Spanish Grammar: Expressing wishes and desires (B1)

1. In Spanish, the subjunctive is used when the subject expresses a desire for action by another person or other people.

Quiero que estudies español (I want you to study Spanish).

Esperamos que no lleguen tarde (We hope they don’t arrive late).

Mis padres prefieren que estudie (My parents prefer that I study).

When the action of the second verb is to be performed by the subject of the first verb, an infinitive construction is used instead of the subjunctive. Compare:

Quiero estudiar (I want to study).

Quiero que estudies (I want you to study).

Preferimos comer aquí (We prefer to eat here).

Preferimos que los niños coman aquí (We prefer that the children eat here).

2. The present subjunctive is used always after ojalá (que) to express a strong wish:

Ojalá (que) me toque la lotería (I hope I win the lottery).

Ojalá (que) tengan éxito con ese negocio (I hope they’re successful with that business deal).

Ojalá (que) no llueva mañana (I hope it doesn’t rain tomorrow).

3. A clause beginning with “Que” followed by a verb in the subjunctive can also be used to express wishes.

¡Que tengas mucha suerte! (Best of luck to you!).

Que te vaya bien (All the best to you).

Que duermas bien (Sleep well).

4. Review how present subjunctive is formed and learn more about this topic watching the video “usos del subjuntivo expresar deseos“.

5.  Finally, let’s practice with our quizzes and remember you can contact your tutor with any question you have. Don’t you have a Spanish personal tutor yet?

The Spanish word ojalá is one of the most striking borrowings from Arabic in Spanish. It derives from the Arabic phrase inshallah, meaning would to Allah.

It has become a word in Spanish that expresses hopes and wishes. The Arabs (los musulmanes) began their invasion of Spain from North Africa in 711. Their domination of a large part of the country decreased steadily due to the efforts of the Christian kingdoms to take back their land. This reconquest, la Reconquista, began with the Battle of Covadonga in 718 and ended with the taking of Granada and the definitive expulsion of the Arabs in 1492.

The Spanish lexicon has approximately 4,000 words borrowed from Arabic, some of them as popular as el azúcar, la zanahoria, el álgebra, el alcohol, el cero or el café.


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