In Latin America, I hear ojalá used mostly by itself as an exclamation, but sometimes in a sentence: Ojalá + que + subjunctive verb. For example:

Ojalá que yo sepa la respuesta

In Spain, I hear ojalá used both as an exclamation and in a sentence: Ojalá + imperfect subjunctive verb. (no conjunction "que"). For example:

Ojalá yo supiera la respuesta

Is this an accurate comparison of uses of Spanish in these two places?

  • You may find "Ojalá" + subjuntivo useful. What is explained there applies to all dialects of Spanish. I don't think there's any difference from a country to another.
    – Yay
    Commented May 26, 2016 at 15:14
  • I recommend you to read spanish.stackexchange.com/questions/913/… It has nothing to do with the main subject of your question but it really helps undestand things better when you talk about "español" and "castellano". I specially like @CesarGon answer.
    – DGaleano
    Commented May 27, 2016 at 17:57
  • I think the que is optional just as English that in he told me [that] he was going home tomorrow
    – Rafael
    Commented May 27, 2016 at 19:02

4 Answers 4


ojalá is basically the I wish structure in English.
We can use the present and imperfect subjunctive. When using the former, we're expecting for something to happen in a certain future. When using the latter, the expectation is focused on the present:

Ojalá no lloviera = Espero que no suceda hoy.
Ojalá no llueva = Espero que no suceda mañana o el resto de la semana.

Other option includes the pluperfect past subjunctive like ojalá + hubiese/hubiera + past participle; its implication remains in the past. (I didn't happen.)

Ojalá hubiese traído mi paraguas = But I didn't.

ojalá que is also used but not often as the plain ojalá.

  • 3
    You may add it comes from an Arabic expression meaning may Allah/God wish (that)
    – Rafael
    Commented May 26, 2016 at 14:23
  • Does the structure: "Ojalá que..." work also?
    – sbswim
    Commented May 26, 2016 at 23:46
  • @sbswim Yes, but it's often omitted.
    – Schwale
    Commented May 26, 2016 at 23:47
  • @Ustanak, edit that last comment into the answer: the usage of que is part of the question
    – Rafael
    Commented May 27, 2016 at 21:14
  • "Ojalá no lloviera" means that it is currently raining, and you wish it weren't.
    – Brian H.
    Commented May 23, 2017 at 12:52

Me permito contestar tu respuesta, porque como hablante hispano de nacimiento, entiendo la pequeña diferencia en contexto que ambas expresiones suponen.

Si bien es cierto, ambas dan aparentemente el mismo sentido, se infieren contextos un poco diferentes.

Ojalá que yo sepa la respuesta se usa en una situación donde estás pensando en algo que vas a hacer en el futuro. Aún no estás presentando ese examen, pero esperas prepararte lo suficiente para que llegado el momento, sepas la respuesta.

Por ejemplo, "Ojalá que yo sepa las respuestas en el examen de mañana".

Ojalá yo supiera la respuesta se usa en cualquier situación actual o futura. Y es más una expresión que indica que en este momento deseas algo porque en realidad pasa lo contrario.

Por ejemplo, "Ojalá que yo supiera lo que tengo que hacer para bajar de peso".

en ambos casos, que y yo son opcionales. tiene tanto sentido decir

"ojalá que yo supiera" como "ojalá yo supiera", "ojalá que supiera" y "ojalá supiera". todos me hacen el mismo sentido. también lo mismo para "ojalá que yo sepa", se vale igual "ojalá yo sepa", "ojalá que sepa" y "ojalá sepa".

Espero haber sido claro en los contextos que implican ambas formas.


With "ojalá" the "que" is optional:

Ojalá llueva / Ojalá que llueva

  • 1
    I think that the question is not really about the "que" but about the verb tense used. The question is really if there is a difference between Ojala llueva / Ojala que llueva and "Ojala lloviese/ Ojala que lloviese".
    – Diego
    Commented Feb 19, 2020 at 17:48
  • Thank you, Diego. I only addressed the title of the question. To address the last part of the question: I am a Latin America Spanish speaking native and I can tell you that you are correct. You will hear "Ojala" as an expression or used with the subjunctive. I would say by itself it can be translated as "God willing" or " I hope so." Within a sentence with "que" you can translated as "One hopes that" and without "que" it can be translated as "hopefully."
    – Vero
    Commented Feb 19, 2020 at 18:09
  • 2
    Your comment still does not answer the question of which tense to use though.
    – mdewey
    Commented Feb 20, 2020 at 11:46
  • Thank you for pointing that out, mdewey. Yes, you hear it either way, present or imperfect subjunctive, however, the present subjunctive denotes more hope than the more elusive "supiera," as if the goal was even further than the more attainable "sepa."
    – Vero
    Commented Feb 20, 2020 at 14:29
  • "Ojala yo sepa la respuesta." gives the impression that he/she may have an idea of what the answer is, however, may not be the correct one. "Ojala yo supiera la respuesta." sounds like the speaker may not even have a vague idea of what the answer is.
    – Vero
    Commented Feb 20, 2020 at 18:04

Just looked it up on duolingo:

When there is to translate ''if only'' you should use ''ojala'' and subj. imprefect:

If only i knew the answer = Ojala que supiera la respuesta

When there is ''hopefully'' you should use ''ojala que'' and subj. present:

Hopefully i('ll) know the answer = Ojala que sepa la respuesta

  • my bad: ojala supiera la respuesta (without que)
    – pablo
    Commented Oct 15, 2021 at 10:04

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