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Correct way to ask (conditional/subjunctive)


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Old May 17, 2017, 07:18 AM
jmwismer jmwismer is offline
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Correct way to ask (conditional/subjunctive)

Hi there,

what would be the correct form to use in current language, to say e.g. "would you have a pen?":

1- tendria un boli?
2- tenga un boli?
3- tuveria un boli?
4- none of the above :-/

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Old May 17, 2017, 03:06 PM
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None of the above.
¿Tiene Ud. un boli?

Update: Now that I have a little more time, I'll explain my answer.
The English sentence you wrote isn't using the conditional or the subjunctive, just a high register.
Taking it down a notch leaves, "Do you have a pen?"

Last edited by Rusty; May 17, 2017 at 08:34 PM.
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Old May 18, 2017, 05:49 AM
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aleCcowaN aleCcowaN is offline
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¿Tendría un boli?

is the only one correct, but it crashes in style, why? because it uses a "condicional de cortesía", that is, it's a formal way to ask, therefore "boli" is a disastrous choice [I suppose "boli" to be a short for "bolígrafo"]

"Tenga un boli" means "have a pen", and again, formality and colloquialism clash.

The conjugations "tuveria" or "tuvería" don't exist.
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Old May 18, 2017, 12:29 PM
jmwismer jmwismer is offline
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thank you Rusty and Alec. Got the point of crash in style.
still not quite sure though how I should ask for a pen, if none of those forms (and I meant "tuviera" not "tuveria")?
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Old May 18, 2017, 02:11 PM
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AngelicaDeAlquezar AngelicaDeAlquezar is offline
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@jmwismer: As Alec said, the use of "tendría" ("usted") / "tendrías" ("tú") is to be polite.
There are many preferred ways of asking for something, depending on the region and the speaker.
For example, in Mexico we would use the future instead of the conditional:
- ¿*Tendría(s) un bolígrafo? = ¿Tendrá(s) un bolígrafo, por favor? (Even more polite, with "please" added.)
*Never forget opening question marks. We need them to know it's a question.

Other ways to ask for a pen:
- ¿Puede(s) prestarme un bolígrafo? -> Can you lend me a pen?
- ¿Podría(s) prestarme un bolígrafo, por favor? ->
- ¿Tiene(s) un bolígrafo, por favor?
- ¿Me presta(s) un bolígrafo, por favor?

As for the word "pen", there are also plenty of ways to call this object, depending on the region; bolígrafo is a universal word, but local vocabulary preferences include "boli", "lapicera", "pluma"...
In Mexico, we say "pluma", because long ago, the "bolígrafo" was called "pluma atómica", but in most regions "pluma" only refers to a fountain pen, which we call "pluma fuente", to distinguish it from other "plumas".
So don't worry, use the word you've been taught; you'll be understood.
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