HomeQ&Asubjunctive - pluperfect vs. imperfect and present vs. present perfect

subjunctive - pluperfect vs. imperfect and present vs. present perfect

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can someone explain to me the rules / situations that allow you to choose between imperfect subjunctive (escribiera) and pluperfect subjunctive (hubiera escrito) and also between the present subjunctive (escriba) and present perfect subjunctive (haya escrito)? thanks in advance

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updated DIC 11, 2008
posted by Anand-M

5 Answers

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Dear friend:I think I made a mistake in the following sentence.
I had told you to leave is rather :te había dicho que te fueras or que te fueses instead of te había dicho que te habrías ido,but you could also say" te había dicho que te hubieras ido" though this form is not prefered by all the speakers,it is grammatically correct and I myself like to use it instead with the use of past perfect in the 1st clause.
For all the pasts, you use the past subjunctive when it comes to order,uncertainty,and so on.
EX I wanted you to see it---|-Quise que lo viera or viese
I would like you to try to understand it---|-Querría que procurase entenderlo
I would have wanted you to leave ---|-Habría querido que se fuese
N.B When the first clause is in the present tense,Your second clause is in the present subjunctive
when..............................................present perfect tense,your 2nd clause is...................................
When.............................................future tense,your 2nd clause is...................................................
Past tense............................................................past subjunctive
conditional.............................................................past subjunctive
Conditional perfect.................................................past subjunctive

Ex siento que le escribas..............I am sorry you write to him siento que le hayas escrito.......I am sorry you have written to him. I am sorry you had written to him...........siento que le hubieses escrito or siento que le escribieses. Well, the use of subjunctive in Spanish is a little delicate,but if you practice it enough,there should be no problem.

Good Luck! ¡Hasta la proxima vez!

updated DIC 11, 2008
posted by Ketler
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Ketler said:

I had told you to leave ---|-te había dicho que te hubieras ido.You know that the second sentence refers to two past actions.

This doesn't work, though. You'd have to say "Te había dicho que te fueras". The perfective tenses of the subjunctive (haya ido, hubieras ido) don't work well with orders or other "oraciones finales", since the latter have an intrinsic view towards the future.

Saludos smile

updated DIC 11, 2008
posted by Vikingo
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One uses the imperfect and pluperfect subjunctive in situations like these:
1)if=si The past subjunctive,simple or compound,is used after the conjunction "si" if the clause that follows expresses a condition contrary to fact,or if it refers to something doubtful of fulfillment in the future.
Examples:If you came to the party,you would have a good time ---|-Si vinieras (vinieses) a la fiesta,te divertirías bien.
If you had come to the party,you would have had a good time---|---|-Si hubieras(hubieses)venido a la fiesta.te habrías divertido bien
After a verb expressing command,uncertainty,preference.approval,advice,permission,prohibition,suggestion,desire,wish,emotion ,and doubt,you have to use the subjunctive in Spanish,but the tense would depend on the tense your first clause is.
I told you to leave---|-te dije que te fueras. I had told you to leave ---|-te había dicho que te hubieras ido.You know that the second sentence refers to two past actions.GOOD LUCK! Espero que mis ejemplos le sirvan muchísimo.

updated DIC 11, 2008
posted by Ketler
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To add to what Lazarus wrote, escribiera and hubiera escrito correspond to "wrote" and "had written" in English, so you would use them where those English forms are used, and where the Spanish calls for the subjunctive, which doesn't really come into play in such cases in English.

Just a couple of examples:

Habría preferido que hubiera escrito su nombre antes de que escribiera su dirección.
I would have preferred that you had written your name before you wrote your address.

Quiero que escriba su nombre. No creo que lo haya escrito todavía.
I want you to write your name. I don't think you have written it yet.

updated DIC 11, 2008
posted by 00bacfba
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The distinction between imperfect and pluperfect are the pretty much the same, both in (British) English and Spanish, both in indicative and subjunctive.

Regarding the other two, you are asking too much out of a single post, as there are entire books (over 500 pages) dedicated just to this topic. Unless you're open enough to a new radical way of understanding subjunctive (which I offer), you are going to have to narrow down your question... a lot!

Summarizing and simplifying a lot, all subjunctive tenses are used to avoid declarations, but "present" tense assume that there is a good chance of something happening, whereas "imperfect" is used for hypothetical scenarios. Roughly!

updated DIC 11, 2008
posted by lazarus1907
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