Saturday, 19 November 2011

Tell Me When You Would Like To...

Imagine you are talking about leisure activities with a relative, a friend or a colleague.  Perhaps you are talking about going to the cinema. You might have said something which gave the impression that perhaps you are not sure about when you would like to go. The other person wants you to tell him/ her "when you would like to go to the cinema".

 He/ she could choose to be less formal and say to you:
Dime cuando te gustaría ir al cine

Alternatively, he/ she could choose to more formal and say to you:
Dígame (usted) cuando le gustaría ir al cine

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 '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:
  • Going to the cinema on a specific date
  • Going to the cinema at a specific time
  • Going to the cinema "on some condition"

Here some examples which deal with those basic possibilities:
  • Me gustaría ir al cine el sábado (I would like to go to the cinema on Saturday)
  •  Me gustaría ir al cine a las siete (I would like to go to the cinema at 7:00)
  • Me gustaría ir al cine si echasen una película de vaqueros (I would like to go to the cinema if a western was on show)*

Now you should practice answering the question:
Dime cuando te gustaría ir al cine

*Please see grammar below

Please note this is a typical example of the use of imperfect subjunctive and conditional:
  • "I would like <to do something> if  <something happened>".
  • "I would like <to do something> if  <someone did something>".

NB The tell-tale sign in these expressions is the English use of the past tense (as in: "if something happened"/ "if someone did something"). Please note also that the order could also be changed to:
  • "If  <something happened>, I would like <to do something>".
  • "If  <someone did something>, I would like <to do something>"

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

Some examples of imperfect subjunctive and conditional are:
  • Si hiciese sol, me gustaría ir a la playa (if it was sunny, I would would like to go to the beach).
  • Si yo no estuviese cansado, me gustaría ir a bailar (if I wasn't tired, I would like to go dancing).
  • Me gustaría contártelo todo, si me escribieras (if you wrote to me, I would like to tell you everything).

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