Friday, 24 August 2012

Tell Me, What Surprises You About August 24th?


SCENARIO
Imagine you are talking to a relative, a friend or a colleague. You are talking about current events. You appear a bit surprised about what is happening around the world today. The other person wants to know what is puzzling you and says to you something like: "tell me, what surprises you about August 24th?".

In Spanish, he/ she could choose to be less formal and say to you:
Dime, ¿qué te sorprende del veinticuatro de agosto?

On the other hand, he/ she could choose to be more formal and say to you:
Dígame, ¿a (usted) qué le sorprende del veinticuatro de agosto?


OUR TIP
The question is an invitation for you to say what you find puzzling about something. When you say what surprises you about something like this, you should NOT need to be concerned about the level of formality in the other person's question. Your main concern should be about communicating what surprises you. Perhaps you want to express that in the form of:
  • Statements of fact-like information;
  • Statements displaying emotion - surprise;

Here are some examples of how you could reply:
  • Me sorprenden las fiestas de San Bartolomé (I am surprised by the St Bartholomew feast day events);
  • No me sorprende el calor que hace (I am not surprised by how hot it is)
  • No me sorprende nada (I am not surprised by anything);
  • Es raro que haga frío el veinticuatro de agosto (it is odd that is cold on the 24th of August);
  • Es extraño que llueva el veinticuatro de agosto (it is strange that is raining on the 24th of August);
  • ¡Qué raro que haga frío el veinticuatro de agosto! (how odd that is cold on the 24th of August!);
  • ¡Qué extraño que llueva el veinticuatro de agosto! (how strange that is raining on the 24th of August!);

Now you should practise further replying to someone who says to you:
Dime, ¿qué te sorprende del veinticuatro de agosto?

*Please see grammar below

Grammar-Subjunctive
Please note these are typical examples of the use of subjunctive mood. As a general rule, the subjunctive mood should be used when expressing surprise, as in:
  • "It surprises me that something {has happened/ is happening/ will happen}”
  • "It surprises me that something {has been/ is/ will will be} in a particular way”
  • "It surprises me that someone – other than I {has done/ is is doing/ will do} something”
  • "It surprises me that someone – other than I {has been/ is/ will will be} in a particular way”
  • "How strange that something {has happened/ is happening/ will happen}”
  • "How strange that something {has been/ is/ will will be} in a particular way”
  • "How strange that someone {has done/ is is doing/ will do} something”
  • "How strange that someone {has been/ is/ will will be} in a particular way


In order to express this in Spanish, you could use:
  • "me sorprende que <subjuntivo>..."
  • "no me sorprende que <subjuntivo>..."
  • "es raro que <subjuntivo>..."
  • "es extraño que <subjuntivo>..."
  • "¡qué raro que <subjuntivo>...!"
  • "¡qué extraño que <subjuntivo>...!"

An example of this is the reply above:
  • "Es raro que haga frío el veinticuatro de agosto (it is odd that is cold on the 24th of August);".

Some other examples of expressions of this type in Spanish are:
  • Me sorprende que esté lloviendo (I am surprised that it is raining)
  • No me sorprende que me hayas contado mentiras (I am not surprised that you have told me lies)
  • Es raro que Pedro no me llame (it is odd that that Pedro doesn't call me)
  • Es extraño que no podamos viajar juntos (it is strange that we cannot travel together)
  • ¡Que raro que queráis eso! (how odd that you want that)
  • ¡Qué extraño que Pedro y María no llamen! (how strange that Pedro and María don't call)

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

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