Present Perfect Subjunctive vs. Imperfect Subjunctive

I'll cut right to the chase. I cannot for the life of my figure out why this sentence, translated, should be in the present perfect subjunctive and not the imperfect subjunctive:

"I hope that you slept well".

The supposed correct translation is: "Espero que hayas dormido bien"

I understand that, like basically all subjunctive moods/tenses, it can be used to express uncertainty, since you don't know whether they slept well or not. Great.

But why can't I use the imperfect subjunctive and translate it as:

"Espero que durmieras bien."

In all of the examples explaining the present perfect subjunctive, they are always translating sentences that follow the same construction in English, for example: "I hope you have enjoyed the day". In which case it seems more obvious. Saying "have enjoyed" may be similar to simply "enjoyed" but it's not the same.

Maybe the answer is that either are fine, in which case that would be a huge relief for me. May using Google translate isn't a good source, but confusingly, Google will translate some things in this identical construction with the Present Perfect Subjunctive and some with the Imperfect Subjunctive.

As far as I can tell, the only difference is that it will choose the imperfect subjunctive when a reflexive verb is used.

For example, if you translate "I hope that you stopped," it chooses to use the verb detenerse and uses the imperfect subjunctive like so:

"Espero que te detuvieras"

The arbitrary nature of this makes me think that both are acceptable and I'm overthinking it. Maybe it would just be too clunky with reflexive verbs and chooses not to through haber into the mix. Although I'd argue it's clunky even without a reflexive verb…

Anyway, if someone has any answers, I'd love to hear them. I've done a bit of Googling on the matter and the results I've found have been frustratingly unhelpful.

submitted by /u/thunderpandaaa
[link] [comments]