At the end of last month’s article I gave you some homework. In fact, there was rather a lot, but I hope you had a go at least! Here are the answers:

Translate into English:
No puedo firmar hoy.
I can’t sign today.
¿Quieres visitar a tu amigo?
Do you want to visit your friend?
No necesito correr.
I don’t need to run.
Me gusta hacer los deberes.
I like doing homework.
No voy a leer todo el libro.
I’m not going to read all the book.

Translate into Spanish:
Do you want to have a lot of money?
¿Quieres tener mucho dinero?
I like watching the news.
Me gusta ver las noticias (or “el telediario”)
I can’t drink and drive.
No puedo beber y conducir.
Are you going to write a letter?
¿Vas a escribir una carta?
I need to go to the chemist.
Necesito ir a la farmacia.

Now we are going to learn a couple of ways in which these sentences can be made even longer, whilst at the same time giving us the opportunity to express more interesting ideas.

Firstly, we are going to look at one more “first person” word, which is prefiero.

Prefiero means ‘I prefer’. Of course we can only use ‘I prefer’ in a sentence if we are contrasting one idea with another. For example, let’s take one of our homework sentences:
‘I don’t like going out much.’ It’s easy to see how we can extend this idea with the contrast of what we do like doing:
‘I don’t like going out much; I prefer to stay at home.’

We can use words we have already learnt to express this, by changing ‘stay’ to ‘be’, like this:
No me gusta salir mucho; prefiero estar en casa. (ie I prefer to be at home).

‘I don’t need to run; I prefer to walk.’
No necesito correr; prefiero andar.

‘I’m not going to read everything; I prefer to listen.’
No voy a leer todo; prefiero escuchar.

We don’t always need to change the main verb in these sentences; we might want to change other information. For example:
I don’t want to go to Murcia, I prefer to go to Elche.
No quiero ir a Murcia, prefiero ir a Elche.
I’m not going to buy a dress; I prefer to buy trousers.
No voy a comprar un vestido; prefiero comprar pantalones.

Now for the second way we can extend our sentences – and this really is exciting! We can use the word para to explain our purpose in doing something. The way we are going to use para it means ‘to’ in the sense of ‘in order to’. Some of you might already know this word as meaning ‘for’ as in para mí – ‘for me’. However many of the little words in Spanish have more than one meaning, as is the case with para. The great thing as well is that after para we can still use our verbs in the infinitive form.

Let’s get straight on to an example of what I’m talking about, again using our homework as a starting point:
Me gusta ver las noticias para aprender más español.
I like watching the news to learn more Spanish (in order to learn more Spanish).

See if you can get this one:
Voy a ir a Inglaterra para visitar a mi familia.
I’m going to go to England to (in order to) visit my family.

For next month, what do these sentences mean in English?

Necesito firmar esto para comprar mi casa.
Voy a volver a casa para ver el fútbol.
Quiero aprender español para hablar con mi vecino.

Jane Cronin’s “Step by Step Spanish” articles are now available as e-books at where you can also obtain Jane’s brand new “Step by Step Internet Spanish” course.