Why does the Spanish verb "alegrarse de" require infinitive or subjunctive even for known past events?
Firstly, let me express you my happiness for having me the opportunity to try reveal, how to use the verb “alegrarse” and not feel frustrated for misunderstanding how to use it.
“Alegrarse” is a pronominal verb, what it means that is conjugated along with an “reflexive pronoum”: Me / Te / Se / Nos / Os / Se
I am going to classify this question in 4 key issues:
Alegrarse + de + infinitive (of something) - To be glad of something
Alegrarse + de + que + subjunctive (that something happens)
Alegrarse + que + subjunctive (that something happens)
Alegrarse + noun or infinitive
1. “Alegrarse + de + infinitivo” does not require the subjunctive, but rather the infinitive.
Because the subject of the sentence is the same person that receives the action of the verb: Yo / Tú / Él – Ella – Usted / Nosotros / Vosotros / Ellos – Ellas – Ustedes
It means that the subject (the same person) provokes the happiness to himself.
It is working as “reflexive meaning”
Yo me alegro de responder a tu pregunta – I am glad to answer your question.
Nosotros nos alegramos de estar en esta ciudad – We are glad to be in this city.
Él se alegra de vivir en París – He is glad to live in Paris.
2. “Alegrarse + de + que + subjunctive” This structure requires always the subjunctive, even if the events are known pasts or real facts.
Because in this case they are two subjects in the sentence:
Yo me alegro de que tú hagas (present subjunctive) esta pregunta. - I am glad you ask this question.
Who is the subject in the sentence above?
Yo / Tú - The focus is on me not on you
Ellos se alegran de que vosotros hayais venido (past perfect subjunctive) pronto a trabajar - They are glad (that) you had arrived early to work.
Now, the subjects are: Ellos / Vosotros - The focus is on them not on you.
3. “Alegrarse + que + subjunctive” This structure requires always the subjunctive, even if the events are known pasts or real facts.
A mí, Me alegra que vosotros hayáis venido a mi fiesta - I am glad that you had come to my party.
Now perhaps you are wondering, what is the difference between 2) and 3) items.
Remember that in Spanish language we have some verbs that are always conjugated in 3th person singular or plural. Verbs called “physical or psychic perception” like: gustar, apetecer, importar, molestar, encantar, etc.
Why is this? Because who triggers the action is not me, it is the complement “grammar subject”
Me gusta el cine - The cinema likes me à “el cine” is the grammar subject, and “me” is the indirect pronoun
Me molestan los ruidos ~ The noise bothers me à “los ruidos are the gramar subjecto, no “yo”
In the same way works the verb “alegrarse” when we want to emphasis who triggers the action.
A mí, me alegra que vosotros hayáis venido a mi fiesta – I am glad (that) you have come to my party
The grammar subject in the sentence above is “que vosotros hayáis venido a mi fiesta”
A nosotros, nos alegra que vosotros hayáis venido a nuestra fiesta – We are glad (that) you have come to our party.
Watch out! The verb “alegrarse” doesn´t change the number in both sentences.
And the last but not least.
4. “Alegrarse + noun or infinitive” is followed by a noun or infinitive, not by a subordinated clause, the number of the verb “alegrarse” changes. It depends if the noun is singular or plural. The infinitive is always singular.
A mí, me alegran los días con mucha luz natural - I rejoice the days with lot of natural light
A ellos, les alegra el sabor dulce - They rejoice the sweet taste.
A nosotros, nos alegran las vacaciones en verano - We rejoice the summer holidays
I hope this explanation has been useful to solve some questions about the uses of the verb “alegrarse”.
I hope that you feel more confident using the verb ‘alegrarse’, after reading this article.
Please let me know if you have any question, comment or suggestion.