current opinion about past completed past actions

WylieC1Kwiziq Q&A regular contributor

current opinion about past completed past actions

Hola Inma,

I have a question about present tense opinions of completed past actions. I know the for the English phrase, "I don't think we have done anything wrong to regret", one says, "No creo que hayamos hecho nada malo para arrepentirnos." However, if one changes the English phrase to, "I don't think we had done anything wrong to regret", shouldn't the translation change to, "No creo que hubieramos hecho nada malo para arrepentirnos"? Google does not change el preterito perfecto de subjuntivo to el pluscuamperfecto de subjuntivo for this nuance. I think it should. Don't know if this is addressed anywhere else on this site. Can you comment for my benefit?

Saludos,

Wylie

Asked 2 years ago
InmaKwiziq team memberCorrect answer

Hola Wylie

This is a tricky one. When we want to say that "you don't think something has happened" in Spanish, the more direct translation would be that using the present perfect subjunctive "...que hayamos hecho..." and to go further back in time, as in "that we had done" we would still use the same "...que hayamos hecho" although you can also use "...que hubiéramos hecho..." If we decide to use the pluperfect subjunctive with hubiéramos, I think we'd want to convey, more than the "anteriority", the "uncertainty", as if we were saying "I don't think we had done something wrong (at least we don't think so, maybe you do...).

Also, using the pluperfect subjunctive could also change the meaning of the sentence and we would be meaning "that something would have/haven't happened". See this example:

Yo no creo que ella hubiera venido a la fiesta.

I don't think she WOULD HAVE come to the party. 

This is not refering to something that "had happened" but that "would/not have happened". 

So, as a conclusion to your question, I'd say that you can use it with the pluperfect subjunctive but it doesn't really add any difference to the use of the present perfect subjunctive when you refer to a perfect action in the past; in fact, it'd be more commonly used with the pluperfect when we want to convey something that "would have happened". 

I hope this is clear enough to clarify your doubt. A tricky one as I said. 

Saludos

Inma

 

DeletedB1Kwiziq community member

Inma, please confirm or deny a FEELING for me.

"No creo que hayamos hecho nada malo" just states a bald belief: "No hemos hecho nada malo. Asi lo creo."

"No creo que hubieramos hecho nada malo." This FEELS incomplete. The speaker has not finished, or there is context that is understood or has been previously stated. "No creo que hubieramos hecho nada malo (cuando la policía llegó)," o "(No lo podiamos, pero incluso que si pudieramos), no creo que hubieramos hecho nada malo," o "(Estaba borracho y no lo recuerdo bien, pero) no creo que hubieramos hecho nada malo."

I'm still B1 level, and as I said, this is just the feeling I got when I read Wylie's question. I'd appreciate an honest answer to: Should I trust my gut feelings? (mIs "sentimientos de intestinos" :)  Thanks in advance.

InmaKwiziq team member

Hola Xose

I'm not 100% sure what you exactly mean with the nuances you're stating, but with the use of the pluperfect subjunctive in  "No creo que hubiéramos hecho nada malo" we are always going to assume that whatever the situation was, it would have been mentioned before to have a complete understanding of what they are referring to. But that is the same case as when using the perfect subjunctive ( no creo que hayamos hecho nada malo), so you're right to say that "there is context that is understood or has been previously stated" - I'm not quite sure what you mean by "The speaker has not finished"...

It's useful to remember that the introductory phrase "No creo que..." in Spanish is (most of the time) going to trigger a tense in the subjunctive, and we can go back in time by changing the tenses in the subordinate clause: 

No creo que le ofrezcan el trabajo

I don't think they'll offer him the job.

No creo que le hayan ofrecido/ ofrecieran el trabajo.

I don't think they've offered/offered him the job.

No creo que le hubieran ofrecido el trabajo.

I don't think they had offered him the job.

 

So, regardless of the specific extra nuances, these sentences are progressively taking the action further back in the past. I think that is also shown in the English translations.

Saludos cordiales

 

 

current opinion about past completed past actions

Hola Inma,

I have a question about present tense opinions of completed past actions. I know the for the English phrase, "I don't think we have done anything wrong to regret", one says, "No creo que hayamos hecho nada malo para arrepentirnos." However, if one changes the English phrase to, "I don't think we had done anything wrong to regret", shouldn't the translation change to, "No creo que hubieramos hecho nada malo para arrepentirnos"? Google does not change el preterito perfecto de subjuntivo to el pluscuamperfecto de subjuntivo for this nuance. I think it should. Don't know if this is addressed anywhere else on this site. Can you comment for my benefit?

Saludos,

Wylie

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