El subjuntivo después
de expresiones impersonales
¿Qué es bueno? Es
bueno que estudies español, ¿verdad?
¿Qué es necesario? Es
necesario que aprendas a usar el subjuntivo de manera correcta.
¿Qué es malo? Es
malo que el subjuntivo sea tan difícil para los estudiantes norteamericanos.
Answer these questions as you read. E-mail
me your answers.
What is an impersonal expression?
Think about this one: Most impersonal expressions are followed
by the subjunctive. Why?
When do you use the infinitive after an impersonal expression?
Which impersonal expressions are followed by the indicative? Why?
As we have seen in the previous section of the subjuntivo, it is used
clauses after verbal expressions that place a desire, demand
or prohibition; or express some emotion; or cast a doubt on the noun clause.
Along the same lines the subjunctive is used in noun clauses which follow
most impersonal expressions. This is because only a few of them merely
make observations. We're going to make this really simple.
First, What's an impersonal expression?
It's a phrase, often started with Es (Era, Será, Sería,
etc.) + an adjective (bueno, malo, necesario, etc.), the English equivalent
being "It's...(good, bad, necessary, etc.)
Why are they called "impersonal"?
Because the "it" refers to nothing. It's impersonal.
How many kinds of impersonal expressions are there?
2. Dos. Uno y uno.
expressions can be general. That is to say that there is no stated
subject for it. Read these to understand what I mean:
Since these have no stated subject, there is no "trailer hitch"- que;
and therefore the clauses are followed by an infinitive.
Es bueno correr por la mañana. It's good to run in the
Es necesario estudiar para sacar buenas notas. It's necessary
to study in order to get good grades.
Es mejor desayunar antes de salir para la escuela. It's better
to eat breakfast before leaving for school.
Or....They can also express a specific subject
after it, and this will be a noun clause.
Since there is a stated subject, there is a "que". The verb in
the noun clause must be conjugated. Now the question is: Will
it be subjunctive or indicative?
Es bueno que tú corras por la mañana. It's good
that you run in the morning.
Es necesario que estudiemos para sacar buenas notas. It's necessary
for us to study in order to get good grades.
Es mejor que yo desayune antes de salir para la escuela. It's
better that I eat breakfast before leaving for school.
Es verdad que comprendo esto. It's true that I understand this.
90% of the time you will use the subjunctive in a noun
clause after an impersonal expression because most of them cast some opinion,
emotion, denial, etc. on the noun clause. Very few of them merely
make an observation. In fact, because there are so few that do not
use the subjunctive, we'll look at those first.
use the subjunctive after these impersonal expressions: (I've
used the present tense in the examples, of course "Es" could change to
Do you understand why these do not take the subjunctive? If not,
you may want to review ¿Qué
es el subjuntivo?
Es verdad que (It's true that)
Es cierto que (It's certain that)
Es obvio que (It's obvious that)
Es evidente que (It's evident that)
Es seguro que (It's certain that)
No es dudoso que
(It's not doubtful that)
let's look at some expressions that do require the subjunctive in the noun
There are also a few of impersonal expressions that require
the subjunctive which you need to know that do not begin with "ES".
Here they are:
Es bueno que
Es malo que
Es dudoso que
Es importante que
Es posible que
Es imposible que
Es una lástima que
Es necesario que
Es preciso que
Es menester que
Es probable que
Es útil que
Es inútil que
Es triste que
Es cómico que
Es improbable que
Es mejor que
Es peor que
Finally, we must look back to our list of expressions that do not use the
subjunctive. If we make them negative, they'll use the subjunctive.
Can you figure out why?
Más vale que (It's better that)
¡Qué lástima que...! (What
a shame that...!)
Importa que (It's important that)
No es verdad que
No es cierto que
No es evidente que
No es seguro que
Es dudoso que (remember-
this was negative before making the "double negative" now affirmative)
No es obvio que
So what are you going to do with this information?
|You have to do two things. First, you have to be
able to put the correct form of a verb after an impersonal expression,
as you have had to do in noun clauses after certain verbs. This is
good test practice, and you will be tested on this- in class, on SAT II's,
on AP exams, in college, and so on. You will also have to create
your own sentences with impersonal expressions. Remember that
the purpose of all of this stuff is to get you to a point of higher mastery
in the language.