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I have recently been studying the subjunctive and conditional phrases in Spanish. I attempted to translate the following English sentence/though "If there is rain tonight and it's very stormy, we will watch 'Lost Highway.'

I translated the above as "Si esta noche haya mucho lluvia y este muy tormentosa, vamos a ver 'Lost Highway.'

My Spanish speaking friends are telling me this pairing of present subjunctive and the present indicative is right, but websites are telling me that for such a conditional situation (one in which the condition [rain] is not unlikely/improbable) the pairing should be present indicative/present indicative or present indicative/present future.

I hope someone can be of help in sorting this out. Thank you

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    You are translating literally. If there is rain tonight is not mucha lluvia. It's si llueve. Si llueve mucho hoy por la noche y hay mucha tormenta. stormy as tormentoso is not idiomatic in everyday Spanish.
    – Lambie
    Sep 28 at 19:18
  • The sentence in English sounds clumsy, IMHO it would be much more common to just say ‘if it rains tonight’ = si llueve, as @Lambie comments
    – Traveller
    Oct 2 at 8:00

2 Answers 2

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I agree with @Gustavson.

"Si esta noche haya mucho lluvia y este muy tormentosa, vamos a ver 'Lost Highway.'

"Esté muy tormentosa" is a somewhat literary you find in writing something like that and I wouldn't translate "there is" as "haya" here, as already mentioned above. If you mean "haya" you’ll need to recast the sentence.

  • "Aunque haya(subjunctive present) un temporal, igual(de igual forma) vamos a ver 'Lost Highway"(Even if there is...we will..)
  • "Aunque llueva(subjunctive present) o truene(subjunctive present), (igual) vamos a ver 'Lost Highway"
  • "Aún cuando llueva o truene(singular 3rd person subjunctive present), (igual) vamos a ver 'Lost Highway"

But "even if" has a different meaning here. We will watch a movie, no matter what the circumstances.

"If there is rain tonight and it's very stormy, we will watch 'Lost Highway.'

In a colloquial way I would say:

  • "Si hay temporal, vamos a ver una película"(someone's talking about their plans)
  • "Si hay temporal, vemos[indicative present] una película mejor"(the present has future value in this context, using the word "mejor" makes this sound more like a suggestion than a command, it's better if we stay here, if it rains, the best plan is/it's better if you dont go out)
  • "Si llueve(indicative present singular 3rd person), veremos[indicative future] una película"(Thinking in advance what you are going to do)
  • "Si llueve y hay mucho viento mejor nos quedamos(indicative present) viendo una película, ¿Qué les parece?"(=If it rains, we'll just stay inside and watch... what do you think?)(It's just a suggestion)
  • En el caso de que llueva(subjunctive), lo que podríamos[indicative conditional] hacer es ver una película(it is a possible scenario)

If the weather forecast says it will be cloudy with a slight chance of rain, then we would say:

  • Si se diera el caso de que llueva/Si lloviera|lloviese/Si llegara|llegase a llover, entonces mejor vemos/veríamos[indicative conditional]/veremos una película/lo que seguramente haríamos[indicative conditional]/haremos sería[Indicative conditional]/es ver una película(that is what we would do in that situation if this happens)

IF CLAUSES THAT REQUIRE SUBJUNCTIVE FORM -> Hypothetical situations in the future or the present that are contrary to fact or very unlikely: Si+imperfect subjunctive+the conditional, e.g: Si llueve/lloviera[subjunctive imperfect ], no saldré/saldría[Indicative conditional](if it were to rain, I wouldn't go out)

Si(If) is very rarely followed by the present subjunctive but the rule can be broken -> Especially with negative 'si' clauses (such as - no se si...) the present subjunctive is something to express more doubt, ''si" then takes on the meaning of 'whether' more than 'if'. E.g. No se si estemos(subjunctive present plural 1st person) en casa..(I don't know whether we'll be at home)

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Unlike other conditional linkers that take the present subjunctive, "si" is always followed by the indicative if the present tense is used:

  1. Siempre que (Provided that) esta noche haya mucha lluvia y esté muy tormentoso, vamos a ver 'Lost Highway'.

  2. Suponiendo que (Assuming that) esta noche haya mucha lluvia y esté muy tormentoso, vamos a ver 'Lost Highway'.

  3. Con la condición de que (On condition that / As long as) esta noche haya mucha lluvia y esté muy tormentoso, vamos a ver 'Lost Highway'.

(In sentences 1 to 3, we would tend to place the condition at the end of the sentence.)

  1. A menos que (Unless) esta noche haya mucha lluvia y esté muy tormentoso, vamos a ver 'Lost Highway'. (In this case, the idea is that, if it is rainy and stormy, they will do something else.)

BUT

  1. Si (If) esta noche hay mucha lluvia y está muy tormentoso, vamos a ver 'Lost Highway'.

Note 1: We don't speak about conditional phrases but conditional clauses.

Note 2: Please note that "lluvia" is feminine, so you say "mucha lluvia", and although "noche" is feminine, we can use masculine "tormentoso" to refer to the weather.

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  • The OP's translation from English is faulty. Therefore, the Spanish comes out badly.
    – Lambie
    Sep 29 at 18:30
  • I agree. I just tried to focus on the question of the mood, which was OP's main interest.
    – Gustavson
    Sep 29 at 18:53

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