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  5. "Please play the violin."

"Please play the violin."

Translation:Por favor toca el violín.

January 27, 2013



ok why not....favor de tocar el violín!


I translated: por favor tocas el violin. Why is that wrong?


Because you need to use the imperative or the subjunctive, not the indicative (you're essentially saying please, then stating that the person already plays the violin).


Can the infinitive be used as an informal second-person imperative? I remember that being the case in the Italian lessons, though of course there is no reason why that rule should generalize to Spanish.


thanks for the help guys!


I wrote "juegas el violín por favor" but it was marked wrong. The dictionary hint shows "jugar" as a word for play (along with "tocar" and many others), so why does "juegas" not work? Would it have been acceptable if I wrote "juega" instead? Thanks in advance for any help!


In Spanish you don't play an instrument, you touch it. Tocar is used when talking about musical instruments, just because :)


Thanks for the info!


I'm with Reinhild, Why was tocas (tu - form of verb tocar) not accepted?


Dude, read the answer I gave to Reinhild. It's imperative so uses toca in the informal voice, and in the formal voice it would be "toque" I believe.


lago, I re-read your answer to reinhild and it makes sense but isn't the imperative "toce" for the verb tocar, (2nd person)?


Nope. Mira esto:

Indicative: Toco, tocas, toca, tocan

Imperative informal: Toca

Imperative formal (subjunctive): Toque

There's also the informal subjunctive second-person, toques, but I'm not sure when that would be used instead of toca. However when using an imperative in the informal voice, the third-person indicative verb form is typically used.

Also, a note on your speling, toce. It would be toque, since C is pronounced like an S when it comes before E or I. So it's changed to toque otherwise it would be pronounced "to-se" and sound like "cough" :)

You see this in many other words that have Cs in most of their forms. Sacar, for example, in first-person preterite becomes saqué because sacé would be pronounced "sa-se".


toques and toque can be subjuntive, I believe you got confused a bit.

Toca is the informal 2ºnd of imperative.


I know all of that, it's just that the difference between subjunctive and imperative is not always clear to me at this point as it seems the former can be used for the latter and often is.


Perhaps this will be helpful: You already know that imperative is used for orders, commands and the like. However, there is no "lets ... " in Spanish.

Due to the "command" air of the imperative, it's rarely used in a "peer" situation ( You may command kids all the time, during teaching and such), so it is consciously avoided among adults. Instead some odd constructions might be used, specially when first person plural.

Still, I would advice to stick to the proper use of imperative, when engaged in a conversation, and you feel you're being giving an "order", you can just ask for confirmation and with time you will pick it up. :)


Perhaps I am actually confusing you more.

Lets backtrack for a sec.

Normally, imperative will be used for commands and so on. In order to give it a politeness overlay we do this:

  • ¿Podrías tocar el violín, por favor? -- Could you please play the violin

  • ¿Sería posible que tocases el violín? -- Would it be possible for you to play the violin

  • ¿Qué te parece si tocas el violín ahora? -- how would you like to play the violin now/how about playing the violin now

These are a bit odd with a violin, but these approach is very much used in the work context, when you're asking somebody to do something. In these circumstances, the cold imperative is regarded as rude. This has some implications further in the common speech. For instance, somebody fumbling with a coffee machine: just get the filter in and screw the lid down. This would be: monta el filtro y enrosca la tapa.

This could easily became: tienes que montar el filtro y enroscar la tapa. The verb is not imperative any more and sounds somewhat softer.

  • Vamos al cine! (lets go to the cinema) = Vayamos al cine and can be: ¿por qué no vamos al cine?, ¿qué os parece si vamos al cine?, ¿Os apetece ir al cine?

When giving orders to somebody you can say: haz tu cama and when not done or when the command is contested a reply can be: ¡[te he dicho] que hagas tu cama!

This second part is extremely disrespectful. Can be heard to kids, when parents are annoyed and in some arguments, but you should steer right away from it because it is very rude. Furthermore, as you see, it's sort of an emphasis on the previous statement, not the start of the conversation.

Hopefully this will make things a bit clearer :)


Que toques el violín te he dicho! This is very disrespectful and toques needs "que" before. It is quite an odd construction actually.

Spanish (used to be) a language of many registers and politeness levels. As nowadays nobody seem to be interested on learning their language properly, everything is allowed and it's just a shame. That aside, the lack of "lets ..." brings a clear cut on what is an order (due to the imperative) so you will see all these "strange" constructions to avoid it's use. Grammatically, imperative should be used, but sounds strong, so in situations like at work, in a shop and so people tend to use sometimes elaborate and odd constructions. My advice is to stick to the imperative, because you're not a native and this is something you will get the hang of when listening.

As you're quite into it, I would say that conditional (!) is often used: podría darme el períodico de hoy, por favor? instead of deme el periódico de hoy, por favor. Very much like "could you please..."

Sería tan amable de ... is perhaps the root of the use of the conditional. Sounds elaborate but it is not strange among educated and polite people (probably is more important the polite than the educated)

Listen carefully when in shops and so, how people asks things. As an anecdote, the first time I had a responsibility position in Spain, I was quite nervous on picking the right way to address the people on my team. You would talk differently to an older person of lower rank than yours than a younger one and in no case I'd like to sound "bossy" , so it's not trivial :)


So just so I'm clear, "toques el violín" and "toca el violín" can both be used for the same thing, but the latter is somewhat less respectful? (And if that's the case toque would be even more respectful than toques, yes?)

Subjunctive and imperative seem to overlap in many cases.


RAMOSRAUL,Thank you for your very valuable posts on this subject.I think that fear of inadvertently giving offence is the thing that prevents many people from using their hard-earned Spanish.Would you consider a post on the discussion pages so that it reaches a wider audience?


Why not? what would you like to discuss? :)


Iago, toques, which is second person imperative informal is only used in the negative, i.e. no toques el violín.

And Ramosraul, thank you for your very useful comments. I will put them to good use.


Why wasn't tocar one of the hints?


I wrote: tocas el violín, por favor. Havent reached imperative or subjunctive yet, so yeah, thats kind of dumb.

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