Saturday, 14 December 2013

Tell Me, Who Has Called Him?

Introduction
This post is about the practical conjugation of verbs in general and more particularly the perfect tense, indicative mood of regular verbs ending in -ar.





SCENARIO
Imagine you are talking to a relative, a friend or a colleague. You are talking about a third person (male). There is an issue with a call someone made to him. At some point, the other person says to you something like: "tell me, who has called him?".

In Spanish, the other person could choose to be less formal and say to you:
Dime, ¿quién le ha llamado?

On the other hand, he/ she could choose to be more formal and say to you:
Dígame, ¿quién le ha llamado?


OUR TIP
The question is an invitation for you to say who has made the call in question. When stating who did something, you may need to consider different levels of formality in your reply. That will be specifically the case when your answer includes a reference to the person you are talking to. The examples below include cases in which a more or less formal type of answer is required.

Here are some examples of how you could reply:
  • Le he llamado* yo (I have called him);
  • Le has llamado* tú, ¿no? (you -familiar have called him, didn't you?);
  • Le ha llamado* usted, ¿no? (you -formal have called him, didn't you?);
  • Le ha llamado* Pedro, ¿no? (Pedro has called him, didn't he?);
  • Le ha llamado* María, ¿no? (María has called him, didn't she?);
  • Le hemos llamado* nosotros, ¿no? (we have called him, didn't we?);
  • Le habéis llamado* vosotros, ¿no? (you -familiar/ plural have called him, didn't you?);
  • Le han llamado* ustedes, ¿no? (you -formal/ plural have called him, didn't you?);
  • Le han llamado* sus padres, ¿no? (his parents have called him, didn't they?);

Now you should practise replying to someone who says to you:
Dime, ¿quién le ha llamado?

*Please see grammar topic below, Verbs

Verbs
A verb is a 'doing' word which conveys:
  • What action takes place in a sentence
  • Who does that action
  • When that action occurs.
In addition, the verb may also convey the mood or feelings of the speaker toward the action which takes place. The verb may, for example, indicate whether the speaker is stating a fact, expressing a wish or indeed giving an order.

Verb Conjugation
Please see notes on conjugation* at the end of this post.

Indicative Mood-Perfect Tense
    1. Regular Verbs Ending in -ar
Subject
TRABAJAR
(TO WORK)
I
Yo
HE TRABAJADO
You
HAS TRABAJADO
You Usted*

HA TRABAJADO
He Él
She
Ella
We
Nosotros
HEMOS TRABAJADO
You
Vosotros**
HABÉIS TRABAJADO
You
Ustedes***
HAN TRABAJADO
They
Ellos
They
Ellas

*NB More courteous/ polite form of 'you'
**NB 'You' plural
*** NB More courteous/ polite form of 'you' plural

    2. Regular Verbs Ending in -er
Subject
COMER
(TO EAT)
I
Yo
HE COMIDO
You
HAS COMIDO
You Usted*
HA COMIDO
He Él
She
Ella
We
Nosotros
HEMOS COMIDO
You
Vosotros**
HABÉIS COMIDO
You
Ustedes***
HAN COMIDO
They
Ellos
They
Ellas

*NB More courteous/ polite form of 'you'
**NB 'You' plural
*** NB More courteous/ polite form of 'you' plural

3. Regular Verbs Ending in -ir
Subject
VIVIR
(TO LIVE)
I
Yo
HE VIVIDO
You
HAS VIVIDO
You Usted*

HA VIVIDO
He Él
She
Ella
We
Nosotros
HEMOS VIVIDO
You
Vosotros**
HABÉIS VIVIDO
You
Ustedes***
HAN VIVIDO
They
Ellos
They
Ellas

*NB More courteous/ polite form of 'you'
**NB 'You' plural
*** NB More courteous/ polite form of 'you' plural

* Verb Conjugation Notes
It is worth remembering once more that in its basic form (infinitive), a Spanish verb is just a general 'doing' word. In that form, a verb simply indicates an action and nothing else. If we want a verb to be more specific about the action in a sentence, we need to conjugate it. It is only when conjugated that the verb indicates:
  • Who does the action
  • When the action takes place
  • The mood/ attitude of the speaker towards the action

The conjugation tables above refer to using conjugation establish who does the action. What follows below are some notes on establishing when the action takes place and the mood/ attitude of the speaker towards the action.

Subjunctive Mood
The use of subjunctive mood is disappearing English. Nowadays is often viewed as an old and unfashionable form of the language.

In contrast, the use of subjunctive mood is very much alive and in everyday use in Spanish. This widespread use of subjunctive mood tends to be the bane of many a learner of Spanish from the English speaking world.

The concept of subjunctive mood is perhaps best illustrated by contrasting its use against the use of indicative mood with examples in English. The following are a couple of examples which should serve that purpose:
  • Indicative mood (“Peter eats an apple”).- Indicative mood is commonly used to make statements of facts or positive beliefs such as this one. As can be seen in the sample sentence (in quotes above), the speaker makes a clear and unambiguous statement of a fact (Peter eats an apple).
  • Subjunctive mood (“Peter would eat an apple if he were hungry”).- In contrast with indicative mood, subjunctive mood is commonly used to make statements indicating hypothetical or non-fact actions. As can be seen in the sample sentence (in quotes), in this case the speaker sees the action of eating an apple as something hypothetical, something which may or may not happen (Peter would eat an apple... if he were hungry).
Verb Tenses
Verb tenses relate to setting the time period (when) during which the action of the verb takes place. Basic times (periods) for Spanish verb actions are:
  • The past (before now)
  • The present (now)
  • The future (after now)

Each Spanish verb tense corresponds to one of those basic time periods. In other words choosing a verb tense places the action of the verb in one of those basic periods and determines when the action takes place.


Now you should practise the use of the perfect-indicative mood of regular verbs with some examples of your own.

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