The sadistic Spanish subjunctive

I can remember the exact moment when Spanish utterly and permanently captivated me. I was fifteen years old and in my fourth year as a Spanish student. Our class had wrapped up the basic tenses and the present subjunctive, and was ready to launch into the imperfect subjunctive. Our teacher explained to us that this tense was based […]

Spanish lessons from popular fiction

My second-favorite souvenir from a Spanish-speaking country is a reading list. (My absolute favorite is a mama cuchara, an oversized spoon that I bought at the open-air market in Otovalo, Ecuador.) This precious list was a parting present from a professor at the Universidad Complutense de Madrid, where I took summer classes about six years ago. She […]

Twice the subjunctive, twice the fun

This post is a little denser on grammar than usual, so I’ve inset helpful expositions in red. The American comedian W.C. Fields famously quipped that if first prize was a week in Philadelphia, second prize was two weeks. I suppose that most Spanish students feel the same way about the subjunctive. If first prize is […]