warningsignno declaración subjuntivo

Along with rema and tema , another key concept in understanding the use of the subjunctive, especially in cases where it can alternate with indicative, is the the idea of declaration or non-declaration.

"a) Una declaración es la manifestación explícita y efectiva de la visión que un sujeto tiene del mundo representado, mediante la cual el sujeto establece un determinado estado de cosas en ese mundo, independientemente del grado de seguridad que el sujeto tenga y exprese sobre ese estado de cosas. 
b) Una declaración es una manifestación explícita de lo que un sujeto sabe (afirma) o piensa (supone)". José Plácido Ruiz Campillo1

 

This concept can be a little confusing, given that anything we say is declaring something. For example, 'me parece lógico que quieras ir'. In this statement the speaker is declaring what he or she thinks. The concept of declaration, though, refers to the clause with our verb of interest, in this case 'quieres ir'. In this example, the speaker is not declaring that 'quieres ir', even though it may be a fact; he or she is actually declaring that 'eso me parece lógico'.

"...aunque el hecho de comentar algo pueda presuponer la verdad de ese algo, nunca implica la responsabilidad del hablante sobre la declaración de esa supuesta verdad, y mucho menos su declaración explícita." José Plácido Ruiz Campillo 1

The subjunctive mood is preferred when the speaker's main intention is not to declare, but rather to comment on the information in the subordinate clause. This nuance can sometimes be hard to identify in expressions like el hecho de que, or lo +adjective+es que.

 -Me preocupa el hecho de que lo hayan despedido (declaring that 'me preocupa'; expressing whether or not 'lo han despedido' is not the main intention of the statement –that is probably either already known by the listener)

-Me preocupa el hecho de que lo han despedido (declaring or informing that 'lo han despedido'; less common in indicative)

 

Lo importante es que no haya muertos (the speaker is not declaring that 'no hay muertos', they may not even know whether there are deaths; the main intention is to declare that 'eso es lo importante')

-Lo importante es que no hay muertos (declaring in subordinate clause; probably informing the listener or reaffirming their belief)

 

-Lo normal es que no haya muertos (not declaring that 'no hay muertos'; declaring 'eso es lo normal')

 

The choice of verb mode, and whether or not we consider it to be a declaration, is affected by the words acting upon it –sometimes referred to as the matriz. The same sentence may be interpreted more than one way, depending on what we consider to be the matriz:1 2

-Es ridículo pensar que vaya a ganar (the matriz is 'es ridículo pensar', which amounts to saying 'no se puede pensar/no pienso que vaya a ganar'; non-declaration)

-Es ridículo pensar que va a ganar (the matriz is 'pensar' - i.e. the element acting on 'va a ganar', it amounts to saying 'pensar que va a ganar es ridículo' or 'es ridículo que se piense que va a ganar', implying that someone thinks that 'va a ganar')

 

-Lo/eso de que ella apenas llegaba a fin de mes con lo que ganaba, nadie se lo creyó (eso de que apenas llegaba= lo que se decía de/ el rumor de que ella llegaba a fin de mes; declaring that someone has said or thought that 'apenas llegaba a fin de mes....')
-Lo/eso de que ella apenas llegara a fin de mes con lo que ganaba, nadie se lo creyó (eso de que apenas llegara= nadie creyó que apenas llegara a fin de mes; not declaring that anyone said or thought that 'apenas llegaba a fin de mes...', but rather commenting on the hypothetical idea)

 

The idea of declaration ties in with rema and tema in that information that is considered to be already shared with the listener/reader (tema) is often not declared; the declaration lies in the new information (rema), while the tema is merely commented on or mentioned.

-Veo que estás aquí

-Me alegra que estés aquí

 

-Lo raro es que no está enfadado (the listener probably wasn't aware and is being informed)

-Lo raro es que no esté enfadado (the speaker is not declaring that 'no está enfadado'; ≈ es raro que no esté enfadado o suele estar enfadado)

 

This non-declaration is also evident in other common expressions that alternate with indicative and subjunctive modes, such as the concessions aunque, a pesar de que and al margen de que. The subjunctive is preferred when the information is not being declared, regardless of whether it's true or not, often because the information is already known by both the listener and speaker (the tema). Once again, the fact that someone is saying something that they know to be true does not mean that they are declaring it in the strictest sense. 2

 -Aunque seas mi mujer, no quiero compartir esto contigo (the speaker knows she is his wife, but the main intention is to declare 'no quiero compartir', it has higher informative value since it is informing of new information)

-Aunque tengas el dinero, no pienso vendértelo (the speaker may or may not know if they have the money; regardless of this fact the speaker's intention is to declare 'no pienso vendértelo', non-declaration)

 

-Te voy a contratar, a pesar de que no tengas experiencia (the speaker and listener probably know he/she has no experience, but the main intention is to declare 'te voy a contratar', the phrase 'no tienes experiencia' is merely being commented on)

-Lo voy a contratar, a pesar de que no tiene experiencia (the speaker is declaring and informing that 'no tiene experiencia'; it has equal informative value to 'lo voy a contratar')

 

-Al margen de que cause cáncer, este alimento no es sano — Regardless of whether it causes cancer, this food is not healthy (not declaring that it causes cancer; that fact is either already known (tema), not certain, or considered irrelevent to the fact that it's not healthy)

-Al margen de que causa cáncer, este alimento no es sano — Apart from the fact that it causes cancer, this food is not healthy (informing and declaring that it causes cancer)

 

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