Translating to Spanish: “Do you have a dream?” and “Are you sleepy?”


by Patrick Jackson – LearningSpanishLikeCrazy

Here’s a common  mistake that I want to tell you about.  It is a beginner mistake that I heard someone  make over the weekend. It can make the  difference between saying “I am sleepy” and “I have a dream.”

IMG_5278 by {Guerrilla Futures | Jason Tester}, on Flickr
Creative Commons Attribution-No Derivative Works 2.0 Generic License

Medellin is a city that is known for its  nightlife. Over the weekend I went to  “un bar” (a bar) with some American friends  and some Colombian friends. After a few drinks,  we discussed going to a “discoteca” (night  club). But one of my Colombian friends named Andrés said — in English — “I am tired.”

An American friend name Michael who wanted to show the Colombians that he can speak  Spanish as well as they can speak English  then asked Andrés, “Tienes un sueño.”

Andrés responded in English, “Yes, I  have a dream. I hope to someday  become a doctor.”

Well, I don’t think Michael really  want to know about the career aspirations  of Andres. I think what he really wanted  to ask Andrés was “Are you sleepy?” —  since Andrés just finished saying  that he was tired.

However, if you want to ask someone  “Are you sleepy?” this is how you ask:

¿Tienes sueño? (informal)
¿Usted tiene sueño? (formal)

But if you want to ask someone “Do you  have a dream?” this is how you ask:

¿Tienes un sueño? (informal)
¿Usted tiene un sueño? (formal)

I wanted to share this with you so  that you never make the mistake  of asking someone “are you sleepy?”  when you really want to ask “do you  have a dream?” or vice versa.

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* Photo by   by  {Guerrilla Futures | Jason Tester}