I'm trying (& struggling) to learn about the subjunctive. I am working through the examples on this web page.

So there is a sentence which translate in English as "When I go to visit you, I will bring you a gift."

If I was going to say that in Spanish I would use the line below.

cuando iré a visitarte, te llevaré un regalo

In the examples on that web page it is written below.

cuando vaya a visitarte, te llevaré un regalo

Is the difference that where I'm using the future tense it means that I will definitely visit and the subjunctive one means that I might visit? Or something else altogether?

  • 1
    Your first translations would be like saying "When I will go to visit you...." that is incorrect. "I will go=iré" (future) "I go=voy" (present) "when I go=cuando vaya" (conditional)
    – DGaleano
    Commented Dec 2, 2019 at 15:10

1 Answer 1


We always use subjunctive after cuando when we are referring to the future:

Cuando vaya a visitarte, te llevaré un regalo

The reason might be that there is uncertainty about when the action will happen, even if there is no uncertainty about whether the action will happen.

Interestingly, the Italian language also has subjunctive and uses it mostly in the same way as we do (to express uncertainty), but in Italian they use future indicative tense after cuando (quando). With this I want to say that sometimes there are dubious/edge cases where the general rules are not so clear and one has to learn specific cases by heart. Here is a very comprehensive list of when we use subjunctive in Spanish, which is not meant as a basic learning tool but as a reference for those dubious/edge cases.


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