https://www.duolingo.com/Sambrielle

An Interesting Note on the Spanish Imperfect Subjunctive

Recently I was reading a book in (Castilian) Spanish and I came across the word "estuviese" in the context where "estuviera" would be used.

Even in my Spanish classes, I had always learned the imperfect subjunctive was formed by adding "ra/ras/ran/ramos," etc, to the end of the third person plural preterit. Take "ellos fueron," remove the "ron," and add on that other "ra" ending.

As it turns out, there is another version of the Spanish imperfect subjunctive, which instead ends with "se/ses/sen/semos." So for the verb "tener," you could have:

Yo tuviera / Yo tuviese

Tú tuvieras/ Tú tuvieses

Él tuviera/ Él tuviese

Nosotros tuviéramos/ Nosotros tuviésemos

Ellos tuvieran/ Ellos tuviesen

Today, the form taught by Duolingo is the most common, but this other construction is still used some places, I believe most predominantly in certain regions of Spain. (The author of the book I was reading was from Barcelona; perhaps the construction in Catalan is similar? Or maybe those further from the tip of the peninsula favor this construction? I'd be interested if anyone here knows anything more.)

There are some subtle differences in use, but they are interchangeable in most cases. If you are trying to do a polite request--"quisiera un vaso de agua"--you shouldn't use "quisiese" in its place.

I don't believe Duolingo currently accepts this alternate form, but if you come across it in the wild, you'll know what it is!

3 months ago

5 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/Gaius_Plinius

I've been told that this form isn't regional. In fact, I read a book of short stories by Mexican author Carlos Fuentes that used it.

I've gotten the impression that it comes off as either literary or a bit old-fashioned.

3 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/elizadeux
elizadeux
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I've put this form into the category of something that I probably won't use (say myself) but that I should be able to recognize especially for reading.

3 months ago

[deactivated user]

    Yes, Elisabeth, that is the sensible thing to do.This is what you call passive knowledge. You recognize it when used, but you may not be able to use it of your own accord.

    EditDelete3 months ago

    https://www.duolingo.com/Chilotin
    Chilotin
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    It should be accepted and it is not regional. It is only less used.

    3 months ago

    https://www.duolingo.com/b05aplmun.ca
    b05aplmun.ca
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    Judging by this Wikipedia article, my go-to source for verb conjugations in Catalan, there are some loose similarities between the second Spanish form and the past imperfect conjugation in most dialects of Catalan: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Catalan_verbs

    3 months ago
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