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-   -   Quick past subjunctive question (http://forums.tomisimo.org/showthread.php?t=12929)

rparmst April 13, 2012 03:45 PM

Quick past subjunctive question
 
I was saying something to a friend who is Dominican and Puerto Rican yesterday, and he corrected me, but was not able to explain why. i thought I had been doing pretty well with subjunctive until his correction:

I said, "Cuando llegué, me sorprendió que las personas en el gimnasio no tuvieran cuadrito."

He said that i shoud use tenían, not tuvieran. I know he didn't misunderstand and think I said tuvieron because it was via text, and I also asked him about that... I thought that following verbs of emotion like sorprender, subjunctive is used. Could someone please clarify? (I do realize that is is rude to talk about people's lack of 6-pack abs :) )

micho April 13, 2012 04:11 PM

No entiendo lo de "cuadrito". No tiene significado en España en este contexto. ¿Se refiere a identificación? ¿A tablas de ejercicios? ¿otra cosa...?
De todas formas la construcción de la frase me parece completamente correcta, pero me gustaría saber lo que es el "cuadrito".

AngelicaDeAlquezar April 13, 2012 04:26 PM

@rparmst: I do agree with your subjunctive there and with the reason you give to use it. :)

Perhaps you meant "...que las personas en el gimnasio no tuvieran cuadritos", as you're talking about "six cuadritos" not only one. ;)


@Micho: Creo que se refiere a la forma de los músculos abdominales que se obtiene haciendo mucho ejercicio ("six pack abs"). No sé en otros países; en México se llama "estómago/abdomen de lavadero". :)

wrholt April 13, 2012 04:31 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by rparmst (Post 123893)
I thought that following verbs of emotion like sorprender...

Our non-native-speaker judgements of what is and what is not a "verb of emotion" are not always reliable.

I don't have reliable information about "sorprender". I just got through looking through the subjunctive section in a good grammar I have, and I didn't see any comments about "sorprender"; however, there was a comment about "quejarse" = to complain, and a claim that it is usually followed by the indicative and not the subjunctive.

As I'm not aware of any studies into the topic (I have very little formal training in linguistics), all I can do is make a guess, which may well be completely wrong.

When one complains about something, one is asserting the reality of that about which one is complaining. Subjunctive is NOT the mood of asserting the reality of something; rather, it's the mood of ignoring whether something is real or not.

For your Dominican/Puerto Rican friend, the situation with "sorprender" may be similar; I would guess that one is surprised by something that exists or is real, and when one talks about it one asserts the existence or reality of that which one found surprising, and once again subjunctive is NOT the mood of asserting the reality of something.

aleCcowaN April 13, 2012 05:56 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by rparmst (Post 123893)

I said, "Cuando llegué, me sorprendió que las personas en el gimnasio no tuvieran cuadrito."

Your use of subjunctive is impeccable. Surprise, emotions and all that -absurd in my opinion- subjunctive trickery English speakers use in order to learn have nothing to do here. You can say it two ways:

"Cuando llegué, me sorprendió que las personas en el gimnasio no tuvieran cuadrito."

where subjunctive is used just to describe and refer what (the specific thing) surprised you when you arrived, or

"Cuando llegué, me sorprendió que las personas en el gimnasio no tenían cuadrito."

a more primitive approach where you describe yourself as a traveller that arrives and describes what he sees in real time -all referred to the past-. This last approach is more colloquial and it's almost the only approach people with little education use in such situations, specially those who are in contact with native languages that have no subjunctive and resort to tricks to convey those notions.

micho April 13, 2012 06:18 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by AngelicaDeAlquezar (Post 123895)
@rparmst: I do agree with your subjunctive there and with the reason you give to use it. :)

Perhaps you meant "...que las personas en el gimnasio no tuvieran cuadritos", as you're talking about "six cuadritos" not only one. ;)


@Micho: Creo que se refiere a la forma de los músculos abdominales que se obtiene haciendo mucho ejercicio ("six pack abs"). No sé en otros países; en México se llama "estómago/abdomen de lavadero". :)

Tabletas como las tabletas de chocolate.

AngelicaDeAlquezar April 14, 2012 07:15 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by micho (Post 123901)
Tabletas como las tabletas de chocolate.

¡Gracias! :)


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