imperfect subjunctive alternative form
I saw the following sentence in the Spanish newspaper "El País". And I was wondering why it has both forms of the imperfect subjunctive ("hubiera" and "hubiese") referring to "las formas de vida intelligente" ? Why are both forms being used ?
Este es un mensaje para cualquiera de las formas de vida intelligente que hubiera o hubiese en este lindo e infinto universo ...
Well, the answer is the very colloquial use of this as a fixed phrase. If we want to put something real doubtful, really funny, really...whatever, we use the two forms in the same sentence.
Does not have a grammar reason or anything, just a colloquial use.
si tuviera o tuviese dinero....otra cosa sería
Si hubiera o hubiese alguien inteligente en esta sala......
Si este tipo dijera o dijese alguna vez algo inteligente.......
Apparently either form is appropriate and is used at the discretion of (to suit) the person using them.
Here is an excerpt from a related article:
Debe evitarse decir Si hubieran (o hubiesen) unos cuantos decididos a echarle pichón. (Debe recordarse que el pretérito imperfecto de subjuntivo tiene dos formas exactamente equivalentes: hubiera o hubiese. Las dos pueden usarse libremente, a gusto del hablante).
It is because there are 2 ending options for conjugations for the "imperfect subjunctive". Refer to the reference section on this web site, or any Spanish grammar book -- you will find the conjugation rules and example tables for each option.
While all conjugations (-ar, -er, -ir) have the same endings in the imperfect subjunctive, there are two options for endings for the imperfect subjunctive. The first option is used widely in speech in Spain, Latin America, and South America. The second option is used more in written language in Spain.
The 1st option is almost always used at all times even in Spanish books that I read.
Here is an interesting forum in which some people have contended that there may exist some regional differences in usage (especially in Venezuela and Ecuador) and that one form may be preferred over another between various Spanish speaking nations. To me, this seems to reinforce what has been said regarding this (i.e. the writer is effectively stating whichever you are comfortable with "hubiera o hubiese.")