Using the subjunctive with impersonal expressions

Look at these examples of impersonal statements using the Modo subjuntivo:

Es necesario que Jaime estudie más.
It is necessary for Jaime to study more.

Es genial que podamos aparcar aquí.
It is great that we can park here.

Es imprescindible que hayamos entendido esta lección.
It is essential that we have understood this lesson.

Es aconsejable que dejemos de fumar para que nuestra salud mejore.
It is advisable that we give up smoking so that our health improves.

Exceptions: impersonal statements using the Modo indicativo

Most impersonal expressions that use the formula

ser + adjective + que 

use the Modo subjuntivo as long as they do not express:

  • a truth (or something that is presented as a truth with a phrase like es verdad que)
  • a certainty (like es cierto que)
  • a fact (like es un hecho que)

Phrases beginning with these expressions instead use the Modo indicativo. Take a look at these examples: 

Es verdad que los hombres son de Marte y las mujeres de Venus.
It is true that men are from Mars and women are from Venus.

Es verdad que tuvieron mucho éxito en la campaña electoral.
It is true that they were very successful in the election campaign.

Es cierto que Einstein desarrolló la teoría de la relatividad.
It is certain that Einstein developed the theory of relativity.

Es cierto que irán al concierto de Julio Iglesias la semana que viene.
It is certain that they will go to Julio Iglesias's concert next week.

Es un hecho que no volaríamos al aeropuerto de Los Ángeles.
It is a fact that we wouldn't fly to Los Angeles airport.

Es un hecho que hay mucha pobreza e injusticia en el mundo.
It is a fact that there is a lot of poverty and injustice in the world.

Negative forms use the Modo subjuntivo

However, phrases beginning with the negative forms of the above phrases (no es verdad que, etc.) also use the Modo subjuntivoFor example:

No es cierto que mi hermano venga a la fiesta.
It is not true that my brother is coming to the party.

No es un hecho que hayan aprobado los examenes.
It is not a fact that they have passed the exams.

No es verdad que mis amigos beban demasiado los sábados.
It is not true that my friends drink too much on Saturdays.

Learn more about these related Spanish grammar topics

Examples and resources

Es verdad que los hombres son de Marte y las mujeres de Venus.
It is true that men are from Mars and women are from Venus.


Es cierto que irán al concierto de Julio Iglesias la semana que viene.
It is certain that they will go to Julio Iglesias's concert next week.


Es un hecho que no volaríamos al aeropuerto de Los Ángeles.
It is a fact that we wouldn't fly to Los Angeles airport.


Es un hecho que hay mucha pobreza e injusticia en el mundo.
It is a fact that there is a lot of poverty and injustice in the world.


Es genial que podamos aparcar aquí.
It is great that we can park here.


No es un hecho que hayan aprobado los examenes.
It is not a fact that they have passed the exams.


No es verdad que mis amigos beban demasiado los sábados.
It is not true that my friends drink too much on Saturdays.


No es aconsejable que viajes sola a ese lugar.
It is not advisable for you to travel alone to that place.


Es aconsejable que dejemos de fumar para que nuestra salud mejore.
It is advisable that we give up smoking so that our health improves.


Es verdad que tuvieron mucho éxito en la campaña electoral.
It is true that they were very successful in the election campaign.


Es necesario que Jaime estudie más.
It is necessary for Jaime to study more.


Es imprescindible que hayamos entendido esta lección.
It is essential that we have understood this lesson.


No es cierto que mi hermano venga a la fiesta.
It is not true that my brother is coming to the party.


Es cierto que Einstein desarrolló la teoría de la relatividad.
It is certain that Einstein developed the theory of relativity.


Q&A Forum 2 questions, 3 answers

Tiny typo in B2 focus test:

Hola Inma, It’s only a small typo in the English translation but thought I’d let you know anyway:Es cierto que los peregrinos ________ a Santiago antes de tiempo. It is certain that the pilgrims get to to Santiago too early.As you can see it’s the word ‘to’ that is repeated.
Asked 4 months ago
ShuiKwiziq language super star

Hola Clara

Thanks for letting us know! All fixed now.

Gracias

Shui

De nada Shui.

Gracias.

¡Un saludo y feliz pascua!

Tiny typo in B2 focus test:

Hola Inma, It’s only a small typo in the English translation but thought I’d let you know anyway:Es cierto que los peregrinos ________ a Santiago antes de tiempo. It is certain that the pilgrims get to to Santiago too early.As you can see it’s the word ‘to’ that is repeated.

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When to use past vs perfect subjunctive?

One of the questions connected to this lesson is: No es posible que ________ en la montaña. (It is not possible that they got lost in the mountains.)

The correct answers are given as se perdieran and se perdiesen. But why can't it be se hayan perdido as well?

Asked 6 months ago
InmaKwiziq language super star

Hola Christy

"No es posible que se hayan perdido en la montaña" would also be correct. Using the perfect tense, instead of the Imperfecto de Subjuntivo, would simply mean that we see the action as a more "finished" action; as if we were saying "It is possible that they have got lost". Using "...que se perdieran/perdiesen" doesn't necessarily convey that "finished" nuance. 

Hope this helps

Inma

When to use past vs perfect subjunctive?

One of the questions connected to this lesson is: No es posible que ________ en la montaña. (It is not possible that they got lost in the mountains.)

The correct answers are given as se perdieran and se perdiesen. But why can't it be se hayan perdido as well?

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