"Quiero que tú seas mi amigo."
Translation:I want you to be my friend.
I think it´s funny that English totally avoids using the subjunctive in this sentence! I use the subjunctive so little in English that it almost sounds incorrect to say "If I were taller, I could reach that shelf" ("were" being the subjunctive, "was" being the indicative).
That only applies to people who speak incorrectly! For the rest of us, it sounds horrible when you hear someone say 'if I was you'. It's just as horrible as when people say 'I would of done it'... there are plenty of people who use the subjunctive in English correctly :-)
Well sure. I tend to think of it as the language evolving slowly. Why keep a whole extra tense when you can use other tenses for the same constructions? (As for " I would of done it"...yes, it sounds pretty awful, and looks worse in writing. If I don't feel like being pedantic I can just pretend that they're saying "would've" which would be perfectly acceptable and is probably where they got the "of" from.)
Yes, that is definitely where they got 'of' from (they haven't realised that they're saying 'would have') - it's either because they don't read enough or haven't studied enough because they write it too so it's not just 'colloquial' or 'regional' speech either. I cringe every time I hear it.
Thing is, the subjunctive is not a tense. It's a mood. You're talking about a hypothetical situation so how can you use a tense? Tenses refer to events which really happened (or really will happen). Personally, I think English has been devolving since back when it was German(!) because we already DO recycle existing tenses and verbs to make the subjunctive. We use the verb itself e.g. whether the weather BE hot... and we use the past tense as well (if I were you) - but other languages use different words so it's clearer to them that the subjunctive signifies something different to verbs.
Sorry for jumping back into an old conversation. I just found this reply and thought it was still interesting, although not because of the tense/mood distinction. ElleLingo is totally correct: I should have said "mood" instead of "tense."
I feel like there's another issue going on here having to do with prescriptive vs descriptive linguistics. Prescriptive linguistics distinguishes between "correct" and "incorrect" language usage, often with older, more high-class dialects being given the favor of being "correct". (The dialects of historical conquerors, too, tend to be more "correct"). One aim of prescriptive linguistics is to ease communication between far-flung peoples by ensuring that their languages are all "correct" in the same way, and therefor mutually intelligible. As such, dialects which are not the "correct" dialect are often described as low, common, primitive, or even devolved.
Descriptive linguistics doesn't distinguish between "correct" and "incorrect" dialects (except, perhaps, when studying language performance, where using certain dialects, accents, tones, or other linguistic features might be socially inappropriate or ineffective). Descriptive linguistics mainly describes actual language usage (both spoken and written), out of a respect for the inherent value of different languages, dialects, etc. A rising acceptance of descriptive linguistics has led to such things as Ebonics (AKA AAVE: African American Vernacular English) being accepted in some schools.
The issue I'm seeing is that I tend to go for the descriptivist paradigm: I see changes in the use of language, and I accept that they are happening rather than bemoaning the devolution of the language. In fact, I think some elements of the prescriptivist paradigm are problematic. For one, it punishes the uneducated. Education is not equally available to all. For two, it punishes minorities. Take speakers of AAVE, or bilingual or creole speakers living in monolingual societies. They are instantly burdened with the need to learn a separate language or dialect, perfectly, merely to be afforded certain common decencies in public (such as not being told to "Learn English" or "Go back to where you came from" when their accent/dialect is heard). And all of these problems are predicated on that basic assumption of prescriptivism: one form of language in inherently more correct, or better, than all others. At the extreme, the thinking goes: anyone who doesn't use the "one correct language" is, at best, making an honest mistake, or worse, erring due to ignorance, or worse still, flawed so deeply that they simply can't speak correctly.
I'm bringing this up mostly because of the bit where ElleLingo describes modern English as a "devolved" form of German, as if German had backpedaled on its evolutionary track to a more primitive, inferior form. This idea of linguistic evolution (or any type of evolution, for that matter) being a series of steps from inferior to superior, with occasional backslides, is deeply problematic because it is A) false and B) has tremendous sociopolitical ramifications. Yes, English and German evolved from some common predecessor, now called Proto-Germanic. All three of these languages contain, or used to contain, so much complexity that "recycling" tenses into moods barely scratches a microscopic layer off the surface. If you think English is devolved, or less complicated, or less sophisticated than German...well, it is less complicated in some ways. And more complicated in other ways. That's the way trade-offs work. I wonder what complexity English gained when it lost its ancestral need for mood conjugations to differ greatly from tense conjugations? Perhaps it gained a mass of non-Germanic words that it had to wrestle with? (Food for thought: only 1/3 of English words are Germanic in origin, even though it is a Germanic language with Germanic grammar).
My theory: Language will always be just as complex as it needs to be by those using it and no complexer.
Good WodgerWabbit.... Language is a construct of the mind that evolves with our need to express. It must evolve as well or limit our growth...
What do you mean how can you use a tense? There are tenses in the subjunctive mood as well as in the Indicative mood. Tenses tell when something happens or might happen. You are right that you cannot just use a different tense in the Indicative mood, instead of the Subjunctive mood. http://conjugueur.reverso.net/conjugaison-espagnol-verbe-ser.html
Yes but once again, we recycle the word 'tense' to name the various 'forms' of the subjunctive. The separate tenses/forms of the subjunctive are not 'real' tenses i.e. anything in the subjunctive is expressing a mood/hypothetical not a real life actually-happening/happened/will happen bona fide tense.
This is the the subjunctive in Spanish. Why does DL not accept the subjunctive in English as translation? "I want you to be my friend" is NOT subjunctive. "I wish you were my friend" exactly translates this Spanish, but DL marks that wrong.
http://dictionnaire.reverso.net/anglais-espagnol/wish I like that, but it is not exact. "I wish you were my friend." means "I wish that we were already friends." I think it would be closer to "Quiero que tú fueras mi amigo."
"I want you to be my friend" is something in the future, although it could be the immediate future as in right now. In English we just don't use the subjunctive as much as in Spanish. We use a lot of modal verbs. "I wish you could be my friend." or "I wish you would be my friend." I think that it should be as acceptable as using the infinitive, but we have to face the fact that the idiom that is most used in English with the verb "to want" is the infinitive.
I've studied the Spanish subjunctive a lot since I made that comment with the result that I understand it very much less. It is more confusing than Syria.
allintolearning has helped me realize that there are grammatically correct English phrases, more archaic than current, that use the subjunctive: "I would that we were friends" is one such construction. "I want that you would be my friend" is another through stranger "folk" construction. Part of my confusion is with the main verb here - quiero = want. In earlier uses of English (British English) to want meant to lack: "It's not for want (lack) of trying" Want as like or desire comes later as the lack of something creates a desire for it. I find it curious that in Spanish quiero can mean I love as well as I want - again the connection between lack and desire. But my question in all of this is this: does querer always take the subjunctive when what is wanted is expressed by a verb phrase? And are there other verbs that take the subjunctive in the same situations?
Could someone please explain the construction of the verb in this sentence (seas).
This is the present tense of the subjunctive mood. http://conjugueur.reverso.net/conjugaison-espagnol-verbe-ser.html http://spanish.about.com/od/verbmoods/a/when_to_use_subjunctive.htm
If what you want to know is how Spanish ended up with this weird irregular form for ser in the present tense subjunctive, here's the best answer I've got: the basic way to change a present tense indicative verb to subjunctive is to switch the conjugated ending from the -ar ending to the -er ending, or -er/-ir to -ar (e.g. tú cantas-->que tú cantes; tú lees-->que tú leas). If you try to take ser and do that, you get que yo sa/que tu sas/que ud. sa/que nosotros samos, etc, but what it actually does is retain the "e" from the -er ending, but otherwise follows the regular rule: que yo s(e)a, que tú s(e)as, que ud./él/ella s(e)a, que nosotros s(e)amos, que uds/ellos/ellas s(e)an. Ver follows the same (irregular) rule of retaining the "e" from the -er ending for present tense subjunctive endings, probably to avoid confusion with the (also irregular!) present tense indicative conjugations of ir e.g. ver-->que v(e)a, que v(e)as etc vs ir-->va al comercio. I suspect that ser follows the same rule as ver 1) because Spanish "irregular" conjugations tend to be shared across similar verbs (e.g. the -go verbs like venir-->vengo, tener-->tengo, salir-->salgo) and 2) ser and ver in particular have a very similar form and share many irregularities. Since ver has a really good reason to have an irregular conjugation for present tense subjunctive (avoiding confusion with another common verb, ir), ser naturally just follows the same format.
Very useful, thanks. Copied and pasted into my scrapbook of useful hints.
That, "seas", is present subjunctive 2nd person singular, informal "tú", of the verb "ser", to be. :) See this also: http://www.wordreference.com/conj/ESverbs.aspx?v=seas
No, in Spanish they will not use an infinitive here. They must use the subjunctive. We really don't use the subjunctive as much as they do in Spanish. http://spanish.about.com/od/verbmoods/a/when_to_use_subjunctive.htm
I have a question about the subjunctive and I don't know where to post it so I will do it here and hope someone can give me an explanation!
The song 'A Dios le pido' (Juanes) uses the subjunctive throughout the song. I understand most of them, except the ones in the refrain.
Que si me muero sea de amor y si me enamoro sea de vos y que de tu voz sea este corazón.
1 - I'd like a correct translation of this, since translation websites give different translations. 2 - And then please an explanation of why the subjunctive is used here.
Thanks in advance! Would help me a lot.
Hi l. Harm, hablo español and I try to help you, it is not easy beecause the subjunctive is like a wish and words in Spanish must change to: May, He may not come. / Puede que no venga. Might, He might still get here in time./ Puede que todavía llegue a tiempo. Should, It is essential that they should come / Es indispensable que vengan. I wish I were rich / Ojalá fuera rico. El verbo ‘to be’ tiene formas especiales para el subjunctivo (I be; you be; we be, they be etc.)
The Prime Minister insisted that he be photographed with the President. Después de ‘if’ y ‘wish’ se puede usar ‘were’ .
If I were you I would go and see him. Si fuera tú, iría a verlo. I wish you were here. Desearía que estuvieras aquí.
"That if I die, to be from love, and if I fall in love to be with you, and from your voice to be this heart" I hope this help you. Saludos
I used 'I want that you be my friend' and I am a native speaker! It would be rare to use this but in the context of trying to heal a relationship due to a misunderstanding with a friend it would be appropriate.
That is a very peculiar expression. I'm English and I don't think I've heard anyone say 'I want that you be....', it would normally be 'I want you to be...'
It suggests I want that you be my friend, is that even correct?
I tried I want that you are my friend, which got not accepted..
I have no idea if I want that you be my friend is grammatically correct but if I ever heard someone say this, I would know that they were foreign as no native speaker would EVER say this.
To an extent you are contradicting your own (often very stringent) argument(s)...I see you have many comments on the page (including one regarding the use of "want that")... about the current use of the Subjunctive in English.
This sentence would 'translate' to the English Subjunctive as, " I want THAT you be my friend". Instead nowadays the indicative is more widely used- I want you to be my friend.
For instance, I insist that he come immediately- More common usage with indicative, I insist that he comes, or we can omit the "that", I insist he comes ( again indicative). I suggest that she stay by your side- I suggest (that) she stays by your side. It is important that she go now- It's important she goes now etc etc. The omission of the "that " from I want phrases, I WANT THAT... in modern English is now almost completely standard, so much so that it appeared awkward even to you!! But it didn't used to be and it isn't in Spanish where it is a standard phrase...Quiero que.....
All of these examples show how the language has evolved and whilst they are no doubt "correct" they can also appear to sound pompous or old fashioned to many. The flipside of appearing ill educated or ignorant I guess ( I tend to go for the more easy going vibe, but have to admit I get equally vexed with "more bigger" for example )
So the one thing all of these phrases have in common is they contain a "that clause" which then triggers the subjunctive in Spanish. Where it is systematically and without debate used. Including a standard phrase such as "Quiero que"....literally I want that!!
When we are trying to learn Spanish it is important that we recognise "that" "que" is not optional in Spanish and may appear awkward in English, especially if we try to do word for word translations. Is some respects it's similar to the Personal 'a' in Spanish we can't translate it literally but have to accept that it is there.
If I was you ( sorry don't hate me! I couldn't resist, I think I can hear your blood boiling) I'd relax. I want that you have a good day :)
That's how rare the subjunctive is in English, that it sounds foreign to many speakers. It might be more acceptable as "I want that you should be my friend", though.
That's not what I meant. The subjunctive is not rare in English at all, it's used just as frequently as in other languages. The difference is that people don't know they are using it in English because our subjunctive mood recycles existing words from various verb tenses. "I want that you should be my friend" is wrong. "That" never follows "want" unless it is followed by a noun e.g. "I want that car". If learners want to speak like native English speakers, they need to learn to say: "I want you to be my friend", "I'd like you to be my friend", "I want us to be friends".
Yes, actually, the subjunctive mood is used much more often in Spanish then in English where we will often use the infinitive instead. http://spanish.about.com/od/verbmoods/a/when_to_use_subjunctive.htm
Ok, but Spanish isn't the only other language that exists!
it's used just as frequently as in other languages
I agree that this is a much better construction than the broken English that is given as an answer. Only Tarzan could say "I want that you be my friend" with a straight face.
The consensus among the comments so far is that the English translation isn't subjunctive in mood. I'm not sure that I would recognize it if it were.
Would something like "I want you as my friend", or "Would that we were friends" (maybe a bit too quaint) be subjunctive?
Perhaps unknowingly (?) you used a subjunctive yourself! ".... if it were."
"I want for you to be my friend" was marked wrong. I realize that "I want you to be my friend" sounds better, but does adding the "for" make it incorrect? Thanks!
Is this something you want only for the other person or do you want it for yourself as well, so no it would not be correct unless you really mean that you yourself don't want this but you want it for the other person. That is not the meaning of the original Spanish sentence.
Someone commented elsewhere that positive imperative uses different verb form from negative imperative in that the former uses the form typically associated with usted while the latter uses form used with tu. Why doesn't the rule apply here since it seems like positive imperative? Thanks.
Because this sentence is not imperative. It is not expressing a demand like, "Be my friend", which would use the imperative "Sé a mi amigo" (ser, unsurprisingly. is irregular).
This sentence expresses a wish or desire (or want), so it uses subjunctive mood. Subjunctive doesn't change if it is "affirmative" or "negative".
You have used a very literal translation here, and the more you learn of a language, the more you realise that you can translate less and less literally. You have to know the correct usage in the language you are learning, and then translate it back into what is correct usage in English. Here, the correct phrase, which is not literal, is as shown: '"I want you to be my friend."
So I am guessing "To want" + "Subject" + "to [verb}" = "Querer" + "que" + "sujeto" + "verbo"? Also do you have to include the subject in the sentence, can it be "Quiero que seas mi amigo" or is that wrong?
Im confused- so is the subjunctive a whole separate tense or no? Since we conjugate it differently...
Hi Mer, in answer to your question YES. Whilst technically a Mood the subjunctive has its own set of conjugations. There is a present subj, a past (imperfect) subj and also with Haber a present perfect and a past perfect subjunctive. A future subjunctive exists but is rarely used these days.
Hi norma0044, I speak Spanish and I will try you help. The phrase "tú ser" is like would speak Tarzán. Look at this: "Que yo sea tu amigo", "Que tú seas mi amigo", "Que él sea mi amigo", "Que nosotros seamos tus amigos" "Que ustedes sean mis amigos" "Que ellos sean mis amigos" Another way: "Me gustaría ser tu amigo", Me gustaría que tú seas (o fueras) mi amigo", No me gusta que tú seas mi amigo" "Quiero ser tu amigo". I know that is complicated and for me the English too, sometimes just must accept it. I hope this help you. Saludos
I get things wrong most often because my fingers are to big and i touch the wrong button.
Hi LucasT, I speak Spanish and I will try you help. The phrase "tú ser" is like would speak Tarzán. Look at this: "Que yo sea tu amigo", "Que tú seas mi amigo", "Que él sea mi amigo", "Que nosotros seamos tus amigos" "Que ustedes sean mis amigos" "Que ellos sean mis amigos" Another way: "Me gustaría ser tu amigo", Me gustaría que tú seas (o fueras) mi amigo", No me gusta que tú seas mi amigo" "Quiero ser tu amigo". I know that is complicated and for me the English too, sometimes just must accept it. I hope this help you. Saludos
I feel that "I would like you to be my friend" is perhaps the best means of getting over the subjunctive aspect of the sentence, even though it makes a different verb subjunctive. However, did not risk it as an answer.
I haven't seen this in the other comments, so I'll point it out here. I'd put the direct English "I want that you be my friend" and was corrected to "I wish that you be my friend." Now, I've studied enough Spanish in school to know what constitutes the subjunctive, how the conjugations are formed, and why it's used, so I don't need that explanation. I'm curious to know if anyone has any ideas on why Duolingo is confusing "querer" and "esperar" here? They both indicate the subjunctive, so I don't quite see the point of such a correction.
As a native speaker of English I would say that “I want that you be my friend” and “I wish that you be my friend” are BOTH unusual/abnormal to the point of being incorrect. As others have pointed out, no native speaker of English would ever say that and anyone who did so would be regarded as either clearly a foreigner or speaking like Tarzan as a joke.
Dwallace suggests that such constructions were used in the past and I think that Shakespeare might have sometimes used that form of phrasing (though cannot think of any examples). Shakespeare lived 1564 to 1616. Even if correct English in the 16th /17th century, I’m sure it has not been in the last 200 years.
Duolingo is not confusing ‘querer’ and ‘esperar’ but choosing the word ‘wish’ (which is a bit like ‘hope’) rather than ‘want’ to better convey the subjunctive mood. ‘Want’ is definitely not at all subjunctive in mood and would be regarded by some people, depending on the circumstances, as a rather assertive way of asking for something. The more polite or gentle ‘subjuntive-ish’ equivalent would be “I would like you to be my friend” or “I wish that you would be my friend”. ‘Wish’ directly instead of ‘want’ is not however correct if you are wanting an object. You want a car but you do not wish a car. Billy Connolly, Scottish comedian once joked about the fact that children had been so indoctrinated with ‘wish’ instead of ‘want’ that they might go to a chip shop and say “I wish chips” which would be so over-polite that it would raise a laugh. However, even in a chip shop, it would be preferable to say “I would like chips” or “I’d like chips” rather than “I want to chips”. (Chips = French Fries)
For native English speakers learning Spanish, these sorts of queries regarding poor English translations of the Spanish are not important (except when you lose a point!) and indeed can be useful. However, for Spanish speakers learning English it is important and it would seem that the discussion forum is shared by both groups. It would be useful if the native language of those posting were automatically stated, then those learning English could be more selective in what they took from the discussions.
It's an attempt at keeping the same "mood" from one language to the other. Okay, I can accept that. To want is more direct (or assertive, as you say) than to wish. That is quite clarifying to how others would see the language. Thank you kindly, on both accounts.
Common guys, if you're trying to help in your explanations, speak English! You're working too hard to show who's smarter. Help the little guy who is just trying hard to learn Spanish.
If I enter "want" it tells me it should be "wish." If I enter "wish" it tells me it should be "want."
Wish correct verses want is one of the many small problems with this program
I tried "I want that you would be my friend". It wasn't accepted. But is that an acceptable translation?
Hi jamaicarose2! Your phrase is wrong. Would is a conditional.
Would be= sería.
To be= seas
I am a native Spanish speaker. Greetings.
March 2018: The "translation answer is exactly what I entered and it was marked incorrect with "I wish" being the "correct" answer! !!!!!!
I assume by this that your response was “I want that you be my friend.” This was my initial response, too, and what I’ve gathered from this thread is that most English speakers understand this phrasing to be overly direct, whereas the general Spanish understanding of the given statement should sound more like the English “I would like for you to be my friend,” which is less direct. Now, to me personally, I think both translations sound about the same, and contrary to the general consensus of this thread, actually had adopted this Spanish-style subjunctive into my normal English speaking. Probably not for this exact context, but whenever it’s first to mind.
I don't understand the distinction DL is making with "wish and want" I made the literal translation of "..I want that you be..." DL corrected as "... I wish that ..." Neither sounds good in english