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Tuviera is the subjunctive form of tengo. Subjunctive form is about wish, desire, doubts, not being certain, etc.

How can the subjunctive form be used in the sentence to mean

"If I had X"?

Why not tendría instead:

"si tendría X"?

  • 1
    "Si yo tuviera una escoba, ¡cuántas cosas barrería!" How come isn't that a wish or desire? – Charlie Sep 23 '18 at 17:50
  • @nylypej It is the equivalent of the subjunctive in English: If I were taller, I could dunk a basketball; If Peter were a rich man, he could drive a fancy car; John spends money as if he were a millionaire. Many native English speakers would typically use ‘was’ instead of ‘were’ to express such hypothetical ideas, albeit this is grammatically incorrect. – Traveller Oct 25 '18 at 8:18
  • @Traveller, you're wrong. Instead of "could" ---> "would" – nylypej Oct 25 '18 at 18:01
  • @nlypej Maybe, but my point was focused on the correct use of ‘were’ as the subjunctive mood in English – Traveller Oct 25 '18 at 18:04
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1) Because "tendría" means "I would have".

You don't say If I would have sommething, I ..., do you? No, you say If I had something

2) This is the perfect place for a subjunctive. If you are saying

If I had something, I would...

That's because you don't have it yet. Otherwise you'd be saying

Since I have it, I will...

But you do not have it, that's why you're using "had" and not "have". That's a conditional. Second conditional to be precise. If I had something, I would...

So, the part "If I had something" is not a fact. You don't have that thing, you *wish** you had it, you're imaginin what you would do if you had it. Anyway you see it, it is not a real situation, but a desired/imagined one. Consequently, it takes the subjunctive.

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