"Me gusta que la gente pase por aquí."
Translation:I like that people pass through here.
You do not have to be in conditional to require a shift into subjunctive. Certain verbs, even in plain present tense, automatically shift you into subjunctive. Querer is one of these: Yo quiero que tú entiendas. I want you to understand. (Note that "entiendas" is a subjunctive form of "entender".) I don't know if you actually do or even will understand, but I would like it if you did. Hence: doubt, supposition, speculation, counter-factuals. Subjunctive.
There are many examples of these verbs here: http://www.studyspanish.com/lessons/subj1.htm
There are also formulations using an impersonal "es" that work like this. Like, "Es posible que..." The phrase, "It is possible that..." automatically introduces doubt. It doesn't have to be "Sería posible que..."
If you want to literally translate the grammar at a word-for-word level, yeah, that's kinda true. But then, if you were going to try to do that, you'd be translating "gustar" as "to please". "Me gusta manzanas," is, "Apples please me," which is why you see the object pronoun "me", not the subject pronoun "yo".
Add in the additional layer of complication that the clause is in subjunctive. The current "canonical" translation misses the meaning in a critical way. It sounds like it's asserting that people are passing through here, and I like that. Which is wrong. It's saying that it pleases me for people to pass through here, without saying that they are passing right now. That's kind of the core difference between indicative and subjunctive.
You could translate this as something like, "When people pass through here it pleases me," but that sounds pretty awkward. In general, "Me gusta que [subjunctive clause]," ends up translating most comfortably to English as something like, "I like it when" or "I would like". We don't have the same set of moods and tenses as Spanish, so you can't expect to map back and forth among them on a 1:1 basis.
The subjunctive mood is used to express everything except certainty and objectivity: things like doubt, uncertainty, subjectivity, etc. The difference between indicative and subjunctive is the difference between certainty/objectivity (indicative) and possibility/subjectivity (subjunctive).
The Spanish doesn't mean liking the people, it means liking where they go. “I like the people passing by here.” would be ‘Me gusta la gente QUE pase por aquí.’. The translation accepted is “I like THAT people pass by here.”, not “I like THE people pass by here.”.
In English, you can say either (A) “I prefer [the fact] that the horse passes by here.”, or (B) “I [would] prefer the horse to pass by here.”. With the “that”-clause construction (A), the whole subordinate sentence “The horse passes by here.” is treated as the direct object of the main verb “prefer”. But with the “to”+infinitive construction (B), the subject “The horse” of the subordinate clause is promoted to the direct object of the main verb “prefer”, and the subordinate verb “passes” is turned into an infinitive “to pass”.
[I've substituted “prefer” for “like” to avoid the subject-versus-object confusion of the Spanish ‘gustar’; and I've substituted “horse” for “people” to highlight the distinction between the finite form “passes” and the non-finite form “to pass”.]
In Spanish, you can say (A) ‘Prefiero [el hecho de] que el caballo pase por aquí.’, where the ‘que’-clause works exactly like the English “that”-clause. But Spanish has no counterpart to the “to”+infinitive clause. Instead, you'd say (C) ‘Prefiero|Preferiría [la eventualidad de] que el caballo pase por aquí.’ = “I [would] prefer [the eventuality] that the horse pass by here”. So in Spanish, both expressions use the word ‘que’.
The English “to”+infinitive construction is actually really weird, because semantically, it doesn't make sense for the subject of the subordinate clause to be the object of the main verb: “I prefer the horse to pass by here.” doesn't mean “I prefer the horse”. Maybe I hate that horse; I just want it to pass by over here so it doesn't eat my roses. In Spanish, if ‘el caballo’ is the object of the verb ‘prefiero’, then no matter how the sentence continues, it's clear that I prefer the horse.
That's funny! In the U.S., getting bonked means to get hit. As in 'I got bonked on the head.' But boinking in public can get you arrested here.
I disagree. "I like that people go through here" sounds fine to me. And apparently it was even your first instinct too since you describe it as a "literal" translation. Maybe there once existed a rule against using "that" in this way... but if so, it's a bit out of date. I think your alternative is a good one, too, but I don't think the English phrase has to be phased that way.
For "Me gusta que la gente pase por aquí." one of the suggested translations is "I like that the people to passing by here." which to me does not sound like proper English. Can any native speaker confirm?
Also, is there a reason why "I like that the people are passing by here." should not be accepted?
Reported both problems on 22.04.2014.
Yes, it's needed. To "pass by" or "pass through" means a person is in the process of going somewhere. But "to pass" by itself has several completely different meanings in English. For example, a person can pass a test, or she can pass when playing a card game (meaning to give up one's turn), or he can pass for something he's not.
http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/subjunctive " of, relating to, or constituting a verb form or set of verb forms that represents a denoted act or state not as fact but as contingent or possible or viewed emotionally (as with doubt or desire)" I think it is significant here that the emotion aspect of the subjunctive refers to the feeling about what is desired or doubted, not about what is real. As I said in my original post the passing people are real, not something hoped for but already happening. There may be a rule of thumb that says 'gustarse que' always takes a subjunctive and this may well be the common practice of the language but in this case it is contrary to the idea of the subjunctive, a verb form that "...represents a denoted act ... not as fact...". "I would like that people pass through here." on the other hand would call for the subjunctive since the implication is that people do not, at present, pass through, or at least that the writer is not aware of them passing through.
This should explain it: http://www.spanishdict.com/answers/101054/gustar-que...subjuntivo#a59227
The subjunctive in English is used for many fewer purposes than the subjunctive in Spanish. You should look for a definition explicitly for Spanish.
Re: dofn2 Here is the definition from a Spanish diccionario that essentially repeats the English definition I gave. http://es.thefreedictionary.com/subjuntivo "subjuntivo, -va adj. Que se adjunta como elemento subordinario. adj.-m. gram. Díc. del conjunto de formas verbales que con esta modalidad manifiestan la posibilidad más o menos irreal de la acción significada por la base léxica del verbo. En oraciones formalmente independientes expresa duda, posibilidad, etc."
You need to look for a definition of the Spanish subjunctive from a grammar reference source; not a dictionary.
You aren't going to find a comprehensive definition of a complex grammatical construct in a dictionary. A dictionary provides an extremely brief precis and can't be comprehensive on wide-ranging technical and nuanced topics like this (hence its "etc").
People have linked useful resources... In short, you are talking about your likes and dislikes - hence subjunctive.
Hi dofn2. You advise me to consult a grammar reference. I have already conceded that there may be a rule of thumb and it may be the common practice. What I have been trying to point out is that the use of language is more than following rules. It is understanding the dynamics of grammar. The subjuntivo in English or Spanish is as I have already described. Perhaps you could point me to an authoritative Spanish grammar source that contradicts what I have been saying. [Later], Checking the grammar sources that I can google online, there is a consensus that Spanish uses the subjunctive when expressing emotion about real events. This is a rule of thumb that needs to be followed and it is an exception to the concept of subjunctive. It is unreasonable in that subjunctive refers to (unreal) events. I am curious to know why it might be considered reasonable.