Impersonal Statements

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WEIRDO

Many of the verbs and phrases that require the subjunctive fit into the acronym WEIRDO: Wishes, Emotions, Impersonal expressions, Recommendations, Doubt/Denial, and Ojalá. In this article, we're going to take a look at impersonal expressions.

Impersonal Expressions

Impersonal expressions work a lot like emotions in that they express someone’s opinion or value judgement. They focus on the subjectivity of the statement and not on the actual truth or reality of the situation.

  • Almost any phrase using the formula es + adjective + que can be an impersonal expression as long as it doesn’t state a truth (like es verdadque ), certainty (like es ciertoque ), or fact (like es un hechoque ). Phrases beginning with these statements use the indicative.

  • Phrases beginning with the negated forms of the above phrases (no es verdadque , etc.) use the subjunctive.

Check out these examples.

Es necesario queJaime lea este libro.
It is necessary that Jaime read this book.
 
Es extraño quereciba un regalo porque no es mi cumpleaños.
It’s odd for me to receive a gift because it isn’t my birthday.
 
No es cierto quemi hermano venga.
It is not certain that my brother is coming.
 
Es probable quevayamos a la playa.
It is probable that we are going to the beach.
 

Useful Impersonal Expressions

The table below shows some useful impersonal expressions you can use with the subjunctive.

SpanishEnglishSpanishEnglish
it is niceit is great
it is necessaryit is urgent
it is goodit is strange
it is probableit is a disgrace
it is curious/weirdit is important
it is rare, it is strange/oddit is not certain
it is doubtfulit is incredible
it is recommendedit is not a fact
it is essentialit is bad
it is a pityit is not true

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The subjunctive (elsubjuntivo ) is one of three moods in Spanish, and it is often used to talk about impersonal expressions.

You can find more on the differences between the subjunctive and the indicativehere!

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