
Prefiero viviren un apartamento que tenga dos dormitorios y una sala grande.
Buscoun hombre guapo que gane mucho dinero y que sea muy sexy.
Conozcoa un hombre guapo que gana mucho dinero y que es muy sexy.