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In English, I often use "just wanted to" to soften the force of a question or statement:

  • I just wanted to ask if it was okay with you.
  • I just wanted to make sure you were coming to the meeting tomorrow.
  • I just wanted to see what you thought about this.

What is the most natural way in Spanish to convey this sense? Does the literal translation (Quería preguntarte...) make sense, or is it better to use another option (quisiera, me gustaría, etc.)?

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2 Answers 2

up vote 9 down vote accepted

I'd say

Solo/solamente quería...

So, considering your sentence I could say something like this (the translations might change, the main point is the expression you were looking for):

  • Solo quería preguntarte si estabas de acuerdo.
  • Solamente quería asegurarme de que ibas a venir a la reunión mañana.
  • Solo quería saber qué pensabas de esto.
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I would use sólo/solamente too. I've just noticed a minor typo: Sólo quería saber QUÉ pensabas de esto. –  Auron Nov 21 '11 at 19:50
    
@Auron ¡Gracias! –  Alenanno Nov 21 '11 at 20:15
    
Kevin, I didn't know that rule for "solo"... @Auron Do you confirm that? (Check the Edit comment left by Kevin) and the post by Paloma on the site onehourtranslation, here. –  Alenanno Nov 22 '11 at 8:56
    
I didn't know it either! The rule has changed since I studied it when I was a child, but the DPD is clear (buscon.rae.es/dpdI/SrvltGUIBusDPD?lema=tilde2#323): solo (adverb) needs accent when there is some possible ambiguity, which is not the case here. However, as this seems to be a recent change to the rules, you will probably find sólo with accent even in contexts when there is no possible confusion. –  Auron Nov 22 '11 at 10:15
    
@Auron Yeah, I think you're right. :) P.S. When entering a link in a comment, you must use this structure, otherwise it won't work: [Text-link](link). :) –  Alenanno Nov 22 '11 at 10:39
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Me parece que lo apropiado es usar las formas "quisiera", "me gustaría" o incluso "quería":

  • I just wanted to ask if it was okay with you.

Me gustaría saber si le parece bien.

Quisiera saber si le parece bien.

Quería saber si está de acuerdo.

  • I just wanted to make sure you were coming to the meeting tomorrow.

Quería asegurarme de que ibas a asistir a la reunión mañana.

  • I just wanted to see what you thought about this.

Me gustaría saber qué piensa usted.

Quisiera saber su opinión.

Quería saber qué piensa usted.

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Quisiera sounds really polite and gives a lot of softening. Me gustaría is a little less so and less formal sounding. One of those is probably what you want. –  Brian Nov 22 '11 at 2:50
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