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  5. "Quizá comamos cangrejo."

"Quizá comamos cangrejo."

Translation:We might eat crab.

December 22, 2012



Why must this be in the future? Can´t we now be uncertain whether we are eating crab or surimi? Wouldn´t this also require subjunctive?


Correct, subjunctive is a mood, not a tense.


The subjunctive is necessary after certain adverbs like quizá, acaso, tal vez. All of them mean "maybe". A degree of uncertainty requires the subjunctive.


Thank you for the insight.


So then, "maybe we eat crab" should also be accepted, right?


that's what I'm thinking.


Wow - I have not seen "tuvieren" "hicieren" etc. in about 500 to 600 years. Yes, it exists in antique literature and some legal documents, as the link mentions, but never in real life nowadays. Future subjunctive is just telescoped into present subjuntive nowadays for anything that hasn't happened yet.
Right now, Faltan 2 minutos para que sean las 8:00 -- who knows, maybe the world will end in the next two minutes, and we'll never get to 8:00!!!!


Actually the time will continue even if the world ends. Besides, the concept of time were created by us and blablabla. (I know, I know the guy above was just kidding, but anyway...)


What's wrong with 'perhaps, we shall eat crab'?


Duolingo doesn't check the punctuation though (at least for the English to Spanish course).


April 2014, "shall" is accepted


Crab isn't a shallfish. : )


It's upset about the "shall"


why is the future tense not used here? comeremos surely?


I believe it's because you aren't sure whether or not you will eat it. If you were sure you were going to eat crab then you could use the future (comeremos). Anyone with more expertise please correct me if I'm wrong.


Correct. ‘Quizá’ makes it hypothetical.


Then it would be "comiéremos" not "comamos."


Subjunctive is forced after quizá. There are a number of words like that.


acaso and tal vez.


I agree with bf2020 -- perhaps is the driver for subjunctive. But the standard English translation should allow we might eat crab or we may eat crab. Although, I have seen in some grammars that "might" is reserved for past tense subjunctive


Those are old grammars. In modern English, “may” and “might” are completely interchangeable except when “might have” is used in the counterfactual sense “could have, but didn't”.


What is the difference between quizas y quiza?


‘quizá’ and ‘quizás’ mean exactly the same thing. The choice is largely idiosyncratic, with some regional preference.


Yes, it's very confusing as duolingo sometimes uses quizá and other times quizás so it's difficult to know which one they are going to ding. I wish they would be consistent.


How can they be consistent when the language isn't consistent?


The original term is quizá. Quizás was later accepted because of its usage among the spanish speakers. The RAE (real academia española) incorporates terms every year and many of them are former mispellings that have been adopted by the people in everyday usage.


perhaps we could eat crab was marked wrong but it seems to me quite equivalent, talking about what we might eat.


That would be ‘Quizá podríamos comer congrejo.’.


But they're not equivalent; consider these two examples:

Example 1: "What do you think we'll eat tonight?" A good answer would be "Perhaps we will eat crab." To answer with "Perhaps we could eat crab" sounds rather strange.

Example 2: "Shall we eat steak tonight?" Now "Perhaps we could eat crab" is a response, but "Perhaps we will eat crab" is a highly unnatural answer.

The key difference is that when you add "could" you imply that you think the other person has control of the result. The first example sounds strange because the person asking "what do you think we'll eat tonight" does not appear to be in control (unless he/she is playing games with you). The second is strange for the opposite reason.

So Duolingo is correct not to accept "Perhaps we could eat crab." It does not mean the same thing as "Perhaps we will eat crab" nor is it a reasonable translation for "Quizás comamos cangrejo."

I recommend reading "A New Reference Grammar of Modern Spanish: Fifth Edition" (Butt and Benjamin, 2011, section 26.3.2 "The Subjunctive after words meaning 'perhaps', 'possibly', 'probably' )


Greg - this looks like an excellent book - just ordered one.


the thing about subjunctive is that it can also mean future. so if you wanted to say, "tomorrow, maybe we will eat some crab" could be translated as "manana, quizas comamos congrejo."


"Perhaps we eat crab" was not accepted. I know this is a somewhat awkward English sentence, but I think it is still a grammatically correct equivalent to "Quiza comamos cangrejo"


For me "Perhaps we eat crab" tries unsuccessfully to straddle the line between awkward and just plain wrong. It's the kind of thing that sounds charming from a second-language speaker, but would never be said by a native speaker. It's either "Perhaps we are eating crab" or "Perhaps we will eat crab."

  • 2457

@perlafantastica; as chilenaDcorazon2 mentioned already "comamos" is a form used when you are not sure of something (grammatically speaking it is the "subjunctive"); the problem is that the English language has only very few subjunctive forms (as in the sentence: if I WERE you....(expressing uncertainty) instead of "if I was you" (expressing certainty), so you use a work-around, which of course is not really a one-on-one translation.

I understand that you do not like "Maybe we will eat crab" which Duolingo considers correct. The translation I got was "we might eat crab", which to my mind should be translated as "Podríamos comer cangrejo". I suggested "perhaps we may eat crab", but Duolingo did not like it either :-(, never mind; I hope my explanations help :-)


The future subjunctive doesn't exist anymore. The present subjunctive is used for both present and future. That's why here it's translated as a future, although I believe you can also translate it as present: "Maybe we eat crab", but it didn't accept that.


“eat” is an action verb, so the present progressive would be used: “Maybe we're eating crab”.


When you say that the future subjunctive doesn't exist anymore, do you mean that it simply faded from common usage or that the official keepers of the language have formally discontinued its use, so that schoolchildren are no longer taught it?


Think expressions like "thou goest" in English. That's what obsolete means.


The future subjunctive form still exists in a few old adages, in some flowery literature, in legal documents, and in golden-age plays; it's just antiquated.


what is wrong with ......lets eat crab perhaps...


It's weird syntax. I think that's one problem with it.


We may eat crab is accepted. Life saved.


I said, possibly we are eating crab. not accepted why?


That's also a valid translation, but a better translation of “Possibly we are eating crab.” would be ‘Posiblemente comamos cangrejo.’.


Please remove this sentence, it is totally valid to wonder whether the foodstuff you are currently consuming is of the crab variety. Further, I agree.


They shouldn't remove the sentence, I'm learning a lot from all the comments people have made on it.


I am royally confused about the subjunctive when referring to tenses other than the present. Can someone help to explain how one would say the following?

Maybe we are eating crab? Maybe we ate crab?

Also, the present and future tense of the subjunctive is the same? So we can only tell which one is being used by the context?


This is a sentence that doesn't translate very well into English because of the very limited scope of our subjunctive tense. To me, an okay one would be, "Perhaps, let's eat crab!" Reported, but do people here agree?


It's a good try to square the circle, but I don't think you will often find "perhaps let's ... " in speech or writing. The uncertainty of "perhaps" accords better with "we will/should/might/could" rather than "let us."


Isn't it comemos based on what the voice says?


It helps to pay attention to your English when typing translations. The correct answer is not "We might eat crap." Oops.


They marked me wrong for "perhaps we should eat crab"... I thought that was ok


So many people with much better foundation in grammar !!! So how would I discuss a possible choice for dinner-- "Perhaps we should eat crab." Is that simply 'comeremos' or 'comamos' ???????????????? Thanks Al


Perhaps we're eating crab


That's not how you use "maybe" in Spanish, with a subjunctive; it's a double "perhaps".

In Spanish, you can either have one or the other, but not both. "Quizás comemos" or "Comamos" are both correct, but "Quizá comemos" is literally "Maybe we'll probably eat", and that's not something people say in Spanish.


What's wrong with perhaps.....


Perhaps we can eat crab


'we could eat crab' Is that OK?

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