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The subjunctive in adjective clauses

Now what?  What's an adjective clause? You'll see.  Will the subjunctive ever end? No.

Take notes on what you learn.  Write these questions in your notebook and leave space for answers.  Write answers as you find them.

So if we put these two definitions together, we'll understand what an adjective clause is.  It's a group of words containing a verb that describe a noun.  I have a bike that goes really fast.  The clause "that goes really fast" describes my bike. ¿Comprendes?

Speaking of "bike"...The noun being described is known as the antecedent.  This is important to know, because the use of the subjunctive revolves around the antecedent.

So, how does the subjunctive fit in?  It's really not that difficult.  In fact let's just state the answer simply then look at some examples.

The subjunctive is used in adjective clauses when the antecedent (noun being described) is not specific, or if it does not exist.

Let's look at some examples:


Let's compare it now with some adjective clauses that use the indicative.

A test taking tip:  If the antecedent is a person and it is indefinite, the personal "A" is omitted.  Therefore the adjective clause will contain the subjunctive.  Remember this!  It will help- Te prometo que sí.
Another test-taking tip:  If the article is definite it refers to a specific thing and the adjective clause describing it will be in the indicative mood.

Some other indefinite "relative" expressions

We'll do these now since we are being indefinite.

Always use the subjunctive in clauses following "-quiera" (="-ever") words + "que".  Huh?
dondequiera- wherever
cualquier(a)*/ cualesquiera- whatever
quienquiera- whoever
cuandoquiera- whenever

*cualquiera shortens to cualquier before any singular noun.  Whatever book.....Cualquier libro, whatever person....cualquierpersona, etc.


Along these same lines, the expression "por + adjective/adverb + que" (=however..../no matter how.....) is always followed by the subjunctive.

Let's go try a few
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