What if they got lost?

Malbecblend

Senior Member
English (United States)
I'm wondering about questions of the following type:
What if they got lost? What if she didn't know about that? What if they misunderstood the directions?

In the following types of questions that express conjectures about what happened in the past, can you use (1) the imperfect subjunctive or the past perfect subjunctive, (2) only one of those subjunctive tenses but not the other, or (3) the imperfect/preterit?:
¿ Qué pasa si se perdieran?
¿ Qué pasa si se hubieran perdido?
¿ Qué pasa si se perdían/se perdieron?

¿Y si ella no supiera de eso?
¿ Y si ella no hubiera sabido de eso?
¿ Y si ella no sabía de eso?

¿ Qué tal si no entendieran bien las indicaciones?
¿ Qué tal si no hubieran entendido bien las indicaciones?
¿ Qué tal si no entendían/entendieron bien las indicaciiones?

(I realize that we are only supposed to ask one question at a time. I gave multiple examples of a single type of construction so that I could better explain what I'm trying to figure out. I am NOT asking for translations of each of the examples.)
 
  • Sendro Páez

    Senior Member
    Spanish - España
    I suggest you go a couple of steps back. Focus on one sentence, give context and let's see.

    By the way, try to use the Spanish terms for Spanish tenses --there are ten "imperfect" tenses in Spanish, and at least six "preterit"...
     

    gvergara

    Senior Member
    Castellano (variedad chilensis)
    In the following types of questions that express conjectures about what happened in the past, can you use (1) the imperfect subjunctive or the past perfect subjunctive, (2) only one of those subjunctive tenses but not the other, or (3) the imperfect/preterit?:
    ¿ Qué pasa si se perdieran?
    ¿ Qué pasa si se hubieran perdido?
    ¿ Qué pasa si se perdían/se perdieron?

    ¿Y si ella no supiera de eso?
    ¿ Y si ella no hubiera sabido de eso?
    ¿ Y si ella no sabía de eso?

    ¿ Qué tal si no entendieran bien las indicaciones?
    ¿ Qué tal si no hubieran entendido bien las indicaciones?
    ¿ Qué tal si no entendían/entendieron bien las indicaciiones?
    Hi,

    Since you're asking specifically about conjectures in the past, in first place I'd like to tell you that we usually use the expressión ¿Y qué hay (si...)?, although we'd understand the ones you're proposed. This said, to talk about the past I'd use the hubiera/hubiese + participio. The present subjunctive does not work because it refers to a present conjecture. The imperfecto doesn't sound terrible, but I'd go with the answer I gave you, as when I repeat it to try to get a feel of it, I always end up turning it into a si-conditional sentence .
     
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