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If I say (in Mexican Spanish) that I did not say X, where X is information (rather than a command), does X take the subjunctive?

Regarding this question, Benjamin & Butt (5th ed.) seem to contradict themselves in section 16.7 with these two examples:

Yo no he dicho que seas histérica.
I never said you were a hysteric.

No he dicho que venía.
I didn't say that I was coming.

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2 Answers 2

up vote 1 down vote accepted

It can take the subjunctive in the past form...

Yo no he dicho que fueras histérica

Otherwise, your sentence sounds like this in English

I have not said that you be hysterical.

Subjunctive in the sense that, the correct way to say this would be

I have not said that you should be hysterical.

Just because you are using a negative in the sentence does not mean you need subjunctive.

Anyway, your sentence is not subjunctive..

If you negate X, then you can used the imperative (not subjunctive mood)

Yo he dicho que no seas histérica.

I have said for you not to be hysterical.

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Thanks. And I apologize for using B&B's rather confusing example. Anyway, your "Just because ..." sentence is the answer that I was looking for. I'll take it, although I felt obliged to report my own experience in class today. –  Greg Weeks Jun 16 at 21:47

I confess that the examples from Butt & Benjamin are somewhat confusing. Sorry about that. Anyway, I asked my native Mexican Spanish teacher the following question today in class:

Dado

"Insistí en que eras un bastante buen estudiante. No insistí en que eras/fueras un muy buen estudiante."

o

"Te dije que eras un bastante buen estudiante. No te dije que eras/fueras un muy buen estudiante."

¿Deberia usar "eras" o "fueras"?

His answer was a definite "eras". Based on this, I would say:

"No dije que X" takes the same mode as "Dije que X".

"No insistí en que X" takes the same mode as "Insistí en que X".

(And, of course, this mode can be either indicative or subjunctive, depending on whether X is declared or commanded.)

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