I was wondering if you want to say a sentence such as

It is likely that he will continue to develop

do you use 'Es probable que' with the future tense 'continuará' or the present subjunctive, 'continúe', or is the future subjunctive still used 'continuare'?

2 Answers 2


The succinct answer is: when you have the conjunction que, splitting a whole phrase in tho parts, each one with its own verb, then the main one must be in the indicative mood, and the second one in the subjunctive mood.

So, the sentence you gave:

It is likely that he will continue to develop

Can be translated as:

Es probable que él continúe desarrollándose (o desarrollando).

Going a little further:

Using a phrase like es probable que, you have three main things to consider:

  1. That is a phrase in the present tense, and as is the main one, must be in indicative.
  2. Since it has a que conjunction, what follows it must be in subjunctive mood.
  3. Since the main verb is in present tense, the subordinated phrase (that is the name of those sentences following a que) must be in the same present tense, but in the subjunctive mood.

So, for instance we may have:

Es probable que Miguel aparezca esta tarde.

But: what happens when the main sentence is in imperfect? Well, in this case the subordinated phrase must also be in imperfect tense, in the subjunctive mood:

Era probable que Miguel apareciera esta tarde (ahora sabemos que no vendrá).


You may hear people say future tense as such, but probably more likely due to influence from conditional (which exists in an odd modal space and can be used naturally there).

Present subjunctive can stand in for either present or future temporal references:

  • Es probable que llueva [ahora | luego]

Because you've started your sentence with a present tense references (es), if you want to refer to a more distint future, you should use the periphrastic future:

  • Es probable que vaya a llover [mañana]

It is possible to use a true future subjunctive, but that would require an initial future tense:

  • será probable que lloviere [después]

But you would rarely, if ever, want to do that in that modern Spanish. So in your example, you can absolute use quite simply the present subjunctive, or, if you really feel the need to emphasize the futuristic aspect, you can use the periphrastic future:

  • Es probable que él siga desarrollándose.
  • Es probable que él vaya a seguir desarrollándose.

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