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TIP #64 - This tip was sent on the week: 6th - 12th Nov, 2005

This tip applies to the following programs:

  • ESI Professional

Can ESI Help Me With My Spanish Subjunctives?


The Spanish Subjunctive is probably like an “esoteric mystery” for many of us.


However, with the new functionalities of our newest ESI Version 4.45, it doesn’t have to be like this any more!


Even some Spanish-speaking natives sometimes have difficulties figuring out when to use the subjunctive in a particular verb conjugation, or worse still, how to write it should they decide that the subjunctive must be used.


We won’t argue the point…it is a complicated issue! The subjunctive not only depends on the tense (past, present or future) of the verb before a conjunction, and on the tense of the verb placed after a conjunction (past, present or future), but on the conjunction itself as well!


Matters become even more complicated if the conjunction at hand is not a single-word conjunction but a conjunctive phrase instead.


Much too complex to try to explain it in a single article!


So, what we have done for ESI Version 4.45 is to study each and every single conjunction and conjunctive phrase in our entire dictionary (believe or not, nearly 700 conjunction entries!) and marked each one individually in order to tell ESI how and when to conjugate verbs in the subjunctive.


This is just one of the new hightlights of ESI 4.45. It is now able to do this automatically.


You may ask: Will ESI never make a mistake doing this? It might. No computer translator is perfect. We estimate that ESI will choose the correct tense in about 95% of the cases, for the subjunctive.


Anyway, if you should happen to disagree in some particular instance, ESI PRO still offers you the possibility of changing the subjunctive mode interactively. You can always use the button at the far right, in the "Modifiers" control box. You will notice that ESI always offers you this option whenever the subjunctive mode might be used within the context of your sentence.


This option is tagged: "Subjunctive Verb - On/Off"


See the following examples:


When you eat, you must wash your hands


Now, select “eat” and click on the toggle button Subjunctive - On/Off.


Observe how the output is changed to


In this particular case, the use of the subjunctive regarding “comer” is optional. Both instances are nearly identical.


However, if we say “If you eat, you must wash your hands”, the translation can never be subjunctive. It would be incorrect Spanish.

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