A Complete Guide to the Spanish Subjunctive: 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

A Complete Guide to the Spanish Subjunctive

1st Edition

By Hans-Jörg Busch


196 pages

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Hardback: 9781138963146
pub: 2017-04-06
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A Complete Guide to the Spanish Subjunctive is the most complete reference guide to the use of the subjunctive in Spanish. After an exhaustive review of published literature on the subjunctive, and a thorough discussion of all the uses of the subjunctive, including those that have generated much discussion, for example after ‘el hecho de que’, causative predicates and verbs of emotion, as well as after certain conjunctions, such as ‘aunque’ and ‘después de que’, the book presents a comprehensive theory of the subjunctive and provides practical rules for understanding, teaching and acquiring this linguistic structure. The book contains a wealth of authentic examples throughout drawn from linguistic corpora such as the Corpus de Referencia del Español Actual (CREA) and the Corpus del Español del Siglo XXI (CORPES XXI), large databases compiled by the Royal Spanish Language Academy and available on-line at http://www.rae.es/.

This book includes:

• A ‘Synopsis’ section that summarizes the content of the work and offers practical suggestions for teaching the subjunctive.

• An extensive alphabetical list of expressions used with the subjunctive or the subjunctive AND the indicative.

• An extensive and up-to-date bibliography of subjunctive literature.

Table of Contents


  1. Purpose and scope of this book
  2. About the empiric material and the examples used in this book
  3. Overview of the subjunctive literature
  4. The subjunctive: an expression of modality
  5. The subjunctive: the morphosyntactic manifestation of mood
  6. Attempts to define the meaning of the subjunctive
    1. What happens when you explain the use of the subjunctive (only) with generalizing semantic and pragmatic terms?
    2. Attempts to negate the meaning of the subjunctive
    3. The concept of assertion
    4. Newer studies that use the concept of assertion and related concepts to describe the meaning of the subjunctive
    5. The definition of assertion in this book
    6. Assertion and subordination in German
    7. Assertion and subordination in English

  7. The function or systematic grammatical meaning of the indicative, subjunctive and imperative moods in Spanish
    1. The formal distinction between indicative and subjunctive in Spanish
    2. The indicative
    3. The subjunctive
    4. The uses of the subjunctive in (pseudo) independent clauses
    5. The imperative
    6. The conditional

  8. The sequence of tenses of the subjunctive
  9. The grammatical function of dependent subjunctive clauses
    1. Noun clauses
      1. Verbs and expressions that are followed by the subjunctive in noun clauses
        1. Wishes and orders
        2. Opposition, prohibition, denial, doubt
          1. Negative modifiers in the main clause
          2. The role of interrogation in the main clause
          3. The role of auxiliary verbs Cause, explanation, justification, motif, origin, reason, consequence, tendency Intermediate and impersonal expressions of influence, preference, permission, concession, admission, possibility, necessity, frequency, etc. Feelings and emotions

    9.2. Adjective or relative clauses

    9.3. Adverb or circumstantial clauses

    9.3.1. Conjunctions and expressions that always require the subjunctive Para que Antes de que A menos que, a no ser que, siempre y cuando, en caso de que, and con tal de que Sin que

    9.3.2. Conjunctions and adverbial expressions that are used with the indicative and the subjunctive Consecutive clauses Causal clause Concessive and adversative clauses Conditional clauses Adverbial clauses of time

  10. The communicative potential of the subjunctive
  11. Mood variation throughout the Spanish speaking world

    1. The studies by De Sterck and Lastra & Butragueño
    2. The studies by Fukushima and Miyashita
    3. The VARIGRAMA project

11.3.1. Es probable que + IND, es una lástima que + IND, es interesante que + IND, es bueno que + IND, me alegro de que + IND

11.3.2. El hecho de que + IND

11.3.3. No hay duda de que + IND

11.3.4. Aunque

11.3.5. The studies by DeMello

11.3.6. Probablemente and posiblemente

11.3.7. Poder ser que

11.3.8. Tal vez

11.3.9. Quizá(s)

11.3.10. Acaso

11.3.11. Ser posible que/ ser probable que

11.3.12. No sé si + SUB

11.3.13. Expressions of emotion

11.4 The studies by Gallego and Alonso-Marks: subjunctive vs. infinitive

11.5 Conclusions and outlook

12. Synopsis

12.1 How can we describe the essence of the subjunctive?

12.2 Step-by-step instructions to explain the use of the subjunctive in modern Spanish

12.3 Some examples



Bibliography of works cited in this book

Additional subjunctive bibliography


About the Author

Hans-Jörg Busch is Associate Professor of Spanish at the University of Delaware.

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