5. Making requests in Spanish


…isn’t the same thing as asking for items. It’s almost an order. You could use the imperative of:

poner

Informal

Ponme; Ponnos

Formal

Póngame; Pónganos

Inglés

Pour / Get me; Pour / Get us (sir)

That phrase is how you would order at a bar and such directness isn’t considered rude in Spanish, unless your tone says otherwise. Although, requests are often softened with…

 

¿Puedes…?

Inglés

Can you…?

 

El infinitivo es:

poder

 

¿Recuerdas la frase…

cuando puedas

… de “How to order a meal“?order a meal

 

Watch out

¿Ves la diferencia entre los dos?

Pulsa aquí para saber por qué

Do you see the difference between the two?

“Puedas” [pronounced: pooed-ahs] is the present subjunctive mood of poder. A rare, but not completely foreign occurrence in English, and a grammar point we’ll have soon.

In the hierarchy of Spanish knowledge, however, it’s well below being able to conjugate the present imperative tense correctly (“puedes” [pronounced: pooed-ehs), which is the associated grammar point for this lesson.

poder present tense

poder present tense

Poder
is often combined with other verbs, like:
llevar

info-147927_1280

¡Información importante!

A regular verb, that belongs to the -ar family. Llevar has many meanings and usages.

When translated, “to take away”, an object pronoun that matches the subject is required, because of reflexive tendencies.

Confusing, isn’t it? Before reading the theory, look at some examples, because the concept is better understood visually:

¿Te puedes llevar este plato, por favor?

¿Puedes llevarte este plato, por favor?

Ambos significan...

“Can you take [away] this plate, please?”

 

¡Presta atención!

Lo mismo con…

 

¿“Os podéis llevar estos platos?”

¿Podéis llevaros estos platos?”


The literal [read: incorrect] translation of the above sentences would be: “Can you (you all) get yourself (yourselves) to take [away] this (these) plates?” Sounds a bit like you’re asking the person to find the motivation to clear the table, doesn’t it?

This flexibility of object pronouns‘ placement isn’t limited to reflexive verbs but extends to all verbs, including:


traer

Traducción y más

  • to bring.
  • Irregular, no reflexive tendencies.

“¿Me puedes traer sal, por favor?”

“¿Puedes traerme sal, por favor?”

Los dos significan...

“Can you bring me [some] salt, please?”

Otro verbo con poder
es…
dejar

Traducción y más...

  • to let (allow), to leave (drop off).
  • regular, belongs to the -ar verb family.
  • no reflexive tendencies.
  • careful with the “jota” pronunciation

En infinitivo:


Español

  • ¿Nos puedes dejar un momento para pensar?
  • ¿Lo puedo dejar (el abrigo) en el guardarropa?
  • ¿Puede dejarla (la luz) así?

Inglés

  • Can you leave us a moment to think?
  • Can I leave it (the coat) in the cloakroom?
  • Can you [formal] leave it (the light) like that?

En presente.

Español

  • Os dejo un minuto para pensar.
  • Dejas el abrigo en el guardarropa.
  • El camarero deja la cuenta en la mesa.
  • ¿Dejamos propina?
  • ¿Dejáis a vuestro hijo solo?
  • Dejan la puerta abierta.

Inglés

  • I’ll leave you all a minute to think.
  • You leave the coat in the cloakroom.
  • The waiter leaves the check on the table.
  • Do we leave a tip?
  • Do you all leave your child alone?
  • They leave the door open

En imperativo:

Español

  • Deja los platos.
  • Déjenos un segundo para pensar.
  • Déjame en paz.

Inglés

  • Leave the plates.
  • Give us a second [for] to think
  • Leave me in peace

An Ongoing Linguistic Mystery.

What makes “llevar” different than “dejar” and “traer” and turn reflexive? That requires looking at Spanish at the quantum level…

See such a task

Animation of Quatum mechanics (source: wikipedia)

Animation of Quatum mechanics (source: wikipedia)

detective 2


That’s out of our jurisdiction. We’re focusing our investigation on the natural level, such as the Spanish spoken in the videos. If you have a theory as to reason some verbs are reflexive, others not, feel free to let us know in the comment section. We’re always looking to be clued in. Same goes if you don’t understand something in the lesson!

 

window-14874

Momento de reflexión. A moment to reflect on the lessons so far.  If you have started from the beginning, there must be well over 10 verbs marked as favorites in the stand alone dictionary. Seven of these need to be known well enough, to conjugate the present tense in your dreams: ser, estar, querer, poner, poder, tener & haber. Then there are the relevant grammar points

 

paco_gordito_thumbnail1

Sugerencia de Paco. ¿Qué tal la cabeza? Ahora es un buen momento para intentar conseguir una puntuación mejor en un juego de preguntas, reducir el número de verbos de la lista de palabras favoritas y de repasar en general todas las lecciones y los puntos gramaticales.

Con los verbos explicados arriba, ya puedes contestar a un camarero cuando te pregunta: “¿qué quieres?”. También puedes hacerle preguntas para saber más sobre la comida y pedir como un español. 

¡Felicidades! Ahora vamos al mercado. ¡La buena noticia es que no hacen falta verbos nuevos!

traducción

How’s the head? Now is a good time to try and get a new high score on a quiz, reduce down the verbs on be a good time to try and get a new high score on a quiz, cull the number of verbs on your favorites’ list and in general, review all of the lessons and grammar points.

With the above verbs, you can now answer the waiter when he asks, “What do you want?”. You can also ask him questions to know more about the food and order like a Spaniard.

Congratulations. Now let’s go to the market. The good news is that no new verbs necessary!


Take a minute to review the lesson.

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