Friday, 22 June 2012

Tell Me, How Does Alcohol Affect Drivers?


SCENARIO
Imagine you are talking to a relative, a friend or a colleague. Maybe you are talking about the impact of alcohol on everyday activities. The conversation gets to the topic of 'drinking and driving'. The other person decides to test your knowledge of the topic and says to you something like: "tell me, how does alcohol affect drivers?".

In Spanish, he/ she could choose to be less formal and say to you:
Dime, ¿cómo afecta el alcohol a los conductores?

On the other hand, he/ she could choose to be more formal and say to you:
Dígame, ¿cómo afecta el alcohol a los conductores?


OUR TIP
The question is an invitation for you to say what you know about the impact of alcohol on the ability to drive a vehicle. When saying what the impact of drinking alcohol on a driver is, you DO NOT need to be concerned about the level of formality in the other person's question. Your main concern should be about communicating what the impact of alcohol is. Perhaps you want to say that alcohol makes the driver:
  • Slower at making decisions;
  • Slower at reacting to events;
  • Less able to gauge own speed;
  • Less able to gauge distances;
  • Less able to concentrate
  • More prone to take risks;

Here are some examples of how you could reply:
  • El alcohol hace que el conductor sea más lento en tomar decisiones* (alcohol makes the driver slower at making decisions);
  • El alcohol hace que el conductor sea más lento en reaccionar ante eventualidades* (alcohol makes the driver slower at reacting to events);
  • El alcohol hace que el conductor pierda la capacidad de calibrar su velocidad de forma adecuada* (alcohol makes the driver loose the ability to properly gauge own speed);
  • El alcohol hace que el conductor pierda la capacidad de calibrar distancias de forma adecuada* (alcohol makes the driver loose the ability to properly gauge distances);
  • El alcohol hace que el conductor pierda capacidad de concentración* (alcohol makes the driver loose the capability to concentrate);
  • El alcohol hace que el conductor tienda a asumir más riesgos* (alcohol makes the driver more prone to take risks);

Now you should practice further replying to someone who says to you:
Dime, ¿cómo afecta el alcohol a los conductores?

*Please see grammar below

Grammar-Subjunctive
Please note these are typical examples of the use of the subjunctive mood. When the Spanish verb “hacer” (to make) is used as a verb of influence, it requires the use of a subjunctive mood in the corresponding subordinate/ dependent clauses.

Some examples of the use of the subjunctive in subordinate/ dependent clauses of this type are:
  • Ahora mismo hago que Pedro te llame (I will make Pedro call you right now);
  • Haz que lo hagamos (make us do it);
  • Pedro hará que volvamos a su casa (Pedro is going to make us to go back to his house);
  • Ahora hacemos que Antonio no nos moleste más (now we stop Antonio from bothering us further);
  • Haréis que cenemos antes de salir (you -familiar/ plural will make us have supper before leaving);
  • Ustedes harán que cenemos antes de salir (you -formal/ plural will make us have supper before leaving);
  • Marta y Alfonso harán que salgamos tarde (Marta and Alfonso will make us depart late);

Now you should practise this use of the subjunctive with some more sentences of your own

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