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what does "deberias" with an accent over the "i" mean'

  • Posted Dec 3, 2008
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Without context (used in a sentence) it is difficult to translate.

Deberías is the 2nd person, singular (tú) form of the verb deber in the conditional tense, indicative mood. In general, would be one definition.

If you look at the definition of deber you will see that it can take on several other meanings as well.
http://www.spanishdict.com/translate/deber

The conditional tense in the imperative mood is referred to as the future hypothetical to give you some idea of when it is used. It's translation into English often uses the auxilary verb would... The action of the verb is performed given some hypothetical condition in the future.

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"Deberías" can be translated into English as "you should"
Deberías estudiar más. You should study more.
Deberías haberlo sabido. You should have known it.

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Deberías is the 2nd person, singular (tú) form of the verb deber in the conditional tense, indicative mood.

Nitpicking: The conditional is not a tense, but a mood. The word tense means time, so there is only past, present, and future (and variations thereof, such as past perfect).

And I agree with Noralia that deberías is most often (but not always) translated as "should."

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Sigh. That's what I have read in places, but I think it's staus was changed to a tense of the indicative from a mood or is it the other way around? This ambiguity about mood and tense is quite perplexing to me. I asked in a thread once why depending on where you go you see listed 3, 5, 7 or 9 moods in Spanish. Lazurus supplied me with a link showing the RAE's proper titles for the moods and tenses of verbs in Spanish, but like many things on the computer I misfiled it somewhere and can no longer find it.

I was thinking that should was more appropriate also, but tried to avoid saying so because it seemed that the present tense also translates as should or ought [sometimes must]. I should do it.

James Santiago said:

Deberías is the 2nd person, singular (tú) form of the verb deber in the conditional tense, indicative mood.Nitpicking: The conditional is not a tense, but a mood. The word tense means time, so there is only past, present, and future (and variations thereof, such as past perfect).And I agree with Noralia that deberías is most often (but not always) translated as "should."

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If you can find anything authoritative saying that the conditional used to be, or is currently, called a tense, I'd love to see it. It wouldn't make sense, though, because the conditional isn't a time-related form, and tense/tiempo is all about when something happens.

I was thinking that should was more appropriate also, but tried to avoid saying so because it seemed that the present tense also translates as should or ought [sometimes must]. I should do it.

Yes, "Debo hacerlo" could be translated that way, depending on the intended meaning, but it can also be translated as "I must do it," "I ought to do it" (that one is very close to "should"), "I need to do it," etc. In most cases, I think it is stronger than "should," though. When we say "I should do it," it means "I realize that it would be better, for some reason or another, for me to do it," and that is often followed by an excuse for not doing it, or an explanation. Therefore, I suggest that "debo" not be used for "should." The better translation is deberías (conditional) or debieras (past subjunctive), which are pretty much the same in this meaning.

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Check out the tile of this article saying that the conditional is a tense.
http://www.intro2spanish.com/verbs/tns-ind-conditional-01.htm

Check out Lazur'reply on this thread.
[url=http://my.spanishdict.com/forum/topic/show'id=1710195%3ATopic%3A315810&page=1&commentId=1710195%3AComment%3A315828&x=1#1710195Comment315828]http://my.spanishdict.com/forum/topic/show'id=1710195%3ATopic%3A315...[/url]

And muchisimas gracias for helping me to find that link again. It was in Lazurus'reply.

I agree wholeheartedly. That's why I can't keep it straight. Too bad we don't work for the RAE.

James Santiago said:

It wouldn't make sense, though, because the conditional isn't a time-related form, and tense/tiempo is all about when something happens. i>

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Well, I would say that that is a mistake. And I don't consider that site authoritative, because it isn't edited or peer-reviewed. Here is a Wiki article (which are subjected to the scrutiny of millions of reader/editors).

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Conditional_mood

Note that the conditional form CAN be used as a tense. The above article says "Conditional verb forms can also have temporal uses, often for expressing "future in the past" tense." It is also used to express a past imperfect tense, as in "We would go down to the swimming hole every day in the summer." But these are conditional FORMS, but not the true conditional mood, in which there is a condition (an "if" clause). It is for this reason that the conditional cannot be used in Spanish for the past imperfect.

The Chicago Manual of Style also calls the conditional a mood, not a tense.

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Are you guys arguing (ahem, discussing) the conditional in English or the conditional in Spanish? If in Spanish, then I think Lazarus has answered the question.

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For my part, I am discussing it in English, since we are writing in English. But the conditional is very similar in both languages.

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Despite whichever authority you choose to accept you can see why I stated that some ambiguity exists.

James Santiago said:

Well, I would say that that is a mistake. And I don't consider that site authoritative, because it isn't edited or peer-reviewed. Here is a Wiki article (which are subjected to the scrutiny of millions of reader/editors).http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Conditional_moodNote that the conditional form CAN be used as a tense. The above article says "Conditional verb forms can also have temporal uses, often for expressing "future in the past" tense." It is also used to express a past imperfect tense, as in "We would go down to the swimming hole every day in the summer." But these are conditional FORMS, but not the true conditional mood, in which there is a condition (an "if" clause). It is for this reason that the conditional cannot be used in Spanish for the past imperfect.The Chicago Manual of Style also calls the conditional a mood, not a tense.

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As to the Spanish, I believe it is still called a modo.

From the Web:

El modo es una categoría gramatical que interviene en la conjugación verbal de muchas lenguas. El modo describe el grado de realidad o la fuerza ilocutiva de la predicación verbal. Muchas lenguas modifican el modo mediante la inflexión del verbo. De entre los modos que se describen a continuación, varios no se utilizan en español. Nótese además que el sentido exacto de cada modo difiere de unas lenguas a otras.

Here are the moods that are listed for Spanish:

Modo infinitivo
Modo indicativo
Modo subjuntivo
Modo condicional
Modo negativo
Modo imperativo
Modo deprecativo
Modo optativo
Modo cohortativo
Modo potencial
Modo eventivo
Modo dubitativo
Modo hipotético

El modo condicional es el modo funcional que tenemos todos empleado en la apódosis o consecuencia de una oración condicional contrafactual y de facturas fijas sin cuotas (si lo supiera, te lo diría) o en otras oraciones con valor de irrealis (estaría en su casa; es decir, pienso que estaba en su casa.)

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13 moods. Thanks, you're making my day. Now I feel MUCH better.

James Santiago said:

As to the Spanish, I believe it is still called a modo.From the Web:El modo es una categoría gramatical que interviene en la conjugación verbal de muchas lenguas. El modo describe el grado de realidad o la fuerza ilocutiva de la predicación verbal. Muchas lenguas modifican el modo mediante la inflexión del verbo. De entre los modos que se describen a continuación, varios no se utilizan en español. Nótese además que el sentido exacto de cada modo difiere de unas lenguas a otras.Here are the moods that are listed for Spanish:Modo infinitivoModo indicativoModo subjuntivoModo condicionalModo negativoModo imperativoModo deprecativoModo optativoModo cohortativoModo potencialModo eventivoModo dubitativoModo hipotéticoEl modo condicional es el modo funcional que tenemos todos empleado en la apódosis o consecuencia de una oración condicional contrafactual y de facturas fijas sin cuotas (si lo supiera, te lo diría) o en otras oraciones con valor de irrealis (estaría en su casa; es decir, pienso que estaba en su casa.

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13 moods. Thanks, you're making my day. Now I feel MUCH better.

Hey, anything I can to do help. hehe Lucky 13!

Just don't ask me to explain some of those moods!

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James -- you knew I didn't mean which language you were using to discuss it!!!

Since we are web-cite-ing, here's another one.

http://www.sil.org/linguistics/GlossaryOfLinguisticTerms/WhatIsMoodAndModality.htm

Quentin, I agree with you that in practice, people who don't know any better (and even books) say "tense" indiscriminately. 501 Spanish Verbs is a prominent example . . .

James Santiago said:

For my part, I am discussing it in English, since we are writing in English. But the conditional is very similar in both languages.

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James -- you knew I didn't mean which language you were using to discuss it!!!

Of course I knew, and that is how I was trying to reply. That is, I was referring to the meaning of conditional as used in English grammar, since we were discussing it in English. Quentin used "conditional tense," not "el tiempo condicional," so I was correcting his English. Do you see what I mean now'

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