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The past subjunctive: regular -ar verbs

The past subjunctive of regular -ar verbs is generally formed as follows:

  • replace the -ar with -ara;
  • add regular person endings;
  • the stressed syllable always falls on the first a of the ending.

(For the time being, we ignore the alternative past subjunctive form ending in -se used in some varieties of Spanish. As we'll see later, this form is trivially predictable once you know the -ara/-iera past subjunctive forms.)

The last point means that in the written form, the three-syllable nosotros form is -áramos with a written accent on the first e. The ending doesn't need a written accent in the other persons, but in terms of pronunciation, the stressed syllable is always that with the first a of the past subjunctive ending: (que) preguntaras, (que) tomarais etc.

Spelled out in full, this gives the following endings and example past subjunctive forms of the verb llegar (to arrive):

Past subjunctive forms of regular Spanish -ar verbs
yo-araquiso que llegara
he/she wanted me to arrive
-aras(yo) quise que llegaras
I wanted you to arrive
él/ella-araquise que llegara
I wanted him/her to arrive
nosotros, -as-áramosquiso que llegáramos
he/she wanted us to arrive
vosotros, -as-araisquise que llegarais
I wanted you (all) to arrive
ellos/ellas-aranquise que llegaran
I wanted them to arrive

Next: past subjunctive of other verbs

As we'll see on the next page, the past subjunctive of non-ar verbs is based on a slightly different ending, although the overall forms are similar.

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