I know the infinitive of the verb can also be used as a noun, but I notice in some sentences the 3rd person singular present used instead.

For example in the below sentence I want to say:

Odio cuando eso suceder.
I hate when that happens.

When I type that sentence in google translate it changes the infinitive to:

Odio cuando eso sucede.
I hate when that happens.

Why is the 3rd person singular present used instead of the infinitive in a sentence like the one above?

  • That looks like the present rather than the preterite to me.
    – mdewey
    Commented Dec 3, 2018 at 9:25
  • @mdewey Yes I meant the present, thank you. I corrected the question.
    – sf_admin
    Commented Dec 4, 2018 at 0:04

1 Answer 1


I see a few things wrong here. Let's clarify them.

First, the correction that google makes is ok. The correct sentence should be

Odio cuando eso sucede

Second, it is present and not past. It happens now. If it was past you should say

Odiaba cuando eso sucedía = I hated when that happened

Third, in English you are using 3rd person, as in "it happens", so in Spanish you should not use infinitive but also the 3rd person.

By the way suceder with this meaning is an intransitive verb that always uses 3rd person. See this reference for the 2 entry.

  1. Cuando significa, dicho de un suceso, ‘acontecer u ocurrir’, es intransitivo. Se usa solo en tercera persona y suele llevar un complemento indirecto que expresa la persona a la que le ocurre lo expresado por el sujeto: «Es el tipo de cosas que le suceden siempre a Martín» (Bryce Vida [Perú 1981]).

One example of using the infinitive of suceder as a noun is this coloquial frase we use.

Ana tuvo un mal suceder

This sentence means that Ana had a misfortune. As I said it is coloquial and the bit "mal suceder" should be use together. Also we never say "un buen suceder".

Another common use of the infinitive is when you say "This could happen"

Esto puede suceder.

I hope this helps.

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