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.
What is an adjective clause?
What's an antecedent?
When do you use the subjunctive in an adjective clause?
When do you use the indicative?
What are the indefinite ("-ever") expressions?
When do they take the subjunctive?
So, do you know what a clause is? A group of words containing a verb
that expresses an idea.
Do you know what an adjective is? Something that describes a noun.
You know- I have a big, red, shiny, bike.
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:
Busco una casa que tenga una piscina grande. I'm
looking for a house that has a big pool. Which house is it?
It's not a specific one- Therefore- subjuntivo!
Quiero encontrarme con una persona que haya visitado el museo
de antropología. I want to meet someone whoi has
visited the Museum of Anthropology. Who is this person?
I don't know. Therefore- subjuntivo!
No hay nadie que comprenda esto. There is
noone who understands this. Do they exist? No. Therefore-
Let's compare it now with some adjective clauses that use the indicative.
Ayer compramos una casa que tiene una piscina grande.Yesterday
we bought a house that has a big pool. It exists. It's
a specific one. Therefore- indicative.
Conozco a una persona que ha visitado el museo de antropología.
know someone who has visited the museum of anthropology. I am
referring to a specific person. Therefore- indicative.
Hay muchas personas que comprenden esto. There
are many people who understand this. These people exist and we
are referring to them. Therefore- indicative.
Busco la casa que tiene la piscina grande.
I'm looking for THE house that has a big pool. Do you see how
this sentence is different from "Busco uuna casa..."? It refers to
a specific house. Therefore- 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?
cualquier(a)*/ cualesquiera- whatever
*cualquiera shortens to cualquier before any singular noun.
Whatever book.....Cualquier libro, whatever person....cualquierpersona,
Te seguiré dondequiera que vayas.
follow you wherever you go [may go].
Quienquiera que sea, dile
que se vaya. Whoever it is [may be], tell them to leave.
Cuandoquiera que llegues,
llámame. Whenever you arrive, call me.
Along these same lines, the expression
"por + adjective/adverb + que" (=however..../no
matter how.....) is always followed by the subjunctive.
go try a few
Por rico que sea, no ofrece
nada a nadie nunca. No matter how rich he is [may be- subjunctive
in Englsih!!!], he never gives anything to anyone.
Por rapidamente que huya,
la policía lo detendrá. However fast he flees [may
flee], the police will stop him.