It’s all getting a bit blurry.
As I state in the podcast, there comes a time when studying the Spanish Subjunctive when the lines begin to get blurred. It becomes difficult to keep rigid lines around the little families of triggers.
This is because, as you really begin to understand the Spanish subjunctive, you will find that there really is no great difference between one category and another.
The shocking news is that the Subjunctive is really the same thing every time.
In this podcast we talk about possibilities and about expressions like:
It’s possible that… Es posible que…
It’s probable that… Es probable que…
I don’t think that… No creo que…
Just as an aside, when English speakers make the above sentence about thinking, they generally choose the verb PENSAR.
However, many Spanish speakers would choose CREER over PENSAR. Why?
Well, the simplest answer is that it’s quicker! It’s easier to say “Creo que.” than it is to say “Pienso que”. And that’s probably the only reason.
Is a pattern emerging?
Perhaps you are beginning to notice as you look at all of the Spanish subjunctive examples that there are two things that seem to bind many of the triggers together.
2, Future events.
This is what all the possibilities refer to. However, as we have explained earlier in this series. This is not always a good way of identifying the subjunctive. The reason for that is for every example you can find to prove this theory, there exists another that literally flies in the face of it.
This is why it really is worth understanding the physical structure of the triggers rather than spending lots of time trying to grasp the more theoretical premise behind its use.
What we suggest is that as you go on learning and more importantly, USING the subjunctive in your spoken and written Spanish, that you aim to gain an understanding of the feeling and intention behind the Spanish subjunctive.
As has been said before, the Subjunctive is a mood (and a mood is a feeling, right?) and as strange as it sounds, you end up feeling it in your guts rather than understanding it in your head. You literally end up getting a gut feel that in any particular sentence the subjunctive should be used.
Once you become comfortable with it, that gut feel will serve you well most of the time. And, of course, sometimes it will lead you completely astray as it does me (Gordon) sometimes.
At the end of the day, learning is more a process and less an end result. So just keep at it and we’ll keep giving you new ways to understand and improve your Spanish.
Saludos, Gordon y Cynthia.