One of the most important structures you have to master in Spanish is to express the idea of a wish.
Once you’re able to do it, a lot of everyday projects, such as booking a table in a restaurant, buying food, or getting a lift to the airport can be carried out, since this is a less direct way to ask things of other people. But, you can also express wishes that are less trivial, especially those related to your inner feelings or ambitions in life. Here are a couple of examples:
Me gustaría que me tocase la lotería para irme de vacaciones.
I wish I would win the lottery to be able to go on holidays.
Mi sueño es que se acaben los exámenes para dejar de estudiar.
I wish my exams were over so I could stop studying.
Seldom do Spanish speakers use circumlocutions (using more words than necessary to be vague) to communicate something. As a result, they may sound much more direct than, for instance, the Italians or Asians. But, this doesn’t mean that Spaniards are more rude, not at all (even though, to be honest, it may very often seem so)!
In Spanish, there is a straightforward way of saying something (which is the form most commonly used), but there is another more indirect way. In this article, we are going to learn both.
The Direct Way
Verb querer (present simple) + noun/infinitive
Quiero una habitación, por favor.
I want a room, please.
Queremos ir al aeropuerto, por favor.
We want to go to the airport, please.
The More Indirect Way
Verb gustar (conditional) + infinitive
Me gustaría reservar una habitación, por favor.
I would like to book a room, please.
Nos gustaría ir al aeropuerto, por favor.
We would like to go to the airport, please.
You can use both ways. But, if you want to show that you have achieved a very good level of Spanish and you would like to sound like a native speaker, please consider the following:
Two More Authentic Ways
There are two slightly more difficult ways to express a wish.
The most common goes with the subjunctive form preceded by the particle que (that). It may seem too complicated at first, but if you read it carefully, you’ll notice that it’s not that hard.
The other form goes with a noun or the infinitive form. Both forms are similar in meaning, but note that their main difference lies in their grammar structures.
Here are some examples in the following table:
|Wishes + subjunctive||Wishes + noun/infinitive|
If you look at the table, you’ll see how the subjects of the two verbs in each sentence from the left column are different. In turn, the subject of the two verbs in sentences on the right is the same.
Wishes don’t always express positive connotations; sometimes we want to say that we prefer not doing something. In that case, we have to use the negative particle no within the sentences.
In the following table, you’ll find the same examples as before, but in negative constructions.
|(negative) Wishes + subjunctive||(negative) Wishes + noun/infinitive|
I hope you’ll be able to express your wishes in Spanish after reading these guidelines. Remember--you can use the easier way or you can try to sound more sophisticated. But, in my opinion, the most important thing is to have something you really wish for!
Edited by Ilene Springer