1

I believe I have a reasonable knowledge of the Imperfect Subjunctive ,however, some doubts still arise:

For example,consider the following:

1)It may be that Peter came home early and saw the burglar.

Puede ser que Peter viniera a casa temprano y vio el ladrón.

Or is it continuing with the imperfect sujunctive and should it be''viera el ladrón''?

2)I don't suppose you knew that the money was in your account.

No supongo que supieras que el dinero estaba en tu cuenta.

Or, is it ''estuviera en tu cuenta''?

I feel it is confusing when there are two parts to the second clause.

1
  • The Spanish should come first and the Englsh as a translation, only in second position. Otherwise, we are doing translation and this is not really a translation site.
    – Lambie
    Nov 23, 2023 at 15:23

2 Answers 2

3

Both variants are correct, but they mean different things:

  • You take for a fact that Peter saw the burglar:

    Puede ser que Peter viniera a casa temprano y vio al ladrón.

    The hypothesis "It may be that Peter came home early" may explain the fact that he "saw the burglar".

  • You don't really know whether Peter saw the burglar:

    Puede ser que Peter viniera a casa temprano y viera al ladrón.

    Everything in the sentence is hypothetical.


Side note: When you see somebody, "ves a alguien". So you need to say "vio al ladrón".

2

I don't think that the sentence:

  • Puede ser que Peter viniera a casa temprano y vio al ladrón.

is fully grammatical, not so much because of the change of verb mood but because of temporal inconsistency. This sounds better to me (taking for granted that Peter did see the burglar):

  • Puede ser que Peter haya venido a casa temprano y vio al ladrón. (Coming home early took place before seeing the burglar.)

Used alone, without any reinforcement, the coordinating conjunction "y" still does not work very well if one action (coming home) is only probable and the other (seeing the burglar) is certain.

Concerning the other sentence:

  • No supongo que supieras que el dinero estaba en tu cuenta.

we don't normally use "suponer" in the negative with content clauses. This is better:

  • No creo que supieras que el dinero estaba en tu cuenta.
6
  • OK. I see your comment. These are exercises to practice the Imperfect Subjunctive so I believe they want it used in both parts of the clause,as now ,I see it is acceptable.I see your point also.So,in the second sentence, I think they are actually looking for ,''que el dinero estuviera en tu cuenta''. Is it totally incorrect so to say''no supongo que..''?
    – Bluelion7
    Nov 23, 2023 at 15:35
  • 1
    Yes, to me "No supongo" does not work at all with the subjunctive. It can can only work with the indicative if the meaning is "It's not that I suppose--I know it": No supongo que sabías que el dinero estaba en tu cuenta: sé que lo sabías.
    – Gustavson
    Nov 23, 2023 at 15:41
  • Ok. This is rather confusing as I realise we use ''I suppose'' all the time in English. So as a direct translation if I need to use the Imperfect subjunctive in next clause it is better to say ''no creo''?
    – Bluelion7
    Nov 23, 2023 at 15:48
  • 1
    Yes, you should use "no creo".
    – Gustavson
    Nov 23, 2023 at 15:52
  • 1
    Yes, that's the point. While we can say "no creo", we cannot say "no supongo": No creo que sepas dónde está el dinero (I don't think you know where the money is) / Supongo que no sabes dónde está el dinero (I guess you don't know where the money is)
    – Gustavson
    Nov 23, 2023 at 18:42

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