Given the English sentence

Call us when you leave so that we know that you're on your way.

I understand that it would be translated as such:

Llámanos cuando salgas para que sepamos que _____ en el camino.

My question is this: would the underscored portion ( _____ ) be estés or estás?

I would think that it would be estés because, as I understand it, the "rule of thumb" for subjunctive is that it is used in cases of doubt or uncertainty. As it is uncertain that will call, it is also uncertain that he will be on his way.

Am I correct in this understanding?


1 Answer 1



It is "estás". If you know something, there is no uncertainty about that something.

Also, to me it sounds more natural to say "en camino" instead of "en el camino", but perhaps this is different in other regions.


Es "estás". Si sabes algo, no hay incertidumbre acerca de ese algo.

Además, para mí suena más natural decir "en camino" en vez de "en el camino", pero quizás esto sea diferente en otras regiones.

  • 1
    I understand that if you know something, there is no uncertainty, but does that hold true even if there is uncertainty about knowing it in the first place (because of "para que")?
    – wchargin
    Commented Jun 30, 2012 at 15:16
  • @WChargin I can't give you a more reasoned response, I just know that, as a native sepaker, "Llámanos cuando salgas para que sepamos que estés en el camino" sounds wrong.
    – Pablo
    Commented Jun 30, 2012 at 16:49
  • @WChargin There is no uncertainty because the person will call only when he/she is on his way. Imagine a voice message on a phone like this: "... a esta hora puede que estés en camino hacia el aeropuerto "... There you have certainly the time (a esta hora) but there is also uncertainly about the location of the person (puede que estés).
    – user983248
    Commented Jul 2, 2012 at 11:27

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