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Superlative subjunctive constructions


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Old August 05, 2016, 12:03 PM
yevrah yevrah is offline
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Question Superlative subjunctive constructions

I've come across the following in a book I'm reading:

"Eran las mejores personas que podrías encontrar en el mundo."

Were I writing this sentence I would have used the imperfect subjunctive rather than the conditional:

"Eran las mejores personas que pudieses encontrar en el mundo."

Which is correct? And if both are, what are the differences in meaning?

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Old August 05, 2016, 01:18 PM
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Commonly the conditional goes with the subjunctive, so fueron las mejores personas que podrías encontrar.. sounds correct to me. Leave it to natives to find out if there are exceptions are a possibility. I don't think so though.
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Old August 05, 2016, 04:02 PM
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AngelicaDeAlquezar AngelicaDeAlquezar is offline
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I would also use "pudieras"/"pudieses" because of the agreement with the past tense --they were the best people ever, but the listener can't meet them now.

I would prefer a present verb for the agreement with "podrías": "son las mejores personas que podrías encontrar" --there is now a possibility to meet those people.

The only explanation I find now is that many people are quitting the use of the past subjunctive because it sounds pretentious to them.
In any case, the speaker/writer probably has in mind a probability that one can meet people like the ones he/she described, and that is why he/she is using "podrías".

@Poli: With "fueron" I would have preferred "que hubieras podido encontrar".
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conditional, imperfect, subjunctive, superlative


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