Sunday, 13 November 2011

Tell Me, When Do You Think...?

Imagine you are talking to a relative, a friend or a colleague. You are talking about the itinerary of Pedro, a mutual relative, friend or colleague. The other person may suspect that you have been misinformed about Pedro's arrival. He/ she wants you to clarify that point and decides to say to you: "tell me, when do you think Pedro will be arriving?". 

He/ she could choose to be less formal and say to you:
Dime, ¿cuando crees que va a llegar Pedro?

Alternatively, he/ she could choose to be a little bit more formal and say:
Dígame, ¿cuando cree (usted) que va a llegar Pedro?


You DO NOT need be concerned about the degree of formality in what your relative/ friend/ colleague says to you. Whether the other person uses a more/ less formal register is irrelevant to your choice of reply.

Your answer depends only on what you want to say about Pedro's arrival. There are a variety of ways to reply. Maybe you want to say that:
  • You believe Pedro has already arrived
  • You believe Pedro is arriving in 20 minutes
  • You believe Pedro arrives on Wednesday
  • You don't believe Pedro will arrive until Thursday

Here are some examples which deal with those basic possibilities:
  • Creo que Pedro ha llegado ya (I believe Pedro has arrived already)
  • Creo que Pedro llega dentro de veinte minutos (I believe Pedro will arrive in twenty minutes)
  • Creo Pedro llega el miércoles (I believe Pedro arrives on Wednesday)
  • No creo que Pedro llegue antes del jueves (I don't believe Pedro will arrive before Thursday)*

Now you should practice replying to:
Dime, ¿cuando crees que va a llegar Pedro?

*Please see grammar below

Please note the use of subjunctive mood in expressions of belief in the negative, such as:
  • "I don't believe {something has happened/ is happening/ will happen}

In order to express this in Spanish, you could use:
  • "no creo que <subjuntivo>..." 

An example of this is the reply above: "no creo que Pedro llegue antes del jueves".

Some other examples of expressions of this type in Spanish are:
  • No creo que esté lloviendo (I don't believe it is raining)
  • No creo que me hayas contado mentiras (I don't believe you have told me lies)
  • No creo que Pedro me llame (I don't believe that Pedro will call me)
  • No creo que vayamos a poder viajar juntos (I don't believe we will be able to travel together)
  • No creo que queráis eso (I don't believe you want that)
  • No creo que Pedro y María estén bien (I don't believe Pedro and María are well)

Now you should practise this use of the subjunctive with some more sentences of your own

This is another Free online Spanish lesson from We conduct lessons online on this and many other topics using the latest video conferencing facilities. Online lessons are the ideal way to improve listening and speaking skills. For more details on our lessons online and how to book them, please visit:
© Copyright 2011 by Jose M González. All Rights Reserved
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