The Spanish subjunctive is undoubtedly the toughest challenge most Spanish learners will ever face.
Of course, there’s listening comprehension, and vocabulary that can always be challenging, but when it comes to Spanish grammar, there’s no other topic as complex and intricate as the Spanish subjunctive.
It’s true that Spanish grammar can pose many challenges for us. For example, using the Preterite or the Imperfect tenses of the Indicative form, or using Direct and Indirect Object Pronouns. However, if those topics seem hard, they can’t even compare to the complexity of the Spanish subjunctive.
Why the Spanish Subjunctive is so hard
But in my experience, part of this complexity stems from the fact that it’s usually simplified so much by most Spanish grammar books and Spanish teachers and websites, that they teach a skeleton devoid of its essence. Yes, they teach you the Spanish subjunctive_ or do they?
In my own experience, they try to make such a huge topic manageable by just teaching you a tiny portion of it and leaving the rest, over 80% of it, unexplained or barely mentioned. They explain 20% of the Spanish subjunctive as if it were all you needed to know, and they give you a lot of exercises to practice that part. Of course, the exercises are all created to fit their explanations, so you’ll feel that you really got it, when in reality you have no clue about the beast you are dealing with.
Most Spanish Subjunctive Books are Incomplete
I had studied subjunctive Spanish with a Spanish teacher and had the idea I was really good at it. But then, when trying to watch videos or even talk to Spanish speakers, I started to notice people using the subjunctive in many more situations that I could account for. If I asked them the reason for this, they wouldn’t know. All they said was, “No sé, suena bien.”
This added to my growing sense of frustration. “It sounds right” could be great for a native speaker, but not for a learner. It’s just rubbish. And the more grammar books I bought, or videos on Youtube I watched, or even teachers I asked, the more confused I was. I came to the conclusion that no one knows a thing about the Spanish subjunctive. Most teachers just repeat what the books say. And the books simplify everything to just a meager 20% of the whole topic and, to make matters worse, they use jargon to fit a lot of info in just a few pages.
Frustrated about the Spanish Subjunctive
I could not believe there wasn’t anything better or more specific to learn the Spanish subjunctive. One day, frustrated like never before, and after googling like crazy for hours on keywords such as the spanish subjunctive, spanish subjunctive, subjunctive spanish, imperfect subjunctive, pluperfect subjunctive, the subjunctive in noun clauses, etc, etc etc, I decided to see if there was indeed a website devoted to this. And that’s when my life changed forever (figure of speech!)
Light at the end of the tunnel
After typing spanishsubjunctive.com and then the spanishsubjunctive.com, I came across an amazing website that is 100% devoted to, well, you guessed it, The Spanish Subjunctive.
Needless to say, I devoured every page on the website and signed up for their free reports. Every bit of information opened my eyes to a reality that I totally ignored until then: the Spanish subjunctive is complex BUT if you know all of the rules, it’s mathematical. Once you know how it works, you can easily tell if the subjunctive is required or not. Needless to say, I bought the program (yes, it’s not free! But I had already spent so much money on other programs without getting any results, that having to pay for this wasn’t a true deterrent for me). The cool thing is that it’s not like a typical grammar book. You do have an ebook that actually breaks down each piece of the subjunctive into easily understandable parts, and pieces them together for you and with you. After each explanation, you get tons of exercises, and I mean a crazy amount of practice after each in depth explanation.
The Best Way To Learn The Spanish Subjunctive
The explanations are very clear and mostly in plain English. The guy writes for the average learner, not the grammar expert. So even if he uses jargon, it’s all clearly explained, even the basic stuff (what a noun is, what an adjective is, etc.) So I was a happy camper. I had great explanations of the subjunctive Spanish, I had plenty of exercises, and the surprise came at the end of the book_ spoiler here_ once you are done and you “know” all there is to know about the topic, the author gives you real life examples of people using it in real conversations and you have to analyze and explain why it’s used or not used. That was just brilliant. I found myself trying to go back and forth in my previous notes when I could not understand something, but the book is so clear, and the answer key at the end explains that in so much detail, that it was a breeze.
The book is huge, over 250 pages, but it’s really the way to go if you really want to learn the Spanish subjunctive. I got the premium version that is exactly like the Spanish subjunctive ebook, but , on top of the subjunctive eBook you get The Spanish Subjunctive Video Program. Yes, how cool is that? Every single lesson and exercise is on video, which makes it really simple to understand but also to review. And as I had the premium version, I could ask questions in the forum, that the author himself answers very quickly, usually in 2 to 4 hours.
An amazing investment
After many years of frustration, I can now confidently say I can use the Spanish subjunctive perfectly for the most part, and even in cases when I make some tiny mistakes, I have the tools to understand the reasons why and learn from those mistakes. The program was not cheap, it cost me around $200, but it was worth every penny. This was about 3 years ago. Now the program is way more affordable and they have these amazing deals all the time. If you really want to learn more about the Spanish subjunctive and you are serious about it, you can’t go wrong here.