Saturday, 3 May 2014

Tell Me, Who Is Likely To Have Called Him?

Introduction


This post is about verb conjugation and in particular the perfect tense, subjunctive mood of regular verbs ending in -ar.





SCENARIO


Imagine you are talking to a relative, a friend or a colleague about a third person (male). You are speculating about a call he has received. At some point, the other person says: "tell me, who is likely to have called him?".

In Spanish, the other person could choose to be less formal and say:
Dime, ¿quién es probable que lo haya llamado?

On the other hand, he/ she could choose to be more formal and say:
Dígame, ¿quién es probable que lo haya llamado?



OUR TIP

Answering the question is quite straightforward. However, please note that some answers require you to choose between a more formal or a less formal option -see examples below:


  • Es probable que lo haya llamado* yo, ¿no? (it is likely that I have called him, isn't it?);
  • Es probable que lo hayas llamado* tú, ¿no? (it is likely that you -familiar have called him, isn't it?);
  • Es probable que lo haya llamado* usted, ¿no? (it is likely that you -formal have called him, isn't it?);
  • Es probable que lo haya llamado* Pedro, ¿no? (it is likely that Pedro has called him, isn't it?);
  • Es probable que lo haya llamado* María, ¿no? (it is likely that María has called him, isn't it?);
  • Es probable que lo hayamos llamado* nosotros, ¿no? (it is likely that we have called him, isn't it?);
  • Es probable que lo hayáis llamado* vosotros, ¿no? (it is likely that you -familiar/ plural have called him, isn't it?);
  • Es probable que lo hayan llamado* ustedes, ¿no? (it is likely that you -formal/ plural have called him, isn't it?);
  • Es probable que lo hayan llamado* sus padres, ¿no? (it is likely that his parents have called him, isn't it?);


Now you should practise replying to someone who says to you:
Dime, ¿quién es probable que lo haya 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.

Subjunctive Mood-Perfect Tense

    1. Regular Verbs Ending in -ar
Subject
TRABAJAR
(TO WORK)
I
Yo
HAYA TRABAJADO
You
HAYAS TRABAJADO
You Usted*

HAYA TRABAJADO
He Él
She
Ella
We
Nosotros
HAYAMOS TRABAJADO
You
Vosotros**
HAYÁIS TRABAJADO
You
Ustedes***
HAYAN 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
HAYA COMIDO
You
HAYAS COMIDO
You Usted*

HAYA COMIDO
He Él
She
Ella
We
Nosotros
HAYAMOS COMIDO
You
Vosotros**
HAYÁIS COMIDO
You
Ustedes***
HAYAN 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
HAYA VIVIDO
You
HAYAS VIVIDO
You Usted*
HAYA VIVIDO
He Él
She
Ella
We
Nosotros
HAYAMOS VIVIDO
You
Vosotros**
HAYÁIS VIVIDO
You
Ustedes***
HAYAN 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-subjunctive mood of regular verbs with some examples of your own.

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