There are many reasons why we study a foreign language. Some know that in a globalized world economy speaking two or more languages is more of a necessity than a luxury. It can open the doors to new job opportunities and ventures. In the United States alone, the Spanish community is currently the largest minority at the moment and right now, the US is the 5th country in the world with the largest number of Spanish speakers, only behind Mexico, Argentina, Colombia and Spain.
For someone solid in Spanish, this could mean more job security and more money at the end of each month year in, year out. This has been the trend for the last two decades, and it is becoming more important each year.
However, more money and better job opportunities or even becoming an asset for your current company are not the only reasons why thousands of people prefer to speak Spanish. A huge number of learners just do it for the fun. Imagine being the soul of the party, dancing salsa and merengue while sharing fun stories and getting to know cool people from different cultures, from Colombia to Mexico, to Spain, to Puerto Rico and why not, your English speaking friends too. You could be talking to everyone no matter where they are from.
Imagine the surprise and the admiration why not, probably a bit of envy too from your friends who may not have a clue about what is going on. They just see you and the people around you having a blast and they wonder how you got so good at it! And even if you don’t want to dance, you may enjoy traveling and communicating with everyone without having to point and hope and pray they get what you want to say! No, that’s not for you! You want to enjoy your trip and talk to locals and even get amazing deals abroad! You know that unless you speak Spanish that won’t happen!
And in this more multicultural world, it is more and more common to meet an attractive and sensual person who only speaks Spanish. Imagine the edge you would have if you had the skills to talk to that special someone in his or her native tongue, especially if they do not speak your language very well. How sad it would be to miss the opportunity to get to talk to your own Antonio Banderas or Penelope Cruz simply because you just don’t speak Spanish!
You see, speaking a foreign language is like having your own Swiss Army Knife Tools! You could use it for so many different things that there is no reason not to get really good at it! That is the reason more and more people each day start to study Spanish.
And that is why so many people in the world study English too: for more and better job opportunities, for fun, for travel, to reach people from other cultures, for missionary work and even to meet that special person or for whatever reason that may come their way.
But what if a foreigner came to you and said:
“I want talk you?”
“You talk me?”
“you want dance music?”
“We need business opportunity new.”
Even if you could manage to understand what that he is telling you, do you think that person would be able to reap the many rewards associated with mastering a second language? To put it in perspective, if that man came to you talking like that, and you and at that precise moment you needed to hire someone bilingual for your own business, would you hire him if your company’s prestige, reputation and even future deals depended on his English speaking skills? Or do you think he would be the ideal candidate to answer the phone when customers call and give them that first impression of you and your company?
If you were at a party, do you think you could hold a very long and interesting conversation with him considering his limited skills in English? Or would it be easy to discuss a possible joint venture together? Do you think this person could be looked up to by everyone around due to his amazing English?
I am sure the answer to all of these questions is a resounding NO. And even if the person knows a lot of English, those few words s/he missed here or there may give you a totally wrong impression of his actual English skills. And that may be the reason why that same person may miss on the greatest rewards that speaking a foreign language brings. Instead of having more job opportunities, becoming the soul of the party, impressing that special someone he may really like and even gaining his friends or colleagues’ admiration, most people would probably not take him too seriously. And mind you, he may know a LOT of English, just that it is not showing on the surface.
To most people, this man may sound like the real-life impersonation of Tarzan.
Sad as it may seem….
That is exactly the way YOU sound when you fail to use the Spanish subjunctive, AKA El Subjuntivo. YES, I know it may sound like a shock to you to hear that, but that is precisely the way it sound to native Spanish speakers’ ears. It may be blunt to put it like this and I am sure no one has ever told you this before, but I am not here to sugarcoat reality to you. I am here to tell you the harsh truth.
Just like our English learner mentioned earlier, no matter how much Spanish you know, every time you speak Spanish and you do not use the subjunctive, or you use “el subjuntivo” incorrectly, you do sound like him.
And I know many of you may be wondering:
How come? Could it make such a big difference? I can communicate quite well in Spanish!
And the answer is YES, it can make a HUGE difference even if you can communicate perfectly in Spanish. Chances are you would have understood that English learner if you were talking to him, but your immediate impression of his English would be that he is not quite good at it. Just like you would probably never hire him to be the face of your company, no matter how much Spanish you know , you would be in his exact same situation if every time you had to talk, you failed to use the subjunctive whenever required.
FACT : You cannot be truly proficient in Spanish unless you master the Spanish Subjunctive.
Without a doubt, the Spanish Subjunctive is the hardest topic in Spanish grammar and the ultimate frontier for Spanish learners who need to be proficient in Spanish and avoid the embarrassment and frustration of sounding like Tarzan despite their best efforts to change their fate.
Why so hard?
There are many reasons why it is almost impossible for most students:
- It does NOT exist in English: (or at least with the same relevance as in the Spanish language)
- Most teachers do NOT get it either: It is such a multifaceted topic that not even many teachers know how to best approach it when they have to teach it to their students. So if teachers can’t handle it, what’s left for their students?!
- Too much information overload: students end up paying a very high price for cheap information.
- Wrong Information: everyone has something to say about the subjunctive. However, most of those “tips” never show you the big picture and they fall flat in the face of reality.
- Too technical and incomplete books: almost all grammar books are too technical and incomplete to provide students with a clear image of how the Spanish subjunctive really works. The bottom line, no one has a clue of what the book author wanted to say in the first place.
- Not enough examples or exercises: in addition, books provide very few examples and also a very limited number the exercises for anyone to get a feel of the structures. Neither examples nor practice, no wonder why 95% or more of advanced learners never get to master this elusive topic!
- Ludicrous exercises: all the practice that learners get is too theoretical and so disconnected from reality that most native Spanish speakers would laugh if they heard someone using those phrases in real life.
But don’t despair, there is hope!
Being a teacher, I hated to have to teach El Subjuntivo, the Spanish Subjunctive. Why? The available materials were terrible and it was painful to me to see my students struggle, not because they were not good enough or because they were lazy to do their part. On the contrary, most of these students were brilliant and they went the extra mile to speak confidently no matter what. But despite their best efforts, it was a matter of time until it was all back to square one.
Tired of this situation, after searching high and low for a perfect solution for them, I decided to write this book myself. A book that would be extremely simple to follow, devoid of unnecessary grammar jargon, with short and concise explanations, tons of phrases that trigger the subjunctive, tons of examples and an insane amount of practice so that they could get it no matter what.
And apart from that, I added samples of real-life conversational situations NOT prepared to teach the subjunctive. These were situations created by a native Spanish speaker for native Spanish speakers, in which the subjunctive appeared in the wild. This will give you a deeper understanding of how the Spanish speaker perceives and uses this structure, and it will be a powerful way to bridge the gap between your current Spanish and that of a native Spanish speaker. This is by far the best and most complete guide you could ever have to understand and use the subjunctive in any circumstances.
And now, without further ado….
The Spanish Subjunctive
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“Why the Spanish Subjunctive is making your life miserable and how you can turn the tables in just 30 Days!”