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Old 22nd October 2010, 02:40 PM   #1
ceylon
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Smile The subjunctive and INT Podcast 16 - El Sobrino

Hi guys,

Just after a quick bit of advice please. I've been trying to get my head around the subjunctive and think I'm beginning to get to grips to it, thanks to grammer books and B&M's subjunctive report.

For you people who understand this podcast well......the top of page 2 Ben says: '....el podcast hablando de....de bebés y el nuevo sobrino y lo guapo que es.'

Am I right in thinking that it should be 'por guapo que sea'?
I'm hoping I'm on the right track, it means I'm beginning to understand it!

Thanks in advance
Melanie
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Old 22nd October 2010, 03:55 PM   #2
Angelo
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Hi, Melani!

Please, look the next two examples. I 'm going to compare both phrases side by side.

(I really think my nephew is guapo, so I say)
"vamos a hablar de bebés y de mi nuevo sobrino, y de lo guapo que es"

(My ex-girlfriend says her new boyfriend is guapo, and that's why he will be a famous actor. I really don't think her new boyfriend is guapo. But, suposse a moment it is true...)
"por [más] guapo que sea*, si no es carismático o no sabe actuar, será muy difícil que sea un actor famoso"

*Here I'm supossing he is guapo, while saying that

Last edited by Angelo; 22nd October 2010 at 06:10 PM.
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Old 22nd October 2010, 05:33 PM   #3
Legazpi
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I think you can use either. As Angelino says, it depends on whether you (as the speaker) want to declare that someone is guapo or if you want to leave it open.

Another example:

If I said to you "esos chicos me han dicho que seas tonta" then you might be annoyed with those boys for telling me that you are silly.

However if I said to you "esos chicos me han dicho que eres tonta" then you might be annoyed with me as well, because by using the indicative I too am declaring/indicating that you are silly.

By using the subjunctive in the first phrase I avoided declaring whether you are silly or not (I left it open).
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Old 22nd October 2010, 07:18 PM   #4
ceylon
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Thanks to both of you. You've help make it a lot clearer now! I guess its all about whether you perceive something as fact or supposition (or your own doubt as to this fact).

I suppose if I were saying 'por guapo que sea' I would be saying it in a rather dry, sarcastic, negative or mocking manner.

Whereas if I said 'de lo guapo que es' it would be spoken more genuingly.

I am finding it a little hard to get my head the sentence structure of this phrase though. I know I'm making the mistake of trying to literate translate it but........ it sounds like 'of it handsome that he is' ? I know I should translate it in my mind as 'despite of how handsome he is' (we won't continue talking about him) or 'however handsome he is'. I just haven't seen this type of phrase before! One to put in my book of many obscure phrases to learn I guess

Thanks again for the advice!

Melanie
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Old 22nd October 2010, 10:55 PM   #5
Angelo
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Quote:
If I said to you "esos chicos me han dicho que seas tonta" then you might be annoyed with those boys for telling me that you are silly.
Oh, no (my apologizes for causing confusion! I'll try to patch it )

I found this definition at a book:
"El modo subjuntivo se emplea para expresar acciones verbales consideradas como dudosas, posibles, necesarias o deseadas."

In other words, I use the subjuntive in the second sentence because I'm expressing an hipothesis (because I doubt he is guapo). I'll rewrite it:
"(Si fuera guapo) si no es carismático y tampoco es buen actor, entonces no será un actor famoso"

--My former girlfriend's boyfriend is guapo (or not), this is a fact.
--I doubt of it, so I express last sentence like an hipothetical situation, with the subjuntive

When speaking about something which someone told, we have to realize that there are several facts (one into each other)

(You are like this)

They think this other

They told me what they think

I tell you what they told me.

Which verb is in subjunctive depends on which of this situations you are going to "hipothetize"

Anyway, there are certain situations on which we cannot use a subjunctive/indicative verb (without an aproppriate context or without certain conectors)
In example, "Él fuera cantante." alone is not a correct sentence, but
"Si el fuera cantante, (...) ." yes

Quote:
I am finding it a little hard to get my head the sentence structure of this phrase though. I know I'm making the mistake of trying to literate translate it but........ it sounds like 'of it handsome that he is' ? I know I should translate it in my mind as 'despite of how handsome he is' (we won't continue talking about him) or 'however handsome he is'. I just haven't seen this type of phrase before! One to put in my book of many obscure phrases to learn I guess

Thanks again for the advice!

Melanie
Yes, they do mean what you thought.
What I wanted to show you was the contexts where they are used (because one of them is not just the other used in another context: in fact, they are different phrases)
And so you could understand better when you should use the subjunctive.
They are not interchangeables.

I'm really sorry

Last edited by Angelo; 22nd October 2010 at 11:21 PM.
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Old 23rd October 2010, 01:11 AM   #6
Legazpi
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Angelo View Post
Oh, no (my apologizes for causing confusion! I'll try to patch it )

I found this definition at a book:
"El modo subjuntivo se emplea para expresar acciones verbales consideradas como dudosas, posibles, necesarias o deseadas."

In other words, I use the subjuntive in the second sentence because I'm expressing an hipothesis (because I doubt he is guapo). I'll rewrite it:
"(Si fuera guapo) si no es carismático y tampoco es buen actor, entonces no será un actor famoso"

--My former girlfriend's boyfriend is guapo (or not), this is a fact.
--I doubt of it, so I express last sentence like an hipothetical situation, with the subjuntive

When speaking about something which someone told, we have to realize that there are several facts (one into each other)

(You are like this)

They think this other

They told me what they think

I tell you what they told me.

Which verb is in subjunctive depends on which of this situations you are going to "hipothetize"

Anyway, there are certain situations on which we cannot use a subjunctive/indicative verb (without an aproppriate context or without certain conectors)
In example, "Él fuera cantante." alone is not a correct sentence, but
"Si el fuera cantante, (...) ." yes



Yes, they do mean what you thought.
What I wanted to show you was the contexts where they are used (because one of them is not just the other used in another context: in fact, they are different phrases)
And so you could understand better when you should use the subjunctive.
They are not interchangeables.

I'm really sorry
No need for apologies - I thought your explanation was fine. The fact is there is no perfect all-encompassing explanation of the subjunctive, or we wouldn't have all these discussions.

As a native English speaker it helps me to think that you use the subjunctive when you don't want to make a declaration. That's because in English the indicative doesn't carry so much "certainty" as in Spanish. It took me a while to realise that by using the indicative in Spanish you really are talking about how things are (from your point of view), so you need to use the subjunctive whenever you want to avoid making such assertions.

Once I looked at it this way round, it seemed "to click" much better than before when I had tried to learn a multitude of cases for when to use the subjunctive.
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Old 23rd October 2010, 08:19 AM   #7
Beckett
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To Melanie (the creator of this discussion thread):

Keep it simple. In Spanish you can use LO + an adjective or an adverb to mean "how....." The use of the subjunctive is not required.

The statement "el nuevo sobrino y lo guapo que es" means "the new nephew and how beautiful he is."

A couple more examples:

"Es increíble lo bien que me están saliendo las cosas." (It's incredible how well things are going for me.)

"Me había olvidado de lo delgada que era." (I had forgotten how thin she was.)


--------

The construction "por + adjective + subjunctive" is a way of saying "no matter how..."

por guapo que sea = no matter how good looking he is...
por rico que sea = no matter how rich he is...
por listo que sea = no matter how clever he is....
etc.
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Old 24th October 2010, 09:20 PM   #8
ceylon
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Beckett, thank you. The explanation of the LO + adject, adverb meaning 'how' has helped me make sense of Bens' sentence.

I think I'm beginning to piece things together a bit more now.......

On a lighter note....regarding this podcast..... I have to say Ben's 'la madre tiene vacaciones' still makes me laugh everytime I listen to this podcast (which is quite a few times)!

Regards

Melanie
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