I raised my hand so that you would see me/ you saw me

Discussion in 'Spanish-English Grammar / Gramática Español-Inglés' started by Gamen, Mar 31, 2013.

  1. Gamen Senior Member

    Near Buenos Aires
    Spanish Argentina
    Hi everybody:

    Is possible to use either the "auxiliary would + participle" or "past simple" or "did" /"didn't" in the examples below?
    Are the two forms equally correct?
    In Spanish is only possible one form in this case: The imperfect of the subjunctive.

    I raised my hand and greeted so that you would see me.
    I raised my hand and greeted so that you saw me.
    (Spanish: Levanté la mano y saludé para que me vieras).

    I hid myself so that he wouln't see me.
    I hid myself so that he didn't see me.
    (Spanish: Me escondí para que él no me viera).

    I appreciate your help!
     
  2. obz

    obz Senior Member

    Los foros de WR.
    Yankee English
    "so (that) you would see me"
     
  3. saintcasper91 Senior Member

    uk
    English (UK)
    I disagree with obz, both are correct.
     
  4. obz

    obz Senior Member

    Los foros de WR.
    Yankee English
    "so that you saw me"? Really? Interesting. Never heard it from a native before, but I've no reason to doubt you. For me it sounds quite odd, but there you go. You learn something new everyday.
     
  5. Gamen Senior Member

    Near Buenos Aires
    Spanish Argentina
    Both are correct, but the most common form is with "would"?
     
  6. saintcasper91 Senior Member

    uk
    English (UK)
    Sounds fine to me ;)
     
  7. Gamen Senior Member

    Near Buenos Aires
    Spanish Argentina
    sounds fine to you with the simple past?
     
  8. saintcasper91 Senior Member

    uk
    English (UK)
    Yep, both sound fine!
     
  9. Gamen Senior Member

    Near Buenos Aires
    Spanish Argentina
    Ok saintcasper91.

    Would it be also the same with the following structure?
    I was afraid he wouldn't come to my party yesterday, but he did.
    I was afraid he didn't come to my party yesterday, but he did.

    Are the two forms equally correct using "would" or past?
     
    Last edited: Mar 31, 2013
  10. saintcasper91 Senior Member

    uk
    English (UK)
    Nope, in that case only the 'wouldn't' is correct :)
     
  11. Gamen Senior Member

    Near Buenos Aires
    Spanish Argentina
    Then, when would you say: "I was afraid he didn't come"?
     
  12. obz

    obz Senior Member

    Los foros de WR.
    Yankee English
    Wow, you and I will be polar opposites saintcasper91 :)
    I see them as both correct in the case of "to be afraid".
    In this case, they say different things.

    I was afraid he didn't come (I never saw him).
    I was afraid he wouldn't come (he didn't have the intention, or wasn't able for some reason)
     
  13. Gamen Senior Member

    Near Buenos Aires
    Spanish Argentina
    Sorry, I cannot see the difference between "I was afraid he didn't come to my party" and "I was afraid he wouldn't come to my party"

    In Spanish we can just say:
    "Tenía miedo que no viniera/vieniese a mi fiesta" and there's no other possibility.

    How can I know when to use didn't or wouldn't?
     
  14. obz

    obz Senior Member

    Los foros de WR.
    Yankee English
    Sure there are.
    "que no quisiera venir/que no fuera a venir" This is "wouldn't come", for me. "Would" doesn't only serve as a conditional, it has a value of 'will', 'voluntad', 'desire' etc. Especially if we look at it's etymology roots, it has always had the ability imply desire, or lack there of.

    But I fear this can be pretty complex. I'm not saying these are the right translations in every context... more so, just to try and explain what difference I see between "didn't come" and "wouldn't come"
     
    Last edited: Mar 31, 2013
  15. FromPA

    FromPA Senior Member

    Philadelphia area
    USA English

    I'm in the middle. I agree with saintcasper91 on this one ("I was afraid he hadn't come" is what I think you're trying to express with "didn't come"). I'm with you, however, on "I hid myself so that he didn't see me." I'm waiting for confirmation from other BE speakers that this is normal usage in BE.
     
  16. Gamen Senior Member

    Near Buenos Aires
    Spanish Argentina
    I was afraid he hadn't come, but he came. = Tenía miedo que no hubiera venido, pero vino.

    I was afraid he didn't come, but he came. = Tenía miedo que no viniera, pero vino.

    I was afraid he wouldn't come, however he came. = Tenía miedo que no quisiera o fuera a venir, que no tuviera ganas o intenciones de venir, sin embargo vino.


    Are these equivalences ok?
     
    Last edited: Mar 31, 2013
  17. obz

    obz Senior Member

    Los foros de WR.
    Yankee English
    Yes, it would be quite similar. I think didn't works also, but it would depend on the temporal context.
     
  18. inib

    inib Senior Member

    La Rioja, Spain
    British English
    In my usage, "so that" is always followed by will/would/can/could. I can't think of any exceptions right now.
    And just a couple of comments on vocabulary:
    1) "I raised my hand and greeted" could be nicely condensed into "I waved".
    2) To hide doesn't need to be reflexive in English. If you just said "I hid", it would be automatically understood that the direct object is "myself".
     
  19. Gamen Senior Member

    Near Buenos Aires
    Spanish Argentina
    Then, if I can translate "Tenía miedo que no viniera" as "I was afraid he wouldn't come", the expression
    "I was afraid he didn't come" is not correct or doesn't exist? You would never use it?
    Sorry but I continue without understanding if the structure with "didn't" / verb in the past could be used sometime and what the meaning is.
     
  20. inib

    inib Senior Member

    La Rioja, Spain
    British English
    I can't speak for anyone else, but it doesn't make sense to me. When I was afraid, I was looking to the future, so the conditional tense can be justified that way.
     
  21. Gamen Senior Member

    Near Buenos Aires
    Spanish Argentina
    Ok. I see your point.
    Now I realized the two examples or structures I gave are not comparable. I mean,
    I can say:
    I hid so he didn't see me (or I hid so he wouldn't see me)
    But I cannot say, however:
    I was afraid he didn't come but
    I was afraid he wouldn't come.

    Am I right?
     
  22. MacFadden Junior Member

    Chile
    English - United States
    "I raised my hand and waved so you would see me," sounds much better than "... so you saw me," to me. And I agree with inib that "I was afraid he didn't come" doesn't make sense in this context. It would make sense if you were saying, "I was afraid of that" and meant "I suspected as much," but not if you were expressing fear.

    Also, this isn't really what your question was about, but I thought you might like to know: Saludar in this case would be 'wave,' not 'greet,' if I understand you correctly. And in your second sentence, saying "myself" is redundant. When 'hide' is not followed my 'the keys' or 'the pie' or some such thing, it is presumed that what the speaker is hiding is him or herself.
     
  23. Gamen Senior Member

    Near Buenos Aires
    Spanish Argentina
    Ok.
    Certainly it is better to employ just one "more effective" verb in English in the context we are discussing since "to wave" sums up the expression "I moved/shook my hand to say hello". As in Spanish we don't have a verb like that, I translated thinking of our most complex idea in Spanish which is, for lack of only one word, "levanté la mano y saludé". "Saludar" should be translated as "to wave" instead of "to greet", according to what you have told me.
    Regarding the reflexive pronoun for "to hide", it happens the same. I've just used it because I use it in Spanish.

    The problem with "I was afraid that he didn't come" is that I thought it was the translation of "tenía miedo que él no viniera", that is perfectly correct in Spanish.

    I insist, if it is correct in any context, how and in what situation could I say, "I was afraid he didn't come/ didn't go / didn't see me"?
    Or should I definitely leave it out for being incorrect in the example we're discussing?
     
    Last edited: Mar 31, 2013
  24. MNstudent Junior Member

    English-US
    Ok, I hope this clears up some things.

    I hid so that he wouldn't see me. In this sentence, we know what you did and the reason you did it. We don't know if it was successful.
    I hid so that he didn't see me. You hid and were successful. He didn't see you. This can only be said after the action because we need to know that he actually didn't see you, not just that you were hoping he wouldn't see you.

    I was afraid that he wouldn't come, but he did.You are at a party, and he isn't there. You fear that he won't come, but he shows up. Afterwards you are telling someone that you thought he wouldn't come, but he did.
    I was afraid that he didn't come, but he did. You are at a party, and he isn't there. You fear that he won't come, and he doesn't. The next day, you find out that he really was there, you just never saw him. You tell someone that after the party, you were afraid that he didn't come, but he did. This sentence is still odd sounding, but I think that would be a situation someone may think if you used it.

    Using the past tense like this means that it did or did not happen. It is a fact. He didn't see you (from the first example), and to your knowledge he didn't come (second). Using the conditional is more natural and more accurately says what you want to say. So yes, it is possible to use the past (though it conveys a different meaning), but the conditional is the best translation.
     
  25. FromPA

    FromPA Senior Member

    Philadelphia area
    USA English
    (1) I understand the distinction that you are making, but I don't think it really works. I don't think that "so that" is the proper phrase to accomplish your meaning. "So that" means "in order to" and your intended meaning is "in such a manner that." I would offer 2 alternatives: "I hid so that he couldn't see me" (ambiguous as to whether you were successful) or "I hid such that he didn't see me."

    (2) On this one, I'm totally missing your meaning. It still seem to me that it should be "I was afraid he hadn't come, but he had."
     
  26. Giorgio Spizzi Senior Member

    Italian
    Hullo, everyone.

    I'll concentrate on Gamen's first two sentences:

    1. I raised my hand and greeted so that you would see me.
    2. I raised my hand and greeted so that you saw me.
    (Spanish: Levanté la mano y saludé para que me vieras).


    The use of "para que me vieras" indicates that "being seen" was the aim/objective of the subject, therefore I'd tend to exclude #2 because "so that you saw me" can be interpreted as a successful fact in the past.
    I'm also a little doutful about #1. due to the use of "would". I believe the subject's manoeuvres are aimed at enabling the other person to see him/her. To this purpose I would use "could" instead.

    So, the final sentence would turn out to be something like the following:

    3. "I waived so that/in order that you could see me.", OR "I waived for you to be able to see me."

    GS :)
     
  27. inib

    inib Senior Member

    La Rioja, Spain
    British English
    I share your feelings, but couldn't find an uncomplicated way of expressing them so well ;)
     
  28. kalamazoo Senior Member

    US, English
    I'm a little late to this party but there are my thoughts.

    1. I hid SO THAT he wouldn't see me - expresses my purpose in hiding.
    2. I hid SO he didn't see me - expresses the result of my hiding and "so that" is not needed.

    I agree with several others that "I was afraid he didn't come" is kind of strange. I would say "I was afraid he hadn't come."
     
  29. Chispa123

    Chispa123 Senior Member

    Fort Lauderdale, FL
    USA English
    A little off the topic of discussion:)
     
  30. Gamen Senior Member

    Near Buenos Aires
    Spanish Argentina
    Thank you everybody. It was really very useful and clear all you brought it up as it helped me to come out of the "blind alley" where I was wound up.

    The problem was that I was mistakenly translating the Spanish expression "Levanté la mano y te saludé para que me vieras/ para que pudieras verme". We, in Spanish, always must use the preterite (past) of the subjunctive, never the conditional as in English. Instead, that sentence in English should be translated as: "I raised my hand and waved so that you would see me" or "I raised my hand and waved so that you COULD see me".

    I thought that this same idea could be translated as "I raised my hand and waved so that you saw me", but I was wrong.

    You don't use the simple past to express the idea "con el fin de que me vieras, para que me vieras", meaning purpose, but the conditional would + verb.

    I could use the simple past in another kind of construction as someone previously suggested. It would be a construction where there is no purpose or aim.
    I raised my hand and waved in a such an evident way that you saw me well but you pretended not to.
    Or I have to remove the "that" in order not to express purpose or aim but consequence: "I hid so (then, therefore) he didn't see me" (Me escondí, de modo tal que no me vio/ Me escondí, por lo tanto no me vió.) Even in Spanish we use here the past of the indicative, not the preterite of the subjunctive. It occurs that there's a change in the communicative intention. From the "purpose", we pass on to the "consequence" or result of the action and, as a result of this, the verbal tenses also vary.

    Similarly, I would have to say: I was afraid that he wouldn't come, but he did" (Tenía miedo que no viniera, pero vino). I'm indicating that I was afraid that he possibly wouldn't come, but due to the fact that it is a possibility or expression of doubt -not a confirmed or real fact- facing the situation that he did come or not, English language does not use the past simple.

    On the other hand, If I say in English, "I was afraid that he hadn't come", the sense or verbal tense here is different compared to that of the beginning. Here I'm expressing I feared that you had not come, being this past tense (had not come) already accomplished and subsequent regarding the first past (I was afraid..) where I stated my fear that something could not happen (but it happens after all). In Spanish we would say: "Tenía miedo de que (él) no hubiera venido". (Pero vino) This second idea in brackets is inferred from the first one.
    "Hubiera venido" points out a past event prior to another past and it is perceived as if it were occurred, despite the fact the speaker shows some doubt about its accomplishment. Do you agree?

    I think that you shed light on this issue and have cleared it up to me. Every one did their bit and helped me a lot to understand something I couldn't get at first on my own.
    Thank you.
    If somebody disagrees with something, let me know please. This became really interesting!

    Please, correct any mistake I might have made in my English. I'm enjoying a lot this thread and learning a lot.
     
    Last edited: Apr 2, 2013
  31. Gamen Senior Member

    Near Buenos Aires
    Spanish Argentina
    Notwithstanding, I found in one of my grammar English books the following construction:
    "They arranged things so that they never met"

    So, it is possible to use the simple past after "so that".
    Now my arguments came down!
    Can anybody save me of dying drowned?
     
  32. FromPA

    FromPA Senior Member

    Philadelphia area
    USA English
    You can "arrange" things with the intention of never meeting ("they arranged thing so that the would never meet"), but "arranging" something "so that" you never met doesn't make any sense to me. To me, "so that" refers to a future event while "they never met" refers to an already competed fact.
     
  33. Giorgio Spizzi Senior Member

    Italian
    Hullo, everyone.

    If "so that" means something like " in such a manner that", I frankly don't see any reason for not considering the sentence grammatical.

    I am having eyesight problems but am I really going blind? :)

    GS
     
  34. FromPA

    FromPA Senior Member

    Philadelphia area
    USA English

    I agree with you. I just don't think "so that" is being used correctly. For the intended meaning, I would use "such that," which is not very colloquial.
     
  35. Gamen Senior Member

    Near Buenos Aires
    Spanish Argentina
    hello.
    But I think, but I'm not sure, with "so that" the structure takes necessarily the "would", whereas with "in such a way that" it can take the past simple. I see there are two different structures that have different "regencies".

    I helped you so that you would finish your work earlier
    I helped you in such a way that you finished your work earlier.

    What do you think?

    Anyway, would be the previous example correct or not? I mean:
    "They arranged things so that they never met"
     
  36. juan082937 Senior Member

    español
     
  37. juan082937 Senior Member

    español
    so+adjective or adverb+that = cause-effect. They arranged things so well that they never met, they arranged things very well, so they never met.
     
  38. juan082937 Senior Member

    español
     
  39. Giorgio Spizzi Senior Member

    Italian
    Hullo, From.

    You write:

    I agree with you. I just don't think "so that" is being used correctly. For the intended meaning, I would use "such that," which is not very colloquial.

    Are you really considering the possibility of saying/writing "They arranged things such that they never met"?

    GS

    I'm sorry but I continue to believe that the sentence could be "They arranged things so that they never met" (ie, They arranged things so that eventually they didn't meet", ie "... so that in the end they succeeded in not meeting)

    GS :)
     
  40. Forero Senior Member

    Houston, Texas, USA
    USA English
    I agree with this except that I don't find "I was afraid he didn't come" odd sounding. It seems to me both a perfectly acceptable way to say "I was afraid he hadn't come" and the proper past tense of "I am afraid he doesn't come."
    I agree with you, GS. "So that" does not have to mean "in order that". It can indeed mean "in such a way that" or "in order that and with the effect that". "So that" is ambiguous, but to me "such that" seems wrong here since I would expect it to modify a noun.
     
  41. chileno

    chileno Senior Member

    Las Vegas, Nv. USA
    Castellano - Chile

    Can you translate that to Spanish?
     
  42. Gamen Senior Member

    Near Buenos Aires
    Spanish Argentina
    in conclusion.
    If " so that" not only can mean "in order that" but also "in such a way that", we can say either
    "I hid so that he wouldn't see me" (meaning "in order that", "so as to") or
    "I hid so that he didn't see me" (meaning "in such a way that" or "as a result of", "therefore")

    So, "so that" can mean both "purpose" and "consequence", depending on the context and the communicative intention.
     
    Last edited: Apr 4, 2013

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