Decir- Subjunctive?

1
vote

If you are using verbs like "decir" and "responder", would you use the subjunctive when translating this sentence to Spanish:
She said that the dress was pretty.
Thank you in advance for your help.

44496 views
updated AGO 14, 2013
posted by Ryan-McNellis

8 Answers

2
votes

No, you wouldn't. Indicative is used when you think, believe, know, suspect, imagine... something, and you want others to know. Otherwise, and only in subordinate clauses, you use subjunctive. This is the single most accurate rule for the subjunctive.

Here you are repeating what she said, and you want others to know that she was pretty, which is what you know she said. Hence, indicative is compulsory (i.e. subjunctive cannot be used here).

updated AGO 14, 2013
posted by lazarus1907
1
vote

Q said:

Common sense tells us that this should be done first before anything else. La lógica práctica nos dice que primero se debe hacer esto antes de otra cosa.

You need an article at the beginning, and you CANNOT use subjunctive here, not matter what that WEIRDO rule says, because according to the rule I use (the rule I learnt from other experienced Spanish teachers), you are stating what you think, believe, know,... so others know it too. Hence, indicative is compulsory.

I insist on the validity of my (simpler) rule.

However, in :

Dile que entre = Ask him to come in

you don't think, believe,... that he is entering (you want him to do so), and you don't intend to inform the other guy that you believe it (you want him to ask the other guy, so hopefully he'll do it). You are giving an order, and since indicative does not make sense here, subjunctive is necessary.

updated MAR 21, 2013
posted by lazarus1907
0
votes

Thanks again

lazarus1907 said:

Robert Austin said:

However I do believe that in certain situations it is possible to use no decir + indicative. I was wondering if Lazarus or any other native speaker who also understands Spanish grammar could provide an example or context for the use of no decir + indicative to help me understand the nature of the subjunctive a little better.

Easy:No dijo que era guapa.With this verb in past tense, one can use direct or indirect style, and thus, chose the mood to be used, as direct style is by definition indicative.In other cases that with indicative we are somehow stating our own point of view (what we think, suppose, believe, know,...), whereas with subjunctive we refrain from doing such thing. For example, in present tense, this sentence is impossible:No digo que es guapa (WRONG)If you don't say it, you cannot use indicative to say it as something that you think, belive,.... and you cannot quote yourself at something that you are just saying (and thus, use indicative). It is simply a contradiction!

>

updated FEB 28, 2009
posted by Robert-Austin
0
votes

Robert Austin said:

However I do believe that in certain situations it is possible to use no decir + indicative. I was wondering if Lazarus or any other native speaker who also understands Spanish grammar could provide an example or context for the use of no decir + indicative to help me understand the nature of the subjunctive a little better.

Easy:

No dijo que era guapa.

With this verb in past tense, one can use direct or indirect style, and thus, chose the mood to be used, as direct style is by definition indicative.

In other cases that with indicative we are somehow stating our own point of view (what we think, suppose, believe, know,...), whereas with subjunctive we refrain from doing such thing. For example, in present tense, this sentence is impossible:

No digo que es guapa (WRONG)

If you don't say it, you cannot use indicative to say it as something that you think, belive,.... and you cannot quote yourself at something that you are just saying (and thus, use indicative). It is simply a contradiction!

updated FEB 28, 2009
posted by lazarus1907
0
votes

As usual, a very interesting debate about the subjunctive. In both examples (La lógica dice.. and Ella dijo que...) decir (in my opinion) is being used to state something, ergo, I understand that the indicative should be used. I am also aware of no decir + subjunctive because if someone isn't saying something it really can't be said to exist or certainly doesn't represent an assertion, statement or declaration. However I do believe that in certain situations it is possible to use no decir + indicative. I was wondering if Lazarus or any other native speaker who also understands Spanish grammar could provide an example or context for the use of no decir + indicative to help me understand the nature of the subjunctive a little better.

updated FEB 28, 2009
posted by Robert-Austin
0
votes

Thank you for the explanation. I was just trying to think of some reason for his thinking that decir might require the subjunctive. I had my doubts, but thought I'd run it up the flagpole and see if anyone saluted (to use a ridiculous American idiom.)

lazarus1907 said:

Q said:

Common sense tells us that this should be done first before anything else.La lógica práctica nos dice que primero se debe hacer esto antes de otra cosa.

You need an article at the beginning, and you CANNOT use subjunctive here, not matter what that WEIRDO rule says, because according to the rule I use (the rule I learnt from other experienced Spanish teachers), you are stating what you think, believe, know,... so others know it too. Hence, indicative is compulsory.I insist on the validity of my (simpler) rule.

>

updated FEB 28, 2009
posted by 0074b507
0
votes

I would think that for verb like decir to require the subjunctive, it would have to be in the context of tell (almost imperative) rather than to say. Using Paralee's W.E.I.R.D.O. classification of verbs that require the subjuntive, it would fall under the R category for Recommendations, commands, suggestions, etc.

Common sense tells us that this should be done first before anything else.
Lógica práctica nos dice que primero se deba hacer esto antes de otra cosa.

Purely, off the wall example, which I have no idea is correct or not, but tries to show the theory involved.
Wait for a native to give you a proper example or tell you that the theory is no better than the example.

Looking at Lazarus' reply, I am hoping that the fact that common sense dictates that something needs to be done, does not insure that it will be, and that the subjunctive may still apply.

updated FEB 28, 2009
posted by 0074b507
0
votes

I would use the preterite: "Ella dijo/respondió que el vestido estaba bonito."

updated FEB 28, 2009
posted by LadyDi