The sentence I am trying to translate this time is:

Whatever she promised you is a lie.

The closest I can get is as follows:

Cualquier cosa que prometí es mentira.

But I am not sure if it's the most appropriate translation. The fact that she promised "something" seems fairly certain although the uncertainty over what that something is, might make it a subjunctive case. I am not sure, just thinking aloud. If it were to be subjunctive, which one? I don't see any subjunctive preterite in any of the grammar books I have.

If this sentence doesn't seem uncertain enough to make it subjunctive, let's take another context. I just came back from a blind date which I believe was a disaster. However, to my pleasant surprise, my date assured me it wasn't and said she wished to meet me again. As I tell my friends about this, they too assure me it must have gone well since she wants to meet me again. However, I am still insecure and tell them:

I only wished she promised me that.

Here, the act of promising sounds like subjunctive and the "wished" part implies that the tense would be preterite. How do we blend together subjunctive and preterite when there doesn't seem to be any such combination in grammar book conjugation tables?

2 Answers 2


I would say that the first one could use subjuntive, since there is uncertainty. You don't know what did she promised or even if she promised something at all.

Cualquier cosa que te prometiera es mentira (Inflection: I don't know if she did, but if she ever promised something to you, it was a lie)

Lo que fuera que te prometió era mentira (Inflection: I know she promised you something. I don't know what was it, but it was a lie)

If you go with

Cualquier cosa que te prometió es mentira

then there is no subjuntive, and this would mean that you are sure that there was a promise and, regardless what this promise was, you are positive it was lie.

The second sentence needs subjuntive, since you are expressing a wish (that your date had guaranteed a second date)

Sólo desearía que me hubiese prometido una segunda cita


Yes, the first case is a subjunctive situation, and the uncertainty is on the promise, introduced by whatever.

Regarding the tense, your grammar books seem incomplete here. In this case you use the pretérito perfecto compuesto of the subjunctive mood, which is formed by subjunctive present of haber + past participle:

Lo que sea que te haya prometido es mentira.

The second example is also subjunctive. You are expressing your wish that an event that's already finished happened in a different way. You use here the pretérito pluscuamperfecto of the subjunctive mood (imperfect subjunctive of haber + past participle):

Ojalá me lo hubiera prometido.

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