Hello everybody,

I’m seeking help from both Spanish and English speakers here, and I think non-native speakers of either language will probably be able to shed just as much light on the subject as native ones.

A student of mine came across “I’d prefer it if you didn’t say anything” as a possible translation (amongst others) of “Preferiría que no dijeras nada”.  Of her own accord, it wouldn’t have occurred to her to use “if”. I told her that there are other instances in which English prefers “if” to “that”, or any other infinitive/gerund construction. For example, “Do you mind if I smoke?”

So I now have two questions to pose to you:

1: Though I think that “que” would be used more often, just how normal/strange would it seem to you to hear “si” in sentences like “¿Te importa si fumo?”, “(Lo) Preferiría si no no dijeras nada”. (Whilst the first one sounds just about ok to me, the second one is not what I’d expect to hear).

2: This question is my main concern, or at least, the most urgent. My student, hungry to learn, asked me what other verbs prefer “if” where Spanish prefers “que”. She was hoping for a list. I’ve searched for examples and explanations, but I haven’t come to a clear conclusion.

I thought of “I’d hate it if you lost all your money”, which would more likely be translated as “Odiaría que perdieras todo tu dinero” and we could say the same about “like”, “love” etc.

So, can anyone help me with that list of verbs which admit “if” instead of Spanish “que” , leaving aside English alternatives such as “I’d hate you to lose all your money”?

I hope my query is understandable and I’ll be grateful for any comments.