1. I find it difficult to think in terms of the Imperfect subjunctive in examples which allude to an event in the future, e.g. "Ojalá nosotros viniésemos el año que viene"... Could we also say "Ojalá nosotros vengamos el año que viene"?
2. [A comment rather than a question]: I personally prefer the "-s-" option for constructing the Imperfect Subjunctive because there is less chance of confusing it with a future construction.
First, you can use the -se endings for the imperfect subjunctive, no problem. Using -ra or -se is simply a question of style, personal preference... What you find in native speakers is, in my opinion, a combination of the two, although with a bit more use of the -ra endings (I use -ra a bit more than -se). In reference to its similarity with the future form, remember that you will see an accent in the future form but not in the imperfect subjunctive form. (something to keep in mind)
About these two sentences:
1. "Nos gustaría que empezaras a trabajar con nosotros" - (We'd like you to start working with us.)
2. "Nos gusta que empieces a trabajar con nosotros" - (We like [the fact] that you are starting to work with us.)
In 1. with the conditional we are expressing a hypothetical idea, and it comes naturally with the imperfect subjunctive (que empezaras...) following the natural sequence of tenses. But we sometimes combine it with the present subjunctive if what we'd like is something that I see more probable, more achievable, e.g. you'd like him to start working soon, tomorrow...
"Me gustaría que empieces a trabajar con nosotros (hoy, mañana, pronto)."
It sounds as if the decision had already been made, therefore seen as a more realistic probable event. However if we use it with the imperfect subjunctive, it sounds more like a vague future idea:
"Me gustaría que empezaras a trabajar con nosotros (algún día..)."
In 2. using "Me gusta que..." is talking about a fact, something that is actually happening. Me gusta in the present + que, can take pretty much any tense in the subjunctive, because you are expressing that you do like the fact that "something is happening", "something has happened" or "something did happen":
Me gusta que empieces a trabajar con nosotros. (I like that you are starting to work with us)
Me gusta que hayas empezado a trabajar con nosotros. (I like that you have started to work with us)
Me gusta que empezaras a trabajar con nosotros. (I like that you started to work with us)
I've just seen Inma's reply to Emanuel.
Another example in your list was: "Nos gustaría que empezaras a trabajar con nosotros" -
compared with: "Nos gusta que empieces a trabajar con nosotros" ?
Thank you Inma ...
1. In class (here in southeast Spain) the teacher always tells me that the "-ra" form is more common, although she does tolerate my preference for the "-ese" versions.
2. It was interesting to see your example: "Me gustaría que empieces a trabajar …" because I was under the impression that the imperfect subjunctive was mandatory after the conditional. I have now learned to accept more flexibility in that regard !
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