If we limit our view to the present tense, how can I fill in the blanks succinctly?
When I use the indicative mood, I am indicating that something happens.
When I use the subjunctive mood, I am ??????
Cuando uso el indicativo, manifiesto que algo ocurre.
Cuado uso el subjuntivo, ??????
What's the best way to sum up what I'm doing when I use the subjunctive in each of these sentences? I'm thinking something along the lines of "expressing something other than certainty" for the English version, but I was curious what others thought would be a short summary of what one does when they use the subjunctive. I'm not looking for a laundry list of specific cases, such as "expressing doubt, uncertainty, emotion, desire, recommendation, denial, or disbelief", but a quick summary that encompasses as many reasons to use it as possible. My version seems like it is merely saying that the subjunctive is used whenever the indicative doesn't work, and while this is fairly true, I was wondering if there was a better way to briefly describe when to use it in both languages.
This is primarily for teaching purposes so I can give people a 5 second, meaningful, and memorable description of what the subjunctive is used for.