use of expressions of doubt

WylieC1Kwiziq Q&A regular contributor

use of expressions of doubt

Hi Silvia. The phrase "expression of doubt" (I paraphrase) and the way it is used here seem ambiguous. How is it that according to the tests "creemos que" and "piensan que" don't express doubt; to me, since they don't express certainty, there is doubt. Likewise, how is it that "es impossible que" is followed by the subjunctive, when it expresses certainty that something is not possible. Please clarify. Thanks.

Asked 10 months ago
InmaKwiziq team member

Hola Wylie

I can see how this one is confusing because the first thing that comes to our mind is that "it is impossible that..." conveys "certainty", although a "negative certainty", but certainty. This thinking would justify the indicative, not the subjunctive. However, in a Spanish mind, this phrase: "Es imposible que..." could also convey "I doubt very much that...", therefore we consider it more of a "strong doubt", triggering the subjunctive. 

Plus, it is good to also think about the structures "ser + adjective + que " which are also followed by the subjunctive (unless they clearly convey a total certainty, e.g. "es cierto que...", "es verdad que..." )

This phrase fits with this theory, "es imposible que..." 

I hope this helps,

Inma

WylieC1Kwiziq Q&A regular contributor

Thanks Inma! I appreciate your explanations to both my question and Alexander's.

use of expressions of doubt

Hi Silvia. The phrase "expression of doubt" (I paraphrase) and the way it is used here seem ambiguous. How is it that according to the tests "creemos que" and "piensan que" don't express doubt; to me, since they don't express certainty, there is doubt. Likewise, how is it that "es impossible que" is followed by the subjunctive, when it expresses certainty that something is not possible. Please clarify. Thanks.

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