Spanish Subjunctive uses 2: Adjective clauses
In this chapter, we’ll learn how to use the subjunctive in another very common scenario – with subordinated adjective clauses.
One of the most common uses (and misuses for learners) of the subjunctive is with adjective clauses.
This is far less difficult than it sounds, and as with previous sections you’ll get a chance to check your comprehension at each key point.
What is an adjective clause?
A noun clause (which we met in the last chapter) is a clause which stands in for a noun:
Lis wants Rob to eat pasta
An adjective clause, then, is a clause which stands in for an adjective. This clause describes, or modifies the rest of the sentence:
Let’s take another example in English:
As you can see, adjective clauses in English are often introduced with words such as “which”, “that”, “when”, etc. In Spanish, this is also true, and you’ll often see que used:
Prefiero una pizza que no tenga queso “I prefer a pizza that doesn’t have cheese”
You can check for an adjective clause by substituting it with an adjective. If the sentence still makes sense then it’s an adjective clause.
With the above example:
Prefiero una pizza que no tenga queso azul
That works for this sentence. Let’s take another example:
Quiero que vengas conmigo azul
This doesn’t work, so we know we don’t have an adjective clause.
Test your memory
Once we have determined that we are dealing with an adjective clause, we only need to apply one guideline:
The adjective clause modifies (describes) something (the “antecedent”) vague or nonexistent
Let’s take another example:
Let’s explore a few more examples: