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Table of contents Chapter 9 9.5 Sequence of tenses

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Chapter 9: Subjuntivo, Conditional und Imperative

  9.5 Sequence of tenses

Imagine a sentence I wish he comes. There are many, many combinations possible depending on in which relation point of time of the speaker and the point of time of the wish.

  combination of different times
I have wished that he came.
I would have wished that he came.
I would have wished that he had come.
I would have wished that he had come.
I wish that he had come.
I wish that he came.
I would wish that he comes.
I would wish that he had come.

The construction of the sentences depend on whether something has already happen ("before") or still is open to happen ("same time", "future"). You'll see that the Spanish grammar has a clear set of rules for those kind of sentences. Therefore, it is necessary to understand where is the point of time of the speaker, where is the point of time of the part-sentences (main clauses as well as subordinate clauses).

  Main clause is in present time: presente, perfecto, futuro perfecto, gerundio, imperativo
point of time when the subject hopes, orders, desires or wishes
the thing that was feared, hoped for, wished for or ordered is
e.g. temer = to fear
at the same time, in the future
"before", has happened already
presente (Temo, I fear)
perfecto (He temido, I have feared)
futuro imperfecto(Temeré, I will fear)
futuro perfecto (Habré temido, I will have feared)
gerundio (Temiendo, fearing)
imperativo (Teme, Fear!)
presente de
subjuntivo
 


que llegue

that he comes

pretérito perfecto
de subjuntivo
 


que haya llegado
that he has come

The pretérito perfecto is considered to be a present tense. That's why you find it in the list above.

  Main clause in past tense: imperfecto, indefinido, plusquamperfecto, anterior, condicional
point of time the subject
fears, hopes for, wishes, orders etc.
the thing that was feared, hoped for, wished for or ordered is
z.B. temer, fürchten
at the same time, in the future
"before", has happened already
pretérito imperfecto (Temía, I feared)
pretérito indefinido(Temí, I feared)
pretérito plusquamperfercto (Había temido, I had feared)
pretérito anterior (Hube temido, I had feared)
condicional (Temería, I would fear
imperfecto
de subjuntivo
 


que llegara
that he would come.

pluscuamperfecto
de subjuntivo
 


que hubiera llegado

that he had come.


  Example
I hope that he comes. = Espero que llegue. (present tense, same time)
I hope that he has come. = Espero que haya llegado. (present tense, has already happen)
I hoped that he would come. = Esperaba que viniera. (past tense, same time)
I hoped that he had come.

= Esperaba que hubiera venido. (past tense, has already happen)
He wants that we pay. = Quiere que paguemos. (present tense, same time)
He wants that we have paid. = Quiere que hayamos pagado. (present tense, has already happen)
He wanted that we would pay. = Quiso que pagáramos. (past tense, same time)
He wanted that we had paid. = Quiso que hubiéramos pagado. (past tense, has already happen)


He wanted that we had paid before our arrival. = Quiso que hubiéramos pagado antes de nuestra llegada.
He wanted
that we pay when we arrive.
= Quiso que pagáramos cuando llegáramos.
We feared that something had happened to them. = Temíamos que les hubiera pasado algo.
We feared that something would
happen to them.
= Temíamos que les pasara algo.

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