Friday, 18 March 2016

Tell Me, Would You Not Have Gone To Your Spanish Lesson?

Introduction

This post deals with talking about what you did in the past and more specifically about something you didn't do, but would have done in some hypothetical circumstances.





SCENARIO

Imagine you are talking to a relative, a friend or a colleague. Maybe you both study Spanish together. You have mentioned that yesterday you had been on the verge of not going to your Spanish lesson. Wondering if you would not have minded missing your lesson, the other person says to you: "tell me, would you not have gone to your Spanish lesson?".

In Spanish, he/ she could choose to be less formal and say to you:
Dime, ¿no habrías ido a clase de español?

On the other hand, he/ she could choose to be more formal and say to you:
Dígame, ¿no habría ido (usted) a clase de español?


OUR TIP

The question is an invitation for you to state what you would have done. When you say what you would have done in the past, you DO NOT need to be concerned about the level of formality in the other person's question.


In this case, you could consider two alternatives:
    1. Saying what you would do ('no ifs no buts'), for example:
  • Sí, habría ido (yes, I would have gone)
  • No me habría gustado perdérmela (I wouldn't have liked to miss it)
  • No, no habría ido (no, I wouldn't have gone)

    2. Saying what you would have done in certain circumstances*, for example:
  • No habría ido si hubiera llovido (I wouldn't have gone, had it rained)
  • Si hubiese llovido, no habría ido (had it rained, I wouldn't have gone)

Now you should practice replying to someone who says to you:
Dime, ¿no habrías ido a clase de español?

*Please see grammar below


Grammar-Hypothetical Situations


We use conditional sentences to consider the consequences of hypothetical situations, for example:
  • Si no lluevevamos a la playa (if it doesn't rain, we are going to the beach)
  • Si no llovierairíamos a la playa (if it didn't rain, we would go to the beach)
  • Si no hubiera llovidohabríamos ido a la playa (if it hadn't rained, we would have gone to the beach)





    1. Firm Condition
Considering hypothetical situations and their consequences.
Firm Condition → Action
Si llueve, nos vamos a casa (if it rains, we go home)
Nos vamos a casa si llueve (we go home if it rains)

Notes
The main elements of conditional sentences like these are:
  • A future action, e.g.: 'going home'
  • firm and possible condition, e.g.: 'if it rains'
  • If the condition materialises, then the action will follow



Spanish conditional sentences of this kind usually take the following general forms:

  • Si <present -indicative>... <present -indicative>, e.g.:
    • Si llueve nos vamos a casa (if it rains, we go home)
  • <present -indicative>... si <present indicative>, e.g.:
    • Nos vamos a casa si llueve (we go home if it rains)
  • Si <present -indicative>... <future>, e.g.:
    • Si llueve nos iremos a casa (if it rains, we will go home)
  • <future>... si <present -indicative>, e.g.:
    • Nos iremos a casa si llueve (we will go home if it rains)
  • Si <present -indicative>... <imperative>, e.g.:
    • Si quieres irte, vete (if you want to leave, go)
  • <imperative>... si <present -indicative>, e.g.:
    • No te vayassi no quieres irte (don't leave if you don't want to)


    2. 'Soft' Condition
Considering less likely hypothetical situations and their consequences.
'Soft' Condition → Action
Si lloviera nos iríamos a casa (if it rained, we would go home)
Nos iríamos a casa si lloviese (we would go home if it rained)

Notes
The main elements of conditional sentences like these are:
  • A future action, e.g.: 'going home'
  • A 'softer' but possible condition, e.g.: 'if it rained'
  • If the condition materialised, then the action would follow


Conditional sentences of this type usually take the following general forms:

  • Si <imperfect -subjunctive>... <conditional>, e.g.:
    • Si lloviera nos mojaríamos (if it rained we would get wet)
  • <conditional>... si <imperfect -subjunctive>, e.g.:
    • Nos mojaríamos si lloviese (we would get wet if it rained)


    3. Past Condition
Consider hypothetical alternative consequences of situations from the past.

Past Situation → Hypothetical Consequences
Si hubiera llovido nos habríamos ido a casa (had it rained, we would have gone home)
Nos habríamos ido a casa si hubiese llovido (we would have gone home had it rained)

The main features of conditional sentences like these are:
  • A hypothetical past action, e.g.: 'going home'
    • A hypothetical action which didn't happen
  • An impossible condition, e.g.: 'had it rained'
    • It didn't rain, hence it is impossible for the condition to materialise.
  • Had the condition materialised, then the hypothetical action would have followed.

Conditional sentences of this type usually take the following general forms:

  • Si <pluperfect -subjunctive>... <conditional perfect>, e.g.:
    • Si hubiera llovido nos habríamos mojado (had it rained, we would have got wet)
  • <conditional perfect>... si <pluperfect -subjunctive>, e.g.:
    • Nos habríamos mojado si hubiera llovido (we would have got wet if it had rained)

Now you should practise the use of conditional sentences with some examples of your own.

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