Subjunctive in Game Directions

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Para un proyecto en la clase de español, tengo que crear un juego que incluye direcciones sobre como jugar el juego. Estaba usando direcciones (en español) de un juego que tengo como un model, y dijeron esto - " OBJETIVO: Ser el primer jugador que llegue al último espacio." Mi pregunta es - ¿porqué se usa el subjuntivo (.."que llegue") en la frase'

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updated MAY 26, 2009
posted by Nick-Cortina

7 Answers

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Also - today when I went to the store, I saw a sign talking about how someone could apply to be an employee, and the Spanish translation on the sign caught my eye. It said: "Los individuos que tengan preguntas sobre como aplicar..." Why does that phrase use the subjunctive (tengan)?

Because we don't know who they are or might be. In relative clauses the determining factor is whether or not what we're referring to is specific.

If they were already employed, the employer would have more freedom in using the subjunctive or the indicative; the indicative would suggest that he knew more or less which employees had questions, but the limits are blurred, and it would depend on how he wanted to express himself.

EDIT: and I shouldn't be so slow in replying, obviously smile

updated MAY 26, 2009
posted by Vikingo
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Also - today when I went to the store, I saw a sign talking about how someone could apply to be an employee, and the Spanish translation on the sign caught my eye. It said: "Los individuos que tengan preguntas sobre como aplicar..." Why does that phrase use the subjunctive (tengan)?

Because if you say "que tienen", in indicative, you are declaring that there are certain people (and you know exactly which ones) who have questions, but the idea is that if there are some people who have questions (and we don't know whether there are any or who they are), they can apply creams on their skin, or whatever. "Aplicar" is an Anglicism used in countries with strong English influence, but not known everywhere else. We apply rules and creams on people and things, but not for jobs. One of the standard words is "solicitar".

updated MAY 26, 2009
posted by lazarus1907
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Also - today when I went to the store, I saw a sign talking about how someone could apply to be an employee, and the Spanish translation on the sign caught my eye. It said: "Los individuos que tengan preguntas sobre como aplicar..." Why does that phrase use the subjunctive (tengan)'

updated MAY 26, 2009
posted by Nick-Cortina
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Not just polite: if you can't declare the, you can't use indicative. Politeness is just a side effect of the non-declaration. Subjunctive can also be used to be rude. It all depends on the context.

Look at this:

I don't think it is raining.

Your subordinate clause says "it is raining". Is that what you really want to say? That it is raining? Not really. You are saying that you don't believe that at all. If you use indicative in Spanish, the effect is simple: "It is raining", and when you say "I don't believe", you are saying the opposite. That's why we use subjunctive.

If you say "El primero que llega", you are saying that someone "llega", meaning that someone arrives or has arrived, but that's not what you want to say. Someone may or may not arrive, so you avoid saying that someone has arrived by using subjunctive. The rest follows.

updated MAY 26, 2009
posted by lazarus1907
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Para un proyecto en la clase de español, tengo que crear un juego que incluye direcciones sobre como jugar el juego. Estaba usando direcciones (en español) de un juego que tengo como un model, y dijeron esto - " OBJETIVO: Ser el primer jugador que llegue al último espacio." Mi pregunta es - ¿porqué se usa el subjuntivo (.."que llegue") en la frase?
Not knowing what type of game it will be, it's hard to provide an example, but if it's a board game that has directions on the space that you land on or if it has cards that provide the player with directions you will probably want to use the subjunctive in the form of polite commands to instruct the player on what to do.

updated MAY 25, 2009
posted by 0074b507
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Thanks! It seems I've had a lot of questions about the subjunctive lately, and you've been a great help. I guess I was confused because it said "el jugador" instead of "un". But I guess "Ser un primer jugador..." doesn't make any sense. And I thought I typed the "o" in modelo, but I guess not grin

updated MAY 25, 2009
posted by Nick-Cortina
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Simple: if you say "el primer jugador que llega", you are using indicative in "llega", so you are saying that there is a player that has arrived to a place already. Since no player has arrived yet (that's the aim of the game), you cannot declare it, so you must use subjunctive.

The typical example:

Busco un camarero que sabe inglés (there is a waiter who speaks English, and you are looking for this specific guy; you know he exists, so you declare it)
Busco un camarero que sepa inglés (hopefully there is a waiter who speaks English. If there is one, you want that one, but yo can't declare that "he" exists)

The lord of the subjunctive: one subjunctive rule to rule all sentences.

P.S. The Spanish word is "modelo", not "model".

updated MAY 25, 2009
posted by lazarus1907