Tuesday, 11 December 2012

Who Do You Mean?


Imagine you are talking to a relative, a friend or a colleague about one of your acquaintances. Unable to establish who you mean, the other person says: "who do you mean?"

In Spanish, the other person could choose to be less formal and say:
¿A quién te refieres?

Alternatively, he/ she could choose to be more formal and say:
¿A quién se refiere (usted)?


Responding should be quite straightforward. However, before you reply, you should decide how you are going to refer to the person in question*.

If the person you are meaning is a male (his name is Pedro Botero) and you want to refer to him in a formal manner, you could say:
  • Me refiero a don1 Pedro Botero (I mean Mr. Pedro Botero);
  • Me refiero al señor Botero (I mean Mr. Botero);
  • Me refiero a mi abogado, el señor Botero (I mean my lawyer/ attorney Mr. Pedro Botero);

* NB See examples of replies when meaning:

1. Spanish title don (English equivalents Mr) is used with given names and not with surnames (in some parts their use is less common).

Now you should practise answering the question:
¿A quién te refieres?

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