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Which of the following is correct?

Es posible que el presidente anuncie que el gobierno aumenta los impuestos el próximo año.

Es posible que el presidente anuncie que el gobierno aumente los impuestos el próximo año.

It is possible that the president announces that the government will raise taxes next year.

(Yeah, I know you probably wouldn't phrase it like this in actual speech, but it's just an example to illustrate the concept. Also ignore the fact that there's no subjunctive in the English sentence because it's used for volition only, not uncertainty, unless you want to sound archaic.)

Basically, you have a verb "aumentar" embedded in the subjunctive "anunciar." Is there one correct answer, or does it depend on whether the speaker of the sentence knows whether the government will raise taxes?

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First off, I should point out that the structure of your example sentence is an independent clause (es posible…) containing a noun clause (que el presidente anuncia…) which in turn contains its own noun clause (que el gobierno…). You don't have a relative clause, although the answer is the same regardless:

The mood of each subordinate clause in Spanish only affected by its immediate superordinate clause.

If you strip away the all other clauses, and convert the superordinate clause to an independent clause and the answer generally becomes much clearer:

El presidente anuncia1 que el gobierno aumenta/aumente los impuestos el próximo año.

The verb anunciar doesn't cause subjunctive,2 so we need to use indicative in the subordinate clause.


1. the superordinate clause's verb switches to indicative as there is now nothing to cause it subjunctive

2. in the affirmative, anyways. If it were "no anuncia", it would

  • I fixed the title. – Tony Aug 23 '15 at 4:20
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None of them would be a correct translation of "It is possible that the president announces that the government will raise taxes next year."

As someone has pointed, the correct translation would be "Es posible que el presidente anuncie que el gobierno aumentará los impuestos el próximo año."

Nevertheless, regarding to the two options you offer:

Es posible que el presidente anuncie que el gobierno aumenta los impuestos el próximo año.

Is correct (grammatically) and would be translated as: "It is possible that the president announces that the government is raising taxes next year."

Whilst "Es posible que el presidente anuncie que el gobierno aumente los impuestos el próximo año." would be incomplete since you are using the subjunctive form "aumente" to express uncertainty, so you need to complete it somehow to justify that uncertainty, for example:

"Es posible que el presidente anuncie que el gobierno aumente los impuestos el próximo año SI la economía no mejora ." == "It is possible that the president announces that the government will raise taxes next year IF ecconomy doesn't get better."

Otherwise it would be nonsense to use the subjunctive on "aumente" in this case. It would sound in spanish like it may sound to you in english if I say: "Ok, I'll go if." and I finish that way the phrase. You would read it and think "IF... WHAT??" :)

I hope that clarifies it.

  • If anything, the subjunctive would need to go into the si clause. In older Spanish you could say Es posible que el presidente anuncie que el gobierno aumentará los impuestos si la economía no mejorare (fut.subj.), but modern Spanish replaces fut. subj. with pres. ind. for future hypotheticals. – guifa Aug 23 '15 at 14:38
  • No; actually the subjunctive goes out of the IF clause. On the other hand, "mejorare", as you point, would be correct centuries ago :) but anyway, in your example you would have to use the conditional (aumentaría) in order to use after that "mejorare" or "mejorara/se" (nowadays correct form) => ""[...] aumentaría los impuestos si la economía no mejorase/ra". – Alberto Martín Aug 23 '15 at 16:17
  • I have never heard a sentence that fits the pattern algo acaezca si otra cosa acaece in modern Spanish. It'd need to be either acaecerá si acaece/acaeciere (future hypothetical) or acaecería si acaeciese/ra (present hypothetical, using perfect forms for past hypotheticals). Future subjunctive isn't used with conditional – guifa Aug 23 '15 at 16:30

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