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The Imperfect Subjunctive

The Imperfect Subjunctive

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The Imperfect Subjunctive

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  1. The Imperfect Subjunctive (El imperfecto de subjuntivo) El senador no permitió que hablaran los otros senadores. ¿Qué pasó en el senado?

  2. How the imperfect subjunctive is formed 1. Start with the 3rd person plural (“aron, ieron”) form of the verb in the preterit tense: hablaron vendieron escribieron If you start with the 3rd person plural and you know your preterit verbs, there are no irregular forms, that is, there is no verb that does not follow the rule.

  3. How the imperfect subjunctive is formed 1. Start with the 3rd person plural (“aron, ieron”) form of the verb in the preterit tense: 2. Drop the -ron ending. habla ron vendie ron escribie ron 3. Add the following endings for all three conjugations: -ra -ramos -ras -rais -ra -ran

  4. How the imperfect subjunctive is formed Note that -er and -ir forms are identical. Examples: hablar hablara hablaras hablara habláramos hablarais hablaran vender vendiera vendieras vendiera vendiéramos vendierais vendieran escribir escribiera escribieras escribiera escribiéramos escribierais escribieran Note also that first- and third-person singular forms are the same, and that all nosotros forms must carry a written accent.

  5. How the imperfect subjunctive is formed Notice these alternate forms: hablar hablase hablases hablase hablásemos hablaseis hablasen vender vendiese vendieses vendiese vendiésemos vendieseis vendiesen escribir escribiese escribieses escribiese escribiésemos escribieseis escribiesen Everything that applies to the -ra forms applies also to the -se forms; however, the latter are more literary and are used more often in Spain than elsewhere.

  6. The following chart shows the imperfect subjunctive forms of some common regular and irregular verbs. Infinitive Third-person plural First-person singular Preterit Imperfect subjunctive tomar tomaron tomara beber bebieron bebiera escribir escribieron escribiera creer creyeron creyera decir dijeron dijera estuviera estuvieron estar hubieron hubiera haber fueron ir fuera leyera leyeron leer

  7. The following chart shows the imperfect subjunctive forms of some common regular and irregular verbs. Infinitive Third-person plural First-person singular Preterit Imperfect subjunctive poder pudieron pudiera poner pusieron pusiera querer quisieron quisiera saber supieron supiera ser fueron fuera tuviera tuvieron tener trajeron trajera traer vinieron venir viniera

  8. How the imperfect subjunctive is used The same principles that are applied in the present to determine whether to use the subjunctive or the indicative are also used in the past. If the main clause expresses . . . 1. Cause or prevention. 2. Personal bias or emotion. 3. Falseness or unreality. . . . the subjunctive is used in the subordinate clause.

  9. How the imperfect subjunctive is used The past subjunctive is also always used after the following phrases (and a few other similar ones), just as with the present subjunctive. E en caso de que (in case) S sin que (without, unless) con tal (de) que (provided that) C antes (de) que (before) A (so that, in order that) P para que a menos que A (unless)

  10. How the imperfect subjunctive is used The tense of the verb in the main clause normally determines whether to use the present or imperfect subjunctive in the subordinate clause. If the verb in the main clause is in the . . . the present subjunctive is used in the subordinate clause. present, future, or present perfect

  11. How the imperfect subjunctive is used The tense of the verb in the main clause normally determines whether to use the present or imperfect subjunctive in the subordinate clause. If the verb in the main clause is in the . . . preterit, the imperfect subjunctive is used in the subordinate clause. imperfect, conditional, or pluperfect

  12. How the imperfect subjunctive is used If the verb in the main clause is in the . . . The present subjunctive is used in the subordinate clause. present, future, or present perfect Examples: present present Insisto en que Tomás me ayude. I insist that Tomás help me. present future Insistiré en que Tomás me ayude. I will insist that Tomás help me. present present He insistido en que Tomás me ayude. perfect I have insisted that Tomás help me.

  13. How the imperfect subjunctive is used If the verb in the main clause is in the . . . preterit, The imperfect subjunctive is used in the subordinate clause. imperfect, conditional, or pluperfect Examples: imperfect preterit Insistí en que Tomás me ayudara. I insisted that Tomás help me. imperfect imperfect Insistía en que Tomás me ayudara. I (always) insisted that Tomás help me. imperfect Insistiría en que Tomás me ayudara. conditional I would insist that Tomás help me. imperfect Había insistido en que Tomás me ayudara. pluperfect I had insisted that Tomás help me.

  14. How the imperfect subjunctive is used More examples of the imperfect subjunctive: Notice that the use of the preterit or imperfect in the main clause calls for the imperfect subjunctive in the subordinate clause. Era importante que leyera mi horóscopo. It was important for me to read my horoscope. La meteoróloga insistió en que todos se refugiaran de la tempestad. The meteorologist insisted that everyone take cover from the storm.

  15. How the imperfect subjunctive is used More examples of the imperfect subjunctive: Remember that a written accent is required on the first-person plural of the imperfect subjunctive forms. El periodista quería que arregláramos la sala para la entrevista. The journalist wanted us to arrange the living room for the interview. Era dudoso que contratáramos a aquel comentarista. It was doubtful that we would hire that commentator. El gobierno prohibió que pusiéramos esa información en el artículo. The government prohibited us from putting that information in the article.

  16. How the imperfect subjunctive is used The imperfect subjunctive is required under the same conditions as the present subjunctive. However, the imperfect subjunctive is used to refer to events that were incomplete in relation to a past event. Compare the sentences below to the time line. Present Past Future dudar controlar pedir haber El reportero dudaba que controlaran el incendio. The reporter doubted that they would control the fire. Los televidentes pidieron que hubiera más programas serios. The TV viewers asked for there to be more serious shows.

  17. How the imperfect subjunctive is used Use the imperfect subjunctive with ojalá when it means I wish (that). ¡Ojalá (que) el patrocinador seleccionara mi guión! I wish the sponsor would choose my script! ¡Ojalá (que) no cancelaran mi serie favorita! I wish they wouldn’t cancel my favorite series!

  18. More on structure and usage EXPANSIÓN How the imperfect subjunctive is used Peticiones con el imperfecto de subjuntivo A common use of the imperfect subjunctive is to make polite requests or statements. In such cases, the forms of the verbs querer, poder, and deber are used. Note the following examples. Quisiera leer los anuncios clasificados. I would like to read the classified ads. ¿Pudieras prestarme la sección deportiva? Could you lend me the sports section? Debiéramos ir al concurso. We should go to the game show.

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