Él dijo que teníamos que guardar el secreto.

I thought with orders you use the subjective, e.g. “Él dijo que tuviéramos que guardar el secreto.”

1 Like

I don’t know how these things work since it’s my native language and I haven’t study why this happen (maybe I did and I forgot). But I can tell you we don’t use tuviéramos here, but we would use it if this phrase were negative.

“Él no dijo que tuviéramos que guardar el secreto.”

Maybe someone in this forum knows why this happen.


I think the indicative is used because of ‘decir’, which is a neutral verb of relation.

I also note the use of “tener que”, which in itself has a notion of obligation, which makes the subjunctive unnecessary. I believe the sentence could be rewritten as “él nos dijo que guardáramos el secreto”, in which the subjunctive is used to make it into a order.

Disclaimer: I do not have my grammar books at hand, so I may be horribly wrong :slight_smile:


Yep. You are completely right.

1 Like