Presente do Conjuntivo
As one of the tenses that makes up part of the conjuntivo (subjunctive) mood, the presente do conjuntivo present subjunctive lets you talk about something that may or may not happen, but that is within the realm of possibility. This includes hopes, fears, doubts, and other hypotheticals. It tends to be paired with the presente do indicativo, such as in clauses beginning with:
- Espero que... I hope that...
- É importante que... It's important that...
- É bom que... It would be good if..., Literal - It is good that...
- Receio que... I'm afraid that...
- Duvido que... I doubt that...
- Desejo que... I wish that...
- Quer que eu...? Do you want me to...?
In the next lessons, we’ll focus on the presente do conjuntivo, but you will also learn and practice the futuro do conjuntivo and imperfeito do conjuntivo in separate units.
Presente do Conjuntivo: Regular Verb Endings
|-ar||-er / -ir|
You’ll notice that the presente do conjuntivo has the same endings as those used in the imperative mood, but, in addition, also covers all the personal forms that the imperative mood is missing (I, they, etc).
- Imperative (“command” forms for 2nd person singular and plural):
One conjugation ‘trick’ that you also may find helpful here is to use the conjunction que before the pronoun. For example, using the verb chegar, you get: que eu chegue, que tu chegues, and so on. This trick makes the conjugation of the verb sound better and helps separate it from the indicative.
Presente do Conjuntivo: Irregular Verb Endings
- eu tenho → eu tenha
- eu faço → eu faça
Then, we keep the verb stem and the rest of the verb endings are the same as the ones seen in table above for the -ER / -IR verbs. Using the verb ter as an example, you get: eu tenha, tu tenhas, ele tenha, nós tenhamos, eles tenham.
With some verbs, however, you can’t rely on the indicativo to get to the conjuntivo, as in the exceptions below:
- brincar (play) – eu brinco → eu brinque;
- estar (be) – eu estou → eu esteja;
- querer (want) – eu quero → eu queira;
- saber (know) – eu sei → eu saiba;
- ser (be) – eu sou → eu seja;
- ir (go) – eu vou → eu vá;
- haver (have) – eu hei → eu haja;
Now that we know how to conjugate verbs in this tense, let’s see a few examples in sentence form:
Quero que jantem connosco amanhã I want youpl. to eat dinner with us tomorrow
Espero que ganhes o jogo I hope that you sing.,inf. win the game
Pode ser que dê para irmos à praia We might be able to go to the beach
Talvez tente outra vez Maybe I'll try it again
Present Tense: Comparing Conjuntivo vs. Indicativo
The use of the conjuntivo is often mandatory. The examples we’ve given so far wouldn’t be correct if the verbs were in the indicativo. However, there are certain cases in which both moods are possible, with each resulting in a different meaning. Let’s see an example:
Não sei o que diga I don't know what to say
Não sei o que digo I don't know what I'm saying
The first sentence is in modo conjuntivo and it translates to “I don’t know what to say” – the speaker might be speechless or not sure what to say to other person (refers to the possibility of saying something). The second is in modo indicativo and it translates to “I don’t know what I’m saying” – the speaker is not sure of what he’s saying (refers to what he is actually, currently saying) maybe because s/he is confused or not making any sense.