Chapter 15 - Speculating about things
We can speculate about the possible outcomes of events which have already occurred, or propose consequences for events which are possible. This tense is formed by taking the stem from the io form of the imperfect past tense, and adding the endings for each group.
Group 1 verbs end in -are. The io form of the imperfect past tense of parlare is parlavo. The stem is parl-, and the ending is -avo. The ending is dropped, and the stem (parl-)is used to form the past subjunctive.
I parl + assi parlassi (pahr-lAH-see)
you parl + assi parlassi (pahr-lAH-see)
he, she, it parl + asse parlasse (pahr-lAH-say)
we parl + ạssimo parlạssimo (pahr-lAHs-see-moh)
you parl + aste parlaste (pahr-lAHs-tay)
they parl + ạssero parlạssero (pahr-lAHs-say-roh)
In group 1, there are no irregularities. The verbs dare, fare, stare, and their compounds are part of group 2.
Group 2 verbs end in -ere or -rre. The io form of the imperfect past tense of credere is credevo. The stem is cred-, and the ending is -evo. The ending is dropped, and the stem (cred-) is used for the past subjunctive.
I cred + ẹssi credẹssi (cray-dAYs-see)
you cred + ẹssi credẹssi (cray-dAYs-see)
he, she, it cred + ẹsse credẹsse (cray-dAYs-say)
we cred + ẹssimo credẹssimo (cray-dAYs-see-moh)
you cred + ẹste credẹste (cray-dAY-stay)
they cred + ẹssero credẹssero (cray-dAYs-say-roh)
In group 2, the following verbs are irregular in the past subjunctive.
ęssere, to be: fọssi, fọssi, fọsse, fossimo, fọste, fọssero
rięssere, to be again: rifọssi, rifọssi, rifọsse, rifossimo, rifọste, rifọssero
Group 3 verbs end in -ire. The imperfect past tense of finire is finivo. The stem is fin-, and the ending is -ivo. The ending is dropped, and the stem (fin-) is used to form the past subjunctive.
I fin + issi finissi (fee-nEEs-see)
you fin + issi finissi (fee-nEEs-see)
he, she, it fin + isse finisse (fee-nEEs-say)
we fin + ịssimo finịssimo (fee-nEEs-see-moh)
you fin + iste finiste (fee-nEE-stay)
they fin + ịssero finịssero (fee-nEEs-say-roh)
In group 3, there are no exceptions to the rules, but dire and its compounds are part of group two.
The past subjunctive in English is formed by the use of may have, might have, had, or were. Some example are Had I the money, I would go to Italy. Se avessi il denaro, andrei in italia.
It would be nice if I were able to speak Italian. Sarebbe buono se fosse parlare italiano.
Who knows what might have happened? Chi sa che potesse avere successo?
Life would be easy if we were rich. La vita sarebbe fạcile se fǫssimo rici.
If I had studied, I would be a doctor. Se avessi studiato, sarei dottore.