As you may know I have set myself a weekly blogging challenge with the serious objective of improving my Spanish. Some weeks have been more productive than others on the ‘learning’ front. So this week, to prove that I am serious in this business, I will face my bête noire. Yes, this week I will be tackling the SUBJUNCTIVE mood. Please don’t run screaming just yet.
The subjunctive section is the most thumbed and scribbled on section of my tenses book. I have learned it more times than I care to admit, but I never get into the swing of a Spanish conversation long enough to use it. So, I lose it. Do you see?
We don’t really ‘learn’ it in English do we? From what I remember of grammar in school, we didn’t really discuss tenses. Apostrophes, clauses, possessives blah… They study it here in Spain and in France and elsewhere I am sure. You can’t really get by without it here in Spain.
It is for me, as they say, the next level.
In a nutshell the subjunctive introduces an aspect of the unknown to a sentence. It is the difference between knowing that you are still reading dear reader and hoping/wanting/needing/suggesting/doubting/speculating that you are still reading.
Sensible people, including my Dad, who is a cunning linguist of the first water, have told me that a good way of learning the subjunctive is to learn a few really useful sentences that use it and then gradually adapt them as you go. Kind of like rolling out the subjunctive in your everyday. Like a carpet. Ooh let’s say like a red subjunctive carpet. Such fun!
Here we go. Let me slap some Super Subjunctives on you.
1. Espero que fueras una buena chica esta mañana Bibsey I hope that you were a good girl this morning Bibsey
I ask this every time I pick Bibs up from the childminder. She always gives me the same answer, in that she paints herself in glory, until the truth comes out later.
2. Querida, si yo fuera tú, comería mi comida Darling, if I were you, I would eat my food
Yes darling, eat it as opposed to throwing it on the floor or rubbing it in your eyes, hair and other unmentionable parts of your body. Eat it if you want pudding. Eat it if you don’t want the ants to have it. Eat it if you want an ice cream or a story. Eat it if you want good things to happen…. to fade.
3. Te daré un helado esta tarde con tal que no me molestes por un minuto I will give you an ice cream this evening if you leave me alone for ONE MINUTE
Yet another example of fabulous parenting in the 21st Century when bribery and corruption are rife and accepted. I blame the banks.
4. Espero que sepas lo que haces I hope you know what you are doing
This phrase is a keeper for any woman whose man ain’t handy. He could be under her bonnet or fiddling with the plumbing. But does he know what he is doing? I hope so.
5. Es posible que vayamos a la playa mañana We might go to the beach tomorrow
Yeah, that’s if mummy can drag her lazy arse out of bed and pack the cool box and beach bag in sensible time. It is scorchio here at the moment and, while I love the beach in Spring and Autumn, the costas are my least favourite place to be in August.
6. Espero que no haya cucarachas en mi cocina I hope that there are no cockroaches in my kitchen
Just as I hope no haya arañas en mi cama o saltamontes en las plantas because nobody wants spiders in their bed or grasshoppers amongst the greenery, right?
7. Es improbable que tenga cualquier lectores después de este blog It is unlikely that I have any readers left after this blog post
I realise that this subject matter is not for everybody, but it had to be done. I think that I have successfully used the subjunctive in a conversation once and then I couldn’t wait to tell someone about it. Sad? A little bit. But that is how it is. Little linguistic victories that spur you on to greater heights and give you confidence.
This week I would really appreciate some comments with some useful subjunctive sentences in Spanish. Stock phrases that I can learn and build on. There is a lollypop for anyone who responds. Honestly. Go on! Slap me with a Super Subjunctive!
PS. Relief all round. No 7 Word Challenge next week. My sister is visiting so I will be gossiping and drinking cava instead. x