For those learning Spanish verbs, the WEDDING acronym for the subjunctive in Spanish is a useful device for navigating a sometimes tricky grammatical concept.
The Subjunctive Mood
While the indicative mood is used for statements of fact and reality, the subjunctive mood expresses hypothetical conditions. You can see the subjunctive in action in the English sentence, "If I were a millionaire (when you are not, in fact, a millionaire), I would travel around the world."
The WEDDING Acronym
Each letter in the word WEDDING describes a condition requiring the use of the subjunctive mood.
W – Wish/Will
Verbs that express a desire, including querer/to want, desear/to desire and preferir/to prefer, require the subjunctive mood.
El professor quiere que sus alumnos hablen en español todos los días./The teacher wants his students to speak Spanish every day.
E – Emotion
Some verbs expressing emotion include esperar/to hope, alegrarse/to become happy and temer/to fear. They all call for the use of the subjunctive.
¡Cuanto me alegro de que mi amiga regrese de las vacaciones!/I’m so happy that my friend is returning from vacation!
D – Doubt
Use the subjunctive with the verb dudar/to doubt.
Dudo que mi hermana vaya a la universidad./I doubt that my sister will go to college.
D – Denial
Negar/to deny is another verb that will always require the subjunctive.
Señora Solís negó que estuviera en casa a las cinco./Mrs. Solis denied that she was at home at five o’clock.
I – Impersonal expressions
When you use impersonal expressions like es necesario, this is another occasion when you will need to turn to the subjunctive.
Es mejor que la fiesta termine a la medianoche./It’s better if the party ends at midnight.
N – Negation
Although verbs like creer/to believe and pensar/to think call for the indicative mood, in their negative forms, Spanish speakers must switch to the subjunctive.
No creo que haga sol mañana./I don’t think it will be sunny tomorrow.
G – God
The expression ojalá que will always require the subjunctive mood. Although the phrase is used to convey, "I hope that . . .", its literal translation is, "may God grant that . . ."
Ojalá que ganes el campeonato./I hope you win the championship.
There are a few variations on the WEDDING acronym for the subjunctive in Spanish. Some teachers say that the N represents Need, including negative statements in either the Doubt or Denial column. A common variation on the G is to include ojalá que as part of a larger category of General Expressions, such as a menos que or en caso de que. It doesn’t really matter which version of WEDDING you use in your studies. The important thing is that you choose a description that you will remember, so you can arrive at a clearer understanding of the uses of the subjunctive mood.