2 Vote

Me preguntaba por la diferencia entre hubiera (hubiese) y habría en el siguiente tipo de oración:

Si yo hubiera sido millonario, les habría dado mucho dinero a mis amigos.

Sé que en la primera cláusula se puede usar hubiera o hubiese, y en la segunda se puede usar habría, hubiera o hubiese. Lo que no sé es ¿Por qué se considera "habría" escolásticamente correcto?

9 Answers

4 Vote

Si yo hubiera sido millonario, les habría dado mucho dinero a mis amigos.

Hubiera and hubiese are the same tense, and in this kind of sentences they are perfectly interchangeable. The generic constructions for hypothetical conditions are:

(1) Si [imperfect subjunctive]... [conditional] - non finished events

(2) Si [pluperfect subjunctive]... [conditional perfect] - finished events

The imperfect subjunctive in -ra (theoretically not in -se) can replace the conditional in (1), although it is considered a bit archaic. However, the pluperfect subjunctive (e.g. hubiera dado) can replace the conditional perfect (e.g. habría dado), not only in (2), but in all situations. Particularly, this replacement in (2) is common even in literary and formal Spanish.

However, the conditionals cannot replace the imperfect and pluperfect after "si": "Si habría venido..." is not acceptable in standard Spanish.

  • Are you saying you can say "Si [conditional perfect]. . .[conditional perfect]"? - lorenzo9 May 3, 2011 flag
  • Good point! I messed things up! - lazarus1907 May 3, 2011 flag
  • You can say (2) Si [pluperfect subjunctive]... [pluperfect subjunctive] - lazarus1907 May 3, 2011 flag
2 Vote

I know all three can be used in the second clause, but I also know that "habría" is the more preferred grammatical choice, while hubiera would be used more in everyday talk. My professor says it's like "splitting hairs", but there is a subtle difference. I'm just wondering what it is?

1 Vote

Habría dado, if you'll notice, is in the conditional (perfect) and is used because you are referring to an event that would have required that some other condition (stated in the "if clause") have been met first before the condition could have been considered true.

On the other hand, the use of hubiera sido (had been) is used to refer to a hypothetical condition of the past (calls for past perfect subjunctive), i.e. the speaker has never been a millionaire, but had he been one then he would have given his friends lots of money.

The structure in English is actually fairly similar to that used in English. If you would like a fairly easy to follow explanation in Spanish, you might try looking up the entry for si in the DPD (especially 1.1.2.b)

  • This is totally correct but you will hear a lot of people using "hubiera" as a conditional. - 00e657d4 May 3, 2011 flag
  • I think that the DPD article (although it advises against its use) mentions that this type of usage is common in some parts of America and northern Spain. - Izanoni1 May 3, 2011 flag
  • In that example they are putting the conditional part after the si. - pescador1 May 3, 2011 flag
  • habría, hubiera and hubiese are all very commonly used interchangeably in the example I have given. - pescador1 May 3, 2011 flag
  • Sorry....I missed entirely what you had written in the second half of your question. - Izanoni1 May 3, 2011 flag
1 Vote

Si me lo hubiera pedido se lo hubiera dado

This sentence was in a Spanish movie called "Pan's Labrynth" It's a classic example of th double "hubiera" is used in spoken Spanish.

You can also say just as correctly

Si me lo hubiera pedido se lo habría dado

(if you had asked I would have given it to you)

1 Vote

Si hubiera, habría

Well, I can´t explain it gramatically. All I know is this rule:

Si hubiera, habría.

Si hubiera estudiado, habría aprobado el examen.

Also:

Si hubiese estudiado, habría aprobado el examen.

0 Vote

I don't understand the last part of your question.

link

0 Vote

I know all three can be used in the second clause, but I also know that "habría" is the more preferred grammatical choice, while hubiera would be used more in everyday talk. My professor says it's like "splitting hairs", but there is a subtle difference. I'm just wondering what it is?

I'm sorry. I completely missed the second half of your question.

A conditional sentence is logically arranged into two parts, (1) a condition–also known as the protasis–and (2) the consequence of said condition–known as the apodosis.

The protasis can be viewed as either being factual or counterfactual, and as such, can carry a verb in either the indicative or subjunctive, respectively.

The apodosis, on the other hand, is viewed as a condition of the protasis, and because of this, if it (the protasis) is considered factual then the result clause (apodosis) will carry a verb in the indicative to describe what does or will happen as a result. If on the other hand, the condition is considered counterfactual then–in languages which carry a designated conditional verb form–a conditional verb form is required to describe what would happen or what would have happened if the event in the protasis were true or had been true.

Since Spanish is one of those languages which does indeed carry a designated conditional verb form, it is understandable that some might consider this form the more appropriate or "standard" form to use in apodoses which describe the results of a hypothetical condition.

In any case, and as Guillermo has already made clear in his comments above, sometimes its more important to know what is actually used than to know what "should" be considered "correct."

Interestingly, because of it's reliance on modal auxiliaries, In English there does not always appear a clear distinction between the subjunctive and the conditional either, as illustrated in the following examples.

►I wish that he would leave. [subjunctive meaning - present]
►If I were him, I would leave. [conditional]

►I wish that he would have left. [subjunctive meaning - past]
►If I had been him, I would have left. [conditional]

  • This is an excellent explanation and the point about usage versus grammatical correctness is a good one. I just wanted to point out that in your sentences, "If I had been him..." is what is used, but grammatically "If I had been he/Had I been he..." is co - ElenaM4 Oct 2, 2013 flag
  • rrect. Sometimes it's helpful to remember that we do the same in English. - ElenaM4 Oct 2, 2013 flag
0 Vote

This is my guess. The repetition of a word in a Spanish sentence is to be avoided whenever possible. If hubiera is required in one place, an alternative is always going to be preferred in the other.

0 Vote

As has been discussed in other threads, the habitual connection between the conditional and the past subjunctive is so strong that these tenses are sometimes used when the past event is actually a well established fact. The extent to which this extends to perfect constructions is probably regional. This is also true of nouns where there is one synonym that is so strongly preferred that you will be corrected if you don't use it.

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