Spanish Subjunctive: Statements of Influence – Lesson 3...

Tweet Lesson 3 – Some verbs of influence can also act as verbs of reporting. Use of Indicative. Some verbs can act either as verbs of influence or as verbs of ‘reporting’; that is, they are just stating a fact. When they act as verbs of reporting, they take the indicative. Use of Subjunctive. When they act as verbs of influence they take the subjunctive, of course. How to determine which is which. Ask if the verb is commanding or wanting something to be done in the subordinate clause. If not, it is reporting a fact. There is quite a difference in meaning depending on the mood of the verb. Examples: Insisto en que él lo coma todo. I insist that he eat all of it.  [Influence/subjunctive] Insisto en que él lo comió todo. I insist that he ate all of it.  [Reporting/indicative] Los abogados establecieron que las dos primeras cláusulas del contrato fueran a favor de la empresa. The lawyers stipulated that the first two clauses would be in favor of the business. [Influence/subjunctive] Los abogados establecieron que las dos primeras cláusulas del contrato fueron a favor de la empresa. The lawyers stated that the first two clauses were in favor of the business. [Reporting/indicative] Pretendemos por este manual que todo el mundo conozca las normas de la Comisión. With this manual we hope that everyone becomes familiar with the Commission’s rules. [Influence/subjunctive] Pretendemos por este manual que todo el mundo conoce las normas de la Comisión. Because of this manual, we can affirm that everyone is familiar with the Commission’s rules. [Reporting/indicative]   Lesson 3 Recap – What you need to know: The indicative in the subordinate clause indicates reporting. The subjunctive in the subordinate clause indicates influence. Exercises: Standing exercises (Link) Choose the appropriate form of the verb for each sentence below. Nos dijeron que aquel (ser) el último tren para Macondo. Nos dijeron que no (ir / nosotros) en el último tren para Macondo. Estaban convencidos de que la situación (estar) bajo control. Estaban convencidos de que la situación (ponerse) bajo control. En ese sentido, la dirección corporativa ha advertido de que los supervisores (ser) consciente de esa posibilidad. En ese sentido, la dirección corporativa ha advertido de que los supervisores (ser) consciente de esa posibilidad. El coronel escribió que (venir) a vernos el lunes. El coronel escribió que (venir/nosotros) a verlo el lunes Ha quedado claro que los futuros resultados del estudio no (ser) propiedad de la empresa sino de los investigadores. Ha quedado claro que los estudios de las ballenas (ser) la clave para el desarrollo del protocolo moderno. Pensó que (ir/él) a Francia Pensó que (ir/ellos) a Francia Insiste en que no (querer) jugar más al tenis ya que le duele la rodilla. Insiste en que ya no lo (invitar/ustedes) a jugar al tenis ya que le duele la rodilla. Insinuó que (querer) bailar con aquel galán de cine. Insinuó que la (invitar/el galán de cine) a...

Spanish Subjunctive: Statements of Influence – Lesson 2...

Tweet In this lesson you will practice replacing the main clause with a noun phrase.  Please review “Spanish Subjunctive: Statements of Influence – Lesson 1,” before going on to this lesson. Lesson 2 – Noun Phrases Replacing Main Clause Noun phrases expressing influence can replace the main clause. A noun phrase is a word or group of words that functions as a subject, object, or propositional object in a sentence. Subjunctive required.  Just as stated in Lesson 1, the subjunctive is required in the subordinate noun clause. que and de que. Generally, when a noun phrase replaces a verb phrase and immediately precedes que, de que is used to connect it to the following subordinate clause. (De) que is a subordinating conjuction. When the noun phrase is followed by que, it is s a relative pronoun, which is entirely different and does not take the subjunctive. For example, consider ‘la obligación de que venga mañana [. . .] ‘the obligation that he will come tomorrow [. . .] and ‘la obligacíon que existía [. . .] ‘the obligation that used to exist [. . .]. In the former sentence de que is a subordinating conjunction connecting the two clauses. In the latter sentence que is a relative pronoun introducing the dependent clause, which modifies ‘obligación’. Thus, you cannot say ‘la obligación de que teníamos [. . .]’. Examples: Su papá tenía el deseo de que María estudiara en el extranjero. Her dad wished that María would go to school abroad. Yo tenía la idea de que todo el mundo se reuniera en la finca. I had the idea that everybody would meet up at the country house. El cargo llevaba consigo la obligación de que el agente detectara visas fraudulentas. The job carried with it the obligation that the agent would detect fraudulent visas. La prioridad de que el paquete llegara al destinatario antes del martes siguiente fue un error. The priority that the package would reach the addressee before the following Tuesday was a mistake. No se observó la orden de que nadie se acercara al charco de agua negra. The order that no one go near the pool of polluted water was ignored. La decisión de que los acusados sean procesados en otro lugar nos dejó atónitos. The decision to try the accused in another place left us astonished. La decisión que tomaron fue un desastre. The decision that they made was a disaster. Las obligaciones que le ponían mostraba su crueldad. The obligations that he would place on her showed his cruelty. Lesson 2 Recap – What you need to know: A noun phrase can be the statement of influence and replace the main clause. The subordinate clause always takes the subjunctive. Do not to confuse de que with que after a noun phrase. Exercises: Standing exercises (Link) Where appropriate, rewrite the above examples by substituting a verb of influence for the noun phrase; e.g. ‘Ignoró la orden de que se fuera para Francia’ becomes ‘Ignoró que le habián ordenado que se fuera para...

Spanish Subjunctive: Statements of Influence – Lesson 1...

Tweet This is the first post in a series of posts discussing the Spanish subjunctive and how I study it. The most important thing to know about the subjunctive is when to use it and that is what I hope to help you with. I am experimenting with how best to present the material in chunks that you can work with and master. For now, I will use numbered paragraphs and bold print to try to bring out what is important and to help you remember. At the end of this post and all that will follow, I have provided a link to a page of standing exercises. They pretty much reflect how I study this material. They are thorough and take time and effort, but I can tell you that I have gotten great results with them. For me, they are by far the best way to study. Take your time working with them, and I am sure you will be pleased with your progress in this tough area of grammar. Some of the future posts will have additional exercises at the end of the post. Preliminaries I am going to start with when to use the subjunctive with statements of influence + que + subordinate noun clause. The subordinate noun clause is the dependent clause that comes after que and acts like the direct object of the sentence. Que is a subordinating conjunction that connects the main clause to the subordinate clause. For example: {Quiero} que {me compres ese auto.} Main Clause Subordinate Noun Clause {I want} that {you buy me that car.} Main Clause Subordinate Noun Clause I still use a technique I was taught in junior high English class to test for a direct object: starting with the verb, I ask, ‘who wants (to find the subject)?’ ‘I want.’  ‘I want who or what (to find direct object)?’ ‘I want that you buy me that car.’ So now I am sure I am dealing a subordinate noun clause that is the direct object of the verb in the main clause. Lesson 1 What is a statement of influence? A statement of influence is where the subject of the main clause tries to influence the action in the subordinate clause. Verbs of influence include those of wanting, ordering, needing, causing, allowing, prohibiting, advising, persuading or encouraging. How to identify a verb of influence. Sometimes I have trouble identifying verbs of influence that I have not seen before, so I ask if the subject of the main clause ‘wants’ the subject of the subordinate clause to do something. Example: ‘Te aconsejo que llegues a buena hora’ for ‘I advise you to arrive on time.’ ‘I’ wants ‘you’ to be on time. Even though the subject in the main clause is ‘advising’ the second subject to do something, I see it as he is really just saying that he ‘wants’ him to do something. This doesn’t work in every case, but I have found it to be very useful. Statements of influence always take the subjunctive if there are different subjects. When the subjects of the main and subordinate clauses are different, the verb of the subordinate clause is always in the subjunctive.            Example: (Yo)quiero que (tú) me compres el auto. I want you to buy me the car. Always infinitive if same subject. If the subjects are the same, the infinitive is used. (Covered in a future post.) Example: You would say ‘Quiero ir al cine’...

Standing Exercises for Subjunctive Posts

Tweet Standing Exercises for Subjunctive Posts 1. Memorize the lists and examples by writing each item ten times. Give yourself a test by covering up one side and then the other. Add to the lists and examples as you encounter them or by making up your own. 2. Where appropriate, translate the Spanish into English. 3. Where appropriate, mark the main clauses and subordinate clauses. 4. Where appropriate, change the tense of the verb in the main clause into the present, future, conditional, imperfect, preterit, perfect, pluperfect and change the verb in the subordinate noun clause to the appropriate subjunctive tense. Study the changes until you are absolutely fluent in tense agreement. Examples: Luis recomienda que Susana viaje a Chile. present indicative/present subjunctive Luis recomendará que Susana viaje a Chile. future indicative/present subjunctive Luis recomendaría que Susana viajara/viajase a Chile. conditional indicative/imperfect subjunctive Luis recomendaba que Susana viajara/viajase a Chile. imperfect indicative/imperfect subjunctive Luis recomendó que Susana viajara/viajase a Chile. preterit indicative/imperfect subjunctive Luis ha recomendado que Susana viaje a Chile. perfect indicative/present subjunctive Luis había recomendado que Susana viajara/viajase a Chile. pluperfect indicative/imperfect subjunctive 5.  So that you develop and practice your accent, and so that you get used to using the subjunctive while speaking, record yourself reading (reciting from memory is better, of course) aloud all the examples and...

New Series on Spanish Subjunctive

Tweet A few weeks ago I let you know that I was writing a book on the Spanish subjunctive and that I hoped to have up on Kindle by the middle of August (“New Spanish Subjunctive Book to Come”). Well, that date is proving to be wildly optimistic. Rather than just postponing the date, I have decided to write about the subject here in a series of posts starting tomorrow, to be followed by additional posts once a week. There will be a new Grammar post category with the Subjunctive as a sub-category. Until now, I have written only about my philosophy of how to go about studying Spanish based on my own journey to fluency. The subjunctive posts will be my first venture into writing Spanish content as well as showing how I have gone about studying it myself. It has really been slow-going because, even though I have had a good handle on the subjunctive for years, I am finding that I feel very unsure of teaching it without really having studied it again in depth; it’s going to take a while. For each topic, I have been writing a draft and then studying it afresh and in so doing I have gotten some new insights about what really works and what does not. After all these years, I am rediscovering how I learn and I want to show you how I do it. I hope this series of posts will turn out to be drafts chapters or parts of chapters that will be turned into an eBook. With that in mind, I invite you to give me your frank criticism and comments. I especially want to know what you find unclear and what else I can do to help you “get it.” On the one hand, I assume you are an intermediate student and this will not be your introduction to the subjunctive. On the other hand, let me know if I am assuming too much knowledge on your part. Help me with this so I can really help you. We don’t need another book on the subjunctive that doesn’t get the job done....

Unpacking Spanish Grammar

Tweet Over the years I have come across lots of books, articles, and posts about Spanish grammar.  Some were really good on content and some not so good.  Almost never, however, did the author state a desired outcome for me or how I should go about studying the material.  And grammars can be dense–really dense. Now that I am up to my neck writing a book on the subjunctive, I am constantly thinking about what value can I add to the material.  I mean, I am not a grammarian or a native-speaker, so who am I to write a grammar book?  Well, what I am really good at is unpacking complicated and dense material and coming up with step-by-step ways to learn it. As I organize my notes, I see that it is not enough just to restate the content that I already know and hope that you get something out of it.  There is plenty of that already out there.  This blog and my book are all about how to become fluent.  So, what I am aiming for in this book is to set challenging goals for you–goals that should motivate you to get you where you want to go–show you how to get there, and how to know if you have arrived.  I want to teach you the subjunctive and how to make it a natural part of your speech.  The key will be to show you when to use it and not get bogged down in why it is used or what it means. Tip: Whenever you sit down to study grammar, state your goal for that session and always be on the lookout for precisely “what you need to know.”  If you are having trouble with this, read through the material with attention and mark what you already understand.  Put that in outline form.  Go back to what you don’t understand and put that in a list.  As you learn each item on the problem list, put it in your outline.  When you have everything figured out, rearrange your outline in a way that allows you to memorize it.  Everyone is a little different this way, so make the outline uniquely personal to you so that, with study, it will truly become a part of your Spanish communication skills. (By the way, ever since I spent my junior year in college at the University of Puerto Rico, where I had to come up with my own way learning to become fluent, I have continued to develop and use this method for studying grammar.   In fact, later when I went to law school, I used outlining and memorization to great success.  I just approached learning law like learning Spanish grammar.  There was so much material that it became self-defense to tease out only what I needed to know and put that in an outline starting on the very first day.  I revised the outline after each class and memorized it that same day.  When the exam came, I had the image of the outline right before me.  In effect, I had become “fluent” in each course’s material. Organizing what you need to know in an outline and memorizing it are very powerful tools.  Give it the big...

Practice Spanish With Gabriel García Márquez...

Tweet I may the only one who didn’t know that there was a complete audio edition of Cien años de soledad on Youtube.  I found it the other day at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0NLMoJC-thM.  I have not been able to find out who the reader is, but he is very very good and he is very easy to listen to. So what?  Well, go to http://aristobulo.psuv.org.ve/wp-content/uploads/2008/10/garcia-marquez-gabriel-cien-anos-de-soledad1.pdf and download your free pdf copy of the novel and then read along with the audio.  There are several things you can do now: As you read, pay attention to the rhythm of the reader; note where he takes a breath and how his voice goes up and down. Pick a paragraph or two and try to imitate him.  Record yourself and pick a problem area to work on.  Maybe you have many problem areas, so just pick several words or a phrase to work on. Pick a short paragraph and learn it by heart so that you can recite it with ease.  Now go back to the audio and try to speak along with the reader.  With practice you should be able to stay right with him.  When you get to that point, record yourself to see how you are doing.  If you are like me, there will still be some work to do.  I mean, why don’t I sound just like him?  As you work on solving that problem, perhaps just one word at a time, your accent really will get better.  (At our level, progress comes with a lot of pain, I know.) After all this work, don’t forget to just read along for the fun of it.  You will have earned some down time. One of the difficulties for me is that the reader speaks rather quickly, and it is indeed hard to keep pace without destroying my accent.  I am told that there is some inexpensive (free) software available that varies the speed of the recorded voice without changing its pitch.  If that is true, then we can slow the audio down so that the above suggestions will be a lot easier to put into play.  Then as we get better we can up the speed.   I’ll let you know. Tip: Spanish doesn’t get any better than this.  Cien años de soledad is the gold standard for modern Spanish.  And getting both the text and an excellent audio for free is just too good.  Now that we have a clear model of where we want our Spanish to end up, it’s time to get to work.  I mean, wouldn’t you want to handle Spanish like the author and the reader?...

New Spanish Subjunctive Book To Come

Tweet      I apologize for not having posted anything for a while. Don’t think I have been lazy, though, or have forgotten about you; far from it. I have been working on a new book on the Spanish subjunctive that I hope to have out on Kindle by the middle of next month (August).      The subjunctive often causes much trepidation among learners of Spanish. This is partly so because the word is strange to us itself and because the subjunctive is not used much anymore in English. The situation has been made more confusing by the many grammars and manuals that approach the subjunctive by trying to explain what it means and why it is used. The only important thing to know, however, is when to use it. It took me quite a while to get the hang of the subjunctive because my learning was piecemeal. I learned a bit from this or that book and some more from another book. I also took a year or so of private lessons from a wonderful woman from Argentina who would instruct me from the grammars she had used in high school. So about a month ago, I started to write down everything I knew about the subjunctive and then, using my notes as an outline, I set out to study diligently. I wanted to confirm or correct my notes and fill in the gaps. (And it has been sobering to see how many gaps there were.) The result will by my new book. It will thoroughly cover the subject and have lots and lots of examples and exercises that I hope will allow you to progress step-by-step to mastery. Tip: The subjunctive is an integral part of Spanish. I don’t see how anyone can aspire to fluency in Spanish without fluency in the subjunctive (as well as all of Spanish grammar.) If you don’t know when to use it, you are not speaking proper Spanish.  Please take a look at my book when it comes...