Conjunctions and infinitive of verb

I am reading the section on conjunctions, why is the infinitive used, ex vamos pedir a comida quando ele chegar

@lorraineg2011, I suppose you’re talking about chegar. Even though it looks just like the infinitive, it is actually conjugated in the future subjunctive (third-person singular). Many verbs look just the same in both cases, so it’s understandably difficult to know if they are conjugated or not.

Ah, I haven’t got to the subjunctive yet. Thanks for the speedy reply.

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How interesting, we were just having a discussion about a very similar case - its great having your imput to resolve our differences of opinion! Lorraine’s example is saying “we are going to order food when he will arrive” - although in english we say when he has arrived, making it seem like it is an event in the past, but spoken of in the future ? Is that right? I am trying to train myself not to do direct translations from english but learn constructions as they are said in Portuguese - it isn’t always easy!

Happy to help, @andrew! Yes, the sentence has a clear future outlook. And in fact, there are two ways we can word it:

  • We’re going to order food when he arrives (simple present) ~ Vamos pedir a comida quando ele chegar (simple future subjunctive)
  • We’re going to order food when he has arrived (present perfect) ~ Vamos pedir a comida quando ele tiver chegado (compound future subjunctive)

The first option is the most usual.

Thank youfor your nice precise explanation. It really helps to make one feel relaxed speaking when you are confident it is the correct form.
Tem uma boa semana.

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Could I ask about this phrase: They had already left before I arrived. I think ‘chegar’ is used here. Does this count as future, also? The chegar/cheguei thing has been driving me mad. I’ve only just seen this information here.

@je.woody Yes, chegar is used. But in that sentence, you’re looking at the infinitive :slight_smile:

Thanks for the reply but I’m still confused. Why the infinitive and not cheguei?

@je.woody I’m afraid I don’t have a much better answer than “it’s how the language works”! It’s one of those cases where verb tenses don’t align between English and Portuguese. So, even though we say “before I arrived” in English, we can’t say “antes de eu cheguei” in Portuguese. The structure “antes de” asks for the infinitive (simple or compound):

  • Eles/elas já tinham partido antes de eu chegar (infinitive, simple)
  • Eles/elas já tinham partido antes de eu ter chegado (infinitive, compound)