Thursday, 20 September 2012

Tell Me, What Do You Need For Tomorrow?

Imagine you are talking to a relative, a friend or a colleague. You are talking about your plans for tomorrow. The other person wants to know what you need for tomorrow and says to you something like: "tell me, what do you need for tomorrow?".

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

On the other hand, he/ she could choose to be more formal and say to you:
Dígame, ¿qué le hace falta (a usted) para mañana?

The question is an invitation for you to indicate what you need. When what you need does not involve the person asking the question, you DO NOT need to be concerned about the level of formality in the other person's question. In that case, your main concern should be about communicating what you need. Perhaps you want to reply with:
  • Statements of fact-like information;
  • Statements displaying value judgement;

Here are some examples of how you could reply:
  • Necesito madrugar (I need to get up early);
  • Me hace falta un cuaderno de ejercicios de español (I need a Spanish exercise book);
  • Es necesario que no llueva* (I need it not to rain);
  • Es imprescindible que funcione el depertador * (it is essential that the alarm clock works);
  • Es necesario que llegue a tiempo el autobús* (I need the bus to be on time);
  • Necesito que me ayude un poco el profe* (I need my teacher to help me a little);
Now you should practise further replying to someone who says to you:
Dime, ¿qué te hace falta para mañana?

**Please see grammar below

Please note these are typical examples of the use of subjunctive mood. As a rule, the subjunctive mood should be used in expressions of need such as:
  • "Something needs to happen”
  • "Something needs to be in a particular way”
  • "I need someone – other than I to do something”

In order to express this in Spanish, you could use:
  • "es necesario que <subjuntivo>..."
  • "hace falta que <subjuntivo>..."
  • "es imprescindible que <subjuntivo>..."
  • "necesito que <subjuntivo>..."

An example of this is the reply above:
  • "es necesario que no llueva".

Some other examples of expressions of this type in Spanish are:
  • Es necesario que llueva (rain is needed)
  • Hace falta que haga sol (sunny weather is needed)
  • Necesito que Pedro me llame (I need Pedro to call me)
  • No hace falta que viajemos juntos (we don't need to travel together)
  • Es necesario que compréis eso (it is necessary that you buy that)
  • Es imprescindible que Pedro y María vengan (it is essential that Pedro and María come)

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

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