Subjunctive, necessary?

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Re: Subjunctive, necessary?

Mensaje por Spanish Teacher » Julio 26, 2019, 12:06 pm

Similar to triggers for the pretérito imperfecto, or triggers for the pretérito indefinido, there are trigger phrases that signal you need to use Spanish subjunctive.
A simple example, which will lead into the first technique below, is the following phrase:
Puede que… (It could be…)
This phrase is similar to ‘es posible que…’ or ‘es probable que…’, all of which describe the likelihood of an event or an idea.
All of three of these phrases are Spanish subjunctive triggers. This means whenever you use them, you have to follow the phrase with a verb in the subjunctive mood.
The example from earlier with one of these phrases would be:
English: It’s possible that she has time to see me today.
Español: Es posible que ella tenga tiempo para verme hoy.
In this example, you can see the third person subjunctive conjugation of the Spanish verb tener, which is tenga.
You can, however, express this idea in almost exactly the same way without the subjunctive mood, which leads to technique number 1.
1. How to avoid the subjunctive when talking about probable ideas
The first technique to avoid the Spanish subjunctive is to replace all statements of probability, such as es posible que… or es probable que… or puede que…, with:
A lo mejor… (Maybe…)
This phrase replaces the other three seamlessly but doesn’t trigger the subjunctive mood. In fact, the phrase requires that you to use the normal indicative mood.
Let’s look at our example from earlier:
English: Maybe she has time to see me today.
Español: A lo mejor ella tiene tiempo para verme hoy.
Here is another example, instead of:
English: It could be that you are right.
Español: Puede que tengas razón.
Replace the puede que… with a lo mejor:
English: Maybe you are right.
Español: A lo mejor tienes razón.
To sum up technique number 1, whenever you want to make a statement of probability and you can’t remember the subjunctive conjugation, you can simply use a lo mejor to express an identical idea in the indicative mood.
2. How to avoid the subjunctive when you are uncertain about something
Next on the list of tricks to avoid the subjunctive mood is a simple sentence reshuffle.
If you aren’t certain about something, you could use sentences like:
No creo que… (I don’t think that…)
No pienso que… (I don’t believe that…)
But, these phrases both trigger the Spanish subjunctive mood.
All you have to do to avoid the subjunctive is make a small change by relocating the position of ‘no’ in the sentence.
For example, you’ll need the subjunctive in the following sentence:
English: I don’t think that the prices are cheap here.
Español: No creo que los precios sean baratos aquí.
Instead, if you move the location of ‘no’ to after the que you can use ser in the normal mood again:
English: I think that the prices aren’t cheap here.
Español: Creo que los precios no son baratos aquí.
It is only a small change to say ‘I think that (negative idea)…’ instead of ‘I don’t think that (positive idea)…’, but it will allow you to keep your accuracy up and avoid the subjunctive.
Here is another example:
English: I don’t think that he remembers me.
Español: No pienso que me recuerde.
Move the ‘no’ to after the que to get:
English: I think that he doesn’t remember me.
Español: Pienso que no me recuerda.
3. How to avoid the subjunctive when talking about your desires
As well as uncertainty, a desire or longing for something triggers the use of the subjunctive. However, unlike the previous category, it doesn’t matter whether you state your desires in the positive or the negative, both require the subjunctive.
But, the trick to be aware of with desires is that you’ll need the subjunctive when your sentence has two clauses.
In other words, if your statement of desire has two clauses separated by a ‘that’, you’ll need to use the subjunctive mood for the verb in the second clause.
For example,
English: I hope that we finish our work before sunset.
Español: Espero que terminemos nuestro trabajo antes de la puesta del sol.
If you can rearrange the sentence to remove the que, you can avoid the subjunctive. E.g:
English: We hope to finish our work before sunset.
Español: Esperamos terminar nuestro trabajo antes de la puesta del sol.
Another example,
English: I would like that we see each other soon.
Español: Me gustaría que nos veamos pronto.
Again, see if you can remove the que, to leave the verb, previously after the que, in its infintive form:
English: I would like to see each other soon.
Español: Me gustaría vernos pronto.
4. How to avoid the subjunctive with impersonal expressions
Referred to as valoración or constatación in Spanish, impersonal expressions are those like:
Es importante que… (It’s important that…)
Es cierto que… (It’s certain that…)
Es normal que… (It’s normal that…)
Está claro que… (It’s clear that…)
Es triste que… (It’s sad that…)
With these sentences, you have to be careful because the choice of preceding adjective will tell you whether the verb in the second sentence clause will need to be subjunctive.
More often than not the decision will be obvious. For the above five examples, and from what you have already read, which do you think trigger the subjunctive and which don’t?
The adjectives that call for the subjunctive are importante, normal, and triste.
So, the key takeaway here, if you are going to make statements like this, aim for certainty:
English: It’s certain that it is a good idea.
Español: Es cierto que es una buena idea.
English: It’s clear that we are going in the wrong direction.
Español: Está claro que vamos en la dirección equivocada.
5. How to avoid the subjunctive in sequence based sentences
Probably the strangest trigger for the subjunctive to be aware of is time-based sequence descriptions.
Despite having zero uncertainty, when you describe a sequence of events with antes de que or después de que, you have to use the subjunctive.
To avoid the subjunctive, in a similar way to the sentences on desire, simply remove the que and try to get an infinitive verb into the sentence.
For example, instead of:
English: Before you leave, tidy up your room.
Español: Antes de que te vayas, recoge la habitación.
You can remove the que, and replace te vayas with irte:
English: Before leaving, tidy up your room.
Español: Antes de irte, recoge la habitación.
Another example,
English: After we eat, we’ll go to the ice cream parlor.
Español: Después de que comamos, vamos a la heladería.
Again, remove que and replace the verb with its infinitive form:
English: After eating, we’ll go to the ice cream parlor.
Español: Después de comer, vamos a la heladería.

Última reactivación por Anonymous en Julio 26, 2019, 12:06 pm


Subjunctive, necessary?

Mensaje por Roger » Julio 28, 2019, 4:27 pm

Is it really necessary to use the subjuntive mode to communicate effectively?
May I replace it with any other tense form?


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