The Spanish subject pronoun is usually dropped, thus it is essential to have all verb conjugations memorized in order to recognize (as the listener) and express (as the speaker) which subject is performing the action. The French subject pronoun is always stated, which means that verb conjugations - while still important, of course - are not as vital to comprehension: your own or your listener's. In addition, French has just two words for you (singular/familiar and plural/formal), while Spanish has four (singular familiar, plural familiar, singular formal, and plural formal), or even five - there's a different singular/familiar used in parts of Latin America with its own conjugations.
French has fewer verb tenses/moods than Spanish. French has a total of 15 verb tenses/moods, four of which are literary and rarely used, thus only 11 are used in daily French. Spanish has 17, one of which is literary (pretérito anterior) and two judicial/administrative (futuro de subjuntivo and futuro anterior de subjuntivo), which leaves 14 for regular use. Lots of conjugations!
The final straw, for me, is the subjunctive. While the subjunctive mood is the bane of students of both languages, it is more difficult and much more common in Spanish.
- The French subjunctive is used almost solely after que, whereas the Spanish subjunctive is used regularly after many different conjunctions: que, cuando, como, etc.
- There are two different sets of conjugations for the Spanish imperfect subjunctive and pluperfect subjunctive. You can choose just one set of conjugations to learn, but you must be able to recognize both.
- Si clauses (If... then... clauses) are very similar in French and English but are more difficult in Spanish. Note the two subjunctive tenses that are used in the Spanish si clauses. In French the imperfect subjunctive and pluperfect subjunctive are literary and extremely rare, but in Spanish, they are commonplace.
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