Wednesday, 5 September 2012

Tell Me, What Are We Doing Tomorrow?


SCENARIO
Imagine you are talking to a relative, a friend or a colleague. Perhaps you are both studying Spanish and have planned some joint activities. The other person wants a reminder of those activities and says to you something like: "tell me, what are we doing tomorrow?".

In Spanish, he/ she could choose to be less formal and say to you:
Dime, ¿qué hacemos mañana?

On the other hand, he/ she could choose to be more formal and say to you:
Dígame, ¿qué hacemos mañana?


OUR TIP
The question is an invitation for you to say what is in the plan for tomorrow. When saying what you and other people intend doing, 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 is to be done. Perhaps you want express your plans as:
  • Statements of what is to be done (no value judgement);
  • Statements of what should be done (value judgement);

Here are some examples of how you could reply:
  • Tenemos que madrugar (we have to get up early);
  • Tenemos que ir a clase de español (we must go to our Spanish lesson);
  • Por la noche vamos a ir al cine (in the evening, we are going to the cinema);
  • Más vale que hagamos los deberes* (we had better do our homework);
  • Es mejor que practiquemos un poco antes de la clase* (we had better practise a little before the lesson);
  • Es mejor que nos vayamos a la cama temprano esta noche* (we had better go to bed early tonight);
  • Más vale que no nos levantemos tarde mañana* (we had better not sleep in tomorrow);
Now you should practise further replying to someone who says to you:
Dime, ¿qué hacemos mañana?


*Please see grammar below

Grammar-Subjunctive
Please note these are typical examples of the use of subjunctive mood. As a rule, the subjunctive mood should be used in expressions of value judgement such as:
  • "It is better if something happens”
  • "It is better if something is in a particular way”
  • "It is better if someone does something”
  • "It is better if someone is in a particular way”



In order to express this in Spanish, you could use:
  • "es mejor que <subjuntivo>..."
  • "más vale que <subjuntivo>..."


An example of this is the reply above:
  • "más vale que hagamos los deberes".


Some other examples of expressions of this type in Spanish are:
  • Es mejor que llueva (it is better if it rains)
  • Es mejor que que haga sol (it is better if it is sunny)
  • Es mejor que Pedro me llame (it is better that Pedro calls me)
  • Es mejor que viajemos juntos (it is better that we travel together)
  • Mas vale que vengáis (you – plural better come)
  • Más vale que Pedro y María me llamen (Pedro and María had better call me)

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

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