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Using Subjunctive to State Facts!

Did you know that Spanish can sometimes use the subjunctive mood to state facts? For example:


Ahora, qué raro que lo haya atacado un puma.

But, it's strange that a puma attacked him.

Caption 66, Yago - 1 La llegada

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You may wonder, if the person was indeed attacked by a puma, why do we use the subjunctive here? The reason is the phrase que raro (it's strange). The subjunctive is caused by the person's judgment about the incident. The same applies to similar phrases used to express a judgment in Spanish: es raro (it's strange), es triste (it's sad), etc.


¿Sabés que éste es un lindo departamento?

Do you know that this is a nice apartment?

Es una pena que lo dejes. ¿Por qué?

It's a shame for you to leave it. Why?

Captions 5-6, Muñeca Brava - 36 La pesquisa

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Here's another example that states a fact with the subjunctive:


¿No te pone contenta que quiera vivir con vos aquí?

Doesn't it make you happy that I want to live here with you?

Caption 15, Yago - 4 El secreto

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It's a fact that the person speaking wants to live with her interlocutor, so why is she then using the subjunctive? Well, because using the subjunctive stresses the fact that she is not imposing her wishes, making for a more polite and refined expression. In this case, however, you could use the indicative as well. It's still correct, and could be used to subtly express a firmer determination: ¿no te pone contenta que quiero vivir con vos?
However, there are cases in which you can't use the indicative. For example:
No es malo que Lucía fume.
It's not bad that Lucía smokes.
Again, it's a fact that Lucía smokes, but the subjunctive is triggered by the judgment that the person speaking is making. To say no es malo que Lucía fuma is incorrect, and the same happens with other similar expressions. So you can be sure that any phrase similar to no es malo (it's not bad), no es un delito (it's not a crime), es un pecado (it's a sin), etc., will trigger the use of the subjunctive.
An even more confusing example of using the subjunctive to state a fact is:


Me revienta que me digas "te lo dije."

I hate it when you say "I told you so."

Caption 35, Muñeca Brava - 1 Piloto

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This is a very common use of the subjunctive but one that many learners might miss. The person speaking is not doubting or questioning what his interlocutor is saying, or the fact that he is saying it. The subjunctive is caused by the emotion of me revienta (I hate it) + another verb with a change of subject.


If you were to say, for example, me revienta escucharte (I hate listening to you), there is no change of subject in the verbs me revienta (I hate) and escucharte (to listen to you): both actions are performed by the same person, so you can use the indicative. But if there's a change of subject as in the example above, meaning that the action of the verbs me revienta (I hate) and digas (you say) belongs to different subjects, it's better to use the subjunctive for the second verb.


Some expressions of gratitude that use the verb agradecer (to thank) are classic examples of this construction: te agradezco que me ayudes (I thank you for helping me), te agradezco que me digas (I thank you for telling me), etc.
Compare the following examples, all of which use the subjunctive to state a fact:


Y me encanta que la gente disfrute con el deporte que practico.

And I love that people enjoy the sport that I do.

Caption 14, Los Juegos Olímpicos - Adrián Gavira

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bonitas o feas,

[whether] beautiful or ugly...

no soporto que las golpeen.

I can't tolerate for them to be beaten.

Captions 47-48, El Ausente - Acto 4

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¿Por qué no? -No me gusta que vivas sola, por eso.

Why? -I don't like it that you live alone, that's why.

Caption 89, Muñeca Brava - 2 Venganza

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