I am trying to write a cooking recipe as homework (should point out I have a tutor who is trying to help me learn Spanish purely for my own development so not a school kid trying to cheat his teacher :-) sadly those days are many years ago) so that I learn to use commands in Spanish.

So far I have the below, (the instructions are to make a duck lasagna fyi):

  1. ten que precalentar el horno a ciento ochenta grados centígrados
  2. consigue una bandeja luego ponga un pato en bandeja
  3. frota aceite, pimienta negra y sal sobre el pato
  4. cocina por dos horas

Now these may well be wrong. My question though is on the next line I am trying to write.

I want to say something along the lines of

  1. Leave to cool
  2. remove all the skin and fat (Retira toda la piel y la grasa)

But "leave to cool" I'm unsure of how to write it. The two suggestions are from Google Translate which I try not to use as I'm aware it is not always correct.

So I think Deje should actually be Deja (as we are giving an order). I don't understand why que is used here? Also would we use the infinitive of enfríe? If not, why?

Deje que el pato se enfríe
Deje que se enfríe

  • 2
    Nothing to add to the answers, but this minor detail: "leave to cool" can be translated with dejar + infinitive, as in English: Deje enfriar, which is more like "let (it) cool". Dejar works both as "leave" and as "let".
    – pablodf76
    Commented Nov 30, 2017 at 13:22

2 Answers 2


Your problem is not with verb tenses, rather with which person you are addressing the reader, tú or usted.

Deja (tú) que el pato se enfríe

Deje (usted) que el pato se enfríe

Both are imperative, just different persons

You have inconsistencies in the previous steps too:

  • Consiga = usted
  • Frota = tú
  • Cocine = usted
  • Retira = tú
  • thanks for pointing that out. I have now updated the so they are all in tú format.
    – mHelpMe
    Commented Nov 30, 2017 at 12:08
  • those are the imperatives, and are verbs to order someone to do something, when you are using imperatives, the "Tu" and "Usted" conjugation changes. for formality, is better to used the "usted" instead of "tu"
    – Mike
    Commented Nov 30, 2017 at 15:54
  • 2
    @mHelpMe - It's getting better! Why do you say "Ten que precalentar"? Are you trying to say "You have to preheat"? That's not an imperative. To follow the pattern, I'd suggest "Precalienta etc." // "Deja que" is approximately equal to "Allow that". We don't use the infinitive for "enfriar" in that sentence because that sentence requires the subjunctive. You need to wait at least a month before starting to learn the subjunctive. But don't worry, that day will come. Commented Dec 1, 2017 at 3:45
  • @aparente001 yes exactly I was trying to say "you to have to preheat". Think I understand why that isn't an imperative now I read it & Precalienta makes more sense. With regards to the other points think that will take some further reading on my part! Cheers
    – mHelpMe
    Commented Dec 1, 2017 at 14:29
  • 1
    @mHelpMe - "You have to preheat" = "Tienes que precalentar". But the natural way to express this, which you will learn sooner than you will learn the subjunctive, is "Hay que precalentar". // Sounds like you have a great tutor who's getting you using your Spanish right from the start. I hope you also have a good basic textbook you can use as a reference. Commented Dec 1, 2017 at 14:48

The old Spanish recipe book on my kitchen shelf (so old it is priced in pesetas) has all the instructions written using the infinitive. So it would say

Precalentar el horno a 80 grados
Poner un pato en una bandeja
Frotar aceite ...

and so on.

  • Sure, but you've missed the point. The tutor wanted the student to practice conjugating verbs, as a hands-on style exercise. Commented Dec 1, 2017 at 3:41
  • @aparente001 which is confirmed by the OP accepting the other answer. I think I will leave mine though in case someone with a slightly different question stumbles upon it.
    – mdewey
    Commented Dec 1, 2017 at 13:19
  • I'll ask a different question as a civic service, and if you wouldn't mind posting your answer there, I think that would help us build up the site. Commented Dec 1, 2017 at 13:36
  • @aparente001 in fact there has been a recent news item in the UK which raises a similar issue so if you do not get time I will ask that one.
    – mdewey
    Commented Dec 1, 2017 at 13:40
  • Go for it. Send me a comment here when it's live, please. Commented Dec 1, 2017 at 13:41

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