Monday, 28 November 2011

Tell Me When You Would Prefer... (2)

SCENARIO
Imagine you are talking to a relative, a friend or a colleague.  Perhaps you are talking about that relative, friend or colleague coming along with someone else and jointly pay you a visit. You might have said something which gave the impression that perhaps there are some times when their arrival might be inappropriate. The other person wants you to tell him/ her "when you would prefer them to arrive".

He/ she could choose to be less formal and say to you:
Dime cuando preferirías que llegásemos

Alternatively, he/ she could choose to more formal and say to you:
Dígame (usted) cuando preferiría que llegásemos



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 prefer them to:
  • Visit jointly at a specific time.
  • Visit jointly after a specific period of time.
  • Visit jointly on/ before/ after a given date.

Here some examples which deal with those basic possibilities:
  • Preferiría que llegaseis a la una y media (I would prefer you to arrive at 1:30)*
  • Preferiría que llegaseis dentro de media hora (I would prefer you to arrive in half an hour)*
  • Preferiría que llegaseis antes del lunes (I would prefer you to arrive before Monday)*

Now you should practice answering the question:
Dime cuando preferirías que llegásemos

*Please see grammar below


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

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

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

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




This is another Free online Spanish lesson from Love-Spanish.com. 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:

For more Free Spanish:
Follow us on:
Twitter: @LoveSpanish_com
© Copyright 2011 Love-Spanish.com. by Jose M González. All Rights Reserved
Post a Comment