Tuesday, 22 November 2011

Tell Me When You Would Like That...

SCENARIO
Imagine you are talking about your parents with a relative, a friend or a colleague.  Perhaps you are talking about making a joint call to them. You might have said something which gave the impression that perhaps you are not sure about when you would like do it. The other person wants you to tell him/ her "when you would like to make that joint call".

He/ she could choose to be less formal and say to you:
Dime cuando te gustaría que llamásemos a tus padres

Alternatively, he/ she could choose to more formal and say to you:
Dígame (usted) cuando le gustaría que llamásemos a sus padres



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. 

Situations like this one invite answers which should include a 'conditional' tense. There is a 'conditional' verb in the request, which should be reflected in the reply. Basically, your answer depends on whether you want to say that you would like to:
  • Make that joint call at a specific time.
  • Make that joint call after a specific period of time.
  • Make that joint call before/ after a given event.

Here some examples which deal with those basic possibilities:
  • Me gustaría que los llamásemos a la una y media (I would like to call them at 1:30)*
  •  Me gustaría que los llamásemos dentro de media hora (I would like to call them in half an hour)*
  • Me gustaría que los llamásemos antes de salir (I would like us to call them before leaving)*

Now you should practise answering the question:
Dime cuando te gustaría que llamásemos a tus padres

*Please see grammar below


Grammar-Subjunctive
Please note this form of expressing what you would like is a typical example of the use of imperfect subjunctive. You should use the imperfect subjunctive in expressions such as:
  • "I would like <you to do something>".
  • "I would like <him/ her to do  something>".
  • "I would like <us to do something>".
  • "I would like <them to do something>".
  • "I would like <something to happen>".

In order to express this in Spanish, you could use:
  • "me gustaría que <subjuntivo>... "

Some examples of imperfect subjunctive are:
  • Me gustaría que me llamases mañana (I would like you to call me tomorrow).
  • Me gustaría que me llamaras mañana (I would like you to call me tomorrow).
  • Me gustaría que fuéramos a bailar (I would like us to go dancing).
  • Me gustaría que fuésemos a bailar (I would like us to go dancing).
  • Me gustaría que me llamaseis el lunes (I would like you-plural to call me on Monday).
  • Me gustaría que me llamarais el lunes (I would like you-plural to call me on Monday).
  • Me gustaría que Pedro y María viniesen a verme (I would like Pedro and María to come and see me).
  • Me gustaría que Pedro y María vinieran a verme (I would like Pedro and María to come and see me).

Now you should practise imperfect subjunctive and conditional expressions of this type of your own.




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