Practice Using Subjunctive Tenses in Social Conversations

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  • 0:01 Gossip in Spanish
  • 0:51 Discussing a Banquet
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Instructor: Pablo Serna

Pablo has taught college Spanish at the University of Missouri and Central Methodist University, and has a master's degree in Spanish literature.

In this lesson, we will practice the subjunctive tense, especially past perfect subjunctive, by listening in on conversations. We will also practice vocabulary related to social events.

Gossip in Spanish

In this lesson, we will practice the subjunctive tenses using conversations about social life and events. We will talk about some situations using present subjunctive, present perfect subjunctive, past subjunctive, and past perfect subjunctive.

It is important to remember that to be able to use the subjunctive, we need (for most of the cases) four main requirements:

1. The word 'que'

2. A trigger (verb or expression that indicates the subjunctive is needed)

3. Two subjects

4. Two clauses

Discussing a Banquet

Let's listen to the conversation between Cristiano and Luz about a banquet she went to. Pay attention to the use of subjunctive, and afterward, we will answer a few questions.

Cristiano: ¿Qué hiciste ayer? (What did you do yesterday?)

Luz: Fui al banquete para Manos que Ayudan. (I went to the banquet for Helping Hands.)

Cristiano: ¿Julieta fue también? (Julieta went too?)

Luz: No. Fue triste que ella no hubiera venido. ¡Espero que la hayan invitado! (No. It was sad that she hadn't come. I hope that they (have) invited her!)

Cristiano: ¿Y los hombres de mi equipo fueron? No estaba seguro de que ellos hubieran ido. (And the guys on my team went? I wasn't sure that they had gone.)

Luz: Si. Ellos vinieron. (Yes. They came.)

Cristiano: Es probable que sirvan champaña en el banquete... (It is probable that they served champagne at the banquet...)

Luz: Sí, pero no hubo nadie que bebiera demasiado. (Yes, but there wasn't anyone that drank too much.)

Cristiano: ¡Qué bueno! (That's good!)

Luz: Sí. Yo también me alegro de que se hayan comportado bien. (Yes. I am also glad they have behaved well.)

Cristiano: Pero dudaba que ellos hubieran llegado a tiempo. (But I doubted that they had arrived on time.)

Luz: Llegué antes de que el banquete comenzara, y ellos estaban ahí. No te preocupes. (I arrived before the banquet started, and they were there. Don't worry.)

Cristiano: ¿Quién fue el anfitrión que habló esta noche? (Who was the host that spoke that night?)

Luz: Fue el presidente de Manos que Ayudan, y después tus amigos hablaron con él. (It was the president of Helping Hands, and after your friends talked with him.)

Cristiano: ¡No! (No!)

Luz: No creía que hubieran hablado con él. Pero me dijeron que el presidente quiere que le ayuden con su organización. (I didn't believe that they talked to him. But they told me that the president wants them to help the organization.)

Cristiano: ¿Qué? (What?)

Luz: No es probable que él haya dicho eso. Pero ellos me convencieron de que fue verdad. (It is not probable that he (has) said that. But they convinced me it was true.)

Now let's answer some questions about this conversation:

1. Fue triste que Julieta no hubiera venido. In what tense is the subordinate clause?

The answer is past perfect subjunctive because the main clause is in the past tense, triggers the subjunctive, and occurred after the subordinate clause.

2. Luz espera que la hayan invitado. In what tense is the subordinate clause?

The answer is present perfect subjunctive because the main clause is in the present tense, triggers the subjunctive, and occurred after the subordinate clause.

3. Llegué antes de que el banquete comenzara. In what tense is the subordinate clause?

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