Expressing uncertainty with indicative and subjunctive
In Spanish, we are going to use the subjunctive after verbs expressing doubts or uncertainty (check present subjunctive conjugation), and verbs saying what you think about something that is used with “no”. Here you have some examples:
No creo que sea importante. (I don’t believe it’s important.)
No pienso que esté bien. (I don’t think it is right.)
Dudo que tenga tiempo. (I doubt I have time.)
No pienso que entiendan. (I don´t think they understand.)
No estoy seguro que Olga venga. (I am not sure that Olga is coming.)
But we would use the indicative when the sentence is affirmative:
Creo que es importante. (I believe it’s important.)
Pienso que está bien. (I think it is right.)
No dudo que tendré/tenga tiempo. (I don’t doubt I have time.)
Pienso que entienden. (I think they understand.)
Estoy seguro que Olga vendrá. (I am sure that Olga is coming.)
Impersonal expressions that show certainty when they’re negated also require the subjunctive:
- no es cierto (it is not certain, it is not sure)
- no es claro (it is not clear)
- no es evidente (it is not evident)
- no es exacto (it is not exact)
- no es obvio (it is not obvious)
- no es seguro (it is not sure)
- no es verdad (it is not true)
- no parece (it doesn’t seem)
Download the pdf sheet on the right.
No es cierto que Fernando y Marta se vayan a divorciar. (It is uncertain that Fernando y Marta they are going to divorce.)
No es seguro que vengan mañana. (It is not sure they come tomorrow.)
No parece que esté preocupado (It doesn’t seem to be worried.)
Es cierto que Fernando y Marta se van a divorciar.
Es seguro que vendrán mañana.
Parece que está preocupado.
Common verbs of doubt and opinion in Spanish
Expressing doubts and opinion exercises
Now practice everything you have learned with the activities below and remember to contact your tutor if you have any question about how to give opinions or express doubts and uncertainty. Don’t you have a Spanish tutor yet?