Me alegro de que vayas/fueras

jmrg1974

Member
English-United States
Hello!

I am pretty confused about the use of subjunctive and indicative in the past, with verbs of emotion, doubt, influence, opinion, etc.

I have learned that in the present tense, expressions like dudar que, no creer que, esperar que, querer que, sorprenderse de que, ser importante que, etc. are followed by the present subjunctive. I also learned that these conditions for use of the subjunctive are the same in the past, but will need the use of the past subjunctive.
So - Me alegro de que vayas conmigo.
Me alegré de que fueras conmigo.

However, in speaking with a few native speakers recently, I notice that many times they will use the indicative when using such verbs in the past.
For example,
Me alegré de que ibas/fuiste conmigo.
No creí que íbamos a ganar.
Me sorprendió que tuve esa oportunidad.
Me entristeció que todos estaban llorando.

So my question is - do the rules that apply to the use of the subjunctive change in the past? Is it possible to use either subjunctive or indicative in these cases? Are there certain verbs that only make sense with the subjunctive, or only with the indicative, in the past?

Thank you for your help.
 
  • MiguelitOOO

    Banned
    Español - México
    The rules you learned are ok. But some hispanos speak bad.

    Me alegré de que ibas/fuiste conmigo.
    :cross:
    Me alegré porque ibas/porque fuiste conmigo.:tick:

    No creí que íbamos a ganar. :cross: (por escrito está mal)
    No creí que "íbamos a ganar". :tick: (oralmente: no creí cuando dijeron que íbamos a ganar. Pero sucedió)

    Me sorprendió que tuve esa oportunidad. :cross: (por escrito está mal)
    Me sorprendió que (yo sí) tuve esa oportunidad :tick: (oralmente se hace referencia con la entonación de la voz de que "sí tuve" a diferencia de otras personas que no tuvieron. Parecido a "Me sorprendió que (sí) me dieron/(sí) le dieron/(sí) nos dieron, y a otros no").

    Me entristeció que todos estaban llorando. :cross:
    Me entristeció (el hecho de) que "todos estaban llorando". :tick: (elementos elididos)

    People don't think in rules, they only speak this way.
    But don't worry!, because if you speak in accordance with grammar rules, you will do it very well.
     
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    jmrg1974

    Member
    English-United States
    Thank you so much, this was very helpful! I teach this in my classes, and in advanced classes I have native and heritage speakers, and so I just want to make sure I don't mark something wrong on an exam that isn't actually wrong, you know? But this is very helpful, it seems like sometimes it is a matter of formality vs. informality/casual speech.

    Also, sorry to belabor the matter, but I was wondering why the 1st sentence (Me alegré de que) would need a subjunctive, but the 4th sentence (Me entristeció [el hecho de] que) wouldn't?

    Thanks!
     

    gato radioso

    Senior Member
    spanish-spain
    I would say:
    Me alegré de que fueras
    Me entristeció que todos estuvieran llorando

    I try to stick to the rule that the verbal tense in the clause has to follow the tense of the main verb.
    Many people break the rule, and the sentence may gain a sense of "proximity", but I think this usage is wrong.
     
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    S.V.

    Senior Member
    Español, México
    Our Academy mentions in the NGLE: "occasionally, some emotion verbs are used with the indicative", "more frequently so in American Spanish than in European Spanish" (25.5b), along with a few examples.

    "Speaking bad" has nothing to do with it, in the LatAm use. Though in your students' case there could be an influence from English, which does sometimes override the syntax of native languages. :D
     
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    Peterdg

    Senior Member
    Dutch - Belgium
    Our Academy mentions in the NGLE: "occasionally, some emotion verbs are used with the indicative", "more frequently so in American Spanish than in European Spanish" (25.5b), along with a few examples.

    "Speaking bad" has nothing to do with it, in the LatAm use.
    Exactly. A couple of years ago we had a teacher from Nicaragua in the school (where I'm part of the furniture by now:D) and for her, "me molesta que fumes/fumas" were both correct. In the "fumas" case, the addressee is actually smoking at that instant and in the "fumes" case, he is or he is not actually smoking at that instant, but he is a smoker.
     

    MiguelitOOO

    Banned
    Español - México
    Exactly. A couple of years ago we had a teacher from Nicaragua in the school (where I'm part of the furniture by now:D) and for her, "me molesta que fumes/fumas" were both correct. In the "fumas" case, the addressee is actually smoking at that instant and in the "fumes" case, he is or he is not actually smoking at that instant, but he is a smoker.
    ummm, ¿no es al revés? :confused:
     

    S.V.

    Senior Member
    Español, México
    Exactly. A couple of years ago we had a teacher from Nicaragua in the school (where I'm part of the furniture by now:D) and for her, "me molesta que fumes/fumas" were both correct. In the "fumas" case, the addressee is actually smoking at that instant and in the "fumes" case, he is or he is not actually smoking at that instant, but he is a smoker.
    None of the examples they give sound "wrong" to me, though the last two, where the verb is quite far from que, sound the most common to my ears. I do not think anyone would notice. :D "Me molesta que siempre fumas enfrente de nosotros" could be said around here. Changing the original sentences, I could also think of, "Nadie creyó que iba a ganar", or "Le sorprendió que tengo cáncer", where ganar actually taking place, and tener cáncer being declared as true matter more and are "placed before the emotional content".
     
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    MiguelitOOO

    Banned
    Español - México
    "Me molesta que siempre fumas enfrente de nosotros"
    Por aquí sería algo más directo en el momento que sucede: Me molesta que fumes (No lo hagas por favor/Lo sabes bien/Ya te lo había dicho/tenlo en cuenta/salte a fumar afuera/etc.) Y para un hábito: Lo que no me gusta de ti es que fumas (tienes la costumbre de fumar).
    Y entre amigos o compañeros: oye, apaga tu cigarro, no fumes aquí.
    Seguramente son diferencias regionales.
     
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    MiguelitOOO

    Banned
    Español - México
    ¿Te suenan raras esas tres frases con indicativo, Miguel?
    No. Me suenan de lo más natural, @S.V., excepto ese "me molesta que fumas" para cuando alguien está haciendo el acto de fumar. Eso sí me suena raro.
     
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    S.V.

    Senior Member
    Español, México
    The cancer example might be the best clue. Any misfortune the speaker experiences personally seems to allow the indicative: Le sorprende que no tengo dinero. Le entristeció que no me dieron el trabajo. But *Le gusta que tengo pantalones still sounds nonsensical, as there is no context making the speaker declare wearing pants as true or focal/important information, to replace the "emotional content" in gustar.

    In the examples to which Miguel wanted to add "sí", that particle alone brings the context of failure being expected; and so even as it "surprises" everybody, + indicative declares it did happen. The speaker knowing it to be true matters more than their surprise. Same in :tick:Me alegra que hoy sí traes pantalones, which means the expectation was him not wearing any, after a certain awkward event :D ("hoy sí" vs ayer no).
     
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