Friday, 8 July 2011

Conjugation of the week - 12. Imperfect subjunctive of 'ser' - 'to be'

Having covered a few of the more straightforward conjugations over the last few weeks, I think it is time to throw in a more advanced verb tense. Don't be put off by the name though, the imperfect subjunctive form is not uncommon, nor that difficult. Although it takes a long time to perfect exactly when to use it, knowing the form makes it easy to recognise in written text or conversation. In the next post I will give an easier example of when to use it. It can often be translated into English as 'was' or 'were'. See previous posts in this series for more about conjugations.

Ser - to be, imperfect subjunctive

yo fuera/fuese
tu fueras/fueses
el/ella/usted fuera/fuese
nosotros fuéramos/fuésemos
vosotros fuerais/fueseis
ellos/ellas/ustedes fueran/fuesen

Notice that there are two versions, with -ra and -se endings. The two versions are identical as far as I can tell (and I have asked a few Spanish speakers and teachers). Some dictionaries only show the first, which is probably more common, but you will find both used frequently in books, sometimes together e.g. 'fuera lo que fuese' (loosely - 'being whatever it was' or 'whatever it may have been').

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