Wednesday, 26 October 2011

How Do You Know My Brother's Name?


SCENARIO
Imagine you are talking to a friend or a colleague. Maybe you are talking about his/ her family/ relatives. Your friend/ colleague has a brother named Antonio. Your friend/ colleague is surprised to discover that you know his/ her brother's names. Your friend/ colleague wants to ask how you know his/ her brother's name. 

He/ she could choose to be less formal and ask you:
¿Cómo sabes que mi hermano se llama Antonio?


Alternatively, he/ she could choose to be a little bit more formal and say:
¿Cómo sabe (usted) que mi hermano se llama Antonio?
  


OUR TIP

There are a variety of different ways in which this question could be answered. How you would answer it depends on how you want explain how come that you know Antonio. Perhaps you want to choose between saying that you know his/ her brother's name is Antonio because:
  • You have known Antonio for a long time
  • You work with Antonio

However, before you 'deliver' your reply, you MUST choose how you are going to 'deliver' it. In other words, you need to decide whether you are going to talk to him/ her in a manner which shows:
  • Less formality/ less need to be respectful or keep distances.
  • More formality/ that you want to be more respectful or keep distances

Here are a couple of examples which deal with your hypothetical choices of reply in an informal manner:
  • Porque hace mucho (tiempo) que conozco a tu hermano Antonio (because I have known your brother Antonio for a long time)
  •  Porque trabajo con tu hermano Antonio (because I work with your brother Antonio)
Here are a couple of examples which deal with the same choices of reply in a more formal manner:
  • Porque hace mucho (tiempo) que conozco a su hermano Antonio (because I have known your brother Antonio for a long time)
  •  Porque trabajo con su hermano Antonio (because I work with your brother Antonio)

Now you should practice answering the question:
¿Cómo sabes que mi hermano se llama Antonio?

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