"¿Quisieras comer?"

Translation:Would you like to eat?

July 12, 2017

67 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/JieRhedric

Doesn't quisieras come from querer? Shouldn't this translate to Would you want to eat?

July 12, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/DavidMoore622957

That's one way to translate it, but the verb querer can mean want, love, and like. Duo is trying to teach us that the English phrase "would like" can be expressed using the imperfect subjunctive. This is a very common way to say this in Spanish.

The word we often think of for "like" is "gustar." That works too, but has a slightly different connotation. You'd use gustar if you were talking about something that would make you happy to do. For example, "I'd like to go to Spain." While you can still use either verb here, gustar carries the idea that it would please you to go. Now, when buying tickets to go there you'd use querer, as in "I would like to buy a ticket to Spain."

October 29, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/DeborahGalbraith

Thank you for your help. I was thrown by it being imperfect subjunctive and thought it had to be in past tense. What would ‘ Quieras comer?’ mean? I seem to have lost the ability to do upside down ? since iPad updated! Any help greatly appreciated.

November 29, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/DavidMoore622957

Great question, partly because grammar (whether for Spanish or English) is not my strong suit. But also because I find use of the subjunctive in Spanish to be interesting (and confusing) in its own right.

Lack of knowledge has never stopped me from expressing an opinion, however.

My understanding is the present subjunctive generally appears in a dependent clause. So, "¿Quieras comer?" might not mean anything. That is, you could translate the words into the simple present tense, but the subjunctive mood wouldn't apply.

November 30, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/DeborahGalbraith

Thank you for replying. Yep I am also finding the subjunctive fascinating but confusing. Am afraid I never heard of it before trying to learn Spanish!

November 30, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/KenHigh

Good points. I recalled a lesson form Spanishpodcast.org where the lady from Barcelona emphatically states that quisiera should NOT be used in questions. It's use in super polite requests to substitute for the conditional "querría" is accepted, but according to her, it should never be used as such in questions, as Duo has done in this lesson. It would be interesting to hear if other Spanish speaking natives agree.

August 23, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/DavidMoore622957

Check out the very helpful comments from Blas_de_Lezo00 elsewhere in this discussion thread.

August 23, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/adrianauna

"solo quisiera decir, me gusta mucho spanishpodcast de Barcelona". Does this translate to "I only would like to say that I like spanish podcast from barcelona a lot"

August 23, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/George_Gibson_77

Because you are using the imperfect subjunctive of querer, I would say "I was only wanting to say..." But there will probably be a lot of people that disagree with me.

September 22, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/ConchiCastillo

As Blas_de_Lezo00 points out, In Spain you'll hardly ever hear (if at all) an offer starting with "¿Quisieras...?.

November 28, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/elizadeux

I think it might be regional.

February 28, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Christophe2455

Kind of like I would want to buy tickets instead of I would enjoy buying tickets...

November 13, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/JorgLovoll

I have the exact same question

July 15, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/elizadeux

"Quisiera (Past subjunctive - The most polite. No really literal translation exists that you would use in English. The most "literal" translation would probably be "If it were possible, I would have wanted". But it more accurately translates as "If you could, I would like" or "if you could be so kind, I would like"

February 28, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Max_S

Thank you, I was confused why they didn't use a conditional conjugation for this

July 6, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/vito731420

Indeed. DL has questionable translations for this topic, not even to mention the topic of Subjunctive. Almost every sentence there have more then 50-200 comments. Basically people do not agree with DL.

Who are people behind DL? Why are translations so INCONSISTENT? Yes, it is free tool, but is it really hard to hire linguists to VERIFY translations?

I am not a native english speaker and just decided to care less about "100% CORRECT" english translations of these topics.

September 24, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/DavidMoore622957

DL is perfectly correct here. I'm not sure exactly what you're disagreeing with. Is Duo rejecting "Would you want to eat?"?

The reason there are so many comments throughout these exercises is because native English speakers are (re)learning about moods and tenses we take for granted or don't understand. When you add to that the fact that Spanish permits different ways of saying things that exactly match a given English phrase, it amounts to a great deal of confusion and/or disagreement.

I am a native English speaker and I only rarely find Duo has got a translation truly wrong. The vast majority of complaints are by people who (a) don't actually understand what is being said and, therefore, believe it's wrong, (b) can't imagine themselves saying a particular phrase/sentence and, therefore, believe it's wrong, or (c) don't happen to say the phrase/sentence the same way themselves and, therefore, believe it's wrong.

Sure, every now and then, something does come up wrong. It did not happen this time.

October 29, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Polly123348

Yes, Duo rejects Would you want to eat?

November 12, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/DavidMoore622957

I think you can insist that "Would you want to eat?" is a valid translation of the Spanish, since querer also has the meaning of want and there's no technical reason you cannot substitute want for like in this particular construction. If you feel strongly, you could flag it as correct and see if Duo ever changes its mind.

Personally, it sounds a little odd to me, but that's because I'm thinking of situations where I'm used to saying and hearing "would you like." If you have a context for "would you want to eat" or tend to use that phrase where others might ask "would you like to eat", there's nothing in the Spanish to indicate that's incorrect.

November 13, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/elizadeux

I think you could argue that querría can mean "would you want" in some circumstances even though it's usually translated as "would you like" when making a request.

However, I can see why Duolingo would reject "would you want" as a translation of quisiera. Quisiera is usually "would like" or can mean "wish" also.

I borrowed the information below as it has a good explanation: http://www.spanishdict.com/answers/117317/not-sure-of-the-meaning-of-quisiera

"Quisiera" is the past subjunctive, used in very polite commands or requests. It essentially is the same as "Quiera", but instead of saying "I want" you are saying something much softer and more polite.

In order of "politeness":

  • Quiero (informal request - I want..." you would use with someone you address as "tú)

  • Quiera (polite request "I want.." but more polite and deferential. Use with someone you address as "usted". Awkward, not really very commonly used. More likely posed as a question - "¿Quira darme el azúcar? Do you want to pass me the sugar?)

  • Querría (conditional tense - even more polite. Literally "I would want", but more accurately translated as "I would like")

  • Quisiera (Past subjunctive - The most polite. No really literal translation exists that you would use in English. The most "literal" translation would probably be "If it were possible, I would have wanted". But it more accurately translates as "If you could, I would like" or "if you could be so kind, I would like")

Quería (imperfect - "I wanted". Not sure where this fits in. Probably after "Quiera" and before "Querría".

May 2, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/whitebabe

Thank you. Excellent explanation.

May 2, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Polly123348

Yes, Duo rejects Would you want to eat?

November 12, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Nicole942077

Yes it rejects "Would you want to eat?"

November 27, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/JenniferFa217178

So true

November 28, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/George_Gibson_77

Would you want to eat is conditional and is ¿Querrías comer? This is the imperfect subjunctive and is better translated as "Were you wanting to eat?" as the literal translation. However, the implication, as Duolingo points out, is "Would you like to eat?"

July 11, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/TheHandShand

Literally, yes....but that is an impractical translation. The english answer here is the closest english translation.

September 30, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/MichaPau

This skill lessons throws me in the wild open sea of Spanish conjugation. Unprepared it catches me flat-footed with this Subjunctive Imperfect. Its breaker, huge breaking wave catapults me on the shore of an desolate island called unknown tenses, where I found myself abandoned on its beach, exhausted, naked and lost, only able to whisper with a faint voice: Help me!

January 28, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/DavidMoore622957

Thank you for that (have a lingot)! It's so much more creative than the usual "WTF!!!!!" rant.

I only knew this one because I wanted to know how to say "I would like ..." long before I ever met Duo. So, the phrase was familiar, but the thing called subjunctive (let alone imperfect subjunctive) was only a vague memory from language classes I took 40+ years ago.

SpanishDict is a great web site for learning how to conjugate all the tenses, moods and aspects. There's also linguasorb if you want practice drills to complement Duo. Think of them as the rescue ship that will carry your lost soul from the island.

January 28, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/tessbee

I love the way you rant. Have another lingot! :)

February 9, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/elizadeux

I'm not sure why they have modal before subjunctive and past subjunctive.

February 28, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Victoria906169

Why is "do you want to eat" incorrect?

July 21, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/DavidMoore622957

That's a little different. "Do you want to eat?" is "¿Quiere(s) comer?"

Here, Duo is using the imperfect subjunctive to capture the idea that this is a potential wish/desire. It might be something the host of a restaurant would ask someone standing in their doorway. It can be interpreted to mean, "Were you wanting to eat?", but in English we usually just ask, "Would you like to eat?".

October 29, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/bradrussel

Do you want to eat? -- is now correct

January 10, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/DavidMoore622957

That surprises me. Duo is usually more strict about verb conjugation and use. Still, "do you want to eat?" is colloquially the same thing as "would you like to eat?". I still think it's a mistake to accept this as a good translation, since it discards the subtle difference between quieres and quisieras. I personally believe the latter is a more polite way of making a request and is worth learning.

January 10, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/fractalfriendzy

I agree. I actually answered "Do you want to eat" and was marked correct, but then I was confused as to why the question wasn't just "Quieres comer." Certainly didn't learn the distinction until I came here to read the comments.

April 27, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/crisjordan22

well it shouldn't be

May 29, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/lapinhibou

Why is the subjunctive form used and not a conditional?

December 4, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/RWang2017

I have the same question. I think conditional tense in Spanish can also express polite request. Can we use "quieras comer" or "querrías comer" ?

March 4, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/doraogden

that is subjunctive!

July 13, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/aidan0cameron

I thought "querrías" would be conditional

August 3, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/na-prablenia

If this is an offer, "¿quieres comer?" sounds way more natural

November 5, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/DavidMoore622957

No, it's more of a straight question than an offer. Obviously, the individual asking the question could be offering, but the question/answer is not predicated on that.

Don't think about this as a "natural" part of a real question as much as an opportunity to understand and interpret the given verb tense.

November 5, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/omirek

How I hate when Duo is introducing new structures just like that! No explanation, no rules at all...

April 22, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/George_Gibson_77

There are several types of language courses. There are grammar courses such as you find in college and online. Another type course is called Comprehensible Input. At least for now, that is basically what Duolingo is. Another one is Mondly. With comprehensible Input, you encounter sentences multiple times. From the repetition, you learn words and patterns. It is alright if you make mistakes because that is part of the learning process Eventually the words and patterns become habitual. This is the way you learned your native language. I have taken Spanish in college and was using Mondly before coming to Duolingo. Sometimes, on Duolingo, when I am supposed to write a Spanish sentence and I am uncertain what to say, I will start to analyze it with grammar then decide to just to go with what feels right. Almost always, it is correct. It is not because of grammar, it is because what is correct is ingrained in my mind from repeated use. Sometimes encountering something new can be frustrating. But I have learned that if I keep at it, eventually I will be rewarded. Buena suerte.

April 22, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/omirek

I totally agree with you! Repetitio mater studiorum est :)

However, Duo did provide the grammar background... to some point. And now, when really complex structures are introduced, we are left alone, and it just feels odd. I guess I'll have to consult some other sources, cause I like to know the grammar.

April 23, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Nick54585

I can understand the use of subjunctive because its regarding a desire... but why imperfect? I was under the impression imperfect referred to non distinct or habitual past actions, and this seems to be asking about the present. Can anyone speak to this?

February 15, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Dust642661

Why not querías comer?

November 7, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Bryan723272

Really confused why the subjunctive is mixed in with this lesson. Maybe I haven't caught the theme of this lesson since "modal" isn't extremely descriptive. Started to think it was just about the indicative preterite.

January 11, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Patrick_Dark

I think Duolingo is trying to teach English modal verbs as described at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/English_modal_verbs#Usage_of_specific_verbs. In this exercise, the relevant English verb is "would".

January 24, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/TomCarlton

I wrote, "You would like to eat?" Still an acceptable way of framing the question in English, but marked wrong.

March 9, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Bob534074

Do you wish to eat? - marked wrong by DL

March 20, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/MauroEzequ6

Add me on hellotalk, I am a native Spanish speaker, no matter your level because I have a good English level. @ni_mauroezequielm_19810

April 3, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/whitebabe

"Would you like to eat?" makes sense. I answered "Did you want to eat?" and got it wrong, but I was told that the correct answer is "Do you want to eat?" Wouldn't that be "Quieres comer?"

April 16, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/DavidMoore622957

I believe Duo is allowing similar phrases to accommodate different ways English expresses the Spanish. I've read that quisieras sounds a little more polite than quieres. However, I don't think most native English speakers would differentiate between "do you want" and "would you like" the same way that Spanish speakers would distinguish between quieres and quisieras. This seems to be one of those nuances that often gets lost in translation.

April 16, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/rembob

Why isn't "Would you want to eat?" accepted?

August 29, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/rld-sp

Why use the imperfect subjunctive here? There is no past in the action.

October 9, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/George_Gibson_77

I look at it this way. I could say I want a hamburger. Or I could say I was thinking of getting a hamburger. The latter is in the past but there really is no past action. In this case, I would say I was wanting to eat. Yes, that is not common in English, but the sentence we are talking about is in Spanish. I asked a guy (educated as a lawyer) in Guatemala about this sentence and he saw nothing wrong with it. It may be a regional thing.

October 9, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Spanish424676

shouldn't this be "Did you want to eat" since it is in the past imperfect subjunctive

October 20, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Chris913144

Want to eat not lik, that wouod be gustarias

January 31, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/DennisKayK

I think my response of...would you want to eat...should be accepted.

February 25, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/LeoGirard

¿Te gustaría comer? might be possible. I would like to see an alternate for the English "would you like". Would you care to (eat/go out/go shopping/go for a ride etc) is very common in Canada and the UK, I believe.

March 18, 2019
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