Ser wrote:I'd also like to take the opportunity to point out that using questions of ability ("Could you...") in requests is largely a thing of English politeness, and most Spanish speakers don't ask such questions. 'Could you ask him to do it?' would normally be por favor pídele que lo haga.
Funny, I've heard exactly the reverse: that Spanish speakers are much more averse to using the imperative then English speakers, e.g. where we might say "Bring me a paella" to a waiter, Spanish speakers usually prefer "¿Puede traerme una paella por favor?" But perhaps this is regionally dependent?
De ser tú les pediría a tus niños que se estén tranquilos.
'If I were you, I'd ask your children to stay quiet.' (estarse tranquilo is an idiom)
Normalmente insistiríamos en que baile en el evento, de no ser por la hora.
'We'd normally insist that he dance in the event, if it weren't for the current time (it's too late).'
¿Preferirían que se lo diga ella?
'Would you prefer that she tell him?'
By the way, how would you say the last two examples in British/Australian English? I went full North American there using English present subjunctives ("that he dance", "that she tell him"), and I'd like to know how to express such things in other dialects.
A couple of ways. One is to use a modal:
'We'd normally insist that he should dance in the event, if it wasn't for the current time (it's too late).'
'Would you prefer that she should tell him?'
Another is just to use the indicative:
'We'd normally insist that he dances in the event, if it wasn't for the current time (it's too late).'
'Would you prefer she told him?' OR 'Would you prefer she tells him?'
Although this can result in ambiguities or confusion for an American such as myself. For example, like most American English speakers, I make the following distinction:
I insist that he is there ==> I know he is there and I am insisting on that fact.
I insist that he be there ==> I have demanded that he show up