Imperfect subjunctive. I wish...

As I said in the post on present subjunctive, the subjunctive mood is like another reality, where we talk about the hypothetical things.

In this case we'll talk about expressing the things we wished were different and we'll use imperfect subjunctive to do so.

Let's jump in! (video at the end of the post)

Imperfect subjunctive

Is created with the form "they did" (preterite), taking out the -ron ending and adding:


We can also use the endings se,ses,se,semos,seis,sen. These are mostly used in South America.

Ex: Pudieron - Pudie - Pudiera . Ex: I wish I could fly - Ojalá pudiera volar.

Structures with imperfect subjunctive

  • Ojalá ... Ex: Ojalá tuviera más dinero - I wish I had more money.

  • Si... + conditional Ex: Si fueras más honesto no tendríamos este problema - If you were more honest, we wouldn't have this problem.

  • Verb in past tense in one of the cases where we would use present subjunctive + imperfect subjunctive

No era posible que viniera a la fiesta -
It wasn't possible that he/she came to the party.

Laura me dijo que cuando acabara en el trabajo iríamos a cenar - Laura told me that when she finished at work we would go have dinner.

Differences between present and imperfect subjunctive:

  • If there's a "que" right before the verb in subjunctive it's present tense. Unless the sentence is in past tense, then the present subjunctive becomes imperfect subjunctive as we saw above.

  • Present subjunctive is translated to English in normal present tense, imperfect subjunctive is translated to English in past tense.

  • With present subjunctive we talk about things that might still happen, but imperfect subjunctive expresses things that are not possible anymore.

  • If before the verb there's a "espero que" we know it's present subjunctive. To express a hope or wish we can only use "ojalá" for imperfect subjunctive.

Check the present subjunctive post to know more.

Comment below if you have any question!

¡Hasta luego! :)