HomeQ&ASubjunctive...where appropriate?

Subjunctive...where appropriate?

0
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In my Spanish Conversation workbook (the class was 2 years ago, I can't ask my teacher) there's a chapter on subjunctive. There's a dialogue between the doctor and Elisa where he asks her several questions, i.e. "Hay alguien en su familia que tenga diabetes o asma'"

Then I come to this sentence, "¿Cuantó tiempo hace que no se siente bien'" The dictionary lists the subjunctive of sentir as sienta. Hmm. Is this not subjunctive because the doctor knows as a fact, rather than as a possibility, that Elisa feels bad? Because the que is the same in both sentences. Or is there something I'm missing?

I know that for native speakers there's a natural ear for when something is subjunctive and we have to learn from looking at the grammar rules which is sort of a backward way of doing it. But I need to understand the subtitles. Thanx.

2571 views
updated OCT 13, 2008
posted by Pergolesi

6 Answers

1
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In "Hay alguien en su familia que tenga diabetes o asma", the doctor is not saying "someone in your family has asthma", and then, "So, who are they'", so indicative cannot be used; otherwise, "someone in your family has asthma" would be declared.

In "¿Cuantó tiempo hace que no se siente bien'", the doctor is declaring that "you don't feel well", and then, "How long have you been like that'", so indicative makes perfect sense.

In "Tengo que hacerle algunas preguntas antes de que el doctor la vea.", you are not saying "The doctor sees her", and then "I have to ask you a few questions before that", because it would make no sense. You need subjunctive to avoid declaring that the doctor sees her.

This is the only rule you need.

updated JUN 4, 2015
posted by lazarus1907
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They are indeed talking in the third person as they probably are not friends. I would expect this to be common between a nurse and a patient. Earlier, in the "se siente" third person was utilized. Also above, "Hay alguien en su familia.....", en "su" familia is used not tu familia. Another sign of third person singular form.

updated OCT 13, 2008
posted by Gipper79
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Yes, we hacer preguntas, because it would sound odd to say preguntar preguntas.

As for the "la vea," the la means "you," not "her," because it is written in the usted form. "I have to ask you some questions before the doctor sees you." The subjunctive is always used after "antes de que."

updated OCT 13, 2008
posted by 00bacfba
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Thanx, that makes it more clear. I have another question or 2 about the same dialogue, hope it's okay to add to this discussion:

The nurse asks Elisa, "Tengo que hacerle algunas preguntas antes de que el doctor la vea."

In English we ask questions, not make questions, so is that normal in Spanish, "hacer preguntas"'; and, "el doctor la vea," I know in the formal mode they use the third person forms but "la vea" makes it sound a lot like they're talking to her in the third person, as "I have to ask you questions for when the doctor sees her. Is that normally used? I don't come on it very much in my reading.

updated OCT 13, 2008
posted by Pergolesi
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Yourr second example is not in the subjunctive. "Se siente" is the present form, (Ud.) of sentirse, a reflexive verb. The question is basically asking when did you start to feel poorly.

updated OCT 13, 2008
posted by Gipper79
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In the first example, the subjunctive is required because you are referring to a hypothetical person, who may or may not exist. It is not required in the sentence example because you are just asking about a fact, how long the person has felt ill.

updated OCT 13, 2008
posted by 00bacfba
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