HomeQ&AWould one ever use the subjunctive mood with parecer?

Would one ever use the subjunctive mood with parecer?

5
votes

I am trying to understand the usage of parecer in phrases like "Parece que ellos se llevan bien" and wondering if it would ever be appropriate to use the subjunctive mood after the "que". Doubt is what's hanging me up. In English, when we say something "seems" to be something, we are generally making a distinction between something certain and something with an element of doubt. If I say "It seems that they get along" it is different from saying "They get along." Also, maybe this is just an opinion and not an expression of doubt?? Sorry this isn't very clear, but I am confused with the doubt part of the subjunctive rules.

58461 views
updated NOV 30, 2012
posted by Victoria-Peters
good question, nicely presented, victoria, I am voting :) - 00494d19, SEP 2, 2009
I agree! Awesome question with lots of detail and explanation. You are a model question asker :) - Paralee, SEP 2, 2009

7 Answers

0
votes

Hiya Victoria,

here's the take on "parecer" and similar verbs in the affirmative form from Borrego et al (El subjuntivo: valores y usos):

Los verbos 1 de percepción física o mental, cuando van en forma afirmativa piden indicativo en el V2. Sólo una lista muy limitada de ellos (parecer, admitir, conceder, aceptar, suponer, sospechar, imaginar, creer...) admiten el subjuntivo junto al indicativo.

They go on explaining the details over a couple of pages, but one of the key points is that when it means thinking and believing, the indicative is used, while if we're over in the landscape of imagination, the subjunctive will sound less unnatural. With "me parece" we're talking about perception, and therefore the indicative will be appropriate.

Here are a couple of examples:

Parece que no {ha/haya} cobrado.

Parece que hubiera llovido. (= parece como si hubiera llovido: subjuntivo normal).

Indicative is the safest bet in any case, though.

Saludos smile

updated SEP 2, 2009
posted by Vikingo
Thanks! - Victoria-Peters, SEP 2, 2009
3
votes

There are two constructions with this verb that are quite different syntactically:

parece que... This is an impersonal construction, so it literally doesn't have a subject. Here you declare your something (or someone else's) with your subordinate with "que" as an impression, so it normally requires indicative. However, some purely hypothetical and unreal comments can be made in imperfect subjunctive.

  • Parece que está lloviendo.
  • Me parece que no han venido aún.

parecer bien/mal/... algo/que... This "gustar-like" construction simply mentions something (the subject), just to make a comment about it. The only declaration is your impression with "parecer" about what you just mentioned, but this fact or comment is not declared, since it is not stated independently of the judgement you make about it. The only mood to expect here in the subordinate sentence is subjunctive. However, if instead of making a personal remark or judgement about the subordinate, your statement is all about declaring the existence of the subordinate itself, obviously indicative is required, since both would be declarations.

  • Me parece bien que hayas benido
  • Nos parece absurdo que te enfades.
  • Parece evidente que no se han enterado.
updated AGO 9, 2017
edited by lazarus1907
posted by lazarus1907
0
votes

Delete: duplicated

updated SEP 2, 2009
edited by lazarus1907
posted by lazarus1907
Thanks, Lazarus. Your comment answered a syntax question I had about this verb. - Victoria-Peters, SEP 2, 2009
0
votes

Muchas gracias!
I had actually read the reference article on the subjunctive yet had never noticed the little information box in the article before (see below). Now this is beginning to make more sense to me! Also, I really value this forum now that I have started my third semester of Spanish and la professora no permite hablar nada inglés en clase. So late at night when I am puzzling about something she explained in Spanish, I visit this wonderful forum!

This: This really helped. Indicative or Subjunctive?

Comprender (to understand), creer (to believe), estar seguro (to be sure), parecer (to seem), pensar (to think), and suponer (to assume) are all indicative as they indicate what the subject knows, believes, thinks to be true and part of reality.

updated SEP 2, 2009
posted by Victoria-Peters
0
votes

Oh, and please read the rules on subjunctive here:

Subjunctive

updated SEP 2, 2009
posted by 00494d19
0
votes

I have one of those lists of phrases that take (some always/some sometimes) the subjunctive and on that list is:

parecer (le) bien/mal que......

it seems right or wrong that....

updated SEP 1, 2009
posted by 0074b507
0
votes

I don't really think you would ever use the subjunctive after the "que" after the verb parecer because there isn't really any doubt. You're making an assesment and if you had any doubt you'd probably rephrase. On the other hand, if you were to put a "no" infront of the verb than you could make a subjunctive statement. For example, you could say "no parece que haya gente" or something along those lines. I hope this helps and that I am not mistaken.

updated SEP 1, 2009
posted by spnichol
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