Avoiding Common Errors in Spanish: Subjunctive mood with activities III

By Maje

RelativasWelcome back to the subjunctive mood. 😉

Today we are dealing with another common error in Spanish: subjunctive mood with adjectival clauses, the ones we use to modify a noun in the main clause. For example: “I work for a company which publishes books and magazines.”

Now see the sentences below:

Trabajo en una compañía que publica libros y revistas.

Quiero trabajar en una compañía que publique libros y revistas.

Same thing? Not really. Ask your students to circle all verbs and tell you the tenses I have used. As we advised you last week, now tell them to take some time and explain you the meaning of both sentences in their own words.

As they will realise, we use the indicative when the antecedent (the noun to which the clause refers) is an existing one and a definite. On the other hand, we use the subjunctive mood when the antecedent is non-existent, unknown or negated.

Therefore, please do not say things like Busco un trabajo que es interesante instead of “Busco un trabajo que sea interesante.” 🙂

See the information below in Spanish. We hope it helps you explain this use of the subjunctive mood.


Now tell your students to choose the correct verb for the following sentences.

1. Mi padre es el mejor cocinero que conozco|conozca.

2. Quiero estudiar en una universidad que tiene|tenga prestigio.

3. Llevo todo el día buscando y todavía no he visto nada que me gusta|guste.

4. Este año nos vamos a quedar en un hotel que está|esté cerca de la playa.

5. Este año buscamos un hotel que está|esté cerca de la playa.

6. Necesito un libro de gramática que explica|explique bien el subjuntivo.

7. Necesito una persona que habla|hable inglés.

8. Su secretario es un hombre que sabe|sepa hablar inglés, francés y alemán.

Answers: conozco, tenga, guste, está, esté, explique, hable, sabe.

You can also use this interesting article on jobs to come to create an extension task. Ideally, you would give some cards with information to your students and then tell them to work in groups and describe a candidate for a current job and a candidate for a job to come.

For instance, a teacher and biohacker.

Un profesor es una persona que trabaja con estudiantes.

Un biohacker será una persona que trabaje con plantas.

How do you work with adjectival clauses which requires subjunctive? Any lesson plan you would like to share with us? How do you ensure your students overcome common errors in Spanish? Looking forward to your comments.


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