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The use of the conditional with "de haber" or "a no ser por" (examples requested)

 

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Old May 30, 2011, 04:50 AM
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Exclamation The use of the conditional with "de haber" or "a no ser por" (examples requested)

In my workbook on the subjunctive, in the chapter on hypothetical statements, there is a short mention of the following construction with the aforementioned phrases. I do not understand how they are used. I will copy a little from the book:
Quote:
You may encounter two alternatives for the imperfect subjunctive portion of this tandem construction, namely, the use of de haber... or a no ser por... followed by the conditional or compound conditional, depending on whether the hypothesis is present or past. Thus, these expressions are modified to become equivalents of the pluperfect subjunctive simply by the use of the infinitive of haber plus the past participle of ser.

 De no haber sido por la tormenta, el avión habría llegado a tiempo.  Had it not been for the storm, the plane would have arrived on time. 
The book then goes on to say how obvious and apparent this construction is, and that it won't devote any more time to something so mechanical and dependable. So I guess that I'm the dunce, because I don't get it......

I DO understand the example given. But I don't understand it well enough to ever be able to create even one more sentence with that construction. AND, it is in the negative, so I can't imagine this construction in the affirmative. AND, I can't imagine the other (using "a no ser por..."), and they did not give an example of that.......

SOOOooooo, I'm looking for examples, please!! Several examples of each (de haber... and a no ser por...) would be extremely appreciated!!

Thank you for any help you can give me.
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  #2  
Old May 30, 2011, 05:13 AM
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Perikles Perikles is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by laepelba View Post
SOOOooooo, I'm looking for examples, please!! Several examples of each (de haber... and a no ser por...) would be extremely appreciated!!
I agree, this must seem obvious to those writing grammar books, but I don't find it at all intuitive. Mine gives the following examples:

If I had had time I would have attended the meeting

either: Si hubiera tenido tiempo, habría/hubiera asistido a la reunión

or: De haber tenido tiempo, habría/hubiera asistido a la reunión

If we had travelled by train we wouldn't have arrived on time for the wedding

Either: Si hubiéramos viajado en tren no habríamos llegado a tiempo a la boda

Or: De haber viajado en tren habríamos llegado a tiempo a la boda

If it is like that we'll have to come back

Either: De ser así tendremos que volver

Or: Si es así tendremos que volver

If it is as you say there is no other alternative

Either: De ser como tú dices no queda otra alternativa

Or: Si es como tú dices no queda otra alternativa


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Old May 30, 2011, 05:17 AM
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Thank you, Perikles ... I'm still trying to wrap my arms around this, but a quick question for you ... does your book only give examples of "de ser así" and "de ser como", but not "a no ser por"?
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Old May 30, 2011, 05:29 AM
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The blasted book scatters the information all over the place, and there is no search function. It might be there, but I'll have to read the whole thing again. Meanwhile, an excerpt from my Oxford dictionary for ser, which has de ser and de no ser examples:

D (en locuciones) a no ser que (+ subjuntivo) unless; nunca acepta nada a no ser que le insistas she never accepts anything unless you insist; como debe ser: ¿ves como me acordé de tu cumpleaños? — ¡como debe ser! see, I did remember your birthday — and so you should! o I should hope so! o I should think so too!; los presentó uno por uno, como debe ser she introduced them one by one, the way it should be done o as you should; ¿cómo es eso? why's that?, how come? (familiar); como/cuando/donde sea: tengo que conseguir ese trabajo como sea I have to get that job no matter what; hazlo como sea, pero hazlo do it any way o however you want but get it done; puedo dormir en el sillón o donde sea I can sleep in the armchair or wherever you like o anywhere you like; como ser (Cono Sur) such as; con ser: con ser hermanos, no se parecen en nada although o even though they're brothers, they don't look at all alike; de no ser así (formal) should this not be so o the case (formal); de ser así (formal) should this be so o the case (formal); de no ser por …: de no ser por él, nos hubiéramos muerto if it hadn't been o if it weren't for him, we would have been killed; ¡eso es! that's it!, that's right!; lo que sea: cómete una manzana, o lo que sea si tienes hambre have an apple or something if you're hungry; tú pagas tus mil pesos o lo que sea, y te dan … you pay your thousand pesos or whatever, and you get …; estoy dispuesta a hacer lo que sea I'm prepared to do whatever it takes o anything; no sea que or no vaya a ser que (+ subjuntivo) in case; le dije que llamara, no fuera que yo tuviera que salir I told him to call just in case I had to go out; cierra la ventana, no sea or no vaya a ser que llueva close the window in case it rains; ten cuidado, no sea or no vaya a ser que lo eches todo a perder be careful or you'll ruin everything, be careful lest you (should) ruin everything (formal); o sea: los empleados de más antigüedad, o sea los que llevan aquí más de … longer serving employees, that is to say those who have been here more than …; o sea que no te interesa in other words, you're not interested; o sea que nunca te enteraste de quién era so you never found out whose it was; (ya) sea … (ya) sea …: siempre está tratando de aprender algo, (ya) sea preguntando a la gente, (ya) sea leyendo … he's always trying to learn, either by asking people questions or by reading; (ya) sea por caridad, (ya) sea por otra razón, … whether he did it out of charity or for some other reason, …; sea como/cuando/quien sea or fuere: hay que impedirlo, sea como sea or fuere it must be prevented no matter how o at all costs; sea cuando sea or fuere whenever it is; sea quien sea or fuere, le dices que no estoy no matter who it is o whoever it is, tell them I'm not in; siendo así que or siendo que … (Cono Sur) even though …; la atendieron primero a ella, siendo (así) que yo había llegado antes they served her first, even though I was there before her; si no fuera/hubiera sido por … if it wasn't o weren't/hadn't been for …
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Old May 30, 2011, 06:05 AM
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Let's see:

Si hubiera podido, habría ido (personal)
De haber podido, habría ido (pretty impersonal)
De haber existido la posibilidad, habría ido (quite impersonal)
De haber sido posible, habría ido (quite impersonal)

Todavía está en eso, pero si hubiera sido por él [si de él dependiera], ya lo habría abandonado. (he would willingly have done so)
Todavía está en eso, pero de haber sido por él [si de él dependiera], ya lo habría abandonado. (not so clear it would have been wilful)

Si no hubiera sido por él, el barco se habría hundido. (his actions)
De no haber sido por él, el barco se habría hundido. (he being there, hence his actions)

Why is "a no ser por" included in that explanation is a mystery. "De no ser por" means causation; "a no ser por" means exception. "De no haber sido por" is causation in the past; "a no haber sido por" is a "brainsore".

De no ser por un gran meteorito que cayó, los dinosaurios seguirían dominando la Tierra. (causation)
A no ser por un gran meteorito que cayó, los dinosaurios seguirían dominando la Tierra. (low level, causation: that bloody meteorite interfered with dinosaurs' manifest destiny)
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Old May 30, 2011, 01:53 PM
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AND, it is in the negative, so I can't imagine this construction in the affirmative. AND, I can't imagine the other (using "a no ser por..."), and they did not give an example of that.......

In the affirmative it would be:

De haber sido por ti, no habríamos ganado el premio.


In many cases when the first sentence is negative the second is affirmative and vice-versa.

De no haber sido por ti, habríamos ganado el premio.

However, you can say:

De no haber sido por ti, no habríamos ganado el premio.

"A no ser". I think the only way I use it is when I say "a no ser que......"

It means "if we had done what you said..." or something like that.

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Old June 03, 2011, 06:18 AM
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Again, I will apologize for my periods of non-response ... I keep blaming it on work.... Craziness!!

THANK YOU to everyone for your input. I am still working through the paragraph from your book, Perikles. The rest of it is also helpful.

I asked my tutor about this, too. (I usually try to keep away from grammar questions, and just focus on the conversation with her.) Here is what she gave me (not a rule, but generality....):

De no haber + verbo (past participle) - she says that she can't really imagine it in the affirmative, but gave me lots of examples (like yours above) with the negative and a past participle.

A no ser por + sustantivo - she gave me several examples (like "a no ser por la lluvia, podríamos caminar...." or something).

Does that ring true with you all?
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Old June 03, 2011, 07:29 AM
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a no ser por =~ unless; with the exception of

people often get it mixed up with "de no ser por"

Some examples to grasp the difference

De no ser por él, el barco se hundía. [He was the exceptional factor --> "de..", sort of "it comes from him"]
A no ser por él, todos estuvieron de acuerdo. [He was the exception to the rule ---> "a..." sort of "it ends at him"]

Both phrases "it comes from him" and "it ends at him" are not truly the meaning but they may trigger reflexion about "de no ser por" and "a no ser por" both managing exceptions but in a fairly different way.

This is how people get those mixed up:

De no ser porque la pintura no se ha secado aún, ya podríamos dormir en esta casa.
Ya está todo listo, a no ser por la pintura que todavía no se secó.

Because the situation is the same (some element lacking in order to complete a whole) people invent some dubious phrases:

A no ser por la pintura que no se secó, ya dormíamos aquí.

Which is a "brainsore" when an educated person tries to parse it, as it also contains an unconventional use of tenses.
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Old June 03, 2011, 11:14 AM
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También está:

A no ser que fuéramos al cine, estaríamos cocinando toda la tarde en la casa.
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Old June 03, 2011, 11:52 AM
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Thanks for the variations. I'm trying to limit myself (for now) to the exact phrase given in my book: "a no ser por..."....... It's about all I can handle right now...
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