The subjunctive mode
The subjunctive mode (subjuntiu) expresses hypothetical, unsure and wishful things. The subjunctive contains the following tenses: present, imperfet, perfet and plusquamperfet. This article is all about the use of the subjunctive mode in Catalan.
The subjunctive appears, mostly, in subordinate clauses behind a conjunction like que (that) or quan (when). The tense applied depends on the tense of the primary clause.
The present subjunctive (in Catalan: present del subjuntiu) is used when the primary clause is in the present or future tense of the indicative mode. For example:
- Espero que faci sol.
I hope it's sunny.
- Volem que aprenguis català.
We want you to learn Catalan.
- Dubto que el tren arribi a temps.
I doubt the train will arrive on time.
- Compraré un cotxe quan tingui prou diner.
I'll buy a car when I have enough money.
A desire can also be formulated by "tant de bo" (in English: hopefully). For example:
- Tant de bo que deixi de fumar!
Hopefully you quit smoking!
The subjunctive present is also used for negative orders and instructions. For example:
For positive orders the imperative mode is used.
- Et vaig demanar que vinguessis amb mi.
I asked you to come with me.
The present perfect subjunctive (in Catalan: perfet de subjuntiu) is used when speaking about things that just finished and still have influence on the present. It is formed by the auxiliar haver (to have) in present subjunctive and the participle of the conjugated verb.
The pluperfect (in Catalan: plusquamperfet de subjuntiu) is formed with the auxiliar verb haver in imperfect subjunctive.
- Va ser una làstima que no hagués pogut venir.
It was a pity he could not come.
- Ho hauria pogut finalitzar, si els professors m'haguessin donat més temps.
I could have finished it, if the teachers had given me more time.