Wednesday, 17 June 2015

Tell Me, Was It Likely That Someone Would Go With You?

Introduction


This post is about verb conjugation -the imperfect tense, subjunctive mood of irregular verb ir.





SCENARIO


Imagine you are talking to a relative, friend or colleague. You are talking about a past business trip. You went on that trip alone, but the other person wants to know what was the likelihood of that not being the case and says: "tell me, was it likely that someone would go with you?".

In Spanish, the other person could choose to be less formal and say:
Dime, ¿era probable que fuera alguien contigo?

On the other hand, he/ she could choose to be more formal and say:
Dígame, ¿era probable que fuera alguien con usted?


OUR TIP

Making a sentence which answers that question should be straightforward, but remember:


  • Make sure that you conjugate your verb correctly
  • Choose between formal or familiar options to suit the occasion -see examples below.

Typical answers could be:
  • No, era probable que fuera* yo solo (no, it was likely that I would go alone)
  • Era probable que tú fueras* conmigo, ¿no? (it was likely that you -familiar would go with me, wasn't it?)
  • Era probable que usted fuera* conmigo, ¿no? (it was likely that you -formal would go with me, wasn't it?)
  • Era probable que Pedro fuera* conmigo (it was likely that Pedro would go with me)
  • Era probable que María fuera* conmigo (it was likely that Maria would go with me)
  • Era probable que tú y yo fuéramos* juntos, ¿no? (it was likely that you -familiar and I would go together, wasn't it?)
  • Era probable que usted y yo fuéramos* juntos, ¿no? (it was likely that you -formal and I would go together, wasn't it?)
  • Era probable que vosotros fuerais* conmigo, ¿no? (it was likely that you people -familiar/ plural would go with me, wasn't it?)
  • Era probable que ustedes fueran* conmigo, ¿no? (it was likely that you people -formal/ plural would go with me, wasn't it?)
  • Era probable que Pedro y María fueran* conmigo (it was likely that Pedro and María would go with me)

Now you should practise replying to someone who says to you:
Dime, ¿era probable que fuera alguien contigo?

*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.

Irregular Verbs
Verb: ir
The Spanish verb ir is irregular* in some tenses, as shown in the table below:

Tense
Mood
Regular
Irregular
Present
Indicative

Imperfect
Indicative

Preterite
Indicative

Future
Indicative


Conditional
Indicative


Perfect
Indicative

Pluperfect
Indicative

Future Perfect
Indicative

Conditional Perfect
Indicative

Present
Subjunctive

Imperfect
Subjunctive

Perfect
Subjunctive

Pluperfect
Subjunctive


* NB:
  • Conjugate tenses in the regular column the same as other regular verbs ending in -ir
  • The imperfect tense conjugation/ subjunctive mood is shown below


Subjunctive Mood/ Imperfect Tense - Conjugation
    Verb: ir
Subject
IR
(TO GO)
I
Yo
FUERA / FUESE
You
FUERAS / FUESES
You Usted*

FUERA / FUESE
He Él
She
Ella
We
Nosotros
FUÉRAMOS / FUÉSEMOS
You
Vosotros**
FUERAIS / FUESEIS
You
Ustedes***
FUERAN / FUESEN
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 to 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 imperfect tense of the irregular verb ir with some examples of your own.

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