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Spanish Subjunctive of the Day - June 30, 2015

tolunayo
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Today I am going to cover the adverbial expression cuando which means when or whenever. This is a very common adverb since we often tend to talk of events relative of to each other.

Structure:

{ main clause } + cuando + { subordinate clause }

Subordinate clause can be in indicative or subjunctive mood. When the statement is future looking or expressing an expectation, the subordinate clause is in subjunctive. If the statement is referring to an action completed subordinate clause is in indicative mood.

Use of cuando subordinate clause with past subjunctive is very rare but can be found in legal contracts and/or to express hypothetical situations.

Let's look at a few examples to better understand when to use subjunctive and when to use indicative.

Compraré un vestido nuevo cuando vaya al centro comercial - I will buy a new dress when I go to the mall. (Subjunctive action is to be performed in the future, I am stating an expectation right now)

Compré un vestido nuevo cuando fui al centro comercial la semana pasada - I bought a new dress when I went to the ball last week. (Indicative as the action already occurred)

Siempre comemos en ese restaurante cuando salimos con nuestros amigos - We always eat at that restaurant when we go out with our friends (Indicative as we state a habitual action)

Mañana comeremos en ese restaurante cuando salgamos con nuestros amigos - We will eat in that restaurant tomorrow when we go out with our friends (Subjunctive as the action is yet to occur)

Mírame a los ojos cuando hables - Look in my eyes when you speak. (Subjunctive as the command (Mírame) is implying future)

Cuando vengan mis compañeros de clase, los voy a llevar a aquel parque de atracciones porque cuando vienen mis hermanos, lo solemos pasar bien allí - When my classmates come, I am going to take them to that theme park because when my brothers come, we usually have good time there. (The first cuando clause is in subjunctive as it is referring to something that is yet to happen (expectation) while the second one is in indicative as we are stating something that is done routinely)

¿Qué voy a hacer cuando esté enfermo? - What am I going to do when I am sick. (Subjunctive as we are speculating about the future happening that may or may not occur)

¿Qué puedo hacer cuando estoy enfermo? - What can I do when I am sick. (Indicative as I am trying to get general information regarding what to do when I get sick)

Cuando acabe de escribir este email me iré a dormir. - When I finish writing this email, I will go to sleep (Subjunctive as the sentence refers to future)

Cuando me preguntaban qué quería ser cuando fuera mayor respondía de todo menos "escritor". - When they used to ask me what I wanted to be when I grew up, I would respond everything except "writer" (This is an example of past subjunctive (second cuando), it is covering a hypothetical situation, please also note the use of conditional in the main sentence when referring to hypothetical situations. More about these sort of subjunctives will be in another post)


Link to Spanish Subjunctive of the Day - Index: https://www.duolingo.com/comment/10162114
Link to Spanish Subjunctive of the Day - June 29, 2015: https://www.duolingo.com/comment/9327274

3 years ago

4 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/Highways
Highways
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I have read it slowly and I'll dare to say:

¿Qué voy a hacer cuando esté enfermo? - What am I going to do when I am sick. ¿Qué voy a hacer cuando sea un anciano? - What am I going to do when I am an aged man. (Subjunctive as we are speculating about the future happening, but we are in the belief that may occur)

I hope that I'll live enough to become an old man. I believe that I'll be sick, compared to '¿Qué voy a hacer si enfermo?' which may not occur. ('Enfermar' to be sick)

I'd say that sentence, after a visit to the doctor, and he has found something wrong, at the first stage, but it will go to worse. And, of course, I hope that nobody has to say this tense ;-)

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/tolunayo
tolunayo
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Thanks for clarifying that when we say:

¿Qué voy a hacer cuando esté enfermo?",

we are speculating but we believe it is likely to happen (the odds are pretty good).

Otherwise, we use an if (si) clause in indicative mood.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/tolunayo
tolunayo
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Link to Spanish Subjunctive of the Day - July 1, 2015: https://www.duolingo.com/comment/9362591

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/CameronGoodwin

brillant just brillant so tickle my bum and call me jerry

3 years ago