I am in Mexico City and people here are telling me that the subjunctive form -ra is actually future, and that only the -se form is imperfect. I have always been taught that both are imperfect (SpanishDict confirms my education, as do many questions on this site).

So to spell it out:

  • Imperfect subjunctive: fuese fueses fuese, etc.
  • Future subjunctive: fuera fueras fuera, etc.

My question is whether, in certain regions, the fuera conjugation is considered future. (Or, it seems that yes, here in Mexico City it is considered future, and I would like someone to share if they have also encountered this?)

Additional Details

  • The people who tell me this are 40 or older and tell me that "young people don't know the difference."
  • To clarify, no, they are not saying fuere fueres fuere for the future.
  • They might only be referring to conditional statements.
  • One person from Bolivia agreed that the fuera conjugation is future, but was uneasy in his answer.

Not a duplicate:

  • This question is not a duplicate of the many "Why are there two imperfect subjunctives?" Guifa has a great answer here but I am not asking why there are two. I am asking if in some places there is actually only one.
  • This question of whether there is any difference in meaning between the two forms is closer. My question is more regionally specific; also, the answers there are all no, while I have been told emphatically here, yes.
  • 1
    Never noticed where I came from or the places I have lived: Sonora, Mexicali, Guadalajara area. My parents are from Nayarit and Aguas Calientes, haven't heard from their families either.
    – celerno
    Commented Oct 20, 2016 at 20:26
  • 1
    Both -ra and -se have the same meaning, and the only difference is on whether one learned one or the other as a kid. Commented Oct 21, 2016 at 5:48
  • Also, Mexico City... I live here, and I've never seen anyone make such claim. Commented Oct 21, 2016 at 5:49
  • 1
    I am not from Mexico, but I remember this excellent answer by @guifa to another question. In it, guifa said that sometimes the -era form is not subjunctive, but indicative, as in quisiera un café (you can't say quisiese). Maybe your question is related to that? All in all, that expression denotes a wish for something that may come in the future.
    – Charlie
    Commented Oct 21, 2016 at 8:52
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    @CarlosAlejo it's also not unheard of to see (especially in legal texts) people to use the -ra forms instead of the -re forms (which are actually future) more because it sounds wrong to use the present subjunctive which in some cases could mean a definitive thing by an unknown actor (el que haga algo = someone who will do something, just don't know who, vs el que hiciere algo = someone who may or may not do something, and we don't know who either), but they're just not used to using the true future, since few people use it even in writing, let alone speaking. End result: el que hiciera… Commented Nov 14, 2016 at 19:34

1 Answer 1


I just want to remark that you can convey future not only by using the fuera paradigm. In fact, you can use present subjunctive and still convey future (and that's a very common usage). Examples:

  • El que dijo eso (past) → "eso" has been said already
  • El que dice eso (present) → "eso" is said in the present or in a timeless setting
  • El que diga eso (pres. subjunctive) → "eso" is expected to be said in the future

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