Ask a Question

(Create a thread)
Go Back   Spanish language learning forums > Spanish & English Languages > Grammar


Use of the subjunctive

 

This is the place for questions about conjugations, verb tenses, adverbs, adjectives, word order, syntax and other grammar questions for English or Spanish.


Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
  #1  
Old February 02, 2010, 10:46 AM
tacuba's Avatar
tacuba tacuba is offline
Pearl
 
Join Date: Dec 2008
Location: Ajijic, Jalisco, MX
Posts: 309
Native Language: English (USA)
tacuba is on a distinguished road
Use of the subjunctive

From a novel I'm reading (written in Spanish by a Spanish speaker).

"Porque él así jugaba, cuando el muerto era suyo o le parecía benéfica su desaparición, mandaba enormes coronas de flores, tan enormes que no cupieran por la puerta de la casa en que se velaba al difunto."

I'm wondering about the use of the subjunctive "cupieran". Is it obligatory here, or does it have something to do with the perception of the narrator. To me, it appears to be a statement of fact, that the wreaths wouldn't fit through the doorways, so I can't see why the indicative isn't used. Am I missing something obvious?

Thanks
__________________
I would be grateful if you would correct my errors.
Estaría agradecido si corrigiera
mis errores.


Last edited by tacuba; February 02, 2010 at 12:19 PM.
Reply With Quote
   
Get rid of these ads by registering for a free Tomísimo account.
  #2  
Old February 02, 2010, 11:22 AM
Ambarina's Avatar
Ambarina Ambarina is offline
Emerald
 
Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: 43º 12' 0 N 4º 49' 0 W
Posts: 837
Native Language: Español
Ambarina is on a distinguished road
There's a slight difference.
He would send such huge wreaths they couldn't fit through the door OR
He would send such huge wreaths they wouldn't fit through the door.

Mandaba coronas de flores tan enormes que no cabían por la puerta OR
Mandaba coronas de flores tan enormes que no cupieran por la puerta.

I understand that the fact the wreaths couldn't fit was accidental in the first sentence.
In the second sentence it's definitely intentional, i.e. he goes out of his way to make sure that the wreaths won't fit, which follows, as it starts by saying that he liked to play that way.
__________________
"Desiderata" - ...be gentle with yourself.You are a child of this universe no less than the trees and the stars; you have a right to be here.
...sé amable contigo mismo. Eres una criatura de este universo al igual que los árboles y las estrellas; tienes derecho a estar aquí.
Reply With Quote
  #3  
Old February 02, 2010, 11:26 AM
irmamar's Avatar
irmamar irmamar is offline
Diamond
 
Join Date: Apr 2009
Posts: 7,071
Native Language: Español
irmamar is on a distinguished road
(nothing)

I agree with Ambarina.
Reply With Quote
  #4  
Old February 02, 2010, 01:33 PM
chileno's Avatar
chileno chileno is offline
Diamond
 
Join Date: Feb 2009
Location: Las Vegas, USA
Posts: 7,863
Native Language: Castellano
chileno is on a distinguished road
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ambarina View Post
There's a slight difference.
He would send such huge wreaths they couldn't fit through the door OR
He would send such huge wreaths they wouldn't fit through the door.

Mandaba coronas de flores tan enormes que no cabían por la puerta OR
Mandaba coronas de flores tan enormes que no cupieran por la puerta.

I understand that the fact the wreaths couldn't fit was accidental in the first sentence.
In the second sentence it's definitely intentional, i.e. he goes out of his way to make sure that the wreaths won't fit, which follows, as it starts by saying that he liked to play that way.
Perdón, ese "cabían", ¿no debiera ser "cabrían" para ser accidental?
Reply With Quote
  #5  
Old February 03, 2010, 01:19 AM
irmamar's Avatar
irmamar irmamar is offline
Diamond
 
Join Date: Apr 2009
Posts: 7,071
Native Language: Español
irmamar is on a distinguished road
Quote:
Originally Posted by chileno View Post
Perdón, ese "cabían", ¿no debiera ser "cabrían" para ser accidental?
Supongo que te refieres a condicional. Yo también usaría el imperfecto.
Reply With Quote
  #6  
Old February 03, 2010, 11:36 AM
chileno's Avatar
chileno chileno is offline
Diamond
 
Join Date: Feb 2009
Location: Las Vegas, USA
Posts: 7,863
Native Language: Castellano
chileno is on a distinguished road
Quote:
Originally Posted by irmamar View Post
Supongo que te refieres a condicional. Yo también usaría el imperfecto.
¿y cuál es el imperfecto?
Reply With Quote
  #7  
Old February 03, 2010, 02:58 PM
pjt33's Avatar
pjt33 pjt33 is offline
Diamond
 
Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: Valencia, España
Posts: 2,571
Native Language: Inglés (en-gb)
pjt33 is on a distinguished road
Cabían.
Reply With Quote
  #8  
Old February 04, 2010, 12:36 PM
chileno's Avatar
chileno chileno is offline
Diamond
 
Join Date: Feb 2009
Location: Las Vegas, USA
Posts: 7,863
Native Language: Castellano
chileno is on a distinguished road
Quote:
Originally Posted by pjt33 View Post
Cabían.
Thank you PJT.

First time in years I ask a question about grammar, because it caught my interest.
Reply With Quote
Reply

Bookmark this thread at:

 

Link to this thread
URL: 
HTML Link: 
BB Code: 
Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts
BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Site Rules

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
When and How to use Subjunctive DeterminadoAprender Grammar 9 April 12, 2009 07:38 AM
The subjunctive.... hola Grammar 2 February 17, 2009 07:18 PM
Use the subjunctive? tacuba Grammar 5 February 12, 2009 09:25 AM
The subjunctive gatitoverde Grammar 19 May 16, 2008 03:59 PM
Subjunctive Mom of 5 Grammar 1 May 16, 2006 03:09 AM


All times are GMT -6. The time now is 11:50 PM.

Forum powered by vBulletin® Copyright ©2000 - 2019, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.

X