present do conjuntivo - portuguese present subjunctive

Present Subjunctive

Presente do Conjuntivo

As one of the tenses that makes up part of the conjuntivo (subjunctive) mood, the presente do conjuntivo Play normal audio 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... Play normal audio I hope that...
  • É importante que... Play normal audio It's important that...
  • É bom que... Play normal audio It would be good if..., Literal - It is good that...
  • Receio que... Play normal audio I'm afraid that...
  • Duvido que... Play normal audio I doubt that...
  • Desejo que... Play normal audio I wish that...
  • Quer que eu...? Play normal audio 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
Eu -e -a
Tu -es -as
Ele/Ela/Você -e -a
Nós -emos -amos
Eles/Elas/Vocês -em -am

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):
    • Sejam felizes! paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio Be happy! (pl.)
    • Venham! Play normal audio Come! (pl.)
    • Faça as pazes! Play normal audio Make peace!

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

With most irregular verbs, all you have to do is take the 1st person ending of the presente do indicativo paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio present indicative, and replace the -o with -a. For example:

  • 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 brincoeu brinque;
  • estar (be) – eu estoueu esteja;
  • querer (want) – eu queroeu queira;
  • saber (know) – eu seieu saiba;
  • ser (be) – eu soueu seja;
  • ir (go) – eu voueu vá;
  • haver (have) – eu heieu haja;

verb-icon

ser
to be (permanent condition)

Conjuntivo

Ser – Conjuntivo – Presente

Espero que vocês sejam felizes.
I hope you are happy.

  • eu seja
  • I am
  • tu sejas
  • you are
  • ele / ela seja
  • he / she is
  • você seja
  • you formal are
  • nós sejamos
  • we are
  • eles / elas sejam
  • they masc. / they fem. are
  • vocês sejam
  • you pl. are

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verb-icon

estar
to be (temporary or accidental condition)

Conjuntivo

Estar – Conjuntivo – Presente

Fico contente que ele esteja aqui.
I am happy that he is here.

  • eu esteja
  • I am
  • tu estejas
  • you are
  • ele / ela esteja
  • he / she is
  • você esteja
  • you formal are
  • nós estejamos
  • we are
  • eles / elas estejam
  • they masc. / they fem. are
  • vocês estejam
  • you pl. are

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verb-icon

dar
to give

Conjuntivo

Dar – Conjuntivo – Presente

Eu espero que tu me dês o gelado.
I hope you give me the ice cream.

  • eu
  • I give
  • tu dês
  • you give
  • ele / ela
  • he / she gives
  • você
  • you give
  • nós dêmos
  • we give
  • eles / elas deem
  • they / they give
  • vocês deem
  • you give

 

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verb-icon

ir
to go

Conjuntivo

Ir – Conjuntivo – Presente

Não queremos que tu vás ao concerto.
We don’t want you to go to the concert.

  • eu
  • I go
  • tu vás
  • you go
  • ele / ela
  • he / she goes
  • você
  • you formal go
  • nós vamos
  • we go
  • eles / elas vão
  • they masc. / they fem. go
  • vocês vão
  • you pl. go

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Examples

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 Play normal audio I want you(pl.) to eat dinner with us tomorrow
Espero que ganhes o jogo Play normal audio I hope that you (sing.,inf.) win the game
Pode ser que para irmos à praia Play normal audio We might be able to go to the beach
Talvez tente outra vez Play normal audio 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 Play normal audio I don't know what to say
Não sei o que digo Play normal audio 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.

Comments

  • Olá! Porque nos exercícios diz “esperemos que gostem”? Pode dizer também “espere que” em vez que “espero que”? Parece-me que são os mesmos. Estou muito feliz para essas lições do conjuntivo! Muito obrigado!

    • Olá! We can use “esperemos que gostem” and “esperamos que gostem” interchangeably, but grammatically speaking, they are slightly different:
      Esperamos que gostem -> By using the present indicative, this not only feels more concrete, but also more immediate. It fits well when you’re showing something to people now.
      Esperemos que gostem -> By using the present subjunctive, you’re emphasizing the hypothetical and wishful nature of the subjunctive mood. So, it can be taken as a stronger expression of your desire for people to like it. It also feels less factual or “right now”, and more abstract. You could be saying, for example, that you hope that people like it whenever they get to see what you have to show them.

      This all depends on context and each person’s individual intention. We usually wouldn’t read so much into either of them! Also, for some reason, they’re interchangeable for the 1st person plural, but not the others. We don’t say “espere que”, only “espero que”.

      (Desculpa, só me lembrei que escreveste o teu comentário em português depois de já ter escrito a minha resposta em inglês! Mas pronto, assim mais pessoas poderão perceber 🙂 )

  • Olà Joseph
    As tuas explicações sempre são ótimas, muito compreensíveis mesmo para pessoas que não gostam tanto de gramática.
    Na tua resposta ao Derek escriveste: Mas pronto, assim mais pessoas poderão perceber.
    O que significa aqui: MAS PRONTO? Seria algo do género BUT THAT WAY?
    Nos meus dicionários não consegui encontrar essa expressão.

    • Olá, Barbara. Obrigado! A expressão “mas pronto” é uma espécie de filler. Neste contexto, significa “Oh well” ou “Whatever” 🙂

  • Hey there – just a heads up, it seems the audio files for the conjugations of “dar” are broken. I’d love to hear those pesky “e” vowels! Thanks all for your great work on the site.

  • I have struggled to understand the conjunctivo for quite a while, so I am very happy to see these lessons. The section comparing conjuntivo and indicativo is really helpful! The examples “não sei o que diga” vs “não sei o que digo” really help me understand the nuances. Great work! 🙂

  • Hi
    Just to say the audios for the verb ‘dar’ don’t seem to be working whereas all the other examples are working fine.

  • Are these two expressions interchangeable?
    Nãe sei o que estou a dezir.
    Não sei o que diga.

    I believe the first is present continuous and the second is present subjunctive (although don’t quote me on that). My understanding is that these would have the same English translations, although DeepL doesn’t agree. I get, respectively, these translations:
    I don’t know what I’m saying.
    I don’t know what to say.

    • You’re right about the tenses: present continuous for “Não sei o que estou a dizer”, and present subjunctive for “Não sei o que diga”. But DeepL is right about the meanings 🙂 The sentences are not interchangeable. However, “Não sei o que diga” and “Não sei o que dizer” (simple present) would be.

      • Oops. I meant

        Não sei o que digo
        Missed it by one letter. Is this one the same as the present continuous version?

        • Ah! Yes, it can be. “Não sei o que digo” can mean “I don’t know what I’m saying”, “I don’t know what I say” and sometimes even “I don’t know what to say”.

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