My perspective as a native speaker who doesn’t remember his grammar lessons very well:
The subjunctive mood has a lot of uses, at least in Spain (I’m not really familiar with other varieties of Spanish). Some examples off the top of my head:
1. Counterfactual conditionals: “Si Lee Harvey Oswald no hubiera disparado a JFK, alguien más lo habría hecho” (If Lee Harvey Oswald hadn’t shot JFK, someone else would have), here “no hubiera disparado” is subjunctive and means “hadn’t shot”.
2. To speak about people’s actions or decisions which depend on preferences. “Hará lo que quiera con el dinero” (He’ll do what he wants with the money), here “quiera” is the present subjunctive of “querer”, meaning “to want”.
3. To speak about properties of unknown entities. “Quien pueda trabajar será pagado” (Those who can work will be payed), here “pueda” is the present subjunctive form of “poder”, which means “to be able to”.
Here is a fairly comprehensive list of uses (in Spanish 😉)
I think in general the subjunctive mood conveys some degree of unrealness or subjectivity. You could probably say many of the examples above using indicative mood only, but you would definitely lose some expressive power (I don’t know why this is not the case in other languages)
I remember being super confused when I was learning English because of the lack of a distinct subjunctive verbal form. Say, in “I wish I had had a car back then”, the two “had” have completely different meanings, one for past tense and one for expressing desire. The Spanish equivalent would be “habido” and “hubiera” from the verb “haber” respectively.
Your example is right, but it’s not true that it’s used in all subordinate clauses. For example, “Estoy buscando a la persona que escribió ese libro” (I’m looking for the person who wrote that book) does not have any verb in subjunctive mood.
The lecture will take place in classroom B15
I don’t reflect on it. This happens in two ways:
I find reflecting much more cognitively demanding than reading, so if there is a ‘next post’ button or similar, I tend to keep reading.
Also, sometimes when I try to actually think about the subject, it’s difficult to come up with original ideas. I often find myself explaining or convincing an imaginary person, instead of trying to see it with fresh eyes. This is something I noticed after reading the corresponding Sequence.
I guess establishing an habit of commenting would help me solve these problems.
Hello, I’m a math-cs undergrad and aspiring effective altruist, but I haven’t chosen a cause yet. Since that decision is probably one of the most important ones, I should probably wait until I’ve become stronger.
To that end, I’ve read the Sequences (as well as HPMOR), and I would like to attend a CFAR workshop or similar at some point in the future. I think one of my problems is that I don’t actually think that much about what I read. Do you have any advice on that?
Also, there are a couple of LWers in my college with whom I have met twice, and we would like to start organising meetups regularly. Would you please give me some karma so that I can add new meetups? (I promise I will make up for it with good contributions)