Saturday, 25 February 2012

Tell Me, What Are You Going To Do When You Finish?


SCENARIO
Imagine you are talking to a relative, a friend or a colleague. Perhaps you are in the middle of studying a Spanish lesson. The other person is keen to know what you are planning to do when you finish the lesson. He/ she says to you something like: "tell me, what are you going to do when you finish?".

 In Spanish, he/ she could choose to be less formal and say to you:
Dime, ¿qué vas a hacer cuando termines?

On the other hand, he/ she could choose to be more formal and say to you:
Dígame, ¿qué va a hacer (usted) cuando termine?



OUR TIP
You could think of the question you are asked as a typical prompt to talk about your plans for the future, when you finish what you are currently doing.  When talking about what you are doing/ planning to do/ thinking about doing in the future, you DO NOT need to be concerned about levels of formality. You just need to concentrate on expressing your plans for the future. In this case, perhaps you want to say that when you finish you are going to:
  • Go to a specific geographical destination (town/ country/ etc.).
  • Get some health care attention (medical/ dental/ etc.).
  • Do something general (work/ rest/ etc.).
  • Take part in a sports/ leisure activity (playing tennis/ golf/ etc.).
  • Visit someone.

Here are some examples of how you would say what you are going to do when you finish:
  • Cuando termine voy a ir a Los Ángeles* (when I finish I am going to to go to LA).
  • Cuando termine voy a ir al médico* (when I finish I am going to see the doctor).
  • Cuando termine voy a descansar* (when I finish I am going to rest).
  • Cuando termine voy a jugar a tenis* (when I finish I am going toplay tennis).
  • Cuando termine voy a ver a mis padres (when I finish I am going to visit my parents).

    Now you should practise talking about the future to someone who says to you:
    Dime, ¿qué vas a hacer cuando termines?

    *Please see grammar below

    Grammar-The Future
    These are examples of expressions using the construction  "ir + a" followed by an infinitive  to express the future. Remember that in Spanish we have three separate ways to express the future:

    1. Using the present Tense.- In  Spanish we can use the present tense to express the future (plans/ intentions/ events/ etc.). Some examples of  expressions of the future of this type are:
    • Mañana vamos a la playa* (tomorrow we are going to the beach).
    • La semana que viene es mi cumpleaños (next week is my birthday).
    • El mes que viene no tengo exámenes (next month I don't have any exams).
    • ¿Qué hacéis el año que viene?* (what are you -plural doing next year). 
    Notes
    *In English, when expressing the future the continuous present is often used (for example "tomorrow we are going to the beach"). In contrast, in Spanish the ordinary present is used throughout ( "mañana vamos a la playa"/ "¿qué hacéis el año que viene?").



    2. Using the Future Tense*.-  In  Spanish we can use the future tense to express the future (plans/ intentions/ events/ etc.). Some examples of  expressions of the future of this type are: :
    • Mañana iremos a la playa* (tomorrow we will go/ we will be going to the beach[*]).
    • La semana que viene será mi cumpleaños (next week it will be my birthday).
    • El mes que viene no tendré exámenes (next month I will not have/ will not be having any exams[*]).
    • ¿Qué haréis el año que viene?* (what will you -plural do/ what will you -plural be doing next year)*.
    Notes
    *Please note that this form of expressing the future (using the future tense) is not quite so common in spoken Spanish language.
    [*]Please note also that in Spanish, the use of the continuous future tense (e.g., we will be going to the beach) is a lot less common when expressing the future and should not be used in future expressions such as this one.



    3. Using "ir + a" followed by an infinitive*.- In  Spanish we can use the construction "ir + a" plus an infinitive to express the future (plans/ intentions/ etc.). Some examples of  wish expressions of this type are:
    • Mañana vamos a ir a la playa* (tomorrow we are going to go the beach).
    • La semana que viene va a ser mi cumpleaños (next week is going to be my birthday).
    • El mes que viene no voy a tener exámenes (next month I am not going to have any exams).
    • ¿Qué váis a hacer el año que viene?* (what are you -plural going to do next year?).
    Notes
    *Please note that this a very common form of expressing the future in spoken Spanish language.



    Now you should practise expressing the future with some examples of your own.


    Grammar-The Subjunctive

    Please note that when using "cuando" or "siempre que" to refer to some unspecified time in the future, as in: "whenever I can"/ "whenever you wish"/ "whenever is possible"/ or similar expressions, the subjunctive mood should be used.

    Some examples of this use of the subjunctive are:
    • Cuando pueda descanso (I'll rest whenever I can)
    • Cuando quieras, nos vamos (we'll go whenever you want)
    • Cuando venga Marta, vamos a hablar (we'll talk whenever Marta comes)
    • Cuando lleguemos te llamo (we'll call you whenever we arrive)
    • Cuando terminéis llámame (call me whenever you finish)
    • Cuando Marta y Alfonso quieran salimos (we'll leave whenever Marta and Alfonso want it)
    Now you should practise this use of the subjunctive with some more sentences of your own


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