Friday, 4 November 2011

Tell Me When You Want To Return



SCENARIO

Imagine you are with a relative, a friend or a colleague. Maybe you are both out in town. The other person feels that perhaps you want to go home. He/ she wants you to confirm that and decides to say to you: "tell me when you want to return home".

He/ she could choose to be less formal and say to you:
Dime cuando quieres volver a casa


Alternatively, he/ she could choose to be a little bit more formal and say:
Dígame cuando quiere (usted) volver a casa
  


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 when you want to go home. There are a variety of ways to reply. Maybe you want to say that you:
  • Want to be home before/ after a specific time
  • Want be home at a specific time
  • Want be home before/ after a specific date
  • Want be home at a specific date
  • Want be home before/ after a specific event
  • Want to be home before/ after something happens
  • Want to be home before/ after someone does something

Here are some examples which deal with those basic possibilities:
  • Quiero llegar a casa antes de las 11:00 (I want to arrive home before 11:00)
  • Quiero llegar a casa a las siete y media (I want to arrive home at 7:30)
  • Quiero llegar a casa antes del martes (I want to arrive home before Tuesday)
  • Quiero llegar a casa el sábado (I want to arrive home on Saturday)
  • Quiero llegar a casa antes del fin de semana (I want to arrive home before the weekend)
  • Quiero llegar a casa antes de que acabe la semana (I want to arrive home before the week ends)*
  • Quiero llegar a casa antes de que mis padres se hayan ido a la cama (I want to get home before my parents have gone to bed)*

Now you should practise replying to:
Dime cuando quieres volver a casa

*Please see grammar below


Grammar-Subjunctive
Please note the use of subjunctive mood in expressions of wanting, such as:
  • "I want to {do something} before {something happens}"
  • "I want to {do something} after {something happens}"
  • "I want to {do something} before {someone does something else}"
  • "I want to {do something} after {someone does something else}"

In order to express this in Spanish, you could use:
  • "quiero <infinitivo>... antes de que <subjuntivo>..." 
  • "quiero <infinitivo>... después de que <subjuntivo>..."

An example of this is the reply above: "quiero llegar antes de que mis padres se hayan ido a la cama".

Some other examples of expressions of this type in Spanish are:
  • Quiero terminar antes de que acabe la semana (I want to finish before the week ends)
  • Quiero descansar antes de que llegues (I want to rest before you arrive)
  • Quiero terminar antes de que Pedro me llame (I want to finish before Pedro calls me)
  • Quiero llegar después de que vosotros hayáis salido (I want to arrive after you have left)
  • Quiero desayunar antes de que Pedro y María se despierten (I want to have breakfast before Pedro and María wake up)

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



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