I have a reasonable understanding of the subjunctive in Spanish. I know that impersonal expressions often take the subjunctive in the second clause if the subject is different.

Es aconsejable que traigas un paraguas.

I know that if the subject is the same in the first clause and in the second clause the indicative is used.

Es aconsejable que traigo un paraguas.

I also know that "es aconsejable traer un paraguas" also works.

My question involves the translation of this type of sentence where there is potentially another subject(or maybe not).

It is fun that I make reference to the author.

I would say, given my understanding.

Es divertido que hago referencia al escritor

I am the one doing the action and the writer is incidental, in the background.

And to translate:

It is fun that she makes reference to the writer.

would it be

Es divertido que ella haga referencia al escritor.

I have checked Kwiziq, Fluentu and grammar books but I don't see this type of sentence explained as to whether it should be in the indicative or subjunctive.

  • "Es aconsejable que traigo un paraguas" is ungrammatical. Where have you heard the rule you mention about the possibility of using indicative in the subordinate if both subjects are the same?
    – Gustavson
    Commented Mar 28 at 1:24
  • I thought that I have seen various examples online. Plus, I listen to the podcast ''Hoy Hablamos''.There is a grammatical podcast section. In that,they feature different episodes .An example being''expresar alegría y satisfacción'' number 190. Am I incorrect in this thinking? Sorry, I am Really confused here! I know you can say,''es aconsejable traerun paraguas'' but that is not my question.
    – Bluelion7
    Commented Mar 28 at 19:13
  • I also send this from ''Homeschool Spanisn Academy''.When To Use the Indicative vs. Subjunctive Remember, the indicative mood expresses things that are sure, certain, and (believed to be) true. The subjunctive mood is all about uncertainty and doubt. It’s also not sure if the subject in the subordinate clause will complete the action. Ask yourself the following questions to know when to use indicative vs. subjunctive rules: Are there two different subjects? Are there two verbs? Is the first verb a WEIRDO verb? Is the second clause introduced by a relative pronoun?
    – Bluelion7
    Commented Mar 28 at 19:33

2 Answers 2


The rule mentioned in the question seems to be the one that applies to verbs of liking and disliking, but the choice is not between subjunctive and indicative but between subjunctive and infinitive.

The rule says that, when the subjects in the main and in the subordinate clauses are different, the subjunctive needs to be used in the subordinate, while the infinitive is used when the subject is the same:

  • (Yo) Espero ir (yo) al cine.

  • (Yo) Espero que (nosotros) vayamos al cine.

  • (Yo) Detesto llamarla (yo).

  • (Yo) Detesto que (ellos) me llamen.

  • (Yo) Adoro ser (yo) el centro de la fiesta.

  • (Yo) Adoro que (tú) seas el centro de la fiesta.

  • (Yo) Odio llegar (yo) tarde.

  • (Yo) Odio que (él/ella) llegue tarde.

As can be read here, if the subjunctive is used instead of the infinitive, the result may be ambiguous. This usually happens when there is a modal or semimodal verb in the subordinate:

  • Espero poder ir al cine (I hope I can go to the movies)

  • Espero que pueda ir al cine (I hope I/he/she (?) can go to the movies)

  • Detesto tener que llamarla (I hate to have to call her)

  • Detesto que tenga que llamarla (I hate I/he/she (?) have/has to call her)

  • Thanks @Gustavson. The link is useful.I will study it in detail. I feel I am understanding it a bit clearer except for what you mean when you say'' The rule mentioned in the question seems to be the one that applies to verbs of liking and disliking,''. Can you explain this with an example or two please ?
    – Bluelion7
    Commented Mar 29 at 16:07
  • By verbs of liking nad disliking, I mean verbs like gustar, preferir, desear, amar, encantar, adorar, detestar, odiar, no soportar, no aguantar, etc. Is that where your doubt líes?
    – Gustavson
    Commented Mar 29 at 17:18
  • @Gustavson.yes. So, would you mind putting 1 or 2 in a sentence to explain the point you are making please?
    – Bluelion7
    Commented Mar 29 at 17:19
  • I used a couple in my reply but can add some more if you wish.
    – Gustavson
    Commented Mar 29 at 17:21

Sorry, I think I have had a moment of brain-freeze! I think that the subjunctive is used for all subjects -me,you,she,he etc. It is because they go " es aconsejable que","es importante que","es innegable que". Each subject is different in relation to an impersonal statement,including"I".
The "que" causes this subjunctive reaction,I guess.

Am I correct in my thinking here?

I think I was initially confused as we don't often see an impersonal statement with "I" in the second clause.

  • @Gustavso. oh yes, I see those. So basically I think I get it. The use of ''que'' does trigger the subjunctive -at least that is how I explain it in those examples. so, my examples: Espero que todo vaya bien para ti. Permito que fumo tobaco/permito umar tobaco/ Es esencial que tenga cuidado(yo)/es esencial tener cuidado(yo0
    – Bluelion7
    Commented Mar 29 at 17:27
  • 1
    The one with "permitir" should be: Permito que fumes (tú) / que fume (él) / que fumen (ellos) / Permito fumar (a los demás). If you want to say you allow yourself to indulge in smoking, you should say: Me permito fumar.
    – Gustavson
    Commented Mar 29 at 21:08
  • 1
    @Gustavsom.Great. I understand now thanks
    – Bluelion7
    Commented Mar 29 at 21:41

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