https://www.duolingo.com/r_i_l_e_y

Difficulty understanding when to use subjunctive

I am often using the subjunctive tense when I should't. I came across the following translation:

Se ele escuta você? = If he hears you?

I thought we would use "escute" because he may or may not hear. Can someone explain?

August 1, 2013

5 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/Paulenrique

the most correct should be "e se ele escuta(r) você?"(what if he hears you?), that's a warning, a piece of an advice. The subjuctive shows a hypothetical situation, that may or may not come true, or you wish or didn't wish for... "se ele escutasse você...." (if he heard you...) I put three dots (reticense) to show this sentence is incomplete, that is, the wish, desire, hypothetical situation has to be attached to another sentence, the main sentence, since "subjunctive" is a subordinated sentence: (1) SE ele te escutasse, (2) não mudaria de escola / (1) eu gostaria (2) QUE ele me escutasse. / (1) ele quer (2) QUE eu o escute

August 1, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/r_i_l_e_y

Thanks paulo! I'll take a look.

August 1, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/r_i_l_e_y

Thanks paulo, I am still confused unfortunately. I see that for "If he heard you" you used the subjunctive imperfect (escutasse), but for "If he hears you" you didn't use the subjunctive present.

I googled the subjunctive and found an article which said:

"Unlike the action of an indicative verb that is taking place, subjunctive actions may or may not occur."

So I think to myself "he may or may not hear you", therefore I should use subjunctive. I think this is the hardest part of the Portuguese language!

August 1, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/Paulenrique

yes, unfortunately it may be a bit hard, mas que não seja tão difícil a ponto de fazê-lo desistir ;)

August 1, 2013
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