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Oraciones Sustantivas: Contradicción de las reglas gramaticales

 

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  #11  
Old September 22, 2012, 12:22 PM
JSK JSK is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Perikles View Post
Ah, but grammatically, pensar does not express uncertainty, even if logically it does. That is because that which you think is a specific idea, even if the idea expresses uncertainty.
Okay, first of all: oh, I seeeeee Well, that changes A LOT. And it explains a lot. My teachers somehow haven't EVER considered this to be an important fact.... Thank you once again, I'm actually feeling really enlightened right now. Wow.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Perikles View Post
I'm not sure that your approach here is going to be helpful. You need to list all the situations where the subjunctive is required (e.g. in certain constructions), then those where it is optional.
Yeah well, but the problem is, that nobody admits that there are cases in which a subjunctive is optional, so I've never learned that, so I simply don't know where it is optional.
The first thing I was taught at the University was that I must forget everything about the subjunctive having something to do with uncertainty, mood, feeling, opinion, etc. and the books we are working with (its a series by the same author) support this announcement. They are made very strictly and rigidly so it appears to you that a subjunctive is at all only named when it is required, obligatory (that explains why I detected the rules to be contradictory... they are not, because they are not built upon each other, although the book suggests this). Literally, the word "opcional" never occurs when I think about it now...
No offense but this forum in fact was my last attempt to get to know rules. I showed the book and the exercises it contains to a lot of Spanish teachers I know personally and they gave it a look and said that, at a certain point, it is not about rules and grammar anymore but about style and interpretation. What you and Angelica told me so far only supports their opinion. But, for obvious reasons, the book and my profs at the University would never say such. A different story.

Thank you anyways also @ AngelicaDeAlquezar. But I have one last question: how would you say the following loaded question in Spanish:
A: Do you remember the exam yesterday?
B: (makes a sceptical face) Yeah, I know.....
A: What's up?? Don't you think it was easy?

I would translate it with ¿Pero qué pasa? No pienses que fuera fácil?
because this would be according to what alecCowan said
Quote:
Originally Posted by aleCcowaN View Post
---> It is easy, but you wouldn't say (the action is not happening)
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  #12  
Old September 22, 2012, 12:43 PM
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aleCcowaN aleCcowaN is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JSK View Post
A: Do you remember the exam yesterday?
B: (makes a sceptical face) Yeah, I know.....
A: What's up?? Don't you think it was easy?

I would translate it with ¿Pero qué pasa? No pienses que fuera fácil?
because this would be according to what alecCowan said
¿No piensas que era fácil?

Both actions are happening. You can't expect that lies become subjunctive in Spanish. Things happen or doesn't happen within the scope of the sentence, even if that is not essentially true.

Look these examples:

No lo maté porque fuera mi hermano ---> I killed him, but not because he was my brother (one action happens -matar-, the other is not the cause, so it doesn't happen in the scope of the sentence though evidently he is indeed my brother)
No lo maté porque era mi hermano ---> I didn't kill him because he is/was my brother (both actions happen: no matar, and ser)

By the way, "no pienses" is subjuntivo exhortativo, that is, it is imperative, another case of actions that are not happening.
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  #13  
Old September 22, 2012, 01:21 PM
BenCondor BenCondor is offline
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Quote:
No lo maté porque fuera mi hermano
No lo maté porque era mi hermano
Note that these two sentences could be translated as:
"I didn't kill him because he was my brother"
In English we don't know which of Alec's cited meanings is the intended one. Are you explaining that you didn't kill him because he's your brother (and you couldn't bring yourself to pull the trigger, for example), or are you explaining that you did kill him but simply not for the reason that he's your brother?

This shows of course that both constructions: with indicative and with subjunctive in the second clause are perfectly valid. I'm not sure how this squares with the rules the professors have been citing.
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  #14  
Old September 22, 2012, 01:58 PM
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aleCcowaN aleCcowaN is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BenCondor View Post
This shows of course that both constructions: with indicative and with subjunctive in the second clause are perfectly valid. I'm not sure how this squares with the rules the professors have been citing.
Surely it hasn't to do with subordinadas sustantivas, but it was presented to illustrate how the concept of an action happening (Spanish indicative -keeping conditional in a different lot) and not happening (everything else).

These are some general examples of subordinadas sustantivas:

Creo que podemos hacerlo.
No creo que podamos hacerlo.
Creo que no podemos hacerlo.
No creo que no podamos hacerlo.

Me gusta que venga.
No me gusta que venga.
Me gusta que no venga.
No me gusta que no venga.

Estimo que es momento de que te esfuerces
No estimo que sea momento de que te esfuerces.
Estimo que es momento de que no te esfuerces.
No estimo que sea momento de que no te esfuerces.

But it is not clear what supposed grammar rule is invoked by JSK in the opening post. It seems to apply only to the Spanish way for question tags:

You commented that the exam was easy, didn't you?
¿No comentaste que el examen era fácil?

as opposed to non-questions:

No comentaste que el examen fuera fácil.
No comentaste que el examen fue fácil.
No comentaste que el examen es fácil.
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  #15  
Old September 22, 2012, 02:08 PM
JSK JSK is offline
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@alecCowan: "pienses" was just a typing mistake. I wanted to write "piensas", of course! The thing with the imperative I already knew (glad I at least got that one right...).
And thanks for your further explanations I feel better now, your idea of actions happening/not happening is evident. I will keep that in mind.

@ BenCondor: you are totally SO right. I'm often confused because I can't, sort of, let go the English language patterns and implications. Not helpful. And, no, it does NOT square with the way of teaching of my professors not at all.
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  #16  
Old September 22, 2012, 04:29 PM
BenCondor BenCondor is offline
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I have to admit I was puzzled by this:
Quote:
The first thing I was taught at the University was that I must forget everything about the subjunctive having something to do with uncertainty, mood, feeling, opinion, etc.
Basically I'd have to disagree, though I would be careful in the choice of words in my disagreement. Probably the most effective test is to ask: "Is the clause in question considered an actual fact by the person reporting the clause? If so, use the indicative. Otherwise (grammar permitting) use the subjunctive"

So: "Creo que el cielo es rojo" Why? Because the person reporting the clause (me) believes it to be true. Now external observers (such as yourself) may disagree and doubt the veracity. But I'm the one reporting it and to me it's a fact. Ergo use indicative.

"Por atrevidos que sean, no van a ganar" Here we use the subjunctive because the narrator (implicit person reporting clause) is not saying that "they" are in fact daring. Maybe none of them are daring. Or maybe all of them are daring. The narrator is not claiming to know. He is simply saying no matter how daring they may be they are not going to win.

Now of course there is more to it than this, especially in identifying where the subjunctive may occur. But I find this test to be effective once you are asking yourself the question of which to use.

Last edited by BenCondor; September 22, 2012 at 04:33 PM.
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  #17  
Old September 22, 2012, 05:10 PM
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aleCcowaN aleCcowaN is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BenCondor View Post
"Por atrevidos que sean, no van a ganar" Here we use the subjunctive because the narrator (implicit person reporting clause) is not saying that "they" are in fact daring. Maybe none of them are daring. Or maybe all of them are daring. The narrator is not claiming to know. He is simply saying no matter how daring they may be they are not going to win.
It doesn't work that way, that's why it's important to forget all the uncertain, feeling, opinion, etc business.

-Ellos son muy inteligentes, del pirmero al último. Han sido sometidos a exámenes científicos y un panel de expertos los declaró extraordinariamente inteligentes.
-No lo dudo, pero por más inteligentes que sean ésta no la van a descifrar

The speaker is saying that there is no possible reality where they are intelligent and they decipher the riddle by intelligence. In fact, given the context the phrase "por más inteligentes que sean" acknowledges that they are intelligent indeed, but for the sake of deciphering that riddle, they are not. It's not a matter of "they are not enough", a frequent patch used to keep the "feelings, uncertainty, yada, yada" CliffNotes-like lists.
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  #18  
Old September 22, 2012, 05:26 PM
BenCondor BenCondor is offline
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But the intrinsically hypothetical nature of the phrase is still there. The hypothetical (though in this case true/factual) nature is what invokes the subjunctive. I don't see how your arguments are refuting my point. Am I missing something?

Last edited by BenCondor; September 22, 2012 at 05:38 PM.
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  #19  
Old September 22, 2012, 06:29 PM
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aleCcowaN aleCcowaN is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BenCondor View Post
But the intrinsically hypothetical nature of the phrase is still there. The hypothetical (though in this case true/factual) nature is what invokes the subjunctive. I don't see how your arguments are refuting my point. Am I missing something?
Subjunctive is pretty easy and straightforward once you know Spanish indicative. Otherwise, every case is a new rule plenty of exceptions. The following sentences say the same, with some difference out of their bare meaning:

Lo bueno es que no trabajamos hoy.
Lo bueno es que no trabajemos hoy.

CliffNotes may have one rule for that, but indeed it's just another case of indicative in its best.
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Old September 22, 2012, 08:42 PM
BenCondor BenCondor is offline
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You've stated this:
Quote:
we can only use indicative with things that are happening (no matter when) or things that do exist, at least in an abstract level...
And I have stated this
Quote:
But I'm the one reporting it and to me it's a fact. Ergo use indicative.
To be honest, I think that yours actually needs some modification because I could say, for example:

"Creo que dos más dos es igual a cinco". Grammatically this is correct, but even invoking the caveat "at an abstract level" does not help us understand why the indicative is being used. After all, math is by nature abstract, and in that abstract realm we can clearly see it is wrong and by many definitions non-existent, so we should be rejecting the indicative by your criteria. Shouldn't we? This is why I'm careful to stress that the reality (nature as fact) is in the mind of the narrator or writer.

That quibble aside, I've never seen a case where the subjunctive didn't involve a hypothetical or subjective aspect. I'm unclear why this fact is being written off as "CliffNotes" Indeed, looking at most explanations on this thread, aside from requiring two separate subjects, the most common one seems to be that there is such an aspect. If I say "the sky is red" that, to me, is a fact. When I start speculating whether it is necessary, good, bad, etc. those speculations aren't facts. Even the famous example of the dead/living brother shows that the clause that reveals he, in fact, killed his brother is precisely the speculative(subjunctive) one by focusing the certainty onto the first clause.

Last edited by BenCondor; September 22, 2012 at 09:26 PM.
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