Is it correct that we use the past subjunctive "desculpasse" when "forgive" is present tense? Is the sentence "Ele pediu que eu ti desculpe" valid and if so how is the meaning different?
The imperfect subjunctive is dependent on the verb in the main clause being in the past tense. You can say: "Ele pede que eu desculpe voce" -> "He asks that I forgive you."
So you are saying that the use of the conditional verb or a 'que' or 'se' requires that we use the imperfect subjunctive in the action verb, but the change of the verb from present to imperfect subjunctive is not the cause of the the sentence being something that may or may not have happened?
Usually the change of tense in the main clause impacts the verb in the subordinate clause.
Ele pede que eu desculpe você is not more or less uncertain than is Ele pediu que eu desculpasse você.
The use of the present subjunctive is more direct and is considered less polite than the imperfect subjunctive. Some examples provided by a Brazilian on Duolingo:
• Quero que largue esse celular! (Direct order from an angry mother.)
• Queria que largasse esse celular. (A request, not a demand, from the mother).
Further explanation from this user:
"Ele pediu que eu desculpe você - um pedido feito com convicção. "Pediu" está no passado, pois o pedido foi feito ontem. "Desculpe" está no presente pois a situação é agora.
Ele pediu que eu desculpasse você. - um pedido que vai depender de minha boa vontade. "Desculpasse", apesar de imperfeito, tem valor de presente. Mas pode também ter valor de passado, se a desculpa já foi dada e estou apenas justificando por que desculpei."
Thank you. That is a big help to someone that hasn't seen the Imperfect Subjunctive tense and the on-line sites didn't explain nearly as well as you did!
In English, tenses should match such as in:
- He said he would help = Ele disse que ajudaria
- He says he will help = Ele diz que ajurará
In Portuguese, though, one can use the following:
- Ele disse que ajudará
He said that in the past, but the time when he is supposed to help is yet to come.
Does this match:
- He has said he is going to help?
- He has said he will help?
The "que" in the sentence you submitted turns the sentence into subjuntive. Then, you'd better say "Ele pediu para eu te desculpar". So, using "forgave" in the English sentence works right!
Forgive is in the "Subjunctive mood" in English. It does not change when used in the form "that one + verb".
In Portuguese, it changes though, following the main verb.
I thought that both "forgive" and "apologize" were virtually the same. My translation (incorrect per DL) was: "He asked for me to apologize to you".
- You forgive someone. (Someone made something bad, and you suffered)
You apologize to someone (You did something bad, and someone suffered)
I forgive you = Eu te perdoo = Eu te desculpo (Perdoar is used for bigger things)
- I apologize to you = Eu me desculpo / Eu te peço desculpas