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Present main verb with past subjunctive

 

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Old February 07, 2012, 01:49 PM
rparmst rparmst is offline
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Present main verb with past subjunctive

In several grammar books I have seen that the present subjunctive is used when the verb in the main clause is in the present, future, present perfect or command form and that the past subjunctive is used when the main verb is in the imperfect or preterite tense.

My question is whether you can use the past tense of the subjunctive when the main verb is in the present. I have been told conflicting things by several native speakers. Here are a few examples that would take subjunctive ordinarily if the main verb were in the past (I think...)

1) with verbs of emotion
If I were to say "I was glad that you worked so much.". --> "Me alegraba que trabajaras tanto."
But if I wanted to say "I AM glad you worked so much." "Me alegra que trabajaras tanto." -- or is it trabajaste?

2) reflexive verbs
If I were to say, "Were you surprised that they didn't like the party?" --> "?Te sorprendabas de que no les gustaran la fiesta?"
But if I wanted to say "?ARE you surprised that they didn't like the party?" --> "?Te sorprendes de que no les gustara la fiesta?" -- or is it gustó?

3) impersonal expressions
If I were to say, "It was a shame that you arrived late and couldn't see the movie." --> "Fue una lástima que llegaras tarde y no pudieras la película."
But if I wanted to say, "It IS a shame that you arrived late and couldn't see the movie." --> "Es una lástima que no llegaras tarde y no pudieras la película.". -- or is it llegaste and pudiste

4) with doubt
"I doubted that everyone liked your friends.". --> "Dudé que a todos no les gustaran tus amigos."
But "I DOUBT that everyone liked your friends" --> "Dudo que a todos les gustaran tus amigos." -- or is it gustaron?

5) indefinite antecedent
Similarly-- "I don't know of anyone who came here while it was raining." --> "No sé de nadie que viniera aquí cuando estaba lloviendo." --or is it vino?

Last edited by rparmst; February 07, 2012 at 01:52 PM.
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  #2  
Old February 07, 2012, 02:24 PM
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aleCcowaN aleCcowaN is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rparmst View Post
1) with verbs of emotion
If I were to say "I was glad that you worked so much.". --> "Me alegraba que trabajaras tanto."
But if I wanted to say "I AM glad you worked so much." "Me alegra que trabajaras tanto." -- or is it trabajaste?
Me alegra que trabajaras tanto
Me alegra que trabajaste tanto (unless you're a sadist )
Quote:
Originally Posted by rparmst View Post
2) reflexive verbs
If I were to say, "Were you surprised that they didn't like the party?" --> "?Te sorprendabas de que no les gustaran la fiesta?"
But if I wanted to say "?ARE you surprised that they didn't like the party?" --> "?Te sorprendes de que no les gustara la fiesta?" -- or is it gustó?
¿Te sorprendió que no les gustara la fiesta?
¿Te sorprende que no les gustara la fiesta?
¿Te sorprende que no les gustó la fiesta? (OK if you are not sure the other person person knows the fact, but not usual).

Quote:
Originally Posted by rparmst View Post
3) impersonal expressions
If I were to say, "It was a shame that you arrived late and couldn't see the movie." --> "Fue una lástima que llegaras tarde y no pudieras la película."
But if I wanted to say, "It IS a shame that you arrived late and couldn't see the movie." --> "Es una lástima que no llegaras tarde y no pudieras la película.". -- or is it llegaste and pudiste
Es una lástima que llegaras tarde y no pudieras ver la película
Es una lástima que llegaste tarde y no pudiste ver la película (extremely unusual as the other person can't ignore the facts)
Quote:
Originally Posted by rparmst View Post
4) with doubt
"I doubted that everyone liked your friends.". --> "Dudé que a todos no les gustaran tus amigos."
But "I DOUBT that everyone liked your friends" --> "Dudo que a todos les gustaran tus amigos." -- or is it gustaron?
Dudé/Dudaba que a todos les cayeran bien tus amigos. (depending on the previous dialogue)
Dudo que tus amigos les gustaran a todos
Dudo que tus amigos les gustaron a todos (only right as a way to strongly contradict the previous assertion of everybody liking those friends)
Quote:
Originally Posted by rparmst View Post
5) indefinite antecedent
Similarly-- "I don't know of anyone who came here while it was raining." --> "No sé de nadie que viniera aquí cuando estaba lloviendo." --or is it vino?
No sé de nadie que viniera aquí cuando estaba lloviendo
No sé de nadie que vino aquí cuando estaba lloviendo (meaning: don't insist I know about that because I don't)

Me gusta que practicaras mucho
Me gusta que practiques mucho.
Me gusta que vayas a seguir practicando mucho.

There's no tense coordination to be done there as you have an opinion about an action that did/do/will take place in its proper own time.

Maybe you are mixing it up with contemporary actions:

No me gustó que me contestara de esa forma
No me gusta que me conteste de esa forma
No me gustará que me vuelva a contestar de esa forma.
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Last edited by aleCcowaN; February 08, 2012 at 03:28 AM. Reason: typo
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Old February 07, 2012, 02:33 PM
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There is a dropdown menu on top of dialog boxes in the forums for inserting Spanish characters, so you can avoid "?" at the beginning of a sentence, which is incorrect.


Some more comments and corrections below.

Quote:
Originally Posted by rparmst View Post
1) with verbs of emotion
If I were to say "I was glad that you worked so much.". --> "Me alegraba que trabajaras tanto."
But if I wanted to say "I AM glad you worked so much." "Me alegra que trabajaras hayas trabajado tanto." -- or is it trabajaste?
"Trabajaras" would be more suitable for a sentence like "Me habría gustado que trabajaras más" (I would have liked that you worked more) or "Me gustaría que trabajaras más (I would like you to work more).


2) reflexive verbs
If I were to say, "Were you surprised that they didn't like the party?" --> "? ¿Te sorprendabas sorprendiste (if you say sorprendías, that would mean that this was a habit) de que no les gustaran haya gustado (your subject here is "la fiesta", not "ellos") la fiesta?" But if I wanted to say "? ¿ARE you surprised that they didn't like the party?" --> "? ¿Te sorprendes de que no les gustara haya gustado la fiesta?" -- or is it gustó?
"Gustara" would be more suitable for a sentence like "¿Te habrías sorprendido de que no les gustara la fiesta? (Would you have been surprised if they hadn't liked the party?) or "¿Te sorprenderías de que no les gustara la fiesta? (Would you be surprised if they wouldn't like the party?)


3) impersonal expressions
If I were to say, "It was a shame that you arrived late and couldn't see the movie." --> "Fue una lástima que llegaras hayas llegado tarde y no pudieras hayas podido ver la película."
But if I wanted to say, "It IS a shame that you arrived late and couldn't see the movie." --> "Es una lástima que no llegaras tarde y no pudieras ver la película.". -- or is it llegaste and pudiste
"Llegaras" and "pudieras" would be more suitable for sentences like: "Habría sido una lástima que llegaras tarde y no pudieras ver la película" (It would have been a shame that you'd arrive late and couldn't see the movie) or "Sería una lástima que llegaras tarde y no pudieras ver la película" (It would be a shame if you arrived late and couldn't see the movie.)

4) with doubt
"I doubted that everyone liked your friends.". --> "Dudé que a todos no les gustaran tus amigos." Wrong sentence, try rewording.
But "I DOUBT that everyone liked your friends" --> "Dudo que a todos les gustaran hayan gustado tus amigos." -- or is it gustaron?
"Gustaran" would be more suitable in "Habría dudado que a todos les gustaran tus amigos" (I would have doubted that everyone would like your friends) or "Dudaría que a todos les gustaran tus amigos" (I would doubt that everyone would like your friends.)

5) indefinite antecedent
Similarly-- "I don't know of anyone who came here while it was raining." --> "No sé de nadie que viniera aquí cuando estaba lloviendo." (Your Spanish sentence with "viniera" means you never knew of anyone who would come here anytime it would be raining. For your idea in English, it should be "haya venido". --or is it vino?
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Old February 07, 2012, 02:36 PM
rparmst rparmst is offline
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Thank you so much! Excellent explanations!
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