I read the following phrase in Spanish and I'm wondering, why we do not use Subjuntivo in the subordinate clause.

This seems to be the correct sentence:

Dicen que toca el piano como los angeles.

I thought we use the subjuntivo in a "que" phrase when the subject of the sentence changes. The subject of the main clause is "they" (several people), the subject of the subordinate clause is "he".

That's why I thought the frase should read:

Dicen que toque el piano como los angeles.

  • ''Dicen que toque el piano como los angeles'' suena como una orden, no se entiende. Dec 22, 2022 at 16:03

2 Answers 2


The word "que" is playing a different role here than it plays in sentences that call for the subjunctive mood. "Ellos dicen que" indicates that they are saying something, and the word "que" introduces what they are saying. And what they are saying is indication of fact, not a wish, or implied command, or counterfactual supposition, or any of the other ways subjunctive allows discussing an assertion without asserting its truth.

If we were to listen in on them as they say that he plays the piano like the angels, we would find that they aren't using the subjunctive either. They are making an assertion of fact.


Ellos dicen que él toca el piano como los ángeles. (presente de indicativo)

They say that he plays the piano like angels. (present indicative)

Si tú dices

If you say

Dicen que toque el piano como los ángeles.

They say play the piano like angels

Tú estás queriendo decir;

You are wanting to say;

Ellos dicen que yo toque el piano como los ángeles

They say that I play the piano like angels

Es confuso. Suena como una orden imperativa, donde tu has de tocar el piano como los propios ángeles ahora.

It's confusing. It sounds like an imperative order, where you have to play the piano like the angels themselves now.

El modo subjuntivo es un modo gramatical difícil que se utiliza para expresar hipótesis, afirmaciones inciertas o deseos y no siempre se puede utilizar, pues puede llevar a confusión.

The subjunctive mode is a difficult grammatical mode that is used to express hypotheses, uncertain statements or wishes and cannot always be used, as it can lead to confusion.

El uso del subjuntivo no tiene nada que ver con que el sujeto cambie, sino con lo que se desea expresar.

The use of the subjunctive has nothing to do with the subject changing, but with what you want to express.

Ejemplos de oraciones en subjuntivo con "que" y el verbo "tocar".

Examples of subjunctive sentences with "que" and the verb "tocar".

  • Puede que yo toque.

  • Es probable que él toque.

  • Dudo que yo toque.

  • Deseo que él toque.

  • Me encanta que tú toques.

  • Me alegra que él toque.

  • Es importante que yo toque.

  • Es necesario que tú toques.

  • Ellos dicen que puede que yo toque. (Ellos dicen que puede que ellos o la ocasión me permita tocar).

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