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Old 1st August 2008, 10:17 PM   #1
michimoo
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Smile Subjunctive: any tips?

Hola a todos,

I have just got up to the point in my studies where I've hit the subjunctive. (Just when I thought I was getting past the hard part with all the irregulars in the preterite)

My question is: does anyone have any tips or suggestions on how to go about learning this part, more the uses of the subjunctive than anything else.

Learning a language is feeling like a big mountain to climb at the moment.

Really apreciate any ideas

By the way, love the podcasts.
Michelle
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Old 1st August 2008, 11:07 PM   #2
trumpetnut
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Default From a fellow subjunctive head scratcher

Hola

The subjunctive is something that I struggle with but I am learning that it is used when you are not sure of something or if something is possible/doubtful/expected.

Generally, it is used after 'que'.

'Lo quieres que vaya en casa.'

'I want you to go home.'

It is not certain that 'you' will go home so you use the subjunctive.

My basic rule is that if I could say 'might' in the sentence then use the subjunctive.

'Espero que el venga esta noche.'

'I am hoping he might come tonight.'

As I say, I am learning, and these examples could be so wrong as to be useless but, from my understanding they are a reasonable place to start.

I'm sure Ben and Marina have a podcast on it somewhere.

Good luck. I've needed it!!!

The Nut
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Old 2nd August 2008, 07:27 AM   #3
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Hi Michelle, we haven't tackled the subjunctive yet, but in the next round of Inspired Beginners podcasts, in September, we'll definitely be tackling the first parts of it!

The thing to do is to take the subjunctive one case at a time. It's used in a myriad of different situations, and one day you will end up with a 'sense' of when it's required, but for now, just learn one subjunctive grammar point at a time, even if you have to get a grammar book and learn old-fashioned style. And as I said, in September we'll be along to help with more Inspired Beginners Podcasts. Until then, doing a search on the forum for 'subjunctive' will turn up quite a few cases to start looking at. And don't worry, although it seems impossible at first, you can get the hang of it quite quickly in the end.

Ben
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Old 5th August 2008, 12:13 AM   #4
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I think the best clue to getting a feel for the subjunctive is simply its name. It is used when describing something that is subjective (i.e. something that exists in your mind such as a theory, a possiblility, a hope, a fear, a doubt, etc) as opposed to its counterpart the indicative which is used when describing something that is real (e.g. something that has actually happened, or will happen, etc).
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Old 5th August 2008, 03:38 AM   #5
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I have been trying to get my head around the subjunctive before I go to Spain (2 weeks away), as much as possible.

http://www.studyspanish.com/lessons/subj1.htm

The units here have helped me immensely. In the past week I have been able to use the subjunctive correctly much more frequently than before, on msn or sharedtalk.

However, it only covers present tense subjunctive. If anyone knows of some sites, I would be very appreciative.
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Old 5th August 2008, 09:49 AM   #6
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There is no future tense subjunctive - you use the present tense when refering to the future. e.g.

Lo haré cuando tenga un momento = I will do it whenever I have a moment

The past tense subjunctive (preterito imperfecto subjuntivo) was actually easier for me to get my head round because it is used in a similar way in English:

If I were a rich man = Si (yo) fuera un rico

It is also used when talking about things in the past tense in general:

Maybe she was right = Quizá tuviera razón
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Old 5th August 2008, 10:55 AM   #7
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The spanish.about.com site has some useful articles. Try this one for example
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Old 5th August 2008, 02:30 PM   #8
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I think the Ben is right here, its about taking it as it comes and one step at a time. I used that website above and it's a pity they only have the Present Subjunctive. I'm finding it fairly difficult to find reasonably good links to learn about the subjunctive, this one page seems to deal with all 4 subjunctive moods:

http://spanish.speak7.com/spanish_subjunctive.htm
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Old 5th August 2008, 08:07 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Legazpi View Post
There is no future tense subjunctive - you use the present tense when refering to the future. e.g.
Actually the future subjunctive does exist although it has fallen into disuse in the spoken language and is only now occasionally used in some formal documents. I have a print out about it from a recent course I did (yes I'm turning into a Spanish grammar geek ) - it seems to be formed using the past subjunctive but with an e instead of an a - e.g. fuere. Not one to get concerned about I don't think, but thought you might be interested!
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Old 5th August 2008, 11:22 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Alison30 View Post
Actually the future subjunctive does exist although it has fallen into disuse in the spoken language and is only now occasionally used in some formal documents.
...and a few old-fashioned relict set phrases

venga lo que viniere

sea lo que fuere
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Old 6th August 2008, 08:00 AM   #11
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Wow, I've never heard any future subjunctives used here, but Marina definitely recognised 'sea lo que fuere'.

We are definitely going to tackly the subjunctive soon by the way one way or another, I'm really looking forward to it!
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Old 6th August 2008, 10:07 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Alison30 View Post
Actually the future subjunctive does exist although it has fallen into disuse in the spoken language and is only now occasionally used in some formal documents. I have a print out about it from a recent course I did (yes I'm turning into a Spanish grammar geek ) - it seems to be formed using the past subjunctive but with an e instead of an a - e.g. fuere. Not one to get concerned about I don't think, but thought you might be interested!
¡Wow! I'm going to remember that nugget and see if I can catch out any Spanish people. I even had one (native) Spanish teacher who told me that it definitely did not exist, but if it did it would probably be constructed using the infinitive as the stem (as with the simple future tense) and then with the same endings as used in the present tense subjunctive. If only I had known this then. Thanks.
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Old 6th August 2008, 10:54 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Legazpi View Post
¡Wow! I'm going to remember that nugget and see if I can catch out any Spanish people.
And you can impress them even more by quoting Article 59 of the 1978 Spanish Constitucion.

Quote:
Artículo 59.
1. Cuando el Rey fuere menor de edad, el padre o la madre del Rey y, en su defecto, el pariente mayor de edad mas próximo a suceder en la Corona, según el orden establecido en la Constitución, entrara a ejercer inmediatamente la Regencia y la ejercerá durante el tiempo de la minoría de edad del Rey.
2. Si el Rey se iñabilitare para el ejercicio de su autoridad y la imposibilidad fuere reconocida por las Cortes Generales, entrara a ejercer inmediatamente la Regencia el Príncipe heredero de la Corona, si mayor de edad. Si no lo fuere, se procederá de la manera prevista en el apartado anterior, hasta que el Príncipe heredero alcance la mayoría de edad.
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Old 6th August 2008, 11:08 AM   #14
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Originally Posted by gastephen View Post
And you can impress them even more by quoting Article 59 of the 1978 Spanish Constitucion.

Lo memorizaré cuando tuviere más tiempo
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Old 6th August 2008, 12:41 PM   #15
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As regards the future subjunctive I also have encountered it mostly in formal documents, which in themselves always require, for me, a slow and detailed read to be understood.
A while back, during some one on one classes I sought a clarification and was informed:
In standard Spanish the future subjunctive is obsolete, except in a few literary forms as in the earlier quoted eg:
Venga lo que viniere “ Come what may.”

However and not to my surprise the future subjunctive is very much alive and kicking in official, legal documents/charters. My prof also highlighted that it can be used in a flowery manner indicating a remote possibility:
“en caso de que las hubiere “ if such a thing should ever arise”

I myself settled for recognising it ( no need for a flowering grammatical brain overload for me).

Another discovery of the apparent use of the subjunctive (not future) in the “ra” form which for a long time had me at a loss to understand was finally explained by my teacher.
I had frequently seen in written articles/books the apparent use of the imperfect subjunctive eg: el libro que había leído was written as “el libro que leyera. For the life of me I could not understand why leyera was used and not había leído.


All was simply explained by prof : in such an example the use of “leyera “ I was reading was the old indicative pluperfect use of the “ra” form not the imperfect subjunctive. Which she informed me is still used in literature and particularly in journalism and is regarded as a more elegant( flowery) alternative for the ordinary pluperfect ( imperfect of haber +past part.) ie: había leído.

So more flowery stuff there, but at least now when reading what I once thought was the imperfect subjunctive when in fact such examples have no subjunctive meaning at all, I no longer scratch the dome and screech to a reading halt, but make a mental reading shift to “habia +past part. And accept that there are no doubt many more “elegant flowers” in the Spanish literary garden!
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Old 6th August 2008, 01:18 PM   #16
gastephen
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Legazpi View Post
Lo memorizaré cuando tuviere más tiempo


Or, if you are that way inclined, you could quote scripture: e.g.

estuviere
fuere

Quote:
Originally Posted by Berti View Post
Another discovery of the apparent use of the subjunctive (not future) in the “ra” form which for a long time had me at a loss to understand was finally explained by my teacher.
I had frequently seen in written articles/books the apparent use of the imperfect subjunctive eg: el libro que había leído was written as “el libro que leyera. For the life of me I could not understand why leyera was used and not había leído.


All was simply explained by prof : in such an example the use of “leyera “ I was reading was the old indicative pluperfect use of the “ra” form not the imperfect subjunctive. Which she informed me is still used in literature and particularly in journalism and is regarded as a more elegant( flowery) alternative for the ordinary pluperfect ( imperfect of haber +past part.) ie: había leído.
BTW, I believe it can only be used this way in relative clauses.
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Old 6th August 2008, 09:56 PM   #17
Margot
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ben View Post
Wow, I've never heard any future subjunctives used here, but Marina definitely recognised 'sea lo que fuere'.

We are definitely going to tackly the subjunctive soon by the way one way or another, I'm really looking forward to it!
aka in English as the typo tense - employed (unconsciously) when expressing tension at the keyboard

Personally I opt for tickly the subjunctive - it's such a funny tense.

sorry Ben...I'll repent by posting serious Subjunctive stuff next - but that was fun (for me at least)
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Old 6th August 2008, 10:26 PM   #18
Margot
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My personal Bag-O-Tricks only contains 2 items re: the subjunctive.

The first I already posted (in a string regarding useful mnemonics) a few weeks ago re: The present subjunctive and the mnemonic - SACAPEA

The only other on i know is the mnemonic: DISHES - to help to remember the 5 present subjunctive irregular verbs:
Dar.........dé/dés.....
Ir...........vaya/vayas.....
Saber.....sepa/sepas....
Haber.....haya/hayas....
Estar......esté/estés....
Ser.........sea/seas.....

As for the Subjuntivo del Imperfecto - the best advice I'd offer to anyone before they try to learn it is:
a. Before you understand when to use....
b. You must know how to form it...
c. to know how to form it you should have a solid grasp of the pretérito - and specifically the 3rd person plural
d. which, in turn, means really having learned all the Pretérito Irregulares in the 3rd person plural.
This is essential as every conjugation of the subjunctive imperfect (whether you use the "ra" or the "se" ending) is based on that.

Hey...it's more rewarding than....hmmm....sudoku
As Ben says in his "1st post above...
"And don't worry, although it seems impossible at first, you can get the hang of it quite quickly in the end."

I love the subjunctive (sure I make mistakes...) but somehow I delight in using it...keeps me on my toes (what a nerd she is)

Last edited by Margot; 6th August 2008 at 11:27 PM.
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Old 6th August 2008, 10:39 PM   #19
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3rd person plural
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Old 6th August 2008, 11:25 PM   #20
Margot
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Quote:
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3rd person plural
absolutely...I'll change my post immediately
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