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Spanish Lesson Seventy-Four: Impersonal Expressions

Updated on January 27, 2014

Hey Friends!

Welcome back Monday and to Spanish lessons. It's been a crazy seventy-three lessons and I'm so excited with where things are now. We've begun learning the compound tenses of Spanish while enhancing some of things we've learned over time. Everything is going great. I would like to extend my appreciation to you for sticking with me all this time. I guess I do that a lot. So let's talk about Spanish!

Last week we went back over the Subjunctive and learned a bit more about what makes something Subjunctive. So guess what? I found an awesome video that uses the Acronym W.I.E.R.D.O. to help you remember! That video is posted in this lesson and make sure you watch it after today's lesson, Let's learn some Spanish!


  • To Review the subjunctive
  • To Learn how to use Impersonal Expressions
  • To Be Able to discern between subjunctive and indicative

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Impersonal Expressions?


So today we're going over these expressions called "Impersonal Expressions". They are expressions that don't start out with an initial subject. They are all subjunctive so there are no guesses as to whether they are subjunctive or indicative. In fact, these expressions are one of the main reasons that we use the subjunctive. It is because of their structure that is clearly defined in that awesome video I found. So make sure you watch it. It taught me something I didn't even know!

These expressions are used to give an opinion or declare doubt about something. Generally it starts with "It's good that..." or "It's bad that..." or whatever. I'll list them for you and hope that follow along well. I did discuss these in brevity on Lesson Fifty-Two when discussing the Imperfect Subjunctive. So if you want to review that lesson, go ahead! You might need to. It was so long ago, anyway.

English Word
Spanish Equiv
It's Good/Bad That...
Es Bueno/Malo Que...
It's Rare That...
Es Raro Que...
It's Advisable That...
Es Aconsejable Que...
It's Doubtful That...
Es Dudoso Que...
It's Important That...
Es Importante Que...
It's Likely That...
Es Probable Que...
It's Possible That..
Es Posible Que...
It's Strange That...
Es Extraño Que...
It's Not True That...
No Es Cierto Que...*
Don't Believe That...
No Creer Que...*
It's A Pity That...
Es Una Lástima Que...
It's A Disgrace That...
Es Vergonzoso Que...
I Hope That...
Ojalá Que...
It's Marvelous That...
Es Maravilloso Que...

Today's Vocabulary

Welcome to Today's Vocabulary,

I'm sure it makes all the sense in the world that today's vocabulary will include an extensive list of Impersonal Expressions to practice on when using the Subjunctive. So to your right is a list of some Impersonal Expressions. Take note that many of them start with Es *blank* que. You can always add an adjective in there to make it "It's sad that", "It's good that", or some other similar phrase.

These are just awesome expressions because they're so familiar. We English speakers are constantly giving an opinion. Heck, people in general like to give opinions. These phrases are just perfect for doing that. Not only that, but it'll help you practice more on the subjunctive and be able to discern it from the indicative.

I continue to review these concepts because they are the most confusing. I remember learning it for the first time and being thoroughly confused. So if you have any questions afterward, don't hesitate to leave me a comment after this lesson. I'd love to answer any questions and help as much as I can. I'm not a native speaker, but my knowledge is extensive and I'll give the best answers possible.

  • Used to express desires or wishes
  • Used to express requests or demands
  • Used to express uncertainty or doubt
  • Used to express a subjective opinion

Using Impersonal Expressions

I know...

There were a lot of expressions listed above. The truth of the matter is... that's not nearly all of them. There are SO MANY Impersonal Expressions out there and you have the ability to make one of your own. By watching the video below and during further research, I found an awesome way of explaining how to explain Impersonal Expressions. It's very simple, really.

First, find a trigger word that or phrase that is either impersonal, instills doubt or subjectivity, or makes a request or demand. Make sure you have that "que" next to that phrase and then follow up with a "change in subject". That second verb will reflect the new subject in the Subjunctive. Ah. It all seems much simpler now. So that's pretty much it about the structure of those expressions. However, I'll do some examples to put some clarity on things. So let's use one of our example phrases.

Es maravilloso que estudies por la clase de grammar. It's marvelous that you study for grammar class. With expressions like these... there is no initial subject. Like the video explained, "something from nothing is a change in subject". Remember that... I know I will. Let's do another.

Quiso que estuvieras aqui. I wanted you to be here. Note that I've gone back in time. I changed the initial verb to the preterit and used the Imperfect Subjunctive to complete the expression. Get it? Always look for that trigger word or phrase, the word "que" and a change of subject. Ensure that everything after the "que" is subjunctive. The beginning of that sentence won't ever be.

Additional Notes:

So if you noticed, I placed some asterisks next to some of the phrases in Today's Vocabulary. Be careful with these as they can be either Indicative or Subjunctive depending on one thing: Certainty. In Spanish, "to believe" something creates certainty where in English it can be perceived as doubt. So think about this:

Creo que estás listo.<--- Indicative.

No creo que estés listo.<--- Subjunctive.

Also, it makes sense that something that has "no" in front of it instills doubt or uncertainty. If you inverse it, you will have an Indicative phrase and not a subjunctive one:

Es cierto que comes las manzanas.<--- Indicative.

No es cierto que comas las manzanas.<--- Subjunctive.

Try your best not to get confused. "Que" is present in all the sentences and it can give you the impression that the phrase is Subjunctive. However, use your tools learned in this lesson. Yes... there are trigger words, yes "que" is present, yes there is a change of subject. However, you must look at the overall meaning. Is there doubt? Is there uncertainty? Is it a request or demand? Is there subjectivity? If it's no to all of those then the sentence in question is actually Indicative. That's how you figure these out. All in all, that's all I have to say on the matter. It'll take some time to let it all sink in. Heck, I still have trouble now and again. Don't fret, just practice! Thanks for reading!

Oh! Next week we'll be learning about the Future Perfect. Make sure you catch it!

© 2014 A.E. Williams


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