Thursday, 20 March 2014

Shall I Take The First On The Left?

SCENARIO


Imagine you are talking to a relative, a friend, a work colleague or even a stranger. You are giving him/ her directions. At some point the other person interrupts you and says something like: "shall I take the first on the left?"

In Spanish, the other person could say:
Perdón, ¿tomo la primera a la izquierda?



OUR TIP
The question is an invitation for you to clarify the directions you are giving. Typically, your answer will involve giving directions to the person you are talking to. When the directions are for the person you are talking to, you MUST make a choice between two levels of formality*, commonly referred to as formal and informal.


Here are some examples of how you could reply:
  • Sí, usted toma la primera a la izquierda (yes, you take the first on your left);
  • Sí, usted gira a la izquierda (yes, you turn left);
  • Sí, usted tuerce a la izquierda (yes, you turn left);
  • No, usted toma la primera a la derecha (no, you take the first on your right);
  • No, usted gira a la derecha (no, you turn right);
  • No, usted tuerce a la derecha (no, you turn right);
  • No, usted toma la segunda a la izquierda (no, you take the second on your left);
  • No, usted toma la segunda a la derecha (no, you take the second on your right);
  • No, usted sigue todo recto (no, you go straight on);
  • No, usted sigue hasta el final de la calle (no, you go on to the end of the street);


*Level of Formality
The wording of the answers in this post assumes that the person you are giving the directions to is someone with whom you don't have a very good rapport. That person could be a friend, a relative or a work colleague. In any case, when wording your answers in this more formal manner you are also signalling that you want to keep your distance. There is a separate post dealing with wording your answers in a less formal manner.


Now you should practise answering the question:
Perdón, ¿tomo la primera a la izquierda?

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