re: Lo que pase con tu madre no es tu culpa .
I came across this sentence containing "Lo que" but for the life of me, can't figure out (by only looking at the Spanish) that "lo que" here means "whatever" and would therefore trigger the subjunctive.
How can I tell what is being intended by just reading such a sentence and be able to choose between "what" and "whatever"?
If you use lo que pase, it would mean we don't yet know what the thing with your mum is. So lo que would mean whatever happens, so we use the subjunctive.
If you use lo que pasa, it would mean you know exactly what the thing with your mother is. So lo que would mean what happens/the thing that happens, so we use the indicative.
"Whatever" means that you are talking about a number of possibilities. So "Do whatever you want to do / regardless of what you do, you will have our support" means that there are a number of possible choices or actions involved. This would be "lo que" requiring the subjunctive.
I do a mental sense check of whether I want to refer to a singular thing. For example, "I am going to explain [what / that thing which] you didn't understand." As this is referring to a particular thing or topic, it would require the indicative.
I hope this helps.
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