Spanish mixing tenses!!

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gtmharnett
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#1
Report Thread starter 4 years ago
#1
Hi there,

I need a hand translating this sentence as the change in tense confuses me:

"He assured me that he would be here soon".

I translated this as:

"Me aseguró que estaría aquí dentro de poco".

Is this correct? Does anyone have any notes/ advice for translating sentences that have multiple tenses?

Thanks
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Quirky Object
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#2
Report 4 years ago
#2
(Original post by gtmharnett)
Hi there,

I need a hand translating this sentence as the change in tense confuses me:

"He assured me that he would be here soon".

I translated this as:

"Me aseguró que estaría aquí dentro de poco".

Is this correct? Does anyone have any notes/ advice for translating sentences that have multiple tenses?

Thanks
That's correct

In this case, the fact that the sentence contains two tenses doesn't make any difference; you can break it down into the two verb phrases it contains ("he assured me" and "he would be here soon") and translate each verb accordingly using what you know about when to use the preterite and the conditional. However, this is only the case because your second verb happens to be in the present conditional, which stays in the present conditional in an indirect statement just like in English.

Spanish has what is called "sequence of tenses", which is when a verb in an indirect statement (indirect statements/reported speech are sentences/clauses like "I said that...", "you thought that..." and so on) changes tense according to the tense of the verb accompanying it. For example, "quiero ir al cine" is a direct statement, but if you wanted to say "I said that I wanted to go to the cinema" (an indirect statement), "decir" would have to be in the preterite and "querer" would have to be in the imperfect, so you would say "dije que quería ir al cine."

The general rule is as follows:
if a verb would be in the imperfect or present tense in a direct statement, it would be in the imperfect in an equivalent indirect statement
preterite/pluperfect in a direct statement -> pluperfect in an indirect statement
future perfect/conditional perfect in a direct statement -> conditional perfect in an indirect statement
future/present conditional in a direct statement -> present conditional in an indirect statement.

I don't know how many of these tenses you've learnt; I just wanted to cover all bases. Hope this helped
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gtmharnett
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#3
Report Thread starter 4 years ago
#3
(Original post by Sonechka)
That's correct

In this case, the fact that the sentence contains two tenses doesn't make any difference; you can break it down into the two verb phrases it contains ("he assured me" and "he would be here soon" and translate each verb accordingly using what you know about when to use the preterite and the conditional. However, this is only the case because your second verb happens to be in the present conditional, which stays in the present conditional in an indirect statement just like in English.

Spanish has what is called "sequence of tenses", which is when a verb in an indirect statement (indirect statements/reported speech are sentences/clauses like "I said that...", "you thought that..." and so on) changes tense according to the tense of the verb accompanying it. For example, "quiero ir al cine" is a direct statement, but if you wanted to say "I said that I wanted to go to the cinema" (an indirect statement), "decir" would have to be in the preterite and "querer" would have to be in the imperfect, so you would say "dije que quería ir al cine."

The general rule is as follows:
if a verb would be in the imperfect or present tense in a direct statement, it would be in the imperfect in an equivalent indirect statement
preterite/pluperfect in a direct statement -> pluperfect in an indirect statement
future perfect/conditional perfect in a direct statement -> conditional perfect in an indirect statement
future/present conditional in a direct statement -> present conditional in an indirect statement.

I don't know how many of these tenses you've learnt; I just wanted to cover all bases. Hope this helped
That was a very, very helpful answer thank you so much!
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