The subjunctive is used with verbs of influence, such as those shown below:
querer – to want
preferir – to prefer
desear – to desire
insistir en – to insist
mandar – to command
prohibir – to prohibit
requerir – to require
exigir – to demand, require
recomendar – to recommend
pedir – to request/ask for
alentar – to encourage
decir – to tell, say (when not used as a verb of reporting)
Put the verbs above into the formula below to express influence over actions that the subject would or would not like somebody else to do, but cannot directly control.
Subject 1 + verb of influence (indicative)
+ que + Subject 2 + action to be done (subjunctive)
¿Insistes en que lo hagamos?
Do you insist that we do it? (Or: Do you insist on our doing it?)
Recomiendo que salgas.
I recommend that you leave.
¿Manda él que yo lo escriba?
Is he ordering me to write it?
Piden que cenemos allí.
They’re asking us to dine there.
No permitimos que lo compres.
We don’t permit you to buy it.
Note: The presence of one or more verbs of influence is notsufficient to require the use of the subjunctive. There must be two subjects and one subject must attempt to influence the other.
Yo quiero venir mañana. (indicative)
I want to come tomorrow.
Yo quiero que Uds. vengan mañana. (subjunctive)
I want you all to come tomorrow.
Why is it difficult for students to understand when to use Subjunctive vs Indicative? Spanish Indicative talks about facts while Spanish subjunctive talks about doubts, wants, beliefs, needs, feelings, emotions, etc.. The sentences below will clearly illustrate when to use Spanish Subjunctive vs Indicative.
Yo tengo que estudiar las palabras.
I have to study the words.
El profesor quiere que yo estudie las palabras.
The teacher wants me to study the words.
Tú tienes que estudiar las palabras.
You have to study the words.
El profesor quiere que tú estudies las palabras.
The teacher wants you to study the words.
María tiene que estudiar las palabras.
Mary has to study the words.
El profesor quiere que María estudie las palabras.
The teacher wants Mary to study the words.
Nosotros tenemos que estudiar las palabras.
We have to study the words.
El profesor quiere que nosotros estudiemos las palabras.
The teacher wants us to study the words.