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A literal translation always falls flat, and confuses people (I've learned this the hard way).

I can't wait [to see the movie] => No puedo esperar [a ver la pelicula]

This always leaves the listener with the impression that due to circumstances, I will be unable to see the movie unless I see it immediately. That's clearly not what I meant.

How can I convey the same meaning of eager anticipation?

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Personalmente yo diria, Lo espero con mucha ilusion – Juanita May 14 at 8:37
up vote 13 down vote accepted

My family is from Peru and suggested:

Me muero por ver la película.

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Today a native Spanish speaker told me (in English) "I'm dead to drink some coffee!" – Flimzy Dec 3 '11 at 7:25
I guess that makes sense considering the translation. I hope you corrected them to 'dying' lol – McArthey Dec 4 '11 at 7:35

Maybe estoy ansioso would be a better translation. But no puedo esperar is used very often.

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If that's used often, it must be regional, because every time I've used it here (Guadalajara, Mexico), I've gotten confused/concerned responses. – Flimzy Nov 15 '11 at 21:50
This is the case in Argentina too (it being correct to use I mean) – juan Nov 15 '11 at 21:55
Madrid, Spain. Sounds good "No puedo esperar a/para ver la película." "Estoy ansioso por" sounds great too. – Serabe Nov 15 '11 at 22:02
I have no idea about Guadalajara. But in central México, "No puedo esperar" sounds quite reasonable too. But yes, "estoy ansioso" is perhaps best and wouldn't confuse anyone. – Juan A. Navarro Nov 16 '11 at 13:39

As simple as

¡Ya quiero ver la película!

If you are looking for some slang you could use:

  • Me estoy quemando por ver la película.
  • No aguanto por ver la película.
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Which country are you or your Spanish from? I wouldn't use neither of them but the first, but moving ya from the beginning to the end. – Serabe Nov 15 '11 at 22:25
I'm from Mexico, and I lived on Guadalajara (the OP lives there) – isJustMe Nov 15 '11 at 22:26
Sounds very strange for me (Madrid, Spain). – Serabe Nov 15 '11 at 22:28
+1 This sounds just perfect. – razpeitia Nov 23 '11 at 5:33

I have no idea how widespread the usage is, but you can say "No veo la hora en que...". It takes the subjunctive. For example, "No veo la hora en que nos casemos." -- "I can't wait for us to get married."

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I normally say

Tengo ganas...

This is more like "I really want to..." or "I have a desire to..." which is what I think you are implying with "I can't wait to...."

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Welcome to Spanish.SE! – Flimzy Jan 2 '12 at 22:02

There's always "estoy deseoso de [ver la película]". But that's not much better than "estoy ansioso" (anxious) or "estoy impaciente" (impatient). There's also "estoy entusiasmado" (enthusiastic).

I'm not sure which would be best...

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A friend just used this phrase with me, which works, at least in some situations:

No veo la hora en que termine la jornada laboral.

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I would go with "Estoy esperando a [ver la película]." But that might not convey the proper level of eagerness.

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I think the most idiomatic translation into Castillian Spanish would be:

Estoy deseando ver la película.

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Needs to be de ver to be correct. – Noldorin May 3 '15 at 19:09
No, it doesn't. Using "de" here would be an instance of "dequeísmo", thus incorrect: – david May 3 '15 at 19:55
Odd. I've always heard it used with "de"... must be a modernism / area where the language is changing, at least in some areas. Fair enough, you've proved it's certainly not correct in the traditional form though! – Noldorin May 4 '15 at 3:11
I've also heard it often, but it's clearly wrong. You "deseas algo", not "de algo". You would never hear "Deseo de un coche" or "Deseo de irme", so why would it be any different when you use the same verb in the present tense? – david May 4 '15 at 8:00
Perhaps because people think of it more as a gerundive / verbal adjective? In which case a preposition can appear. For example, in English, one says "he desires that", but "he is desirous of that". So I suppose it depends whether you go by the prescriptivist or pragmatist view of grammar. In any case, I'll take you advice, and try hard to use the "de" in formal writing at least! – Noldorin May 4 '15 at 23:50

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