Table of contents Chapter 22 22.4 Hypothetical or real?

Chapter 22: Reported speech and consecutio temporum

  22.4 Hypothetical or real?

  You will find that with all the wonderful structure there is still room for misunderstanding
a) I thought he would rob the bank (and now he really did it).
b) I thought he would rob the bank (when he is out of money).

  These two sentences are not equal
a) describes a fact (in consecutio temporum = action after mental involvement)
b) is an expression of presumption, which means
I thought he would rob the bank can be understood in two different ways.

  In Spanish we have the same issue
a) Creí que robaría el banco y de hecho lo hizo.
b) Creí que robaría el banco si no tuviera dinero.

The differentiation between the fact and the presumption can only be done by the context not on pure grammar.

  Iba a + infinitive instead of condicional simple
Creí que iba a ganar mucho dinero. = I thought that he would earn much money.
Dijo que iba a venir. = He said that he would come.

And another special case (one of the exceptions that prove the rule)

  Indefinido after expression of a sensation
Vi que se había comprado un pan = Vi que se compró un pan.
= I saw that he had bought bread = I saw that he bought bread.

After a verb of sensation (to see, feel, hear, taste, smell) the main clause can have the indefinido instead of the plusquamperfecto.

You will have to admit that it is not as complicated as it looked in the beginning. Ok, we have to admit that the subjuntivo does not really help to ease a learner's life. However, everything else is identical with the English logic.