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Join Us for this Live Lesson about the Past Subjunctive

live lesson on the past subjunctive with Katrina

The past subjunctive is no walk in the park — it’s hard, confusing, and oftentimes quite frustrating.

But it’s just our luck that Katrina, our in-house professional guest, learner of Portuguese, and overall nice person, it’s our luck that she’s accepted to be your stand-in in our lesson.

In each of our “live” lessons, we’ll be having a real lesson, just as you would if you were paying to have it customized for you.

Then, you’ll have some guides, pointers, and resources that will allow you to follow the lesson just like you were here with us.

Can I ask questions?

Of course! Just leave them in the comments section below.

And here’s the rundown of what we discussed with timecodes:

3:10 initial discussion – Rubem Braga, meu ideal seria escrever (and the power of stories)

Here Katrina and I discussed Meu Ideal Seria Escrever, by Rubem Braga. It’s pretty advanced. Katrina had the chance to prepare one week in advance. If you want to fully understand the topics discussed in this live lesson, please read the text, analyze the structures we talk about and ask your questions below.

05:54 first hypothesis – what would you do if you couldn’t read for one year

here we divert a little bit from the main topic but we keep using the subjunctive in Portuguese. In English, whenever you talk about hypothesis, you tend to use “if I could I would” statements. If I could go to Brazil now I would go but it’s impossible.

That structure corresponds to the past subjunctive in Portuguese. And we resort to it whenever we want to talk about something with think is almost impossible to happen or is just hypothetical. If I regard winning the lottery as very improbable, I would probably say if I won the lottery I would buy a house.

Tune in for the next live lesson in which we are going to talk about future hypothesis with think might be possible.

07:17 rápido momento gramatical

At this moment, Katrina and I discuss the structure triggering the subjunctive, which can be seen in this article.

Before moving on, I do suggest you review that section in the article before moving on. When you fully understand that part only you can proceed.

And as I said in the introduction to the live lesson, I strongly suggest you try to give your own answers to the questions in the recording.

08:17 Viagens

Here Katrina and I discuss our past trips and places we like to be in.

Notice that the structure we discussed at five minutes is been in use here.

A place in which we could do something… A hotel that had… Listen for these structures.

16:32 Pessoas desagradáveis, como se

Here we introduce a new triggering structure of the past subjunctive in Portuguese.

It corresponds to the English expression “as if”when making a kind of comparison.

“You act as if you knew everything!”

That’s the structure we are using to define how an unpleasant person behaves.

How would you define it? For you, how would an unpleasant person behave or act?

24:34 Hipóteses Remotas

And here we come back to the structure if I could I would… And we even talk about what we would do if we won the lottery.

Katrina was kind enough to update me on prices of properties in the UK. And we have reached a conclusion — houses are expensive everywhere.

31:16 final considerations

And here we say goodbye 🙂

Leave your questions below!


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  • Olá Eli! Ouvi este episódio e embora pudesse seguir e apreciar o básico da sua conversa, não me ajudou estudar o subjuntivo por 2 razões: 1.) A voz de Katrina foi abafada e foi difícil ouvir as suas palavras individuais 2). Por vezes a sua fala era demasiado rápida para eu a seguir. Fez-me apreciar realmente os seus guias escritos! Obrigada….Jeanie

    • Oi, Jeanie! Obrigado pelo feedback 🙂 Vamos tentar trabalhar mais para melhorar esse aspecto! Realmente, não é muito claro o que nós falamos… mas vamos ter novidades! Espere pelos episódios das próximas semanas 😉

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