Temporal adverbial clauses denoting hypothetical future events

Subjunctive in Spanish

Adverbial clauses

We should understand  the uses of adverbial clauses.

Please read it HERE in order to understand what it comes next

SOURCE: HERE

After reading the adverbial clauses, now …

Let’s see this example

a. Esperé a que llegaran mis padres.
b. Espera a tener el permiso para poder trabajar

Structure: VERBO + A QUE + SUBJUNTIVO
Content: TEMPORAL: HASTA QUE

Source: http://www.cuadernoscervantes.com/ele_56_subjuntivo.htm

As we have seen in previous cases (adverbial clauses), the veracity of the subordinated action remains in suspense, since it is a fact that projects the relation with the verb’s future. Proof of this is that we can continue the first example above like this: “Esperé a que llegaran mis padres, pero, después de muchas horas de esperar, me acosté sin saber nada de ellos. Or simply: “Esperé a que llegaran mis padres, pero no llegaron”. The hypothetical nature of this action is what determines the use of the subjunctive.

If you say only “Esperé a que llegaran mis padres”, we can’t really tell if his/her parents arrived, but if you say “”Esperé a que lleguen mis padres, pero no llegaron”. (I waited for my parents to come, but they didn’t) we can tell from the second clause that they didn’t arrive, or the verb was not concluded.

Let’ see these examples now:

a. Los alumnos acabaron la composición antes de que llegara el profesor.
b. Los alumnos acabaron la composición antes de llegar el profesor.

Structure: VERBO + ANTES DE QUE + SUBJUNTIVO
Content: HECHO FUTURO (HIPOTÉTICO) EN RELACIÓN A UN TIEMPO ANTERIOR

First example:  a. Los alumnos acabaron la composición antes de que llegara el profesor.

Precisely the value of uncertainty around future is requiring that verb is conjugated in the subjunctive, and not indicative. We can not know with certainty (or not interested in reporting it) if the teacher is coming, or not .

With infinitive, there are two options:
Either the subject of both sentences match up ” (Yo)Hice la maleta antes de salir de casa”
Or specify the subject, but always in a position after the verb, like the sentence ” Los alumnos acabaron la composición antes de llegar el profesor.”

 

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