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.”
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.
This post about the English to Spanish translation of “Do you have a dream?” and “Are you sleepy?” is courtesy of Patrick Jackson LearningSpanishLikeCrazy