Spanish Language Learning – Did I grade my classmate’s assignment incorrectly?

In class today we had to grade each other’s writing assignments based on 4 criteria: 1 point for one new vocab word used correctly, 1 point for another new vocab word used correctly, 1 point for the subjunctive being used correctly, and 1 point for handwriting (my teacher wants us to work on good handwriting to prepare for the AP test). 4 points in total.

I gave him 1 out of 2 points on the vocab. One vocab word was used correctly, but the second was not. I gave him half a point on the handwriting. It was really bad to be honest, but I didn’t want to be too harsh. I don’t enjoy giving my classmates a bad grade, it feels kind of awkward. And I gave him half a point on proper use of the subjunctive (more on that later). 2 out of 4 points in total. Not a good score, but I couldn’t bring it any higher.

Anyway, he wouldn’t stop arguing with me about the score I gave him, and it was starting to kind of piss me off. Like come on man, I’m not the one who wrote the paper. One of the things he argued about with me was that he didn’t think I should have taken half a point off on subjunctive use.

Here is the subjunctive sentence he wrote: “Es importante que entendamos que la gente tenga otras cosas que cuidar” (It’s important that we understand that people have other things to take care of)

I gave him half a point because “Es importante que entendamos” is a correct use of the subjunctive. But “que la gente tenga otras cosas que cuidar” should not be in the subjunctive. It is just a fact, there is no reason for it to be in the subjunctive. The sentence should be “Es importante que entendamos que la gente *tiene* otras cosas que cuidar”.

But he kept arguing with me and telling me that his use was correct. And so I want to make sure I didn’t needlessly dock half a point. Was his subjunctive use right or wrong? If it turns out to be right, I’ll go to my teacher tomorrow and tell her that I made a mistake and to add half a point to his score. My teacher wasn’t here today so I couldn’t ask her to settle the issue.

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