How to Talk: Pedir y Ofrecer

Number 4 of 81 in B1 - PRE-INTERMEDIATE

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do you mind
How to talk- Asking and Offering


Today we are going to see that there is a difference between talking in English and talking in a way that is natural and sounds friendly. As a general rule, Spanish is a more direct language, and I will give you an example between a barman and a customer:

‘¿Dime- Que quieres?’

‘Dame una cerveza.’

OK, I know that in many places the conversation would be more formal, but this could be an everyday conversation. In English, however , this would be a bit abrupt . This is not to say that one is better or worse than the other. Simply, we must adapt our style of speech. So let´s have a look at some phrases and expressions:

1. Want vs. Would like ( Quiero / ¿ Quieres….? )

What do I want to do? I want to travel the world. ¡¡Pero no te pido nada!!

What would you like to do? I would like to go iceskating, if that’s OK.  (Ahora sí pido)

-If you are offering something, ask:

‘Would you like (..a piece of cake…) ?’       (Literalmente: ‘¿Te gustaría…?)

-To ask for something (=pedir algo), say:

‘I’d / I would like… ( to invite you out for dinner ).    (Literalmente: ‘Me gustaría…’)

– ‘ I want / Do you want….?’ is for information only.


I’d like to buy a souvenir.             (= Me gustaría / Quiero comprar un souvenir.)

I´d like you to buy a souvenir.     (= Me gustaría / Quiero que tu compres un souvenir.)

Would you like to cook tonight?                (= ¿Te gustaría / Quieres cocinar esta noche?)

Would you like David to cook tonight?   (= ¿Te gustaría / Quieres que David cocine esta noche?)

Sólo con añadir el objeto (me, him, her, Cristiano, them, the Police, etc….) cambiamos el sentido de la frase.

You can also say ‘Would you prefer (to….)’ or  ‘Would you rather  to  ‘ (=preferirías…)

2. Can, or Could I have……? (¿ Me das………?)

The best way (= la mejor manera) to ask for something is:

‘Can I have a pen, (please)?’

‘Could I have a glass of water, please?’

The difference between ‘can’ and ‘could’- not only in this situation- is familiarity. If you know the person quite well, use ‘can’, but if you don’t, use the more formal ‘could’.  It doesn’t matter if that person is old, young, his social position, job, or anything.


To ask for something in a restaurant or bar you can say:

I´d like………..

Could I have………………..?

I´ll have……………..

3. Mind (Importar)

Some useful expressions with mind.

-Do you mind if I ………                    (¿Te importa si yo…….?)

– Would you mind …….+ing…       (¿Te importaría………..?)

– I don´t mind (…………+ing)          (No me importa ……+verbo)


Do you mind if I smoke?                              (pides permiso)

Would you mind opening the window?    (pides que haga algo la otra persona)

Remember! The answer is ‘Not at all!’ (=En absoluto) ‘No me importa!’ – decir ‘Yes’ o ‘Of course’ implica que sí te importa!

I don’t mind (helping you).    (Que no te importa- pero educadamente)

4. Other expressions

For big favours- taking care of your dog for the weekend, borrow a car, etc.

– I was wondering if you could …..(look after my dog this weekend).

Me estaba preguntando si pudieras……

Ofrecerte para hacer algo:

– Shall I…………?

Shall I buy some doughnuts?     ¿Compro unos donuts?

Shall I take you to the station?    ¿Te llevo a la estación?

5. Answers

How do you answer?

Of course                            (=por supuesto)

Of course not                    (=por supuesto que no)

Yes, please!                        (=sí, por favor)

No, thanks                          (=no, gracias)

Don’t mention it,  You’re welcome,  Not at all, That´s OK,  No problem   (De nada, en orden más a menos formalidad)

I´m afraid (that)                (=me temo que…)

Don´t bother, I´m fine!  (¡No te molestes, estoy bien!)

Ahora tienes deberes que te ayudarán saber usar estas frases. No es una subscipción, y solo recibirás ejercicios de este tema.

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