"¿Cierro la botella?"
Translation:Should I close the bottle?
Good question, DaveHarris. I think there you have the right idea. But I am getting the idea that this would be the more relaxed way to express such a question. I personally hate learning something in a language and then finding out later the hard way that I sound super formal and stuffy. You know?
Yes, I do! Actually, only a few more phrases though this section I appreciated that it's just Duo's way of teaching us that very thing.
In English we express politeness with modal words. We also quite happily mix up our present tense(s) with the future, the past and so on, just as Spanish does (only slightly differently). I'm sure there's a Linguistics MA in there somewhere but for now I absorb it all and just revel in the delights of both the similarities and the differences.
Close is an awkward way to say stopper or seal or cap or cork.
Besides, even in Spanish "tapar" is more appropriate!
How would you say "Could I close the bottle?" If the Spanish were "Cierres la botella, por favor?", the translation would be, "Could you close the bottle, please", correct?
Does anyone know where the "should" comes from here? I thought should would be "the conditional", but looking it up online it says it's "the preterite". Yet this conjugation is "the present". Confused.
Apparently, it is common in simple Spanish requests to ignore the need for "deber" and "poder". ¿For simplicity? ¿Because of simplicity? ¿Or sheer laziness?
I get it. I don't particularly like it but I get it.
Yes, for simple conversational markers in English like "can you?" or "should I?", in Spanish we can just make the sentence a question and be done with it.
Saying "Debo cerrar la botella?" would mean something like "Do I have an obligation to close the bottle?" which sounds WAY too formal.
And for poder, even though in English we say "Can you close the bottle?" the direct translation in Spanish "Puedes cerrar la botella?" is like saying, "Are you capable of closing the bottle?" It's asking if they have the ability to do it, not asking them to actually do it.
The "need" for "deber" and "poder" is a "need" only in English, because in English that is a verbal cue that it is a request for action. We don't use the same cues in Spanish, simply phrasing it as a question is enough.