Friday, 25 November 2011

Tell Me When You Would Prefer...

SCENARIO
Imagine you are talking about going shopping with a relative, a friend or a colleague. You might have said something which gave the impression that perhaps at this time, you would rather do something else. The other person wants you to tell him/ her "when you would prefer going shopping".

He/ she could choose to be less formal and say to you:
Dime cuando preferirías ir de compras

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



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 'conditional' verb in the request, which should be reflected in the reply. Basically, your answer depends on what you want to say about your preferences. Maybe you want to say that you would prefer:
  • Going shopping on a specific date
  • Going shopping at a specific time
  • Going shopping after a specific period of time
  • Going shopping "on some condition"

Here some examples which deal with those basic possibilities:
  • Preferiría ir de compras el sábado (I would like to go shopping on Saturday).
  • Preferiría ir de compras a las siete (I would like to go shopping at 7:00).
  • Preferiría ir de compras dentro de veinte minutos (I would like to go shopping in 20 minutes time).
  • Preferiría ir de compras si tuviese dinero (I would like to go shopping if I had money)*

Now you should practice answering the question:
Dime cuando preferirías ir de compras

*Please see grammar below


Grammar-Subjunctive
Please note this form of expressing your preferences is a typical example of the use of the imperfect subjunctive and conditional:
  • "I would prefer <doing something> if  <something happened>".
  • "I would prefer <doing 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 prefer <doing something>".
  • "If  <someone did something>, I would prefer <doing something>"

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

Some examples of imperfect subjunctive and conditional are:
  • Si hiciese sol, preferiría ir a la playa (if it was sunny, I would would prefer going to the beach).
  • Si hiciera sol, preferiría ir a la playa (if it was sunny, I would would prefer going to the beach).
  • Si yo no estuviese cansado, preferiría ir a bailar (if I wasn't tired, I would prefer going dancing).
  • Si yo no estuviera cansado, preferiría ir a bailar (if I wasn't tired, I would prefer going dancing).
  • Preferiría ir a verte, si pudiese (I would prefer going to see you, if I could).
  • Preferiría ir a verte, si pudiera (I would prefer going to see you, if I could).

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



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