In statements like this:

No creo que él te comprenda/comprendiere.
I don't believe that he'll understand you

Should subjunctive in the present or future be used? Is it "comprenda" or "comprendiere"?

  • I do not know the answer to your question but I think you mean te not for you here and you do not need to specify he (él) if it is clear from the context.
    – mdewey
    Dec 1, 2018 at 13:16
  • @mdewey Note that the possible duplicate you indicated asks whether to use future indicative or present subjunctive, while this one asks for present or future subjunctive. I don't think it's a duplicate.
    – pablodf76
    Dec 1, 2018 at 14:28
  • @pablodf76 you are right, I retracted it.
    – mdewey
    Dec 1, 2018 at 16:29
  • Did you mean he'll understand you?
    – rsanchez
    Dec 1, 2018 at 16:48

2 Answers 2


The future subjunctive is practically obsolete in Spanish. Nobody uses it anymore except in some very formal contexts (legal texts and the like). You can very well do without it while you study Spanish.

In this example of yours, moreover, the future subjunctive sounds very awkward. I cannot explain why, but it looks completely out of place. I have seen it used with:

  • si (si fuere, si estuviere, si viniere...)
  • cuando, donde (cuando fuere, donde estuviere...)
  • aunque (aunque viniere, aunque dijere...)
  • el/aquel que (aquel que hablare, el que pidiere...)

and so on, but I've never found it in this construction (meaning negative belief in the future, no creo que...).

Since this tense is practically forgotten, you can forget about it. You'll never use it yourself, and you'll only find it in legal texts, if at all.

  • Also when it is used in modern Spanish, it's almost always in the format of the second or forth examples you give. Dec 2, 2018 at 14:42

(Supplementary answer)

"No creo que él te comprenda" is definitely the better choice.

Please note that it is ambiguous without more context. It could mean a couple different things:

a) I don't think he's understanding you / he understands you [the implied time frame is now].

b) I don't think he will understand you (for example, if you present your idea that way) [the implied time frame is the future, for example tomorrow, next week, etc.].

If you want to give a clearer timeframe of the future, you can say

No creo que él te vaya a entender

If you want to give a clearer timeframe of the present, you could say

No creo que él te esté entendiendo

As a side note, "entender" is a more common, and more natural, choice than the obvious cognate "comprender."

  • No creo que él te vaya a entender --> then why not use future subjunctive? instead of present subjunctive "vaya" + gerundio? after all, they both create a subjunctive future
    – nylypej
    Dec 2, 2018 at 14:33
  • @nylypej the use of "creo" means that the subordinate clause should be anchored in the present. This to refer to previous events you use the present perfect, and to future events using the periphrastic future Dec 2, 2018 at 14:44
  • and if it wasn't creo in particular?
    – nylypej
    Dec 2, 2018 at 14:48
  • @nylypej - such as which verbs? I'm having trouble thinking of very many that would fit, but here are a couple: "No sé si él te va a entender." "No me gusta la idea de que él te entienda." Dec 2, 2018 at 19:55
  • the use of "creo" means that the subordinate clause should be anchored in the present. -- is this true only for the verb "creo"? or all the verbs?
    – nylypej
    Dec 3, 2018 at 2:37

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.