Don’t be afraid of relative sentences in Spanish! – Part III (B1)

Diapositiva1When we use relative sentences in Spanish, do we have to use indicative or subjunctive? That’s the question that most of our students ask us in our Spanish classes.

First of all, lest’s remember the types of relative clauses:

EXPLICATIVAS (explanatory): always between commas, are the ones that add information.

Nuestros estudiantes, que son extranjeros, estudian español por Skype (Our students, who are foreigns, study Spanish on Skype).

ESPECIFICATIVAS (defining): not between commas, specify which group.

Los estudiantes que son de Rusia siempre aprueban los exámenes (The students that come from Russia always pass the exams).

And now… INDICATIVE OR SUBJUNCTIVE?

The explanatory clauses, “explicativas”, goes always with indicative:

Mi hija, que es muy divertida, tiene muchos amigos (My daughter, who is very funny, has a lot of friends).

The defining clauses, “especificativas”, goes with indicative or subjunctive depending on the antecedent word the clause refers to. For instance, if the antecedent exist or we know it, we use indicative:

Los estudiantes que han aprendido los pronombres de relativo no tendrán que venir a clase este viernes (The students who have studied relative pronouns won’t need to come to class this Friday).

In this example, I know that some of the students have studied relative pronouns, so only those ones won’t need to come to class this Friday.

But if we don’t know if the antecedent exists or we don’t know it, we use subjunctive:

Los estudiantes que hayan estudiado los pronombres de relativo no tendrán que venir a clase este viernes (The students who have studied relative pronouns won’t need to come to class this Friday).

Here, in this example, I don’t know yet what students have studied relative pronouns or if there are even students who have studied relative pronouns, but only those ones won’t need to come to class this Friday.

 

By | 2017-02-15T22:32:16+00:00 Junio 13th, 2013|B1, Pocket Grammar|Sin comentarios

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