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My grammar book mentions as a bonus point that the future subjunctive is used in relative clauses that express uncertainty.

"...., who may come last" / "Quem for o último"

I was wondering whether this is accurate because I tried putting the example phrases into DeepL and the translation was not in subjunctive form, obviously it is a software so probably less reliable than a native speaker.

And if it is accurate, do people use it in day to day speech or is it a very formal way of speaking

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    For the automatic translators to get it right they need the full sentences, otherwise they have no chance of guessing the context (even then it can be hard). For instance, even a human could suggest "who may come last" to be translated, by itself, as "que pode chegar por último".
    – stafusa
    Commented Oct 29, 2021 at 13:37

2 Answers 2

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In Portuguese, the future subjunctive expresses something that may happen or that you think will happen in the future.1 It's used in subordinate clauses which are, therefore, followed by another clause. The following examples show how the future subjunctive is used and what it conveys:

  • Se eu for a Nova York, certamente visitarei o MoMA.
  • Se tu queres mais, por favor diz-me.
  • Quando ela casar, vai mudar-se para outra cidade.
  • Quando nós chegarmos ao aeroporto, vou tomar um cafezinho.
  • Se vós tiverdes coragem para enfrentá-los, tereis o apoio do povo
  • Se eles não souberem a resposta, teremos que encontrá-la nós mesmos.

As you can see, there is frequently some degree of uncertainty, especially if you use "se" (if). The future subjunctive is current usage in Portuguese, and is used in both formal and informal contexts.

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  • Thanks! The reason was because I run into phrases like "Vocês podem comer quanto vocês quiserem" where "quiserem" is in the future subjunctive, but quanto is not considered a relative pronoun and not a grammatical trigger of the future subjunctive.
    – Jim stoke
    Commented Oct 29, 2021 at 16:11
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    @Schilive Não, eu quis mesmo usar o presente do indicativo. Não me parece errado, por exemplo quando alguém acabou de limpar o prato em que comia. Da mesma forma, "se queres me aborrecer, continua citando meus defeitos" onde "quiseres" não me parece transmitir a mesma coisa. De qualquer forma, se alguém afirmar que está errado, eu mudarei.
    – Centaurus
    Commented Oct 30, 2021 at 0:42
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it is accurate, do people use it in day to day speech

Yes, it's accurate; and yes, it's often used.

To be precise, I'd not describe it as expressing uncertainty, but rather "possibility", "expectation", as clear from these examples:

Se eu for a Paris, eu vou comer croissants. (If I go to Paris, I'll eat croissants.)

Quando Maria chegar em São Paulo, ela vai visitar os amigos. (When Maria gets to São Paulo, she will visit her friends.)

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  • Thanks a lot! So in the phrase "Vocês podem comer quanto vocês quiserem" I would be expressing doubt as to the degree of future desire?
    – Jim stoke
    Commented Oct 29, 2021 at 16:12
  • @Jimstoke In this example I don't see any doubt, only possibility: "You can eat as much/any amount you want".
    – stafusa
    Commented Oct 29, 2021 at 16:24
  • Great, thats super helpful. It's because I was looking at the triggers of the future subjunctive and "quanto" was not one of them and it isnt a relative pronoun either.
    – Jim stoke
    Commented Oct 29, 2021 at 16:53
  • @Jimstoke It's indeed an interesting example that probably would not have occurred me. One often only thinks of "quando" and "if".
    – stafusa
    Commented Oct 29, 2021 at 19:31

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