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Hola a todos. ¿Hay una regla que gobierne el uso del subjuntivo en tales casos como perdamos, sintamos, podamos y otros verbos así? Es que no siguen las reglas generales que conozco en cuanto a cómo formar el subjuntivo. Los estudiantes me preguntaron y yo no sé la respuesta. Gracias por la ayuda.

Will K

  • Posted Dec 22, 2008
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9 Answers

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¿otros verbos así? Do you mean stem changing verbs in the first person, plural? (2nd & 3rd conjugation)
perder conjugated
sentir conjugated
poder conjugated
Hay una regla que gobierne el uso Do you want to know how to use them or form them?

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In general, the 'nosotros' form (and 'vosotros' form in Castillian Spanish) "doesn't have the vowel change" in the stem. That accounts for most of these forms.

The form "sintamos" is a bit of a quirk: -ir verbs whose general stem change is 'e' -> 'ie' change the vowel to 'i' in plural 1st/2nd subjunctive forms, in the 3rd person preterite forms and in the gerund. The verbs 'morir' and 'dormir' also have a similar "quirk" of changing the vowel to 'u' ("quiere que durmamos", "se murió") but off the top of my head I think the change to "u" only applies to those two verbs (and possible compounds).

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Then I suggest you leave this one for Lazarus to reply to. He is the one that has the reference material to tell you something like 'ie' change the vowel to 'i' in plural 1st/2nd subjunctive forms, in the 3rd person preterite forms and in the gerund. The verbs 'morir' and 'dormir' also have a similar "quirk" of changing the vowel to 'u' ("quiere que durmamos", "se murió") but off the top of my head I think the change to "u" only applies to those two verbs (and possible compounds).

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Quentin said:

¿otros verbos así? Do you mean stem changing verbs in the first person, plural? (2nd & 3rd conjugation) perder conjugated

sentir conjugated

poder conjugated

Hay una regla que gobierne el uso Do you want to know how to use them or form them?

Gracias a todos por la información que he recibido hasta ahora. Sé cómo se forman, pero no entiendo la razón. Parece que son formas irregulares. ¿Hay alguna razón por estos "quirks" or irregularidades? "Queramos" es otro ejemplo. Es que decimos que se forma el presente subjuntivo al tomar la forma de Yo y poner las terminaciones opuestas. Pero parece que hay muchos casos en que la forma de 'nosotros' no sigue esta regla, y sobre todo en el caso de los verbos que tienen cambios en la raíz (stem changing verbs).

También tenemos 'entendamos', volemos (volar, vuela), defendamos (defienda), etc. Lo más que lo considero, hay más que veo.

Quiero saber si es que hay una regla sencilla para formar el subjuntivo de la forma de 'nosotros'.

Gracias,

Will K

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The pattern is that it applies to -ir verbs with the alternation e-ie, and the pattern is at least semi-productive. No source is guaranteed to contain every single possible imaginable verb that could follow this pattern. So saying "there are X verbs with this pattern" is only really interesting if you qualify it with "there are X verbs from my sample comprised of texts/words chosen with criteria Y". That said, is there a particular statistic/sample that you're interested in?

Historical aspects of how such sound changes came about are indeed interesting from a different perspective, but I'm not sure they'll help the OP with the task of teaching these verbs to his students. That said, it miiight be worth noting the general pattern that the "special" vowel change occurs in cases where the verb ending carries the accent and doesn't have an i vowel (monophthong). But that relies on students being able to recognise that e.g. in durmió, the written "i" represents part of a diphthong, and it's not clear to me that most students learning these tense will have reached that level of understanding Spanish phonology.

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I definitely agree with this assessement of beginning students. I only recently discovered that vowels in a syllable can form a diphthong or triphthong when they are separated by consonants and not adjacent to each other. Sounds as if you explained the circumstances of when the

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I won't give you details about why historically these verbs are irregular, but I'll give you the main patterns:

Change e - i / o - u (the vowel gets closer): verbs whose present tense indicative change from pedir to pido, have all its forms in present subjunctive with i (pida, pidas,...). It happens whenever the syllable after the root contains no "i". There are less than 90 verbs in total.

change e - ie / i - ie / o - ue / u - ue (vowels become diphthongs): it happens in both presents whenever the root is stressed (that's why it doesn't happen in queremos or queréis). The change e-i is the most common one (about 250 verbs), followed by o-ue (about 150 verbs)

Some verbs ending in -ir (3rd conjugation) exhibit a combination of both irregularities, like "sentir", as Neil said.

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The truth is I was having to second-guess a little bit what the speaker's real underlying question was. But I was assuming it was something like "why does 'sentir' have "i" in the stem of the (nosotros) subjunctive" or "how do you predict the vowel in the stem of the subjunctive"?

I was also making the assumption (perhaps I should have stated more clearly) that the speaker's starting point was the forms of regular verbs, and wanted to know how to predict when these subjunctive forms differ from those of regular verbs. I was taking the viewpoint that e.g. "podamos" isn't much of an oddity: you just boringly add the expected subjunctive ending to the expected stem-- and a verb with a two-way alternation such as 'o'/'ue' as in "poder" isn't such an interesting case. On the other hand, "sintamos"/"sentir" with three stem forms is a bit more of an oddity (although there are still some fairly common verbs with this pattern: 'mentir', 'hervir', '(con)vertir'...). So from that point of view, the pattern accounts for most of the "oddities". But if you consider a two-way stem change to be an oddity, then it doesn't.

(Aside from completely irregular forms, the other main pattern not accounted for so far is of course that verbs with an irregular 1st person singular indicative form, e.g. "quepo", carry this form into the subjunctive -> "¿crees que quepamos'".)

Quentin said:

I definitely agree with this assessement of beginning students. I only recently discovered that vowels in a syllable can form a diphthong or triphthong when they are separated by consonants and not adjacent to each other. Sounds as if you explained the circumstances of when the

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lazarus1907 said:

I won't give you details about why historically these verbs are irregular, but I'll give you the main patterns:

Change e - i / o - u (the vowel gets closer): verbs whose present tense indicative change from pedir to pido, have all its forms in present subjunctive with i (pida, pidas,...). It happens whenever the syllable after the root contains no "i". There are less than 90 verbs in total.

change e - ie / i - ie / o - ue / u - ue (vowels become diphthongs): it happens in both presents whenever the root is stressed (that's why it doesn't happen in queremos or queréis). The change e-i is the most common one (about 250 verbs), followed by o-ue (about 150 verbs)

Some verbs ending in -ir (3rd conjugation) exhibit a combination of both irregularities, like "sentir", as Neil said.

Hi Lazarus. Thanks for the explanation. It really seems to be quite complicated, so I guess I will have to just learn them as I go and teach the kids to recognize when these changes occur. Very interesting stuff. Gracias por la ayuda.

Will K

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