Sunday, 13 November 2011

Tell Me, When Do You Think...?

SCENARIO
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?
  


OUR TIP

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


Grammar-Subjunctive
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



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