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Spanish Lesson 5

Selecciones literarias


Repaso de los tiempos verbales
(Review of verb tenses)

In units 1-4, we reviewed most of the verb forms and tenses commonly used in Spanish; this is simply a summary of all of those forms.
1. Forms of the INDICATIVE
Present Indicative: Regular -AR verbs
DESCANSAR: to rest
yo descansonosotros descansamos
tú descansas(vosotros descansáis)
él/ella/Ud. descansaellos/ellas/Uds. descansan
Present Indicative: Regular -ER verbs
COMPRENDER: to understand
yo comprendonosotros comprendemos
tú comprendes(vosotros comprendéis)
él/ella/Ud. comprendeellos/ellas/Uds. comprenden
Present Indicative: Regular -IR verbs
AÑADIR: to add
yo añadonosotros añadimos
tú añades(vosotros añadís)
él/ella/Ud. añadeellos/ellas/Uds. añaden
Preterite: Regular -AR verbs
DESCANSAR: to rest
yo descansénosotros descansamos
tú descansaste(vosotros descansasteis)
él/ella/Ud. descansóellos/ellas/Uds. descansaron
Preterite: Regular -ER and -IR verbs
COMPRENDER: to understand
yo comprendínosotros comprendimos
tú comprendiste(vosotros comprendisteis)
él/ella/Ud. comprendellos/ellas/Uds. comprendieron
Imperfect: Regular -AR verbs
DESCANSAR: to rest
yo descansabanosotros descansábamos
tú descansabas(vosotros descansabais)
él/ella/Ud. descansabaellos/ellas/Uds. descansaban
Imperfect: Regular -ER and -IR verbs
COMPRENDER: to understand
yo comprendíanosotros comprendíamos
tú comprendía(vosotros comprendíais)
él/ella/Ud. comprendíaellos/ellas/Uds. comprendían
Future: Regular verbs
DESCANSAR: to rest
yo descansarénosotros descansaremos
tú descansarás(vosotros descansareis)
él/ella/Ud. descansaráellos/ellas/Uds. descansarán
Conditional: Regular verbs
DESCANSAR: to rest
yo descansaríanosotros descansaríamos
tú descansarías(vosotros descansaríais)
él/ella/Ud. descansaríaellos/ellas/Uds. descansarían
2. Forms of the SUBJUNCTIVE
Present Subjunctive: Regular -AR Verbs
DESCANSAR: to rest
...que yo descanse...que nosotros descansemos
...que tú descanses(que vosotros descanséis)
...que él/ella/Ud. descanse...que ellos/ellas/Uds. descansen

Present Subjunctive: Regular -ER And -IR Verbs
COMPRENDER: to understand
...que yo comprenda...que nosotros comprendamos
...que tú comprendas(...que vosotros comprendáis)
...que él/ella/Ud. comprenda...que ellos/ellas/Uds. comprendan
Imperfect Subjunctive: Regular -AR Verbs
DESCANSAR: to rest
...que yo descansara...que nosotros descansáramos
...que tú descansaras(que vosotros descansarais)
...que él/ella/Ud. descansara...que ellos/ellas/Uds. descansaran

Imperfect Subjunctive: Regular -ER And -IR Verbs
VIVIR: to understand
...que yo viviera...que nosotros viviéramos
...que tú vivieras(...que vosotros vivierais)
...que él/ella/Ud. viviera...que ellos/ellas/Uds. vivieran

La secuencia de tiempos
(Sequence of tenses)
In both Spanish and English, there are rules for what tenses can be used together in complex sentences (i.e. sentences with more than one clause); one example of this are the cláusulas con 'si' from the last unit; in English it we can say "If I study, I will get a good grade" or "If I studied, I would get a good grade", but notice that it sounds strange to mix up those tenses, so If I study, I would get a good grade sounds wrong. The same is true of Spanish.
What's maybe a bit more complicated in Spanish is that one has the subjunctive to contend with, and there are certain rules for which tense of the subjunctive to use in which type of sentence. The basic rule for sentences containing a verb in the subjunctive is, if the first part of the sentence is in the present or the future, then the clause with the subjunctive should also be in the present. If, on the other hand, the first part of the sentence is in the past, then the clause with the subjunctive should be in the past. We saw this already in Unit 3. Notice the tense of the subjunctive in these two examples:
Queremos que[Susana nos visite]
Main verb = present, subjunctive = present]
Queríamos que [Susana nos visitara]
Main verb = past (imperfect), subjunctive = past
We can basically divide all of the verb tenses in Spanish into two categories, present and past - when one of the tenses that belongs to the "present" category is used in the main clause of a sentence, then the present subjunctive is used in the subordinate clause. The verb tenses that belong to the "present" category are:
present (quiero, quieres, quiere)
future (querré, querrás, querrá)
command (quiere, quiera)
present perfect (he querido, has querido, ha querido)
With any of these verb forms, then, we use the present subjunctive:
Espero que vayas.
Esperaremos hasta que tengas tiempo.
No esperes que te den un trabajo sin una entrevista.
Siempre han esperado que se les solucione todo sin tener que hacer nada.
The verb tenses that belong in the past category are:
preterite (quise, quisiste, quiso)
imperfect (quería, querías, quería)
conditional (querría, querrías, querría)
pluperfect (había querido, habías querido, había querido)

Te esperé para que pudiéramos hablar de este asunto.
Esperaba que fueras al cine conmigo.
Esperarían hasta que tuvieras tiempo.
Siempre habían esperado que se les solucionara todo.

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