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Acceptable Spanish grammar

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Acceptable Spanish grammar

Postby Lector Constante » Fri Mar 31, 2017 2:50 pm

¡Hola!mis amigos! Tengo una pregunta. Encontré este frase en un libro que estoy releyendo: "Uno puede aprender mucho si escucha."
I like this motto, proverb, whatever you might call it. But I see "si" and it bothers me; I certainly understand it (creo así) and agree. I think this would be acceptable (and not considered tonto or bad usage), but should it say, "... si escucharía."? Use the conditional?? Si uno leería suficiente, uno empazo (empieza/empezaría) a tener un sentido de lo que sea correcto....tal vez. Muchas gracias por anticipación. la anciana :shrug:
RATAS! I should have posted this in the Learning Area.

por anticipado, por adelentado, con anticipación, con antelación...??   qfreed
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Re: Acceptable Spanish grammar

Postby qfreed » Fri Mar 31, 2017 5:31 pm

Uno puede aprender mucho si escucha."


I prefer the present tense (indicative mood), escucha, in your example over the conditional tense (indicative mood) because it makes it sound more like a "dicho" (a 0 conditional, rather than a 1st conditional if clause). I believe either would be correct, however.
Another reason that I prefer it, would be that it seems to align more with Spanish's paradigms for phrasing real, probable to occur (0,1st conditionals) rather that unreal, improbable to occur if conditionals (2nd, 3rd conditionals, which employ the conditional tense).

English's...if you would listen (indicative)...can easily be confused with...if you were to listen (subjunctive mood). Using the present tense avoids that confusion.

If you are following my argument, you will understand this explanation of the use of the conditional tense in Spanish.

grammar article wrote:Usage. There are several ways in which the conditional is used in Spanish:
B. 1. To indicate future time within the past. (Remember that the conditional is a combination of future stem with imperfect endings.)
Dije ayer que lo haríamos hoy. Yesterday I said that we would [were going to] do it today.
The same idea could also be expressed with the imperfect of ir plus a plus the infinitive:

Dije ayer que lo íbamos a hacer hoy. Yesterday I said that we were going to do it today.
2. To indicate conjecture or probability in past time (roughly an equivalent of probablemente plus the imperfect).
¿Dónde estaría María anoche? Where do you think Mary was last night?
Estaría en casa. She was probably at home.
3. To indicate deference or softening of a statement or request. Compare these three examples:
Quiero cinco dólares. I want $5.00. [forceful, present tense]
Querría cinco dólares. I would like $5.00. [deferential, conditional]
Quisiera cinco dólares. I would like $5.00. [almost apologetic, imperfect subj.]
NOTE: The past subjunctive was used in the third example above to indicate deference, politeness, or an almost apologetic tone. This usage is found primarily with the verbs querer, deber, and poder:

¿Pudieras hacerlo? Could you (possibly) do it?
Debieras estudiar más. (Maybe) you should study more.
4. To indicate something hypothetical (in present or future time).
¡Yo viajaría a la luna mañana (si pudiera)! I would go to the moon tomorrow (if I could)!
This type of situation will be studied below in the section on contrary-to-fact or unreal conditions.


What I am referring to specifically is number 4. Spanish uses conditional tense in combination with subjunctive mood (3, 4 if conditionals) to express unreal or improbable to occur statements.

So if you change the escucha to escucharía the Spanish reader may interpret the conditional tense as carrying a nuance of unreal or improbable (you probably won't listen).

To his ear he may hear/read a 2nd, 3rd conditional (contrary to fact) sentence when you intended to make a 0 conditional, real or probable to occur condition.
0, 1st conditional:....Uno puede aprender mucho si escucha.
2, 3 conditional...si escuchara, uno podría aprender mucho. (If one listened (but he won't), one could/would be able to learn a lot. unreal or hypothetical if conditional
......................si hubiera escuchado, uno hubiera/habría podido aprender mucho. (if one had listened, one could have/ would have able to learn a lot.)

My point is when a Spanish speaker hears the conditional tense in an if statement he tends to think unreal, improbable where you want to say probable, real.

You could just as well say:

On can learn a lot if one listens (Uno puede aprender mucho si escucha)
One can learn a lot if one would listen. (Uno puede aprender mucho, si escucharía)
One could/would be able to learn a lot if one would listen. (Uno podría aprender mucho, si escucharía)
One could/would be able to learn a lot if one listens (Uno podría aprender mucho , si escucha.)
Here there might be a shift in probability of it occurring (degree of reality), but all are real, likely to happen.

Do you see the difference now between saying "if one listens" and "if one would listen" in degree of probability (reality) given how Spanish uses the conditional tense?

All are correct (real), but si escucharía is more easily mistaken for si escuchara (if you listened...contrary to fact, unreal; in English this is using the past tense to refer to a present/future time...if you listened, you would be able to learn a lot.) since the conditional tense is used.

This is making a mountain out of a molehill, but it's just my opinion of why the original sentence sounds better to me than substituting the conditional tense. (in Spanish, I see only a subtle difference in meaning in the English sentences.)

el anciano...where have you been hiding yourself? I haven't seen one of your posts for awhile.
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Re: Acceptable Spanish grammar

Postby qfreed » Fri Mar 31, 2017 7:22 pm

Another source

0 or 1st conditional (In 0 conditionals you can usually switch when/cuando) for the if/si)
Si la temperatura de agua llega a 100°C, hierve. (at STP)
When/if water gets to 100°C, it boils.

Si Clauses (If Clauses)

Si clauses indicate possibilities, which may or may not become reality. They refer to the present, past, and future. These conditional sentences have two parts: the condition, or si clause, and the main or result clause which indicates what will happen if the condition of the si clause is met.

The tense of the result clause depends on the tense of the si clause. In other words, the tense of the two clauses follow a prescribed sequence.

Si + Present Indicative

Image
notice the verb tenses typically used in the resultant clause.

This first type of si clause is used in cases where the condition may be fulfilled and thus the consequence is seen as possible. Si clauses in the present indicative can be followed by result clauses in the present indicative, in the future, or in the imperative:

Si veo que ellos me contestan en inglés, sigo hablando con ellos en inglés.
If I see that they answer me in English, I keep talking to them in English.

Note that either the si clause or the result clause may begin a sentence, but the same tenses remain specific to each clause.

......................................................

It is the existence of these prescribed sequences, that I feel will bias the Spanish speakers when encountering the conditional tense in your proposed sentence. I would recommend leaving it in the present tense: escucha

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Re: Acceptable Spanish grammar

Postby Heidita » Sun Apr 02, 2017 4:11 am

Hola Lectora, solo decirte que el conditional no se puede usar con "si".

Sí sonaría bien también: si escuchara.

It's quite common in English, especially with requests, almost like "Con permiso". If you would, please, hand me the books on that shelf. If you would just be quiet for a minute, I would explain my reasoning. It's often used like "could". If you could, please, hand me the books on that shelf. If you could just be quiet for a minute, I could explain my reasoning. Of course, some of these "if you would " just imply the resultant clause...If you would, please, hand me the books on that shelf. Change the inflection of your voice and it becomes: If you would please hand me the books on that shelf (then I would be grateful.)   qfreed
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