New reference grammar of modern Spanish 6. - VSIP.INFO (2023)

New reference

modern grammar


The New Reference Grammar of Modern Spanish is a comprehensive, cohesive, and clear guide to the forms and structures of Spanish as it is written and spoken in Spain and Latin America today. It includes clear descriptions of all the main Spanish grammatical phenomena and their usage, illustrated with numerous examples from contemporary Spanish, Peninsular and Latin American, formal and informal. Completely revised and updated, the sixth edition is even more relevant to students and teachers of Spanish. The sixth edition includes: •  new chapters, which provide more detail and examples of key areas of Spanish grammar; • an increase in the number of Mexican examples that reflect the growing interest in the diversity of the Spanish language in this country; •  new information for readers who are learning Spanish and French together; •  dictionary of grammatical terms, including translations of Spanish terms into English. The combination of grammar references and an up-to-date user guide is invaluable for learners at levels B2–C2 of the Common European Framework of Languages ​​and Upper Intermediate–High Advanced of the ACTFL proficiency scales. John Butt is Emeritus Professor of Hispanic Studies at King's College London, UK. He studied Spanish, French and Portuguese at the University of Cambridge and taught Spanish language and literature at King's College London for 37 years. Carmen Benjamin, a native Spanish speaker, taught Spanish at King's College London, UK. Antonia Moreira Rodríguez, also a native Spanish speaker, teaches Spanish and Linguistics in the Department of Spanish, Portuguese and Latin American Studies at King's College London, UK.

ROUTLEDGE REFERENCE GRAMATICS Modern Italian Reference Grammar, Second Edition edited by Martin Maiden and Cecilia Robustelli French Grammar and Usage, Fourth Edition edited by Roger Hawkins and Richard Towell Hammer's German Grammar and Usage, Sixth Edition Martin Durrell New Reference Grammar of Modern Spanish, Sixth Edition John B. Butt, Carmen Benjamin and Antonia Moreira-Rodríguez For more information on the Routledge Reference Grammars series, visit: used alone or with companion books from the Practicing series Grammar Workbooks: Practicing Italian Grammar: A Workbook Alessia Bianchi, Clelia Boscolo and Stephen Harrison Practicing Spanish Grammar, Third Edition Angela Howkins, Christopher Pountain and Teresa de Carlos Practicing French Grammar: A Workbook, Fourth Edition Roger Hawkins, Marie-Noëlle Lamy and Richard Towell Practicing German Grammar, Fourth Edition Martin Durrell, Katrin Kohl and Claudia Kaiser Grammar Workbooks/Book Series/PGW

New reference

modern grammar

SPANISH Sixth Edition John Butt, Carmen Benjamin and Antonia Moreira Rodríguez

Sixth edition published 2019 by Routledge 2 Park Square, Milton Park, Abingdon, Oxon, OX14 4RN and Routledge 711 Third Avenue, New York, NY 10017 Routledge is a trademark of Taylor & Francis Group, an information company © 2019 John Butt , Carmen Benjamin and Antonia Moreira Rodríguez The right of John Butt, Carmen Benjamin and Antonia Moreira Rodríguez to be identified as the authors of this work is claimed under sections 77 and 78 of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988. All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reprinted, reproduced or used in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical or otherwise, now known or hereafter invented, including photocopying and recording, or in any information storage or retrieval system, without permission of the editor ' writing. Trademark Notice: Product or company names may be trademarks or registered trademarks and are used for identification and explanation purposes only and no infringement is intended. First edition published by E. Arnold 1988. Fifth edition published by Hodder Education 2011, Routledge 2013. British Library Publication Cataloging-in-Publication Data A catalog record for this book is available from the Library of Congress British Library Publication Cataloging-in-Publication Data Names: Butt, John , 1943- author. | Benjamin, Carmen, author. | Rodriguez, Antonia Moreira, author. Title: A New Reference Grammar of Modern Spanish / John Butt, Carmen Benjamin and Antonia Moreira Rodrâiguez. Description: 6th edition. | London; New York: Routledge, 2019 | Series: Routledge Reference Grammars | Includes bibliographic references and index. Identifiers: LCCN 2018023122| ISBN 9781138124004 (hbk) | ISBN 9781138124011 (pbk) | ISBN 9781315648446 (ebk) Subjects: LCSH: Spanish - Grammar. | Spanish language–Textbooks for foreign speakers––English classification: LCC PC4112 .B88 2019 | DDC 468.2/421–dc23 LC Registration available at ISBN: 978-1-138-12400-4 (hbk) ISBN: 978-1-138-12401-1 (pbk) ISBN : 978-1-315-64844-6 (ebk) Composed by Palatino Roman Servis Filmsetting Ltd, Stockport, Cheshire

Contents Preface to the sixth edition of Abbreviations and Conventions 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 429

Gender Nouns Plural Nouns Definite Article Indefinite Article Adjectives Adjectives and Adverbs Comparison Demonstrative Adjectives and Pronouns Neutral Article and Neuter Pronouns Possessive Adjectives and Pronouns Miscellaneous Adjectives and Pronouns Numbers Personal Pronouns, Subject Personal Pronouns Used with Prepositions Personal Pronouns, Object Le / les and lo/la/los/las Spanish verb forms Use of indicative (non-continuous) tenses Use of indicative (non-continuous) complex tenses Continuous forms of verbs Subjunctive Imperative Infinitive Participles Gerund Auxiliary verbs Personal Negation Questions and exclamations Conditional clauses Pronoun verbs Becoming verbs Passive and impersonal sentences Ser e estar 'Há', 'há', 'havia', 'havia', etc. Adverbs Expressions of time Conjunctions and speech marks Prepositions Relative clauses and relative pronouns Nominalizers Separate clauses Word order

VIIa Ix 1 19 30 305 89 101 1220 396 399 274 303 396 133 124 319 3948 399

vi Contents 43 Diminutive, augmentative and pejorative suffixes 44 Spelling, rules for stress, punctuation and word division

552 560

Glossary of Grammatical Terms Bibliography and Resources Index of English Words Index of Grammatical Points and Words in Spanish

576 588 591 594

Preface to the Sixth Edition This new edition by Butt and Benjamin, now Butt, Benjamin and Moreira, differs in several respects from earlier versions. • We have created some new chapters with the result that the section numbers have been changed and the content has been rewritten. • We have added a large number of Mexican examples, since Mexico is by far the most populous Spanish-speaking country, and its language is of particular interest to readers in North America. • We thoroughly proofread all the text, clarifying where we thought it was unclear, simplifying where it was complicated, rewriting or expanding where we had new ideas or new information, and correcting where we thought the original was wrong or inaccurate. • We've added new information for readers who are learning Spanish and French together, a combination that is particularly popular in the UK. • We mark as important the points that, in our experience, cause problems for English language learners, but this does not mean that the other notes should be ignored. • Glossary includes Spanish translations of grammatical terms. Any Spanish grammar or dictionary that claims to be comprehensive must face the problem of international language diversity, a problem that is much less in other widely studied European languages ​​such as French, German and Italian. English basically has only two internationally recognized standards: American and British "received". No one would or should suggest that varieties from other places like Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, the Caribbean or India are "bad" at English, but there seems to be a more or less tacit agreement that foreigners should learn American English or use 'received' British (in practice the language of the middle and upper classes of South East England and those who speak like them). However, there are no universally recognized international standards for Spanish, which varies in detail among the twenty-one countries where it is an official or main official language. Despite claims to the contrary, none of these different variants has been accepted as a model for others to follow. It is not easy to define how different these varieties are from each other. People who know only one variety of Spanish can often read texts and understand films and programs from other Spanish-speaking countries without noticing more than a few obvious flaws, especially when the material is aimed at an international audience. On the other hand, the local Spanish language can cause problems for outsiders, not only for Spaniards. El País Semanal of 10 May 2015 describes how the late Mexican poet José Emilio Pacheco faced incomprehension when he asked a Madrid hotel receptionist 'un plomero para componer la llave de la tina' ('a plumber to fix the tap/tub tap') ; A Spaniard would say 'un fontanero to repair grifo de la bañena'. Fortunately, these misunderstandings mostly affect vocabulary. The syntax of Pacheco's question is perfectly 'standard' and, as far as grammar is concerned, the differences between regions and countries are not striking. Spanish is still very much a language. In order to make this book as useful as possible for students of all types of Spanish, we have selected Latin American content in accordance with the policy of previous editions of this book.

viii Preface to the Sixth Edition examples of quotations which, unless otherwise noted, are also good European Spanish and therefore worthy of emulation by readers studying the language of Spain as well as Latin America. In general, in fact, we include Latin American examples that show that their language is the same as that of Spain and that therefore their syntax is acceptable everywhere or almost everywhere. However, we cannot guarantee that all of our European Spanish examples are good Latin American Spanish, especially when it comes to vocabulary. Translating Spanish from Spain to "Latin American Spanish" is often impossible because there is no single "Latin American Spanish". To give a well-known example, 'pavimento'/'calçada' is la acera in Spain and some parts of Latin America, la vereda in the Southern Cone, el andén in Colombia, la banqueta in Mexico and, according to dictionaries, la orilla in some other American republics, and maybe there are other regional words that we don't know. As for the language of the examples, we have tried to stick to simple everyday Spanish prose, which can loosely be described as "polite informal". However, we have included a lot of information about popular Spanish syntax, since students are likely to encounter it in movies, novels, and everyday conversation, and need to know whether or not to imitate it. The line between syntax and lexicon is blurred in any language, and this book contains a number of points that are actually better suited for a dictionary than a grammar. But lack of space prevents us from competing with dictionaries when it comes to defining meaning, so readers, if in doubt, should check our translations – especially those of individual words – in a good Spanish-English dictionary. The difference between British and American English sometimes causes us anxiety, and we hope that our British dialect will not cause too many problems on the other side of the Atlantic. We sometimes provide American equivalents to our British English when we think the latter might be confusing, eg 'torch'/US 'lamp', 'French fries'/US 'crisps', but we haven't been systematic about this as we're not fluent speakers American English. We also hope that American readers will forgive us for spellings such as 'color', 'neighbor', 'centre', 'subway', 'defense', 'passenger', 'cancelled', 'accommodate', 'practice' (noun in Great Britain - Britain is 'practical'), 'past tense' and other British forms. Carmen Benjamin retired after many years of hard work on previous editions, and Antonia Moreira brought new eyes and ears to the project and made many valuable suggestions. We are especially grateful to Mikko Takala, whose computer wizardry has saved us from frustration more than once. Once again, our sincere thanks to the many people, both English and Spanish speakers, who have contributed to this book over the years—especially Carmen Benjamin—but, as always, the authors are solely responsible for any errors or omissions. John Butt Antonia Moreira Rodríguez London UK, 2018

Abbreviations and Conventions NGLE: The New Grammar of the Spanish Language, 2 volumes, Real Academia Española (Madrid 2009). A third volume on phonetics and phonology appeared in 2011. GDLE: A Descriptive Grammar of the Spanish Language, Ignacio Bosque and Violeta Demonte eds, 3 vols, Real Academia Española (Madrid 1999) DPD: Pan-Hispanic Dictionary of Doubts, Real Academia Española (Madrid 2005 ) Draft: Draft of a New Grammar of the Spanish Language, 13th Edition, Real Academia Española (Madrid 1991) CORPES: Real Academia Española: Database (CORPES) [online]. Corpus of the Spanish 21st century. CREA: Real Academia Española: Database (CREA. Annotated version) [online] Current Reference Corpus in Spanish Argentina Bol. Bolivia regiment. Colombia CR Costa Rica Ch. Chile Cu. Cuba

nedjelja Rep. Dominican Republic Ec. Ecuador ES El Salvador Guat. Guatemala

Exmo. Honduras Mexico. Mexico Nic. Nicaraguan circle Panama Par. Paraguay The. Peru

PR Puerto Rico Sp. Spain Reg. Uruguay Ven. Venezuela

Lat. It's me. Latin America(n) S. Cone: Southern Cone (Argentina, Uruguay, Chile and Paraguay) (f.), (feminine) feminine lit. literally (m.), (masc.) masculine n: any number, as in 'n days', within n days plur. plural sing. singular / indicates alternatives with the same or very similar meaning, for example en vano/en bucket 'in vain', yo no sabía que fuera/fuese verdad 'I didn't know it was true', or alternatives which are possible translations, e.g. su libro = 'her/his/their/their book', 'I went' = went/iba/he ido. One or more asterisks in front of an example indicate that it is incorrect and should be avoided, eg *produció (for produjo), **el mujer. The question mark above indicates that the form is controversial or doubtful: ?se los dije, ?habían muchos alumnos. Items in square brackets in unattributed quotations can be deleted without significant change in meaning, as in debe (de) ser el cartero 'must be the postman'. 'Colloquial' refers to language that is acceptable in casual polite speech but avoided in formal situations. 'Familiar' describes language that can be heard even by educated speakers in informal situations, but should be used with caution by non-fluent foreigners. 'Popular' describes forms that some speakers might dismiss as 'uneducated' and international students should avoid.

x Abbreviations and Conventions 'Dialogue' shows that quoted words are spoken by fictional characters whose opinions and language, sometimes comical, sexist or otherwise outrageous, cannot be attributed to their author. We use the term 'Latin America(n)' instead of 'Spanish America(n)' because it should be obvious that we are not referring to Brazil or the French-speaking territories, and because the term 'Spanish America' is potentially offensive to both Latin Americans and "English" would no doubt irritated the Americans and Canadians. The spelling of words in Spanish reflects the latest recommendations of the Spanish Academy, particularly noticeable in words such as guion por guión, rio por rio, cry for crié, etc. (see 44.2.4). In case of unresolved disputes, for example if the accent must be written in the pronouns este/este, ese/ése and aquel/aquél and in the adverb solo/sólo, we show both forms, but we recommend the advice of the Academy, which is to omit the accent. When hearing, out of context, a verbal form such as habla 'she/he/you/it is speaking', Spanish speakers do not automatically form a mental image of a masculine grammatical subject. For this reason, we translate such forms as '(he) speaks', although the other possibilities - 'you speak' (usted) and 'this one speaks' - are generally not shown. If only 'she' or 'he' appears in the translation of the assigned example, this reflects the gender of the character in the original text. When the verb in the third person plural appears without a pronoun, eg reciben 'they receive', it should be kept in mind that the translation can also be 'you receive' (ustedes reciben) if the meaning of the phrase or sentence allows it.

Phonetic symbols The pronunciation of the Spanish language is roughly shown as follows. Previous editions adopted the International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA), but some IPA characters were confusing for students: Symbol Phonetic description Notes Voiced bilabial fricative β Air emitted continuously through pursed lips   English b χ voiceless velar fricative As ch from German lachen or from Scots 'loch' γ voiced velar fricative Air continuously released from throat held as   for English g in 'before' θ voiceless interdental fricative Like th of 'pensar' ð voiced interdental fricative Like th of 'this' ʎ palatal lateral voiced Palatalized l, as in Spanish lhamo. Flattened tongue   against palate – nasal palatal voice Like gn in French cognac. Tongue flattened against   palate (IPA ɲ) ŋ vocalic velar nasal Kao ng in American and South British 'sing'   (not as in 'finger') ɾ voiced alveolar tap or lobe r pronounced with a single tap of the tongue as   in Spanish caro rr voiced alveolar trill Rolled R as in Spanish carro (IPA r) y palatal voiced approximant Like y in "yes" (IPA j) voiceless palatal stop ch Like ch in "naughtiness" (IPA tʃ) Hyphen separates syllables and stress syllable is marked with stress: [a- βlá-mos] = hablamos; see 44.5.

Abbreviations and conventions


[aw] is like 'ow' in English 'cow'; [ay] is like the 'i' in English 'high'; [ey] is like 'ay' in 'hay'; [oy] is like 'oy' in 'boy'; [ew] is like the 'e' in 'egg' followed by a 'w'; [w] is the English 'w', but with well-rounded lips. Other characters should have their normal Spanish pronunciation. [ñ] should be distinguished in the pronunciation of [ny] as in words such as uran [u-ɾá-nyo] 'uranic' and huraño [u-ɾá-ño] 'grubby'/'unsociable'. [ʎ] should be distinguished from [ly] in words such as pollo [powder-ʎo] 'chicken' (for cooking) and polio [powder-lyo] 'polio' (disease).

1 Gender of nouns The main points discussed in this chapter are • • • • •

Gender of nouns that refer to people and some animals (section 1.2) Gender of nouns that refer to inanimate things, plants and other animals (section 1.3) Gender of foreign words (section 1.3.12) Doubtful genders (section 1.3.15) Genders that misleading some French nouns (section 1.4)

1.1 Gender of nouns: Spanish common nouns are masculine or feminine, except for some nouns of indefinite gender listed in 1.3.15. The whole question of the gender of Spanish nouns becomes clearer if we divide them into two groups: (A) Nouns referring to human beings and some familiar animals: Section 1.2. (B) Nouns referring to inanimate things, plants and animals not included in group A: Section 1.3.

1.2 Group A: gender of nouns referring to humans and some animals As you would expect, nouns referring to men are masculine and nouns referring to women are feminine, so el hombre 'the man', la mujer 'the woman' , el toro 'bull', la vaca 'cow'. This rule applies to almost all humans, but only to a few animals, many of which are listed in 1.2.1. The genus of other animals is discussed in 1.3.1. The gender of A-group nouns is more logical in Spanish than in French, where the masculine noun le professeur can refer to a woman. Forms such as la recluta 'the recruit', la centinela 'the sentinel' used to apply to men in the past, but now we say el recluta, el centinela for a man and la recluta, la centinela for a woman. Exceptions: some gender-fixed nouns like la victim or la celebridad can refer to men or women: see 1.2.11 for a list. (1) Note that generally the masculine plural form of these nouns is used for mixed gender groups: los gato = 'cats' as well as 'tom cats', mis tíos = 'my aunt(s) and uncle(s) )' as and 'my uncles', los padres = 'parents' as well as 'parents'. See 1.2.8.

1.2.1 Special forms for masculine and feminine As in English, some nouns have special forms for masculine and feminine and must be learned separately. The following list is not exhaustive: el abad/la abadesa abbot/abadess el actor/la actress actor/actress

baron/baroness baron/baroness horse/mare stallion/mare

2 Gender noun el león/la leona lion/leoa el ram/la oveja* ram/sheep (or ewe) el count/la condesa conde/condessa el duque/la duchesa duque/duquesa el elephant/la elephant elephant el emperador/ carica emperor/empress rooster/hen* rooster/hen (or hen) hero/heroine hero/heroine (or heroine) man/woman man (see note 2) wild boar/arrow wild boar

husband/wife husband/wife (or wife) father/mother father/mother prince/princess prince/princess king/queen king/queen priest/priestess priest/priestess bull/cow* bull/cow el varón (human) or el macho ( animals)/la   fembra male/female el genro/la nora son/daughter-in-law (la   in-law is heard in parts of Latin America)

(1)  Asterisks indicate a feminine form that is also used for species, eg las ovejas = 'sheep' as well as 'sheep'. Usually the masculine plural is used for species. See 1.2.8. (2)  In Latin America, 'wife' is woman and 'woman' is mujer. In Spain, la mujer means both, and la wife is formal and polite, and Spain's El País encourages its use for 'wife'. A single partner is la pareja (for both sexes) or el compañero/la compañera. To learn more about la pareja, see 1.2.11. (3)  Papá and mamá are constantly used in Latin America for 'father' and 'mother', even in quite formal speech. The words padre and especially madre have become somewhat discredited in Latin America, especially Mexico, where padre is a colloquial adjective meaning 'fantastic'/'great' and madre has many less respectable uses that must be looked up in the dictionary.

1.2.2  Group A feminine nouns ending in -o Quase all these forms seu feminino in -a: grandfather/grandmother avô/avó donkey/donkey donkey friend/friend friend candidate candidate cerdo/la cerda pig/sow (Spain) el chancho/la chancha pig/sow (lat. am.) el deer/la cierva el ganso/la gansa ganso/goose el gato/la gata cat/ona-gato brother/sister irmão/irmã

el lobo/la loba lobo/loba el doctor/la doctor doctor el novio/la novia boyfriend/girlfriend, also    'groom' and 'bride' el oso/la osa ursa/bear el pato/la pata pato el turkey the dog/ dog bitch/uncle bitch/aunt uncle/fox aunt/girl

Exceptions: some nouns ending in -o that refer to professions or activities do not have special feminine forms, so the gender is shown by an article or an adjective, as in soldier 'soldier', soldier 'soldier', French models 'female French models'. Other examples: judge (or judge) judge choir captain member member (of a club etc.) pilot (rarely pilot) pilot/pilot

accused (in court) sergeant sergeant (but see 1.2.7) soprano soprano witness witness

1.2.3 Feminine nouns of group A whose masculine form ends in -or, -ón, -ín, -és, -án These add -a, and any stress written on the last vowel disappears: el asesor/la asesora advisor/ consultantdo bourgeois / bourgeois bourgeois

champion / champion champion captain / captain captain

1.2  Group A: gender of nouns referring to human beings and some animals

doctor doctor householder householder lion/lioness lion/lioness dancer dancer


pedestrian pedestrian teacher teacher (see note 1) programmer programmer

For adjectives like polite, pregunton, pillín see 5.2.1. (1)  El profesor/la profesora = 'high school or university teacher', el maestro/la maestra = 'primary school teacher', although in Spain today it is fashionable to call them all ​​professor/as. A British teacher is a teacher.

1.2.4  Group A feminine noun whose masculine form ends in They do not change: el/la artist artist el/la astronaut astronaut el/la athlete athlete el/la brigade (approximate) second lieutenant of the navy, air force or Civil Guard headed by a colleague colleagues

police guard/woman. See note 2 guide guide (guide also = 'guide') pianist pianist policeman/woman   (police also = 'policeman'). See note 2. the psychiatrist

(1)  El modisto para el modista 'the male stylist' is heard in Spain: todo las separa. . . inclusivelosmodistos (El Mundo, Sp.) 'everything is between them. . . even stylists'. Academia (DPD, 441) accepts, but Seco and El País reject. La modista also means "dressmaker". (2)  In Spain, guardias and policías are not the same. The Guardia Civil deals with rural policing, borders, etc. The Policía Nacional oversees urban areas, and there are also municipal and regional police such as the Basque Ertzaintza and the Catalan Mossos d'Esquadra. Latin American republics can also have complex police systems.

1.2.5 Feminine group A nouns whose masculine gender ends in -nte Most do not change: el/la adolescent adolescent el/la police officer/agente el/la lover lover el/la cantante cantor

representative representative spectator lieutenant passerby

But some feminine forms of -nta are in use, at least in Spain; may be unacceptable in parts of Latin America: el assistência/la asistanta assistant, day help el dependent/la dependent shop   assistant/US 'sales balconista' el principiante/la principianta beginner

servant servant comedian comedian comic actor cousin relative (cousin   is also funny for 'wife')

(1). La asistanta is common in Spain for "housekeeper".

4 Noun gender (2)  La Presidente ‘the president’ is found, but la Presidente is recommended by Seco (1998) and is now very widespread. (3)  Forms like *la estudianta para la estudiante are considered non-standard, but some popular nouns/adjectives may form their feminine gender in -nta: eltorrante/la torranta (Lat. Am.) 'vagrant'/'lazy'/ US ' bum ', dominantly 'bossy'/'pushy' (applied to women). For client see 1.2.7 note 1.

1.2.6 Feminine gender of other group A nouns whose masculine form ends in -e or a consonant Except for those mentioned in the previous sections, these do not change: el/la alférez Segundo   tenente el/la barman (Sp.) barman /   waitress el / spouse spouse

liaison representative interpreter translator young/  young political leader*

martyr martyr hostage tiger (or tigress) tiger

Exceptions: guest (more generally guest, which is recommended by the Academy), monk/nun, tailor. For the boss, see 1.2.7. (1)  *La lideresa is an Academy approved female political leader, but most people say lalíder.

1.2.7  Feminine forms of nouns referring to occupations As the social status of women improves, the stigma that was once attached to some female occupations is disappearing. The following should be noted: • El/la abogado 'lawyer'. The form la abogada is widely accepted today, but originally it meant "holy advocate". • La clienta 'the customer' is increasingly accepted, at least in Spain, but la cliente is also heard. • El/la jefe: la jefa is accepted by El País as the feminine form of el/la jefe 'the boss', but it sounds very familiar to some people. García Márquez (Colonel) writes that Maruja was . . . head of public relations 'Maruja was the head of public relations'. • El/la juez 'juiz' - preferred form in Spain, Mexico and Peru: El País insists on la juez. Elsewhere in Latin America, la jueza is not uncommon for a female judge. The Academy accepts la juez and is everywhere present in speech. • Doctor 'doctor': doctor is normal in most of Latin America, cf. una Médica blanca sudafricana (Granma, Cu.) 'the white South African doctor', but Emilia Saura, la Médico sin hospital (AM, Mexico) 'ES, the doctor without the hospital'. El País and the Academy approve of the doctor and she's getting more and more spread out, although some people still find her a bit reckless. La doctora is a decent alternative to doctors. The academy rejects the doctor. • El/la miembro 'member' (of clubs), also el socio/la soci. NGLE 2.9f member approval. • El/la minister 'minister', but la minister is a common occurrence today. El País and the Academy recommend la primera ministra instead of la primer Ministro 'prime minister', although it logically means 'first minister'. • La poet is now preferred to la poetisa 'the poetess'. • La politica accepts NGLE 2.6g for female politician; also means "politics". A computer scientist is a computer scientist; also means "calculation".

1.2  Group A: gender of nouns referring to human beings and some animals


• La sacerdotisa is a possible feminine form of el padre 'the priest', which is mainly used for old religions. NGLE notes the increasing use of la padre for female (ie non-Roman Catholic) priests. • La sargenta is used to mean a fierce and ill-willed woman, so la sargento is a woman sergeant. Other nouns ending in -o can be regular: el architecto/la architecta 'architect', el biologista/la biologista 'biologist', el cathedratic/la catedrática 'professor' (European meaning), elófilo/la filósofa 'philosopher', literal/literal 'lawyer'/'legal representative', sociologist/sociologist 'sociologist' etc. However, forms such as la architecto, la philosopher, la literate may be preferred in Spain. La magistrada 'the judge' (higher than a British magistrate) is now common. (1)  Feminine forms are often used, even in polite speech, when the woman is not listening: ¿qué tal te llevas con la nueva jefa? 'How are you getting along with your new boss?'

1.2.8  Nouns referring to mixed groups of men and women With the rare exceptions listed in 1.2.1, masculine plurals refer to men or both sexes, which is confusing to English speakers. Mis hijos means 'my children' or 'my children'; mis hermanos means 'my brothers' or 'my brother(s) and sister(s)'. Answer to ¿tienes hermanos? pode ser tengo dos hermanos y una hermana 'I have two brothers and a sister'. In the same way hoy vienen los padres de los niños 'the parents of the children are arriving today'. 'The children's parents are coming' should be clarified vienen los padres de los niños - los padres solos = 'the parents alone'. Other examples: students students/men students English English/English men children children/little boys dogs dogs/men dogs

los cousins ​​​​​​​​​cousins​​​​​los professores professores/professores los reyes king and queen/kings/   kings and queens

(1)  Feminine nouns refer only to women, so use the masculine gender in sentences such as no tengo más amigos que mujeres 'the only friends I have are women' or todos los profesores son mujeres 'all the teachers are women'. ?No tengo más amigos que mujeres means 'the only friends I have are women'! Tú eres la más clever de todos 'you are the smartest of all' is a better compliment for a woman than. . .of everything, since the feminine excludes the masculine. But a sentence like María es la mejor profesora del institute 'Maria is the best teacher in the school' is ambiguous: it may or may not include men. Emilia Pardo Bazán is the best interpreter of rural life in all of Spanish literature of the 19th century 'Emilia Pardo Bazán is the best interpreter of rural life in all of Spanish literature of the 19th century' means that she is better than all the others. If "the best performer" meant, it would be said that she is a performer. (2)  One should be careful with words like one, the other. If a woman from Madrid says todos los madrileños me caen fatros 'all Madrid people get on my nerves', someone might reply, but you are one of them! 'but you are one of them!', but no *. . . one of them, since madrileños include both men and women (but you're a madrileña too! avoid the problem). Compare and Ana is one of the teachers 'Ana is one of the teachers' and Ana is one of the teachers 'Ana is one of the teachers'. In some cases, the use seems unsafe. A woman can say that some are for and some are against. I am one of those who are for or . . . of those who are for 'some are for, some are against'. I'm one of those for'. (3)  The fact that male includes female also irritates some feminists, since a phrase like opportunity for chemistry students 'opportunities for chemistry students' does not clearly mean

6 The gender of the noun includes women, so it is sometimes encountered in notices and pamphlets[email protected],[email protected]itd[email protected] [email protected]is a gender-neutral (and unpronounceable) way of writing los alumnos y las alumnas 'pupils and students'. The Academy frowns upon the use of @.

1.2.9 Gender of nouns denoting inanimate beings when referring to humans Feminine nouns that usually refer to inanimate things can sometimes also refer to men. In this case, the noun becomes masculine: Applied to a man stray bullet stray bullet una bestia wild beast la cabeza shaved head shaved la camara camera la primera clase first class la superventa top sale la trumpet trumpet

vagrant vagrant/harmless beast beast/crime/lunatic skinhead skinhead cameraman cameraman first-class somebody first-class bestseller bestseller trumpeter trumpeter

These feminine words can be applied to women: la trompeta = 'trumpet' or 'female trumpeter'.

1.2.10  Gender of names applied across gender lines A female name applied to a male becomes masculine: tú eres un Margaret Thatcher 'you are Margaret Thatcher' (said to a man of his right-wing political views). But male names generally remain masculine: María, tú eres un Hitler con faldas 'Maria, you are Hitler's wife', lit. 'Hitler in skirts'.

1.2.11  Gender-invariant nouns that apply to both genders Some common words applied to human beings do not change gender. A baby is said to be sick 'the baby is sick' regardless of gender, although la bebe or la bebe is now generally understood as a girl: the baby dies while receiving the medicine prescribed for the mother (El País, Sp. ) 'the girl dies after receiving medicine prescribed for the mother' (hear la beba in southern cone). Some common gender words are: angel angel misfortune misfortune celebrity celebrity clever genius/'intelligent' person disaster disaster scary grotesque/weird-looking person star star (TV, etc.) genius genius

casual crush/boyfriend or girlfriend brilliant genius single partner. See note 2 persona person character character (in novels, etc.) nightmare nightmare (eres) sun you are wonderful/angel victim victim

and some other masculine nouns can be used to refer to women, most of them involving sexual allusions or comparisons with objects, cf. el pendón 'bitch'/'slut' (lit. 'flag', also la pendona), el marimacho 'mother', etc. (1) Titles like Altez 'highness', excellence, Illustrísima 'Graça' (bishop's title) and Majestad 'majesty' are feminine, but the person addressed retains their gender: Su Majestad will be tired

1.3 Group B: Gender of nouns referring to animals not included in 1.2 and inanimate things


(to the king): 'Your Majesty must be tired.' This is especially true of the expression su señoría, which is used in Spanish parliaments to address other members of both houses and judges. (2)  La pareja is even used for a male partner, but note su pareja es español (El Periódico, Sp., 8-3-15) 'your (male) partner is Spanish'. Compañero/compañera is also used for unmarried partners, sometimes clarified by adding sentimental, but pareja is becoming more common.

1.3 Group B: Gender of nouns referring to animals not included in 1.2 and non-living things and plants 1.3.1  Nouns referring to animals not included in 1.2.1–11 Nouns referring to most animals not included in the previous sections have a fixed value, an arbitrary gender that must be learned separately. The gender of the noun has nothing to do with the gender of the animal: spider spider aloe slug whale whale kangaroo kangaroo chimpanzee chimpanzee cockroach cucaracha

gorilla gorilla ant bow tie blackbird blackbird opossum opossum otter

panda panda puma puma frog frog frog viper viper vicuña vicuña

and many others that will be found in good dictionaries. (1)  You can clarify the gender of an animal by adding macho 'male' or hembra 'female': la ardilla macho 'male squirrel', el cangrejo hembra 'female crab'. In good Spanish, the adjective agrees with the gender of the noun, not the animal itself: la rana macho está muerta 'the male frog is dead', un cisne hembra blanco 'the female white swan'. Male and female are invariable: las cebras macho 'male zebras', los gavilanes hembra 'female hawks'. Familiar language can say things like el/la gorilla 'he-gorilla' and 'she-gorilla' (correctly always el gorilla). (2)  La canguro ('the kangaroo') in Spain is used for a babysitter or babysitter.

1.3.2 Gender of nouns referring to non-living things, plants and other animals The gender of nouns referring to non-living things, plants and animals listed in 1.3.1 must be learned for each noun. It has no sexual overtones and sometimes varies from place to place: cf. sauna 'sauna', feminine in Spain, both genders in Latin America; sartén 'pan'/'pan' from US, feminine in Spain, usually masculine in Latin America. The gender of some nouns also occasionally changes over time: cf. 17th century la puente, now el puente 'the bridge' (occasionally still la puente in some regions). El maratón and la maratón 'marathon' are current: El País insists on el maratón. There are few infallible rules and we list only those that, in our opinion, do not encourage false generalizations.

8 Gender of nouns

1.3.3  Masculine in meaning Some of them received the gender of the basic omitted noun: (a)  Rios (el río): el Amazonas 'Amazona', el Jarama, el Manzanares, el Sena 'Seine', el Támesis ' Thames, Volga. Locally, some rivers may be feminine, but foreigners rarely know this, and the masculine gender is always correct. (b)  Mountains, oceans, seas and lakes (mountain, ocean, sea, lake): Alps, Etna, Everest, Himalayas (singular), Pacific, Caribbean 'Caribbean', Windermere. (c)  Names of cars, ships and aircraft: Toyota, Mercedes, fighter jet, Queen Elizabeth, Marie Celeste, DC10, Mig-31. But small boats (la barca) are usually feminine, as are light planes because of the noun la avioneta: Cessna. (d)  Months and Days of the Week (Months and Days of the Week): Last January/April, Monday, Cold Friday, etc. (e)  Wines (Wine): Burgundy 'Burgundy', Chianti, Rioja, Champagne 'Champagne', usually champagne in spoken Spanish, but champagne in Mexico, Colombia and Venezuela. Cava is used to denote champagne made in Spain. (f)  Paintings (paintings) by named artists: Constable, Leonardo, Rembrandt, Riley. (g)  Sports teams (team): Barça 'Barcelona FC' (pronounced [báɾ-sa]), Betis (one of Sevilla's football teams), Real Madrid, etc. (h)  All infinitives and all quoted words: fumar ' to smoke', to spit 'to spit', '"mujer" is feminine "(word) ""mujer" is feminine', the sign does not come, "it follows" que él espera (EP, Mex.) 'the sign does not come, ' go' he expected'. (i)  Any adverb, exclamation, or other genderless word used as a noun: el más allá 'The other side', un algo 'something', tem um no saber qué que gusta (LRS, Puerto Rico, dialogue)' she has something nice in it'. (j)  Numbers (number): six, 5, Generation 98 'Generation 98', two percent 'two percent'. (k)  Musical notes: el fa, el la (unclear base noun). (l)  Colors (colour): blue 'blue', ocher 'ochre'; the horizon orange is expanded 'the horizon orange expands' (AG, Sp.), they laid a green carpet, although it did not match the pale pink color of the walls (ES, Mexico) 'they had a green carpet laid, although it did not match the pale pink color of the walls . (m)  Certain trees (el arbol) whose fruits (la Fruta) are female, p. almond/almond almond hazelnut/hazelnut hazelnut chestnut/chestnut cherry/cherry cherry plum/plum plum pomegranate/pomegranate guava guava

ginja/morello cherry mandarin/tangerine mandarin apple/apple apple orange/orange orange walnut/walnut walnut. See note 2 papaya papaya pear pear pear

1.3 Group B: Gender of nouns referring to animals not included in 1.2 and inanimate things


(1)  Some fruits are masculine: avocado 'avocado' (avocado south of the Equator), apricot 'apricot', fig 'fig', lemon 'lemon', melon 'melon', etc. 'Banana' is banana for most Latin Americans, but banana in some regions and Spain. Plátano also means 'plane tree' in Spanish, so 'banana tree' is el plátano bananero. (2)  'Nuts' are generally dried fruits. However, in Latin America las nuevas can be used for 'nuts', cf. When buying nuts, you should choose the most popular types, such as almonds, peanuts, walnuts and walnuts (Colombian cookbook) 'when buying nuts, you should choose the most popular types, such as almonds, peanuts, walnuts and walnuts'. El maní = peanut in Spain.

1.3.4  Masculine form (a)  Nouns ending in -o are usually masculine: el colegio 'school', el libro 'book', el macro 'macro' (in computing), el resguardo 'receipt'/'paper list' (eg from an ATM), el trampantojo 'illusion'/'trick'. There are some exceptions, some of them important: lanão boat (archaic) la dinamo dinamo   (el dinamo in lat. am.) la disco disco la photo photo

Gestapo Gestapou libido libido ili magneto magneto   (often masked)

la mano hand (dim. la manita   ou la manito) la moto moto la polio polio

(b)  Words ending in -aje, -or, -án, -ambre or a tonic vowel: el equipe baggage el landscape landscape el calor calor el cor cor el amor amor

couch sofa/couch landscape saffron/saffron attic attic cramp cramp/gr

swarm swarm Canada (male) Canada ruby ​​shampoo ruby ​​shampoo tissue paper (eg tissues)

Exceptions: la flor 'flower', la labor 'work'. El hambre 'hunger' is also feminine: see 3.1.2 for an explanation of el. Forms such as la calor, la color para el calor 'heat' and el color 'colour' are heard in regional dialects. Pelambre 'cloth or tuft of hair' is usually feminine, but sometimes masculine. (1) La radio 'radio' is feminine in Spain and the southern cone, but in Mexico, Cuba, Central America and the northern parts of South America it is usually, but not always, el radio. In some places el radio is 'radio device' and la radio is 'radio station'. El radio also means 'air' and 'radio' everywhere. In García Márquez's Noticia de un secuestro (Col., 1996), el radio and la radio are used for 'radio' with roughly the same frequency. (2) El porno is masculine, although it comes from pornography: detenido T., el rey del porno español (El Periódico, Sp.) 'T., king of Spanish pornography, arrested'.

1.3.5  Common masculine nouns ending in -a There is no rule in Spanish that says that nouns ending in -a must be feminine. Many nouns ending in -ma and a few others ending in -a are masculine: (a)  Masculine nouns ending in -a (for masculine nouns ending in -ma see list b): el alert alert (el alert rojo 'red alert' or warning)

el bocata known in Spain for 'sandwich'/  'baguette' (el bocadillo)

10 Gender Noun el burka burka el search engine bleeper/pager el caza fighter plane el cholera cholera el comet comet (la comet = 'kite', toy) el dia dia el ébola ebola (disease) el escucha listening device/ 'bug' ' additional additional payment giga show(abyte) gorilla gorilla wardrobe Himalaya Himalaya insecticide insecticide (and all chemicals    ending in -cide) karma karma manga Manga comic

el mañana or tomorrow/tomorrow   (la mañana = 'morning') el lempira Honduran currency el mapa map el noon el mega meg(abyte) el nirvana Nirvana el panda panda el planeta planeta el Sahara. See note 1. cable car (but 'chair') tequila tequila (The Academy rejects   la tequila) vodka vodka (rarely female) tram/tram yoga yoga zika zika (mosquito-borne disease)

(b)  Masculine nouns ending in -ma The following words are masculine, in most cases because the Greek words from which they are derived are neuter. This list is not exhaustive: el (or la) anathema anathema el anagram anagrama el aroma aroma el raskol schism el klima klima el koma koma (  'comma') el krizma holy oil (mas te   rompo la krizma 'I'll take your lock!') el crucigrama crossword puzzle el diagram diagram el dilemma dilemma el diploma diploma

dogma dogma drama drama eczema/eczema eczema emblem emblem puzzle riddle scheme scheme stigma stigma phantom phantom genome hologram hologram motto slogan/invocation magma magma miasma miasma panorama panorama

pajamas pajamas (see note 2) plasma plasma song song prism prism problem problem program program(me) cougar cougar rheumatism rheumatism (female in Mexico. Also rheumatism) symptom symptom system telegram telegram trauma trauma theme/theme/subject puzzle

and most other scientific or technical words ending in -ma. But la amalgama 'amalgam', el asma 'asthma' (feminine, see 3.1.2 for el), la stragema 'stratagem' and la flema 'mucus' are feminine. For other feminine words ending in -ma, see 1.3.8. (1)  El Sáhara 'Sahara', pronounced like sájara, more or less replaced the older form el Sahara (pronounced [sa-a-ra]). El País rejects the latter form. (2)  'Pijamas'/American 'pyjamas' is la pijama or la pijama in Mexico, the Caribbean and most of Central America: en piyama te ves soñada (EM, Mexico, dialogue; Spain looks un sueño en pijama)' vi look like a dream in pyjamas'. (3)  Some masculine words ending in -ma became feminine in vernacular speech, dialects and texts before the 19th century, notably climate, miasma and spirit, cf. the poor dreamy ghost in El maleficio de la mariposa de Lorca.

1.3 Group B: Gender of nouns referring to animals not included in 1.2 and inanimate things


1.3.6  Feminine in Meaning The following are feminine, usually because of the feminine noun in the background: (a)  Companies (company, company): Ford, Hertz, Microsoft, Seat, Volkswagen. (b)  Letters of the alphabet (letter): a b, a c, an h, delta, omega. But look at the 'river delta' delta. (c)  Islands (island): West Indies, Azores, Balearic Islands, Canary Islands, etc. (d)  Roads (la carretera 'road' or la autopista 'motorway'/'highway'): N11, M4, Panamericana. (e)  Many fruits. See 1.3.3m for a list. For more on how a base noun can determine the gender of a noun, see 1.3.

1.3.7  Nouns ending in -ez, -eza, -ción, -ía, -sión, -dad, -tad, -tud, -umbre, -ie, -nza, -cia, -sis, -itis childhood childhood la pez pitch (ie tar) la vez tempo (as in twice)/commitment duplicity duplicity laziness laziness action action stupidity stupidity

version version truth truth freedom virtue virtue summit summit series surface surface hope hope

presence of crisis crisis diagnosis thesis thesis paralysis paralysis bronchitis bronchitis

fold/fold, also ecstasy ecstasy apocalypse apocalypse

bracket bracket emphasis /   pompousness of style

But the following are masculine: el chess chess el pez fish el análisis analiza La doblez also means 'doubleness'.

1.3.8  Common feminine nouns ending in -ma Many nouns ending in -ma are masculine (see 1.3.5b), but many are feminine. The following are common examples of feminine nouns ending in -ma: el alma* alma el arma* arma el asma* asthma la alarma alarm la amalgama amalgam la broma joke la calm calm la cama bed la chusma rabble la Acima Summit la crema krema

Quaresma Quaresma diadem diadem/tiara burglary/taming training enzyme enzyme scale scale (fish) fencing fencing (sport) respect appreciation cunning cunning fame firm firm/signature phlegm phlegm

la forma shape la gamma selection/range  la goma rubber la lágrima teardrop la lima lima (para unhas),   lime (voće) la llama flame/llama la loma hilllock la maxima maxim la merma diminui la norma norma

12 Gender noun la palma palma la paloma dove la pamema unnecessary  fuss la pantomime  pantomime

to cousin cousin; bonus/prize la burning burning la rama grana la rima rima la sima ponor/ponor

swamp swamp sum sum plot plot (novel) yolk egg yolk/finger

*These forms require the articles el/un for reasons explained in 3.1.2, but their gender remains feminine.

1.3.9  Gender of countries, provinces, regions Earth, provinces, states or regions that end in unstressed -and almost all are feminine, eg Spain/France/Argentina today's conservative Great Britain Germany I used to know

Spain/France/Argentina today conservative Great Britain Germany I used to know

Other men are: Canada, Mexico (often Mexico in Spain); Aragon, Devon (all male), (the) Peru, Tennessee (male), New Hampshire, but New Jersey. Some place names include the definite article and can be exceptionally feminine, cf. Hurdes (near Salamanca, Spain). For the use of the article with country and place names, see Sahara is masculine. (1) Phrases like 'all of Colombia know it' are still correct, especially with the adjectives all, half, se, etc., probably because the root noun is pueblo 'the people' Cfr. all Piura is dead (MVLl, Fr., dialogue). Compare the following, which refer to the place rather than the people: All of Argentina is flooded with my books (MVLl, Fr.), Sp.) 'monkey causes blackout across Kenya'

1.3.10 Gender of cities, towns and villages Cities that end in unstressed -a are mostly feminine, the others are generally masculine: yesterday's Barcelona, ​​touristic Moscow. . . . . . . . imaginary Buenos Aires (JLB, ​​Arg.)

yesterday's Barcelona to tourist Moscow. . . imaginary Buenos Aires

Exceptions: Some cities appear feminine but are often treated as grammatically masculine: New York, but modern New York 'modern New York', New York is full of windows (IA, Sp.) 'New York is full of windows', New Orleans, New Delhi, old Cartago, Bogotá, before it was remodeled. . . . . . . . . (Columbian Press, remodeling possible) 'Bogotá, before it was remodeled'; and spontaneous language often makes cities feminine because of the city 'city'. Some cities include the definite article (capitalized) in their names: Cairo, Havana 'Havana', Haag 'The Hague' (1) Villages are generally masculine even when they end in -a, due to the root 'village' ' de el pueblo (2) For all the talk in Barcelona about it, 'all Barcelona talking about it', see note 1.3.9

1.3 Group B: Gender of nouns referring to animals not included in 1.2 and inanimate things


1.3.11  Gender of compound nouns There are many and almost all are masculine: el abrelatas can opener el cazamariposas   butterfly net el spear flamethrower

umbrella umbrella corkscrew corkscrew pencil sharpener   sharpener

grasshopper grasshopper el salvapantallas   screensaver

Exceptions: La Quitanieves and La Tragaperras. See 2.1.8. (1)  Compound nouns composed of two nouns have the gender of the first noun: el año luz 'light year', un perro policía 'police dog': see 2.1.9. The gender of other compound nouns needs to be learned separately.

1.3.12  Genus of foreign words Spanish today is full of foreign words, many of which are still not recognized by the Academy. Some of them have no real equivalent in Spanish, eg o anorak o bitmap o/la blogger (or bloguero/a) o Bluetooth

bul(l)dog chat room cookie (in computing) hacking hacking

router (in computing) selfie tweet, tweeter, tweet,   tweeter; chirp to chirp

Some have official Spanish equivalents (Academia), but the English form is generally preferred in speech because it is shorter or sounds 'nice': o backup (backup) o blog (o blog) o bug (el duende/ error; in computing) bullying (pron. [bú-lin]) (harassment) actors (selection/audition) clipboard (clipboard) hard(ware) (physical support) tablet (computing: tablet)

joystick (joystick) feedback (feedback) firewall (firewall) software (ware) (software) garbage (garbage) visual (help: image) smartphone (smartphone)

English borrowings in Spanish can confuse students. Its pronunciation is sometimes unknown: el iceberg is pronounced in Spain as [e-li-θe-βéɾ] (three syllables: for phonetic symbols, see Preface); and from el airbag is pronounced 'eye', la or el wifi is pronounced 'wee fee', el puzzle is [el-púθ-le] or [pús-le]. Its meaning often differs from the original: un aafter is a bar or club that stays open until late, un biscuit is made of cream and ice cream in Spain and Mexico is a type of bread or cake, un bri(c) k is a carton for milk or other liquids, un scalextric is 'spaghetti joint', el footing, in Spain, is 'jogging'; un lifting is a 'facelift', un magacín is a variety TV show in Spain, un piercing is an action or stud or ring on the body, a nurse (properly la niñera) is paid to look after children, el veslo or veslo is 'paddle tennis' . According to El País, snob in Spanish means "excessive admiration for what's in fashion," but in English it's someone who despises "lower-class" things or people. Like all Spanish nouns, loanwords must be either masculine or feminine. Words referring to human beings assume the person's gender: un(a) yuppie, un(a) trader, un(a) hacker, la nanny,

14 Gender noun la miss 'beauty queen'. Words referring to inanimate things can be feminine if they resemble a Spanish feminine noun in form or meaning, or sometimes because they are feminine in the original language: la app app (in computing) la boutique (la tienda) shop/store la opportunity opportunity (lat. Am.   samo, also masc.)

elite elite (usually   pronounced [é-li-te]) Guinness (beer) 'beer' NASA (Agency. . .) work in music (cf. work),   but Opus = Opus I gave

la pizza la sauna sauna (often   masc. in lat. am.) la suite (all meanings) la jihad Jihad (la guerra   'war')

But if the word is not Spanish in spelling or ending or is not clearly related to a feminine Spanish noun, it will be masculine. Most foreign words are therefore masculine, regardless of the gender in the original language: el affaire affair (female in   French) el after-shave el audiobook el bestseler el big-bang los pits pits (in motor racing, better el taller) el burqa burqa el chalet independent house el Chándal coat (French) el christmas/crismas   Christmas card el copyright echarpe (light) scarf (feminine   in French; pronounced    like a word in Spanish)

advertising slogan fax film transparency/film   (the latter usually film) freak (person) device joke joke (of a comedian) jazz hardware karaoke master of arts, science, etc. modem office pantry/pantry tights (of   'nylon') pin badge

performance (engine, etc.) poster pub (intelligent music bar in Spain) bungee-jumping quark ranking reality 'reality' TV show slip underpants software classification/prestige top (roupas femininas ), vodka vodka (also female) yoga yoga zombie

(1)  For the phonetic transcription used in this section, see the Preface. (2)  There is great variation among different Spanish-speaking countries in the source and number of recent loanwords, so that no universally valid list can be compiled. (3)  Internet gender is uncertain: El País defends the male, the Academy is undecided. But in fact the Internet is mostly used as a proper noun, i.e. without an article: lo puedes Buscar en internet 'you can look it up on the Internet', in Mexico 70 million people do not have access to the Internet (La Jornada, Mex. ) 'in Mexico 70 million people do not Internet access'. Emphasis should be placed on and at the end. (4)  Web is now mostly feminine, whether it means 'web' or 'page'. 'Browser' is a browser. A 'link' is a link. Wi-Fi can be of any genre. Las rede sociales are 'social networks'.

1.3.13 Gender of abbreviations It is determined by the gender of the main noun: DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid) DNA VAT (Value Added Tax) VAT   (Value Added Tax)

UFO (Unidentified Flying Object)  UFO

1.3 Group B: Gender of nouns referring to animals not included in 1.2 and inanimate things

CIA (Central Intelligence Agency)   Agency. . . UN (United Nations Organization) UN NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organization) NATO


DTT (digital terrestrial television) digital TV ICU (Intensive Care Unit)   Intensive Care Unit of the Armed Forces. (the Armed Forces) Armed Forces

(1)  If the gender of the noun in question is unknown or uncertain, the abbreviation is masculine - for example el DVD, pronounced [dew-βe-ðé] but [di-βi-ðí] in some parts of Latin America (see Preface to Phonetic Symbols ); el GPS global positioning system, but the English abbreviation is used; el ISIS 'Islamic State of Iraq and Syria'. But the feminine gender is used if there is a good reason for it, as in la RAF, la USAF (las fuerzas Aéreas 'air force') etc. ETA, the now-defunct Basque separatist organization, is feminine in Castilian. (2)  For plural abbreviations such as EE.UU., FF.AA. See 2.1.12.

1.3.14  Gender derived from a noun in the background (metonymic gender) Several examples in this chapter have acquired the gender of another noun that has been deleted ('metonymic gender'). We say Rioja, Budweiser, Guinness because wine is masculine and beer is feminine. This creates obvious gender errors in informal discourse: la Rey Juan Carlos = la universidad Rey Juan Carlos in Madrid la Modelo = la Cárcel Modelo Model Jail una HP Pavilion = una computera HP Pavilion (but masc. in Spain, where 'computer' is a computer ) purebred for a purebred animal. Blood 'blood' is fem. Virgi was number one in the cable course (LS, Sp. dialogue) 'Virgi(nia) was number one in the cable course   (Civil Guard)

1.3.15  Doubtful genders The gender of some words is not determined, and one of the strangest is el azúcar 'sugar' which is masculine, although the adjective below can be of either gender: el azúcar moreno/morena 'brown sugar'. The most common gender is shown in the following list: acne (preferred to acne) m. akne apostrophe m. apostrophe bikini/bikini m. (see note 4) chinche f. bed bug/pin cochambre f. dirt/filth cubabre m. (f. in Mexico, Ven., Ch.) dowry f. dowry, personal gifts (ie 'qualities') duermevela m. or f. nap/nap/light sleep herpes m. herpes hojaldre m. puff pastry (lat. am. la hojaldra) interrogante m. question lens f. lens, but see note 2. Las lentillas =   'contact lenses'

beautiful f. border marathon m. fur marathon f. thick hair python f. python (Academy recommends el) pringue m. sticky grease/grease/dirt (esto está   pringoso 'this is sticky') rheumatism (better than rheumatism) m. rheumatism   (feminine in Mexico) sartén (see 1.3.17) tilda f. written accent (ie ' or ~) tizne m. soot/black smear or patch of torticollis f. torticollis

(1)  Pre-20th century texts may contain genres that are now obsolete, eg la puente 'the bridge', la fin 'the end', la análisis 'the analysis', etc.

16 Gender of nouns (2)  The masculine gender of lenses is common, cf. you had to order other lenses (GZ, Mexico) 'I had to have a new pair of glasses made'. The word for glasses in Spain is las gafas and los anteojos in the southern cone. (3) Duermevela 'to take a nap'/'sleep briefly' is usually feminine in Latin America and sometimes in Spain. (4)  Bikini or bikini is usually feminine in the Río de la Plata area: una bikini amarilla a lunares (La Nación, Arg.) 'yellow bikini with dots'. Elsewhere it is masculine.

1.3.16  Gender mar 'sea' Masculine, except in poetry, refers to sailors and fishermen, in weather forecasts and in nautical terms (la pleamar/la bajamar 'high/tide', la mar llana/picada 'calm/ mar troubled' , hacerse a la mar 'to put into the sea', en alta mar 'in the open sea', etc.), and whenever the word is used colloquially, as in la mar de tonto 'absolutely stupid', la mar de people '“a lot " People'.

1.3.17  Some Latin American genders Some words are assigned different genders in provincial Spain and/or in some parts of Latin America. Current examples of polite usage and spelling in some but not all Latin American countries are: el bombillo (Sp. la bombilla) 'lamp', el cerillo (Sp. la cerilla) 'match' (light a fire), el llamado (Sp. ​​la llamada) 'call', el protest (Sp. la protesta) 'protest', el vuelto (Sp. la vuelta) 'change' (money). US sartén 'pan'/'pan' is feminine in most of Spain and Argentina, masculine in Mexico and variable elsewhere. Students should inquire locally about their gender.

1.4 French nouns that mislead Spanish learners The gender of nouns in other Latin-based languages ​​often provides guidance for Spanish genders, but there are important differences. The following French nouns are notorious pitfalls for learners of both languages: affair (f.) affair affair* eagle (m.) eagle (f.) eagle amalgam (m.) amalgam amalgam anagramme (f.) anagram anagram analysis (f.) analysis analysis apocalypse (f.) the apocalypse apocalypse apocalypse apostrophe (f.) the apostrophe apostrophe closet (f.) the closet closet asperge (f.) the asparagus asparagus asthma (m.) the asthma (fem) ) asthma attack (f. ) car attack (f.) car car

banque (f.) the bank banka (la   banca = bankarski sustav/   banco em jugos de cartas) roštilj (m.) the barbecue   roštilj calme (m.) la calma calm cidre (m.) the cider jabukovača Coca/Pepsi Cola ( m.) la   Coca/Pepsi Cola, comète (f.) the comet kometa   (ali la cometa = 'pipe') courant (m.) the current   struja dent (f.) the tooth zub diabète (m.) diabetes   dijabetes biskupija (m.) a biskupija   biskupija doute (m.) a dúvida dúvida

eclipse (f.) el eclipse pomrčina emphase (f.) el enviornment   kićenost stila, također   'naglasak' u španjolskom enigme (f.) el enigma team (f.) el equipo team ecstasy (f.) el ecstasy ecstasy end ( f.) .) el fin end front (m.) la front fronte   (mas el front = vojni/   meteorološki front) fruit (m.) la Fruta, mas 'plod vašeg truda'= plod vašeg truda smoke (f . ) dim smoke guide ( m.) the guide book guide hamburger (m.) the   hamburger horloge (f.) the clock sat

1.5  Words of different gender

idol (f.) the idol idol insult (f.) the insult uvreda lait (m.) the milk with milk lip (f.) the lip hare (m.) the limit of the hare (f.) the limit limit margin (f.).) margina samo kad znači 'riječna obala',   masc. u svim drugim značenjima masakr (m.) la masacre   masakr Méditerranée (f.) el  Mediterraneo lie (m.) la lie mer lie (f.) el mar more (mas ver   1.3.16) merengue (f.) el merengue method (f.) el metodo   metoda miel (m.) la miel med

minuta (f.) el minuta minuta moral (m.) la morale morale nez (m.) la nos nos oásis (f.) el oásis oásis ongle (m.) la uña (f.) dedo  nail/toenail ordre (m.) .) Order. when   means commandment or   religious order, otherwise   mask. origine (f.) source origin panique (f.) panic panic paradox (m.) paradox   paradox parenthèse (f.) parenthesis   square bracket/bracket dot (f.) dot/dot  dot phoque (m) the stamp stamp (  animal)


planète (f.) el planeta planeta predgovor (f.) el predgovor predgovor Pyrénées (f.) el Pyrenees ou los   Pirineus Pirinéus rat (m.) la rata rat sang (m.) la sangre blood sauna (m.) la sauna sauna (m.   u dijelovima lat. am.) seconde (f.) the second second sel (m.) the salt slana zmija (m.) the serpent zmija znak, signal (m.) the sign, the  signal znak, znak stratageme (m.) la   stratagema stratagem vallée (f.) dolina dolina vodka (m.) la vodka (ou el   vodka) zèbre (m.) la zebra zebra

*Immigration or cohabitation is a (love) adventure. (1)  Most French words ending in -eur are feminine, but their Spanish equivalents ending in -or are mostly masculine: la peau/el calor, la couleurs/el color, la pain/el dolor, une error/ un error , la terror/el terror, strength/el strength etc.

1.5  Words that differ by gender A large number of common words have meanings that differ only by gender. Well-known examples are: search (m.) bleeper/pager (f.) search capital (m.) capital (money) (f.) capital city cholera (m.) colera (f.) rage coma (m. ) comma (f.) comma comet (m.) comet (f.) dragon (toy) consonant (m.) rhyming word (f.)   consonant corte (m.) corte (f.) court/'Madrid' cura ( m. ) priest (f.) healer delta (m.) river delta (f.) delta (Greek letter) doblez (usually m.) nabor/nabor (usually f.)  editorial duplicity (m.) editorial (f .) editora escucha (m.) electronic bug (f.) listening/   monitoring final (m.) final (f.) finale (racing, sports) front (m.) frontal (military) (f.) forehead

genesis (f) origin/genesis (m.) Genesis,   book of the Bible guardia (m.) policeman (f.) guard (see   1.2.4 note 2) mañana (m.) tomorrow/tomorrow (f.)   morning margen (m .) bank (f.) river bank moral (m.) dud (f.) morality/morality orden (m.) order (opposite of disorder) (f.)   order or religious order ordinanza (m.) .) messenger / ordained (f.)   decree/stipulation part (m.) official bulletin (f.) pendente part (m.) earring (f.) slope pez (m.) fish (f.) field (i.e. tar ) radio (m .) .) radius/radio/radius (f.) radio terminal (see note 2)

(1)  Arte is usually masculine in the singular but feminine in the plural: el arte español 'the Spanish art', las bellas artes 'the fine arts'. But look at the phrase defined by el arte poética 'treat yourself to poetry' and see

18 Gender nouns a good dictionary for other similar expressions. Seco (1998), 60, notes that a phrase like esta nueva arte 'this new art form' is not incorrect, and los artes de pesca 'fishing gear' (from a trawler) is the standard usage, although las artes can also be used : . . . fearing that a sea lion or a dolphin has been introduced into art (El País, ed.)'. . . fearing that a seal (Sp. una foca) or a dolphin has entered the equipment'. (2)  Terminal is usually masculine when it means 'electrical terminal', usually feminine when it means 'computer terminal' and usually feminine when it means 'transportation terminal'. However, in Chile, Colombia, Peru and Venezuela it is masculine in the latter sense. (3)  For the radio genre 'radio' see 1.3.4 note 1.

2 Plural Nouns The main points discussed in this chapter are • • • •

How to form the plural of nouns (Section 2.1) Peculiarities of the plural of nouns (Section 2.2) Countable and mass nouns in Spanish (Section 2.2.1) Rules for combining numbers (Section 2.3)

2.1 How to form the plural of nouns 2.1.1 Summary of rules The vast majority of Spanish nouns form the plural in one of three ways: Method

main type of noun


1. Add –s

• Nouns ending in an unstressed vowel • Many foreign words ending in a consonant

house-houses 2.1.2 mountain house-log houses sweater-sweaters cafe-cafes, hoods-hoods, sofas-sofas, menu-menus

• Nouns ending in é, ó and some nouns ending in á, ú

2. Add –es

• Spanish nouns ending in a consonant other than -s la flor-las flores el inglés-los ingles • Nouns ending in vogal tonica + s la cough-las toses el tabú-los tabúes • Nouns ending in em ú el israeli- los israeli • Nouns ending in em -í ou los israelis

3. No change • Nouns ending with an unstressed vowel + -s • Families of people or things • Some foreign nouns whose plural would be difficult to pronounce

crisis - crises virus - viruses white people, ships test - tests (or tests) kibbutz - kibbutz

2.1.2 Nouns that form the plural by adding -s (a) Nouns ending in unstressed vowels (muito plural): el huevo – los huevos egg la cama – las camas bed

series - series series tribe - tribe tribe

(b) Nouns ending in -é and monosyllabic words ending in -e: el bebe – los bebes baby el café – los cafés coffee/café

leg - feet leg/feet tea - teas tea

See the section



20 Plural nouns (c) Nouns with more than one syllable ending in –ó (rare): o domino – o domino domino

the bureau – como folding table

Compare el no - los noes, 'no'/'not', a monosyllabic word. (d)  Many foreign words ending in a consonant, eg el anoraque – anoracs. See 2.1.6.

2.1.3 Nouns that form the plural by adding -es When -es is added, any stress written on the last vowel of the singular disappears: revolution - revolutions 'revolution(s)', talac - taoci 'hostages'. But the stress is retained in the combinations ali or aú to show that the second vowel is pronounced separately and not as 'y' or 'w': country – countries 'country', root – roots 'root', trunk – chests 'suitcase' (and)'. If -es is added to the final z, the z is written as c: križ - crosses 'cross', voice - vowels 'voice'. The following words form their plurals by adding -es: (a) Spanish (or Hispanized) nouns ending in a consonant other than -s (plural!): plane – planes plane bar – bars bar (ie cafe) coffin – coffin coffin/big suitcase color - color color

drone - drones drone law - like leis law truth - truths truth la vez - las veces time (como em 'três vezes')

(b)  Monosyllabic nouns ending in -s and nouns ending in a stressed vowel plus s: la tos – las toses tosse el dios – los dioses year el mes – los months month la res – las recesses farm animals

bus – buses buses english – english english failure – failures failure country – country countries

Exception: liar - liars of 'denial' (literary styles). (c) Nouns ending in -í, -ú or -á: The following plural forms are found in written styles, but today only -s is added in speech and increasingly in print (but El País recommends -es). The Academy now accepts forms such as 'Moroccan' Moroccan, Pakistani, Iranian, etc. The following is in formal style: scalpel – scalpels scalpel Zulu – Zulu Zulu Hindi – Hindu (Asian) Indian Taboo – Taboo Tabua Pakistani – Pakistani Pakistani Rosewood – Pink wood rosewood, now ordinary rosewood Exceptions: a few common words always add -s: shampoo – shampoos shampoo menu – menu menu mom – moms mother, mom

dad – papas pai/dad sofa – sofa sofa/couch tissue – lencinhos (paper) lencinhos

But forms such as champúes, menues appear in the River Plate area. In Spain, the 'menu' of a restaurant is a la carte, and menuú means 'set menu'.

2.1  How to form the plural of nouns


(1)  The Latin American words el ají 'chili'/'pepper sauce' and el maní 'peanut' (Spanish el cacahuete) often form the plural los ajises, los manises in speech, although NGLE 5.2g disapproves of this, and ajíes , maníes are used in careful writing and speaking.

2.1.4  Nouns ending in -en Words ending in -en (but not -én) require plural stress to maintain the stress position. Since they are often misspelled, the following forms should be followed: el carmen – los Cármenes villa with garden    (especially in Granada, Spain) el crimen – los crimes crime el germen – los germenes germ el origen – los orígenes origin

margina - like margins 'margem'    (masculine), 'margem do rio' (feminine) image - images images of virgins - virgins virgins

(1)  This also affects the word el mitin - 'political gathering'/'rally' gatherings. An ordinary meeting, eg family, work, is a meeting. A 'meeting' is a meeting. See 2.1.11 for sample and regimen.

2.1.5  Nouns that do not change in plural (quite common) (a)  Words ending in an unstressed vowel plus s: el – los análisis analysis el – los croquis sketcha el – los patrono de el – los atlas atlas la – o dose dose like art o – campus campus o – on Mondays o – square bracket o – cactus cactus    (in the same way every day of the week) o – theses a – crisis crisis o – virus virus If the word contains only one vowel, the plural ends in -es, e.g. month of months; see 2.1.3b. (b) Words ending in -x, for example American duplex(s) 'a duplex', British 'a duplex' or 'maisonette', clinex(s) or kleenex(s) tissues ', fax(es) 'fax ' (or faxes) ( c)  Latin words ending in -t and -um (but see note 1) and some other foreign language words: los altos budget deficit (El País, Sp.)    'high budget deficits' el – los CD-ROMs about CD-ROMs

o - second prize second prize o - lasers or laser lasers o - quorum quorum

(d)  Some foreign words whose plural would be difficult to pronounce, eg biceps, tweezers, kibbutz, sketch. See the next section. (1) In everyday language, Latin words ending in -um tend to form their plurals with -ums: el memorándum-los memorandums (the emphasis becomes unnecessary because the plural ends in -s), elreferéndum – los referendums, el ultimátum – ultimatums , the curriculum vitae. Exception: album, usually 'album' albums. El curriculum 'the curriculum' has recently become widespread in Spain and perhaps elsewhere. Whenever possible, NGLE 3.3j prefers Hispanicized forms such as curriculum(s), referendum(s), memorandum(s), forum(s), solarium(s) over forms such as forums, solariums. NGLE 3.3e recommends adding -s to Latin words ending in -t: deficits, habitats, surpluses, a common practice today.

22 Plural Nouns (2)  In general, Spanish speakers do not use Latin plurals like our 'cactos' for 'cacti', 'fora' for 'forums' or (incorrectly) 'referenda' for 'referendums'. NGLE 3.3j deprecates forms such as date, average, notes and prefers data, averages, notes, etc.

2.1.6  The plural of foreign words ending in a consonant The tendency is to treat them all as English words and simply add -s – but see 2.1.5c for Latin words. This often produces words that end in two consonants, which is unnatural in Spanish. If a word ends in b, c, f, g, k, m, p, t, v or w, or two or more consonants, it is almost certainly a foreign word and will form its plural with -s – NGLE 3.4k now accepts these forms - unless they end with an s, sh or ch sound, cf. el kibbutz 'kibbutz', el flash, el lunch, el skit, and will probably be invariable in spontaneous speech. Well-informed speakers may use foreign plurals such as los flashes, los kibbutzim, los sketches. Some common examples: el anorak – los anoraks anorak el boyicot – los boyicots boycott el bug – los bugs 'bug' in computing el complot – los complots (political) plot el chalet – los chalets casa lonely el gay – los gais gay (homosexual ) ) ) )

hit - hit song, movie, etc. hobby - hobby hobby Santa Leda - Santa Leda Santa Leda t-shirt - t-shirt modem - modem modem punishment - penalties in sports

Some modern loanwords are treated like Spanish words and have -es added to them. This happens most easily when the word ends in -l, -n or -r: el bar – los bars bar el/la barman – los/las bármanes barmen/   waitress el dollar – los dollara dolar el dossier – los dossiers dossier el dron - drone drone

electron - electrons electron scanner - scanners scanner/digitization sample - pattern samples goal - goal goal (in sports) hotel - hotel hotel sweater - sweater sweater

(1) El sándwich (sliced ​​bread, as opposed to a bocadilla made with a baguette), forms the plural of los sándwiches in polite usage, but los sándwich is common, usually pronounced [sáŋ-wich]. The Academy's sandwich recommendation, el emparedado, never took off. El sánduche, which is more pronounced, is heard in some Latin American republics. (2)  Older plurals of 'Academy' such as los cócteles 'cocktail', los córneres 'sing' (in football), los fraques (for tailcoats) 'coat'/'tail', etc. are obsolete: it is added only -with. However, los films 'the films' is not uncommon and is the form recommended by El País (the usual word is la film), and los clubs is more common in writing than los clubs; El País prefers clubs. Los albums are generally preferred to 'albums' Los albums. The Academy prefers Los eslóganes to los eslogans 'slogan (advertising)'. The usual plural of el pin 'emblem' and el/la fan 'fan' (eg from singer, but sports fan is un/una hincha) are pins and fans; NGLE 3.4h supports pins and fans, but this advice is often ignored ("pin number" is a secret number). (3)  Some writers and editors treat foreign words ending in a consonant as Latin words (see 2.1.5c), so forms like los módem, los láser can be seen. Such zero plural forms are often given to foreign words in spontaneous speech. NGLE 3.4p recommends los test, los trust as plural, since many Spanish speakers find it difficult to pronounce sts. (4)  NGLE 3.7m says that abbreviations may not be used in the plural: las ONG = organizaciones no govermentals, i.e. non-governmental organizations or 'non-governmental organizations', not las ONGs; DNI document

2.1  How to form the plural of nouns


National identity, not DNI. But las pymes (small and medium-sized enterprises) 'small and medium-sized enterprises' are treated as a common word.

2.1.7  Proper names If a proper name refers to family members, it generally does not have a plural form: los Franco, los Mallol, los Kennedy, los Pérez; en casa de los Riba hay una niña que amaré todo la vida (EP, Mex., dialogue) 'in the house of the Ribas there is a girl whom I will love all my life'; but exceptions to this rule are seen. A group of individuals who simply have the same name will be pluralized according to the usual rules, although names with -és and -z are almost always invariable: Este pueblo está lleno de Morenos, Este village is full of Morenos,   Blancos y Péreces /Pérez    Whites and Pérez in all To the Juan Pérez of the world (JD, Ch.) not all the Juan Pérez of the world (1)  The same rule applies to objects that form families: Ford 'Ford cars', Chevrolets, Renault . NGLE 3.6h recommends this rule. (2)  Royal houses are considered successive individuals: los Borbones 'Bourbons', los Habsburgos 'Habsburgs'.

2.1.8  Compound nouns consisting of a verb + a plural noun They do not change in the plural: el – can openers el – birthdays el – bodyguard bodyguard el – rocket launchers missile launchers el – shoeshine shoeshine boys the – aircraft carrier aircraft carrier the slot machines machine for games of chance/slot machine   machine

la – snow plow / snow plow US   . Seco (1998) says that the female el – los elevalunas is an automatic car window opener

2.1.9  Compound nouns consisting of two nouns This is a large and growing class of compound nouns. Usually only the first noun is plural: el año luz – los años luz ano-luz el arcoris – los iris rainbows el bebe probeta – los babies probeta test-tube baby el lane bus – los lanes bus bus lane rush hour – peak hour (peak hours in many Latin American countries)

police dog – police dogs police dog spy satellite – spy satellites online store   satellite – online stores   store/trade. Also online stores/cybershop.

But always member country - member countries 'member country', virgin country - virgin countries 'virgin country'. (1)  Pluralizing the second word makes it a noun rather than an adjective: police dogs sound like 'dogs that are police', but police dogs are dogs that work for the police.

24 Plural nouns Compare pirate editions 'pirate editions' and pirate publishers 'pirate publishers', children's models 'children's models' and children's models 'children's models'. Science fiction 'science fiction' is unusual because the second word is a head noun. It is borrowed from English. (2) These compounds are very common in phrases like WAP modem, wi-fi network 'wifi network', SIM card 'SIM card', website 'website'; in abbreviated notices, e.g. T-shirts for boys 'children's shirts', shoes for women 'shoes for women'; and in advertising descriptions: anti-dandruff shampoo, discount coupon, etc. For plural adjectives such as extra, purple, see 5.2.3 and

2.1.10  Other types of compound nouns (a)  The following compound nouns are invariant in the plural: el sin casa los sin casa/sin techo street dweller el hazmereír los hazmerreír laughing stock el vivalavirgin los vivalavirgin fun-loving/relaxed / someone who    doesn't give a shit( b)  Other compounds are treated as single words with the correct plural: el altavoce – los altavoces the speaker el hacer – los haceres task    (lat. Am. el altoparlante) el rapapolvo – los rapapolvos speaking - off/ la bocacalle – las bocacales side street   scolling el correveidile – los correveidiles tell-tale el sordomudo – los sordomudos surdos-mudos the dimes y diretes gossip the snack – snack snacks the hidalgo – noble hidalgos the SUV – the four SUV (the old plural was hijosdalgo)   vehicle with wheel drive sympathy – sympathy sympathy swaying – rocking up and down/ rocking

2.1.11  Irregular plural There are only four irregular plurals in common use. (a) Three common nouns change plural stress: el carta – los Graças ‘character’ (not* loscharacters!), el espemena – los especimens ‘pattern’ and el régime – los régimes ‘regime’. (b)  El lord (British) 'the lord' has the plural los lores: la Cámara de los Lores 'The House of Lords'.

2.1.12 Plural abbreviations Plural abbreviations of two words are represented by doubling the letter: las CC. AA. Autonomous Communities 'Autonomous Regions' in Spain, FF. AA. Armed Forces 'Armed Forces', USA. United States 'USA', CC. OO. Workers Commission, one of the trade unions in Spain, JJ.OO Olympic Games 'Olympic Games'.

2.2  Some characteristics of Spanish plural nouns


2.2  Some characteristics of Spanish plural nouns 2.2.1  Countable nouns and collective nouns in Spanish and English A countable noun refers to things that can be counted: 'egg' - 'two eggs'. Mass or uncountable nouns are uncountable things: 'justice', 'bread', but not *'two justices', *'two loaves'. In both English and Spanish, uncountable or mass nouns can often be pluralized to mean different variants of the same thing: 'her fear' - 'her fears', 'my love' - 'my loves'. This device is more common in Spanish than in English, and the translation of the plural can require thinking, for example: Hubo varias urgencias There were several emergencies Ejercía diverse superbias (JLB, ​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​))) He practiced various kinds of arrogance . . . conducts that affect the pocket. . . types of behavior that affect pockets   todos los mexicans (La Jornada, Mexico)    all Mexicans Several Spanish nouns can be pluralized in this way, while their English translation cannot, for example, la amistad friendship las amistades amigos la atención attention las attention acts kindness kindness kindness rewards good deeds meat meat/meat fleshy parts/types of meat advice advice advice advice cruelty cruelty cruelty cruelty acts cruelty information information information information news item of furniture furniture los furniture items el negocio business los negocios business, lat. Am.,   shops/shops el pan bread los panes breads el progreso progress los progresos advances la tostada tost las tostadas slices of toast la triste triste sadness las tristes tristes el trueno thunder los truenos thunderclaps (1)  Both languages ​​can use counters or quantifiers (words like 'bread', ' piece') to form uncountable plural nouns: tres pastillas/barras de jabón 'three pieces of soap', las briznas de hierba 'blades of grass', unos dientes de ajo 'some cloves of garlic', parcels de terra 'lots of land', trozos/leaves/pieces of paper 'pieces/sheets of paper', las barraes de tiza 'sticks of chalk', los terrones de azúcar 'lumps of sugar', las motas dust 'particles of dust', etc. (2)  There are some subtleties: finales de Agosto 'at the end of August', but al final del pasillo 'at the end of the corridor'; a comienzos ou a comienzo de la decade 'at the beginning of the decade', but only en el comienzo del libro 'at the beginning of the book'. NGLE 3.8p mentions the difference between tener relación con alguien 'to be related/connected with someone' and tener relaciones con alguien' 'to have a sexual, emotional or diplomatic relationship'. El deber usually means 'duty'; los deberes means 'homework', although the singular may be used for the latter in parts of Latin America.

26 plural nouns

2.2.2  Nouns Denoting Symmetrical Objects As in English, these nouns are usually invariant plurals: los auriculares earphones las bragas panties las gafas glasses (Lat. Am. los anteojos/   los lenses) las pinzas tongs

binoculars binoculars scissors scissors

'Par' is an entry/entry before such nouns. (1)  Colloquially, the singular may be used in some regions, as in Could you lend me a pair of scissors? (EP, Mex., dialogue) 'Could you lend me a pair of scissors?'. The most common form in Spain is the first: los alicates/el alicate pliers/pincer las pinzas/la pinza peg/pincers/ pinceta/ el bigode/los bigodes bigode    arrow (in sewing) los calzoncillos/un calzoncillo men's trousers/trousers los pantalones /    American briefs/shorts   American 'pants': sing. and plurals. equally often la muralla/las murallas city walls la nose/las narises nos (both used) (2)  Las escaleras = ‘stairs’, la escalera = ‘stairs’.

2.2.3  Nouns in Spanish are always plural As in English, some nouns or expressions are usually found only in the plural. The following list is not exhaustive: las afueras periphery las agujetas pins and needles (on skin) los okolica los alto (Lat. Am.) top floor apartment/apartment los bajos (Lat. Am.) upstairs apartment under bartulos (colloquial) things /'cogs' bienes goods, groceries good night good night good day good day good morning good morning los celos jealousy los cements foundation las cosquillas tricky child costs/surcharges/child

spaghetti spaghetti burials funeral arrangements desires urges/desires (having many) vanity vanities las Navidads ou la Navidad Christmas dark circles bags under eyes binoculars binoculars remains brains brains (in cooking) darkness darkness about holidays vacations/holidays moose provisions /supplied by las zarandajas with complicated things/gossip

(1)  Good morning is a less common alternative to good morning. Natal é la Navidad or las Navidads: Feliz Navidad = Felices Navidads 'Merry Christmas'. Good morning, good afternoon and good evening can be shortened to good. . . in very informal speech. Good morning is common in the southern cone, and is occasionally heard elsewhere. Not common, but sometimes heard in Spain.

2.2.4  Singular for objects of which a person has only one. The English phrase 'they hurt your knees' is ambiguous: one knee or both? Spanish usually clarifies the problem by using the singular if only one thing is implied or if only one thing is possessed:

2.3  Rules for arranging numbers


They cut off their heads They cut off their heads They took off their hats They took off their hats They all had girlfriends (one each) three Israelis with German passports three Israelis with German passports reflect the same enthusiasm. Not even his brothers-in-law - delight. Nor they (lit. 'nor   (CRG, Sp.)    that') of his brothers-in-law (1)  This rule is optional when the possessed object is not part of the body: aquinse el sombrero/los hats 'take off your hats', you can leave your coats/jackets here ' you can leave your coats here'. (2)  The rule about parts of the body is often ignored in Latin American speech: mocrimo sala (bol., quoted by Kany, 26) 'wet our heads', they did it so they couldn't see their faces (LS, Mexico , dialog ) 'they did it how we wouldn't see their faces'. The plurality can sometimes eliminate ambiguity, as in The Strangers congratulated the driver on his great skill in achieving a derailment at the very place where their lives were in danger (La Época, Ch.) 'The Strangers congratulated the driver on his great skill in succeeding to derail at the exact place where their life would be endangered', where the singular of sight can mean the life of the driver.

2.2.5  Singular to Plural Singular nouns can sometimes be used to represent large numbers after words such as mucho, tanto, etc., often but not exclusively with an ironic or slightly weary tone: También había mucha estudiante con vaqueros It was also a lot of female students in T-shirts   y (JM, Sp.)    jeans and T-shirts It seemed maravilloso to see so many soldiers. It seemed wonderful to see so many   (NC, Mex.)   soldiers ¿Cuál era el móvil de so much attack? (MS, Mexico, what was the reason for so many attacks?   dialogue) GDLE,, says that stopping in a busy parking lot looking for a place and saying hay mucho coche sounds more pessimistic than hay muchos coches 'there are many cars there'.

2.3  Rules for number agreement This section covers various aspects of number agreement, especially with nouns. For further comments on adjective agreement, see 5.6. For the agreement of possessive adjectives, see 9.3.1–2. In accordance with cuyo see 39.7. For tense agreement, see 17.8 and 20.8.

2.3.1 Number agreement with collective nouns (a) Adjectives that modify a collective noun (a noun that refers to a group of people or things) are singular, and a verb is singular when it immediately follows a noun. In other words, Spanish always says British police are looking for 'British police are 'looking', people say 'people 'say'. . . . . ., not 'ask', 'say' British English tends to use the plural after collective nouns: The government considers . . . . . . . . . The crew is at your disposal. The rest of my property is already yours (AG, Sp.)

The government considers . . The crew is at your disposal. The rest of my property is now yours

28 Plural Nouns Most people would gasp if    boquiabierta cuando lo vió entra (MS, Mexico)   viu-o entra (b)  When a collective noun is joined to a plural noun, usually by de, the safest option is a plural adjective or verb: group angry neighbors 'a group of angry neighbors', most Spaniards believe that . . . 'most Spaniards think that . . .', at least 13 prisoners were treated for injuries (El País, Sp.) 'at least 13 prisoners were treated for injuries', most of the people who came out were masons (La Jornada, Mexico) 'most of the people who spoke were builders'. But a unique agreement is possible: the others present stoically endured the high temperature (LS, chap.) 'the others present stoically endured the high temperature'. The issue of settlement in these cases is controversial. Seco (1998), 126, recommends the plural, but El País recommends the singular whenever possible. Dry is the best advice, because it avoids nonsense like *un grupo de mujeres rubio *'a group of blonde women' for ungroup de women rubias 'a group of blonde women'. (1)  When collective nouns are separated from verbs by interjections, the plural is much more common: When the police arrived at the apartment, the scene was comical, albeit unpleasant. . . (La Vanguardia, Sp., cited in GDLE 1.4.4) 'when the police arrived at the apartment, they were greeted by a comical but unpleasant performance. . .'Native speakers sometimes hesitate to agree with collective nouns: a couple who are our friends and are called Mario and Ana'. (2)  For constructions because most are Spanish, the board is a liar, see 2.3.3.

2.3.2  Plural noun after type etc. After type of and similar expressions (eg class of, gender of . . .), countable nouns are usually made plural: Why do men do this sort of thing? (CRG, Sp.) This kind of relationship is always difficult   (MS, Mexico, dialogue)

Why do men do such things? This kind of relationship is always difficult

2.3.3  This is a lens, everything is trouble, you are the boss, etc. When ser and some other verbs like come back have a singular subject and a plural noun as predicate, as in 'everything is trouble', they agree in number with the predicate: 'this is bad news'. This most often happens after neuter pronouns like lo que. . . 'That . . .', all all . . .', this this . . .', etc. We find a similar phenomenon in French and German, which say 'they are lies': ce sont des mensonges, es sind Lügen: Writing was on our terms At first it was all a joke (EP, Mex.) — How much do I owe you? —That's a hundred euros. Some bureaucratic details remain (ABE, Fr.) The most common address is a ruin (JLB,​​​​Arg.) What arrives are strings of numbers (MC, Mex.,   dialogo)

The document was our condition At first it was just jokes 'How much do I owe you?' 'It's 100 euros' There are some bureaucratic details left His most frequent address is ruins What arrives are strings of numbers

2.3  Rules for arranging numbers


(1) This rule does not always apply: the only thing that is not missing are cigarettes (MVLl, Pe., because they are cigarettes) 'the only thing that is not missing is cigarettes', the first thing I saw was the police (ABE, Fr.) 'the first thing what I saw was the police', what you see best are the houses in front (MP, Arg., dialogue) 'what you see best are the houses in front'. (2) For the rule to apply, the predicate must actually refer to a set of different things. In the following example, Mario is really just one complex person: Mario is really many different people 'Mario is really many different people'. (3) The same – or a similar – rule applies to other forms of the verb: the most important person is you 'the most important person is you' (not *it's you), I'm in charge (not *it's you) ) 'I'm in charge' , most of us are Cubans 'most of us are Cubans', you are responsible (only Spain, lat. Am. . . . are you) 'you are responsible'.

2.3.4 Agreement with nouns joined with y, o and expressions meaning 'like and' (a) Nouns joined with y require plural agreement unless they form, or appear to form, a single concept. Compare your father and mother were worried 'your father and mother were worried' (different people) and Angela was his wife and secretary 'Angela was his wife and secretary' (one person, so obviously not his). When several things can optionally be seen as one, singular or plural agreement is indeed generally possible: The collapse of socialism and the collapse of the USSR did the most damage (FC, Cu., the collapse of the Soviet Union or causaron) caused the most damage damage (b) With 'or', agreement is optional if the verb comes first, but the singular emphasizes the idea of ​​'one or the other' more than the plural: viene(n) Mario ou Antonia 'ou Mario or Antonia is coming', but Mario or Antonija comes 'Mario or Antonia comes' (c) Compilation after sentences meaning 'as', 'also' etc. . . . . .'.

3 The definite article The main points discussed in this chapter are: • Forms of the definite article (el/la/los/las) (Section 3.1) • The use of el/un before definite feminine nouns (Section 3.1.2) • The use of and omission of the definite article (Section 3.2) Articles are words meaning 'the' ('definite article') or 'an'/'an' ('indefinite article'). Both English and Spanish have articles, but they are not always used in the same way. This chapter discusses the forms and uses of the definite article (el/la/los/las). The indefinite article, un/una/unos/unas, is discussed in Chapter 4. For the use of the definite article to replace a possessive adjective, eg María se ha roto la (not 'they') muñeca 'María broke her wrist', me dejé la cartera en casa 'I forgot my wallet at home', see 9.3.4. For the definite article in expressions like 'the most interesting book', see 6.3. For 'neutral article' see 8.2.

3.1 Forms of the definite article 3.1.1 Masculine and feminine definite article Masculine gender




la (el before feminine nouns that begin with the tonic voice a. See 3.1.2)




(1) La is not shortened to l' in modern Spanish: compare la arte 'artist' with Italian l'artista, French l'artiste. A de la is also not dropped in pronunciation before words beginning with a vowel other than a: la emisora​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​ ] . A and o combine to form a syllable in a way that is difficult for English speakers to imitate. Compare la amigo [la-mí-γa] 'friend', la avioneta [la-βyo-né-ta] 'light plane'.

3.1.2 Use of el and un before certain feminine nouns Important: on both continents and in all styles, el and un must be used immediately before feminine singular nouns beginning with the tonic a- or ha-: el agua 'water', el/ un haya 'beech tree', el aforo del escola 'classroom capacity' etc. This does not affect your gender, which remains female. Some common examples: el/un abra mountain pass (lat. Am. Sp. el puerto) el Modern Africa modern Africa el/un eagle eagle el/un alba Zora el/un soul soul

rise/increase to/anchor anchor to/area area to/weapon weapon to/harp harp Asia today Asia today a/asthma asthma

bird big bird speech in the form of speech ax ax/American ax fairy fairy/hunger underworld criminal underworld

3.1  Forms of the definite article


The plural is always with las/unas: las águilas 'eagles', las hachas 'axes', and the adjectives are feminine: un aula oscura 'the dark classroom'. The feminine article must also be used if any word comes between the definite article and the noun: una peligrosa arma 'a dangerous weapon', la misma agua 'the same water'. Compare the following words that do not begin with a tonic: la/una amnistía amnistia la arena sand la/una aperturaopening la/una at arroba at: @; also old measure    of weight = 11.502 kg

the/a ranch ranch the/a hamburger hamburger

Exceptions: la/una a 'letter a', la/una app 'application' (in computing), la/una hache, 'letter h', la/una aya child management, Hague 'Hag', la/una Arabic ' Arab woman', the/an anarchist 'woman anarchist', the/an arbiter 'arbiter' (approved by the Academy); abbreviations - see note 3. The Spanish high-speed train, AVE (Alta Velocidad Española) is masculine because of the eltren below. (1)  Errors such as *otro aula 'another classroom' for otra aula or *a raíte del last alza de ótrole (Abc, Sp., cited Seco 1998, 176, exactly last alza) ' are seen and heard. . . after the last rise in oil prices'. ?Tengo un hambre barbaro 'I'm dying of hunger' or ?Tengo mucho hambre 'I'm very hungry' is heard in casual speech on both continents for . . . barbaric famine, . . very hungry. Masculine forms have been banished from careful language. (2)  Important: the use of the masculine article occurs only before nouns, not before adjectives that begin with the tonic a- or h a: wide room (FU, Sp.) wide room tall woman (JLB, ​​​​​​​​​​​​​Arg.) tall woman Are you going to buy a mobile phone? Wide range Are you buying a mobile phone? of models makes the decision difficult (El País, Sp.) The large variety of models makes the decision difficult   (3)  The rule does not apply to abbreviations. ACA = Catalan Water Agency 'Catalan Water Authority'. (4)  El and un are often used before compound nouns of the feminine gender whose first element would start with a tonic and stand alone: ​​aquamarina 'sea water', aguanieve 'snow', avemaría 'Ave Maria'. However, the Academy recommends it (NGLE 14.2u). (5)  The use of a in writing before these nouns is a recent development, although it has a long history in spoken Spanish. The Academy's dictionary only accepted it after 1970, so forms like soul for soul 'one soul' can still sometimes be found. (6) for some or some 'some' before nouns beginning with the tonic a- or ha- see 10.4.1 note 2. For 'no' see 27.5.5. For the colloquial use of este 'este', ese and aquel 'to' before these nouns, see 7.1 note 3. (7)  La is also used before Ángel, Ana and other female names beginning with the tonic A, but the use of the article before nouns is not common in most regions. See 3.2.21. (8)  Note la/una haz or el/una haz, feminine, 'surface'/'face', eg por el haz y por el envés 'on the surface and on the back', the most common haz in Spain. Mas el haz, masculine = 'ray' or 'ray of light'.

32 The definite article

3.1.3  Del i al De mais el is shortened from del 'to' - del libro 'from the book' - e  and plus el is shortened from al 'to': 'al libro' to the book'. De él 'his' and él 'for him' are not shortened in modern Spanish. Abbreviated forms are not used - at least in writing - if the definite article is part of a proper noun: la primera pagina de El Comercio pagina um de El Comercio Viajaron a El Cairo They traveled to Cairo in the last issue of El Vocero Cristiano in the latest edition of The   (J JA , Mex.)   Christian Spokesman

3.2  Use and omission of the definite article 3.2.1  General observations on the use of the definite article The use of articles is notoriously difficult to explain: why is it said en la practica 'in practice' but - usually - en teoría 'in theory'? The use of certain articles also varies slightly from region to region, so the rules outlined here should be supplemented by careful study of good writing and polite speech. What follows should make clear to readers who know French that, despite many similarities, the Spanish definite article is used less than its French counterpart, and apparently less now than before 1950.

3.2.2  French and Spanish definite articles The following summary of key differences and similarities may be helpful. French


Used with unqualified country names, region: Spain Not used, with exceptions shown in 3.2.17. España is a beautiful country, Viva Francia!, It is a beautiful country, Viva France!, Normandy, etc. Used when addressing people: hello people!, yes, sir Not used: ¡hola muchachos!, sí, señor President le Président

It is not used in expressions like il viendra mardi

Used: Coming Tuesday

It is not used in time expressions like il est huit heures

It is used: it is eight o'clock

Used with generic nouns: le vin est mauvais pour le foie 'wine Very similar but not identical (see 3.2.6): el vino es is bad for the liver'

bad for the liver

Replace possessives with body parts: close your eyes, stroke her hair, have blue eyes, etc.

Similar, but also with clothes and personal belongings: cierra los ojos 'closes his eyes', le acarica el pelo 'caresses his hair', lost la agenda 'I lost my diary', te he aparcado el coche 'I parked your car'. See 9.3.4

Double article in superlatives when the adjective follows the noun:

Just an article, a most interesting book. See 6.3

the most interesting book

It is used with adverbs in superlatives: He sings the best

It is not used: he is the one who sings best; see 6.4

It is used in expressions such as five euros per kilogram

The same: five euros per kilogram

De is used before partitive nouns (ie to express 'some'): he drinks water, there was snow, coins

some used: some coins

No article or preposition: drink water, it snowed or

3.2  Use and omission of the definite article


3.2.3  A useful generalization about the Spanish definite article With three important exceptions, if the definite article is used in English, it will also be used in Spanish: la caida del gobierno El gato se ha comido las salchichas

the fall of the government, the cat ate the sausages

Exceptions: (a) Ordinal numbers next to kings, popes, etc.: Ferdinand VII 'Ferdinand the Seventh', Charles III 'Charles the Third', John XXIII. (b) Some definite sentences in Spanish do not have a definite article, while in English they usually do. short-term/long-term short-term/long-term according to taste according to taste for purpose in capacity: for the purpose of informing 'to whom it may concern' at discretion going downhill going downhill going uphill

of employees on the payroll/personnel offshore offshore in the hands of on/in the hands of on behalf of on behalf of Eastward, etc. to the east (mas hacia   el este, sur, etc.)

Note also fuerza de 'by intention/means' and a la fuerza/por fuerza 'by force'. (c)  The word Internet is generally used without an article: bajar/descarga un fichero de Internet 'to download a file from the Internet'.

3.2.4  The definite article with more than one noun Two or more nouns must have their own definite article if they refer to different things (but see 3.2.7 for an exception). In this respect Spanish differs from English, which allows expressions such as 'the sun and the moon', 'the dog and the cat', 'those men and women'. Spanish says el sol y la luna, un perro y un gato, esos hombres y esas mujeres. ?Un gato y perro suggests a cross between a cat and a dog, and *mi hermano y hermana 'my brother and sister' is not good Spanish: el padre y la madre o pai e a mae entre el hotel y la playa entre the hotel and the beach El desorden callejero y las piedras son Riots and stones in the streets are contrasted with    contrarios a la democracy (La Época, Ch.)   democracy But if nouns are considered to form one compound idea, which is often the case when joined by 'or', all but the first article can be omitted, especially in writing: el misterio o enigma del origen. . . (OP, Mex.) mystery or enigma of the origin of laboratories, equipment, libraries, . . . laboratories, equipment, libraries,    classrooms, indispensable audiovisual systems    classrooms, audiovisual systems    to fulfill your work. (MVLl, Fr.),    necessary to do a job (1)  Nouns can represent similar things in one context and not in another. Someone says voy a buy un libro y una revista 'I will buy a book and a magazine' (two different things), but los libros y (las) magazines están en el estante de arriba 'the books and magazines are on the top shelf'. Here, books and magazines are seen as variants of one thing, namely 'publication'.

34 Definite Article (2)  Pairs of humans or animals must have separate members: el abuelo y abuela 'grandfather and grandmother', el padre y el hijo 'father and son', el/una touro y la/una vaca 'the/ bull and (a/a) cow'; never *grandfather and grandmother, *father and son, *he/bull and cow. (3) Constructions like *los y las alumni or *las y alumni para los alumnos y las alumnas '(male and female students)' are not Spanish, but are more acceptable with nouns not marked with a gender ending, as in students (student = ' student'), 'clients'/'clients'.

3.2.5  Omission of articles in proverbs Articles, definite and indefinite, are often omitted in proverbs and in comments intended to sound like proverbial wisdom: Gato scaldado del agua fría huye A scalded cat runs from cold water Oveja que bala, bocado que pierde A bleating sheep miss a bite (ie   you lose if you talk too much) Tourist who gets angry, doesn't come back (LS, Mexico, Angry tourist doesn't come back   dialog. Enojarse = to be bored in Spain)

3.2.6 The definite article with generic nouns With the exceptions listed in 3.2.10, the definite article is used before nouns that refer to something in general ('generic' nouns). In this respect, Spanish is completely different from English. These nouns are usually: (a) abstract nouns that refer to a general concept: democracy democracy Spanish Catholicism/Cuban society Spanish Catholicism/Cuban society My story will be true to reality (JLB, ​​​​​​​​​​​Arg.) My will story be true to reality reality reality Debate on Indigenous Culture, Rights and Autonomy (La Reforma, Mexico) Native American Autonomy Phrases like *electoral reform is the only solution 'electoral reform is the only solution' are common mistakes by English speakers and should be rewritten electoral reform is . . . . . . . . (b) Substances in general: Bran is good for digestion Stainless steel is expensive Blood is priceless

Bran is good for digestion Stainless steel is very expensive Blood is priceless

(c)  Countable nouns that refer to all members of their class: Los beben mucha cerveza Belgas (in general) to drink a lot of beer Los automovilistas debên contentarse con escuchar The car drivers had to make do with the radio   la ( La Nación, Arg., refers to all listening to their radio    drivers involved in traffic jams) El tigre es un animal peligroso The tiger ('tigers') is a dangerous animal El periodista escribe para el olvido (JLB, ​​Arg., Journalists write to forget (i.e. 'to be   dialogue)   forgotten')

3.2  Use and omission of the definite article


Phrases like *italianos comen más ajo que noruegos 'Italians eat more garlic than Norwegians' are not Spanish, although they appear in the headlines of the Latin American press. They say Italians eat more ajo than Norwegians. (1) Colors belong to the class of abstract nouns and require a definite article: el azul 'blue', el negro 'black', el Amarelo no me gusta 'I don't like yellow'. A phrase like ¿te gusta el rojo? is therefore ambiguous: 'do you like red' or 'do you like (the color) red?' Diseases are also treated as abstract nouns: el sida 'AIDS', la diabetes 'diabetes', el sarampión 'measles' la influenza (usually la flu in Mexico) 'the flu'. (2)  These rules apply especially when the noun is the subject of the verb. The definite article must not be omitted in the following sentences (but see 3.2.7 for the omission of the definite article in lists of two or more generic nouns): no me gusta la manzanilla 'I don't like chamomile', el azúcar es malo para los dientes 'sugar is bad for teeth', los portablees cuestan mais 'laptops cost more'. But when the noun is the object of the verb or is preceded by a preposition, sometimes the definite article is omitted. See 3.2.10 for examples. (3)  Phrases like me gusta el vino, me gustan las cerezas are ambiguous out of context: 'I like wine/cherries' or 'I like wine/cherries'. The context or intonation makes the meaning clear, or the demonstrative can be used for the first meaning – este vino 'this wine', esta cerezas 'these cherries'. (4)  The use of a singular countable noun with a generic meaning is more common in Spanish than in English, where it can sound old-fashioned: el español, cuando está de vacaciones, come mucho marisco 'Spanish people, when they are on holiday, eat a lot of seafood', instead 'When a Spaniard is on vacation, he eats . . .'. (5) The Academy disapproves of the recent tendency to omit the definite article after majority 'majority' and la mayor parte 'the greater part', as in la majority/mayor parte de personas para la majority/mayor parte de las personas 'the majority/most of the people/people '.

3.2.7 Omission of the definite article in lists When two or more nouns follow one another, all definite articles may be omitted, especially, but not exclusively, in the literary style. It must be said that men are excited when they hear it '(Men are excited to hear it'), but it can be said that men and women are excited when they hear it (EP, Mex.) 'men and women are excited . . . . . .'. Other examples: debate between science and religion debate between science and religion The English and the French thought that the English and the French thought that just showing off their imposing ships, just showing off their imposing ships would be enough to . . . . . . . . (Nation, Arg.) would be sufficient for . . . . . . . . Both the crew and the officers became his friends (SG, Mexico). A similar rule exists in literary English: 'but dog and cat soon fall' is the same as 'but the dog and (the) cat soon fall'.

3.2.8 Omission of the definite article before partitive nouns (see Glossary) The definite article is not used before nouns that refer only to a part of something or to some members of a set, i.e.:

36 The definite article (a)  before partitive (uncountable) nouns, e.g. substances and abstractions: Quiero cerveza I want (some) beer Eso necesita valor Need courage No hay agua No water No/No water Su móvil no coverage Your/your cell phone has no signal But the distinction between mass generic nouns and partitive expressions is not always obvious, as in the expression no like meat 'I don't eat meat', where meat obviously refers to meat in general. See 3.2.10 for further comments on this matter. (b)  Before partitive countable nouns, i.e. countable nouns which in English can normally be preceded by 'some': No se te olvide traer clavos Incluso nos dieron flores Llevan weapon

Don't forget to bring (some) nails. They even gave us (some) flowers. They are armed

(1)  French and Italian regularly use 'of' before partitive nouns: il a des roses rouges/ha delle rose rosse = tiene rosas rojas '(s)he has some red roses'. De is not used in this way in Spanish, although it can occasionally appear before words meaning 'this' or 'that' to make it clear that 'some of' is meant rather than 'all'. Compare tráenos de ese vino tan bueno que nos serviste ayer 'bring us some of that very good wine you served us yesterday' and tráenos ese vino tan bueno que nos serviste ayer 'bring us that very good wine you served us yesterday'.

3.2.9 The definite article required before nouns modified by a qualifier As in English, a noun that does not require a definite article when standing alone usually requires one when it is qualified or modified by a following word or phrase. Compare We are talking about faith. It is made of gold

We are talking (about) religion. It is made of gold

e We are talking about the religion of the ancient Persians. It was made of gold that they brought from India. Important: This rule supersedes all article omission rules that follow. However, the qualifier does not always make the noun specific: the resulting noun phrase can still be generic in itself and have no definite article, and these nouns can only be learned by practice: It is made of pure gold We talk about the old faith I don't talk to the traitors of my country

It is made of pure gold. We are talking about an ancient religion, I am not talking to traitors of my own country

3.2.10  Obvious exceptions to the rules described in 3.2.6 The general rule given in 3.2.6—that generic nouns require the definite article—has exceptions. For example, in yo no como carne 'I don't eat meat', carne is obviously generic as it refers to meat in general. These exceptions – or apparent exceptions – often appear in the following contexts:

3.2  Use and omission of the definite article


(a) After the preposition. Nouns that follow a preposition are usually really partitive: they denote a part or aspect of the thing to which they refer. If this is the case, they do not define the article: She likes to date British people (one or several (S) he likes to date British people    at once, not all kinds) She always ends up talking about sex (SP, Sp. , Always ends up talking about sex dialogue). . . controversies surrounding regional dialogues. . . disputes over regional negotiations with    con la guerrilla (El Tiempo, col.)    guerrilla forces Air Ministry/Agriculture Ministry of Aviation/Agriculture (b)  After certain verbs, e.g. consume, desire, produce: Lizards eat flies Of course I use soap We want peace

Lizards eat flies Of course I use soap We want peace

Important: but if the verb really affects its whole object in general – this is usually the case with human emotion verbs such as 'love', 'hate', 'admire', 'criticize', 'censor', 'reject', etc. . . . . – therefore the definite article is mandatory: I hate violent movies I like vanilla ice cream You have to fight terrorism

I hate violent movies. I like vanilla ice cream. Terrorism must be fought

(c)  In many adverbial phrases The definite article is not used in a number of adverbial phrases involving a preposition plus a noun: substantive confusion train/car plane pitcher We are here as observers As a child I only/only spoke Catalan

confusion personified/par excellence in jars of trains/cars planes We are here as observers As a girl I only spoke Catalan

(1)  The omission or retention of the definite article with abstract and mass nouns after prepositions such as de or sobre usually depends on the speaker's point of view. One can say publicó tres artículos sobre poesía 'he published three articles on poetry' or . . . sobre la poesía 'about Poetry'. The latter implies the universal term 'Poetry'; the first implies "aspects of poetry". The difference is small and a strong modern tendency is to avoid the use of the definite article, although with nouns referring to more abstract concepts the definite article is more likely, as in una conference sobre la libertad 'lecture on freedom'. For more details on the omission after the preposition de, see 3.2.11. (2)  Spanish language usage differs from French regarding the names of ministers and ministries: el minister of agriculture/le ministre de l'agriculture, el Ministerio de Defensa/le Ministère de la Défense, etc.

3.2.11  The definite article after de Important: When two nouns are joined with de to express a new concept, the definite article is usually not used before the second noun. Compare la rueda del coche 'wheel of/car' and una rueda de coche 'wheel of car', la carne de la vaca 'cow's meat' and la carne de vaca 'meat', los sombreros de las mujeres 'women's hats' and los sombreros de mujer 'women's hats'. Other examples:

38 The definite article toothache toothache stone age but generally stone age iron age   la Edad del Hierro freight train freight train inbox (in email software) voice recognition voice recognition (computing) . . . they give the sadness of a cemetery flower. . . cemetery flower the sadness that   los lirios (MP, Arg.)    irises emit English usually expresses these combinations with a compound noun: compare la noche de la fiesta 'the night of the party' and la noche de fiesta 'the night of the party' . (1)  Latin American Spanish, especially in newspapers, sometimes uses constructions without the definite article that are discarded in Spain, cf. the problem of public order is more and more serious (El Tiempo, Col., Sp. problem of public order) 'the problem of public order is becoming more and more serious'.

3.2.12  Use of the definite article after haber ('there is'/'there is') Spanish does not usually use the definite article after haber: hay agua 'there is water', hubo una storma 'there was a storm', but ahí está el cartero 'here it is the postman'/'the postman has arrived'. See 34.2.1 note 4.

3.2.13 Omission of definite articles in titles of books, films, etc. In titles of books and films, etc., the definite article is often omitted before nouns that are not considered separate entities (for not capitalizing book titles, see 44.3. Franco's country house , José Donoso The Life of Don Quixote

Politics and the Francoist State Casa de Campo, José Donoso The Life of Don Quixote

But with unique things or proper names, a certain member remains: Casa Verde, Mario Vargas Llosa The Church in Spain Today and Tomorrow

Casa Verde, Mario Vargas Llosa The Church in Spain today and tomorrow

3.2.14  Omission of certain articles in titles In Spain the grammar of titles is fairly standard, but Latin American titles generally follow the English practice of omitting articles (for the word order of these Latin American titles, see 42.9.1 note 3) : The government does not touch the high bureaucracy (La Época, Mexico) Government leaves top bureaucrats  untouched Italian cities ban pyrotechnic celebrations Italian cities ban fireworks celebrations   (El Mercurio, Mex. Urbes = cities in Spain)    Divorce confirmed Producen Temblor 'Divorce cause Earthquake claim   (Última Hora, Dom. Rep.) This type of language is spreading in Spain. NGLE 15.12f records examples such as Presunto delincuente hiere a dos policías (El País, Sp.) 'alleged criminal injuries to two police officers'.

3.2  Use and omission of the definite article


3.2.15  The definite article with names of singular entities The use of the definite article with singular entities (things of which there is only one) is more or less the same as in English, eg la Casa Blanca 'The White House', el Atlántico 'The Atlantic', la Virgen 'Virgin', el Camino de Santiago 'Milky Way' (la Vía Láctea, lit. 'Way of St. James', also called the Pilgrim's Way), la stratosphere 'stratosphere', el sol 'The Sun'; but, as in English, articles with names of planets are not used: Mercury, Jupiter, Venus, etc. For the definite article with names of languages ​​and countries, see 3.2.16 and 3.2.17. (1)  Spanish uses the definite article with mountains, volcanoes and with heaven and hell: el Infierno 'Hell', el Cielo/el Paraíso 'Heaven'/'Paradise', el Everest, el Vesubio. (2)  As in English, the definite article is not used with personal names as opposed to epithets, titles or nicknames: Dios 'God', Cristo 'Christ' (rarely el Cristo), Jesucristo 'Jesus Christ', Satan 'Satan' , but el Salvador 'Saviour', la Imaculada 'Blessed Virgin', 'el Che' '“Che” Guevara'. For the definite article before common personal names, see 3.2.21 below.

3.2.16 The definite article with language names Usage is capricious and may deviate from the following rules: (a) no article after, or generally after knowledge, learning, speaking: in Spanish, in English I know Quechua I learn German/I speak Greek

in Spanish, in English I know Quechua I am learning German/(S)he speaks Greek

But when the verb is modified by an adverb, the definite article is often used: habla el francés properly 'he speaks French fluently', habla el italiano bien (JLB, ​​​​​​Arg.). (b)  Optional definite article after understanding 'understand', writing 'writing', studying 'studying': I understand (the) English, I write (the) Italian

I understand English (S), he writes Italian

(c) After other prepositions, the definite article is used: translate from Spanish to French to translate a Greek word into a Greek word from Spanish to French Compared to Russian, Spanish Compared to Russian, Spanish looks uncomplicated (d) After the meaning of 'of', the definite article the article is only used if the whole language is understood: curso de español 'course of Spanish' (actually just 'aspects of Spanish'), but difficultyes del español 'difficulties of Spanish' (in general), subtiles japonica 'subtleties of Japanese'. (e) After mestre 'master', chattering 'to speak badly', destroy 'to kill' and other verbs not mentioned above, the definite article is used: perfect command of Portuguese '(is) a complete master of Portuguese', chattering English ' (s) he speaks broken English'. (f) If language is the subject of a verb, it requires a definite article: French is difficult 'French is difficult', Spanish is a beautiful language 'Spanish is a beautiful language'

40 The definite article (g) If the language is qualified by the following word or phrase, the definite article is required: Colombian Spanish 'Colombian Spanish' English spoken in Tennessee 'English spoken in Tennessee' . . .

3.2.17  The definite article with country names This is problematic because spoken usage varies and is often inconsistent with modern writing styles. Unless the definite article is part of the name (as in El Salvador), El País instructs its reporters to write all countries without the definite article except la India e los País Holandas 'The Netherlands', and the use of the definite article is on the decline, especially in Spain. The rules of everyday spoken language seem to be: (a) Mandatory: El Salvador (capital E because El is part of the name), los País Holandas 'Netherlands', La República Checa 'Czech Republic', la República Dominicana. (b)  Optional, but often seen: el Camerún 'Cameroon', el Reino Unido 'United Kingdom' (but the article is often omitted today), los Estados Unidos, la India, el Libano '()Lebanon' , China , Middle east 'Middle East', Senegal, Sudan, Yemen. (c)  Optional: (la) Saudi Arabia, (la) Argentina (regular article in Argentina), (el) Brazil, (el) Canada, (el) Ecuador, (la) Philippines 'Philippines', la Guinea, ( el ) Iraq, (el) Iran, (el) Japan, (el) Nepal, (el) Pakistan, (el) Paraguay, (el) Peru, (el) Tibet, (el) Uruguay, (el) Vietnam. The tendency in Spain is to omit the definite article, but this is common in Latin America. Other countries do not use the definite article: tres años en Australia/Egipto/Norway 'three years in Australia/Egypt/Norway'. (1)  'The United States' is los Estados Unidos, plural or, more commonly, Estados Unidos, singular and without an article - the only form allowed in El País (Sp.). Gran Bretaña 'Great Britain' does not take the definite article. (2)  In older texts, especially formal diplomatic language, country names occasionally appear with the definite article: la Francia, la Inglaterra, etc. (3)  All place names require the definite article when qualified or limited by an adjective, phrase, or clause, unless the qualifying word is part of the official name: la España contemporanea 'contemporary Spain', la Suecia que yo conocía 'the Sweden I knew'; but in Western Australia 'in Western Australia', in Northern Ireland 'in Northern Ireland'. (4) The names of some well-known regions, unlike countries, tend to be variable: (la) Europa Central, América del Sur, the definite article is less common today.

3.2.18  The definite article with provinces, regions, cities and towns Some place names include the definite article as an inseparable feature: La Rioja El Cairo la Habana, less often   simply Habana

From The Hague to The Hague la Mancha Mecca Mecca, or simply Mecca

La Paz La Plata La Coruña ili jednostavno   Coruña


Otherwise, the definite article is not used unless 3.2.9 applies, as in today's Buenos Aires 'Buenos Aires today', in Cicero's Rome 'in Cicero's Rome', etc.

3.2  Use and omission of the definite article


3.2.19 The definite article before the names of streets, roads, squares, etc. The definite article is used before roads, squares, avenues, paths, alleys and similar places: The United States Embassy is located at Praça da Independência, Avenida Wilson (Caretas, Fr.)

(She) lives on Independence Square/American Embassy Street on Wilson Avenue

(1) The street and similar phrases are often omitted in speech: he lives in Independence, . . . . . . . . . in Serrano 29 etc.

3.2.20  Definite articles with days of the week, months and years (a)  The definite article appears with the days of the week: Arrival on Tuesday Closing on Friday On Sunday the streets are almost empty    (MB, Ed., dialogue ) I hate Monday is Wednesday when there will be fewer people than Sunday

They come on Tuesday closed on Friday(s) Sunday the streets are almost empty I hate Monday Wednesday is the day when there will be less people after Sunday / Sunday at

(b)  The definite article is not used with names of months, but is used with the words mes 'month', año 'year', mañana 'morning', tarde 'afternoon/evening', noche 'night' and dawn 'dawn', except in expressions such as a fin (less often finales) de mes 'at the end of the month', a principios de año 'at the beginning of the year': (c)  With anos preceded by a preposition, the definite article is usually omitted – en 2018 – although with abbreviated years, the definite article is used: en el 92 'in '92'. When the year is the subject of the verb, the definite article is usual: el 2017 fue un año Difficult '2017. was a difficult year'. (1)  The definite article is not used when dia is the predicate for 'to be', as in hoy es lunes. But if ser means 'to happen', the definite article appears: fue el gordo por la tarde 'it was/happened on Saturday afternoon'. When the day of the week is preceded by de meaning 'of', the definite article is used: ocurrió en la noche del viernes 'it happened on Friday night'. Compare trabajo de lunes with jueves 'I work from Monday to Thursday'. (2)  The definite article is also not used in dates: lunes 18 de octubre de 2021 'Monday (the) 18th of October 2021'.

3.2.21 The definite article with personal names The definite article sometimes appears before the surnames of very famous women: Loren, Callas, Pardo Bazán, I must be in New York for Garbo's funeral (TM, Sp., dialogue ) 'Greta Garbo's funeral in New York' But it is not used like that before male surnames. The use of the definite article before proper nouns, e.g. Maria, Jose, Mario are considered non-standard or regional unless the name is qualified, as in cute Agnes "gentle Agnes". The definite article usually appears before a nickname: the never-defeated "I" (Guevara)

42 A certain member has never been defeated' (Cuba International, Cu.), arrested Ramon Perez "the duke" 'they arrested Ramon Perez "the duke"' (notorious criminals often have pseudonyms or nicknames). (1) In the Spanish of Chile and Catalonia, it is common to use the definite article before proper names, even in cultural speech, eg Mario, Dorothy, but foreign students should avoid this as it may suggest that the person is notorious. Portuguese students should also avoid the definite article: Antonio wants coffee = Antonio wants coffee.

3.2.22  The definite article with sports teams The masculine article is used before sports teams: el Granada 'Granada FC', el Manchester United, el Real Madrid, all masculine because of the underlying team 'team'.

3.2.23 The definite article before the nouns of the family relationship Grandfather/grandmother takes the definite article: grandfather did not seem willing to let me go (SP, Sp.) 'grandfather was not inclined to let me go', grandmother called the priest (AM , mex., dialogue ) 'the grandmother calls the priest'. Tio/tia 'uncle' also takes the definite article: uncle Henrique almost claps on the table (SP, Sp.) 'uncle Henrique almost claps his hand on the table'. However, not everyone uses the definite article when talking about their relatives: I kissed Aunt Julia (but aunt is common). Latin American usage also seems uncertain, although the overwhelming majority favors the use of the definite article: Aunt Julia and the Writer (novel title MVLl, Fr.) 'Aunt Julia and the Writer', Aunt Veronica was a girl with deep thin eyes and lips (AM, Mexico ) 'Aunt Veronica was a girl with deep eyes and thin lips'. In rural areas, uncle/uncle can be used before the names of local figures: uncle José/uncle Paca 'old José'/ 'old Paca'. (1) The definite article is usually not used with dad, mom: give dad a kiss (not for father).

3.2.24  The definite article with personal titles The definite article is used before the title of the person being addressed: el señor Moreira, el professor Smith, el general Rodríguez, el President Trump, el doctor Fleming, el padre Blanco 'Padre Blanco'. Also used to refer to a couple: los señores Barral 'Mr and Mrs Barral'. But it is not used if you are addressing a person directly: pase usted, señor Sender/señor Presidente/padre Blanco 'come in Mr Sender/Mr President/Father Blanco'. The definite article is not used before don, doña, fray, san, santa, sor or before foreign titles such as mister, monsieur, herr: don Miguel, fray Bentos, santa Teresa, sor Juana, mister Smith, etc. write in capital letters. For military forms of address mi general 'general', mi coronel 'colonel' see 9.3.3. (1)  Don/doña are sometimes used - but much less often than in the past - before the first name, or the first name followed by one or both surnames, of older people to show respect and on envelopes (now less than before): Senhor Dom Miguel Ramírez, Dona Josefa, Dom Miguel. The first name must be included after the don, so not just *don Ramírez.

3.2  Use and omission of the definite article


3.2.25 The definite article in apposition The definite article is usually omitted in apposition (see Glossary) when the following sentence is not restrictive - that is, it explains but does not limit the meaning of the previous sentence: Madrid, capital of Spain Madrid, capital of Spain Lázaro Conesal, owner of the hotel Lázaro Conesal, hotel owner (MVM, Sp.) Ricardo Balbín, leader of the Civic Union Ricardo Balbín, leader of the Cívico Radical Radical (MSQ, Arg.) Sindicato Amilpa, new leader of the CTM (JA, Mexico) ) Amilpa, leader of the CTM- a (Confederation of Mexican Workers) But it remains: (a) if the following sentence is restrictive, that is, it is used to avoid possible identity confusion: He looked , the author 'He looked at the author' (not the painter); Córdoba, Argentinian city 'Córdoba, Argentinian city' (not Spanish); (b) usually if the apposition is qualified by the following word or adjective phrase: Javier Marcos, the architect who designed the two fountains.

3.2.26  The definite article with numbered nouns Unlike in English, nouns identified by number have the definite article: I live on the floor (Lat. Am. el Apartamento/el   departamento) 38 (piso = 'floor'   in Lat. Am .) He lives in in Serrano Street, at 23/23    Serrano Street (but he lives at 23 Serrano Street) provision of Article 277 of the Constitution some photos 93 ten percent of Peruvians

I live in apartment 38 (S) he lives in Rua Serrano 23 provision of art. 277 of the Constitution of some photos from 1993. ten percent of Peruvians

To learn more about this topic, see 11.11.

3.2.27  The definite article in set phrases The following items usually appear with the definite article in Spanish, while their English equivalents do not. Square brackets indicate that the article is optional: en (la) cama na cama en (el) Palacio no Palácio a/en/de la iglesia para/na/da Igreja en la televisión na televisión (la optional) al/en el / del cielo/infierno in/in/from heaven/   Hell

en el espacio in space debajo de la tierra (but underground) subterrâneo al/en el/del hospital to/in/from the hospital en la prisão/en la iglesia/ in prison/at church at school/at work at school /me no it doesn't work

Many other phrases are similar to English, for example sobre deck 'on deck', in context 'in context', salir de (la) prison 'to get out of prison', en/a clase 'in/to class', a missa 'for mass' ', sobre deck (no la cubierta in Latin America) 'on deck'. A/en/de casa 'em/em/de casa' is often expressed as a/en/ de la casa in Latin America and sometimes in Spain.

44 The Definite Article (1)  Many speakers distinguish between en cama 'sick in bed' and en la cama 'resting in bed', but the distinction is not universal.

3.2.28  The definite article after the verb jugar Jugar takes one plus the definite article in Spain: jugar a la pelota 'to play with a ball/with a ball', jugar al ajedrez/a las carta/al escondite 'to play chess/cards/hide - Hide . The Academy (DPD, 382) seems to disapprove of the omission of the definite article in the Catalans, but accepts it as valid in many parts of Latin America, cf. mi padre no juega golf y mi madre no juega britch (LO, Cu., dialogue; common spelling is bridge) 'my father does not play golf and my mother does not play bridge', playing tennis with him was like a council of ministers (GGM , Col., dialogue) 'playing tennis with him was like (being at) a government meeting'. But now you smoke a kite or play chess. . . (MP, Arg., dialogue) 'either smoke a pipe or play chess'.

3.2.29  The definite article with personal pronouns The definite article is needed after first and second person plural pronouns in sentences such as: vosotras/ ustedes las españolas 'you, Spanish women. . It is also used when the pronoun is not present: Los ingles siempre ocultáis vuestras You English always hide your emotions   emociones Las mujeres de los mineros siempre estar We miners' wives are always in   en vilo thinking en los hombres    tenterhooks thinking about men (ALS , Sp ., dialogue )

3.2.30  Colloquial use of la de In familiar language, la de can mean 'many of': . . . with the number of lawyers coming in the guide. . . . . . how many times have they said that. . . the one with tears behind me (LS, Ch., dialogue)

. . . with all the dozens of lawyer numbers in the phone book. . . . . . how many times have they said that! . . . the amount of tears I shed. . .

4 The Indefinite Article The main points discussed in this chapter are: • Forms and uses of the indefinite article (Section 4.1) • The use of unas/unas (Section 4.2) The Spanish indefinite article un/una corresponds to the English words 'um '/ 'one'.

4.1 Forms and use of the indefinite article 4.1.1 Masculine forms of the Spanish indefinite article








Important: un is used before feminine nouns that start with a tonic, eg un arma 'weapon', un águila 'eagle', un haba 'bean'. See 3.1.2.

4.1.2 Use of the indefinite article: in general the Spanish indefinite article is used like 'a' or 'an' in English, but there are two important differences: (a) it is not used before singular countable nouns in the specific contexts described below in 4.1 .5ff, eg tengo coche 'I have a car', Mario es ingeniero 'Mario is an engineer', lo abrió sin llave '(o)he built it without a key', es mente 'that's a lie'. (b) Can occur in the plural: unos pantalones 'a pair of American pants/trousers', son unos genios incomprendido 'they are misunderstood geniuses'. See 4.2 for details. (1) Un 'a' must be carefully distinguished from uno 'one' when it comes to a singular masculine noun or adjective. Compare un verde 'green' (ie an environmentalist) and uno verde 'green'; un similitude 'similarity', uno similitude 'similarity'. No distinction is made between the feminine gender and the plural: una verde = "green" woman/fighter for environmental protection" or "green".

4.1.3 The Indefinite Article in French and Spanish The French and Spanish indefinite articles were compared with the French


The indefinite article of the plural is des, cf. gloves, they are clowns, I gave her roses

The plural is unos/unas: unos mitantes, son unos payasos, but omitted in many cases: I gave you (unas) roses. See 3.2.8, 4.2.2

46 French indefinite article


From used to negative: she doesn't wear a helmet, I don't have a pencil

No article: He doesn't wear a helmet, I don't have a pencil

It is not used after "to be" before an occupation: je suis professeur, but it is used after other verbs, eg I am a woman

Same: soy teacher, and omitted in many other cases, e.g. he has a wife. See 4.16ff.

Usually required before each imenica: muškarac i žena

Ditto: see next section

4.1.4 Indefinite article before more than one noun When more than one noun appears in a sequence, an indefinite article is needed before each noun. English often omits the second article: a man and a woman 'a man and (a) woman' (*a man and a woman is a cross between a man and a woman), I bought a typewriter and a dustbin for my office' I bought a typewriter and a wastebasket for trash for your office'. But omission occurs when nouns refer to the same thing or to different aspects of the same thing: actress and singer actress and singer (same woman) knife and cans knife and can opener combination This book is masterfully written (a) This novel is written in an unusual skill and unusual delicacy

4.1.5  Omission before singular nouns: general Un/una is often omitted before singular nouns. This happens whenever the generic or universal features of a noun are emphasized. Compare Pepe tiene coche 'Pepe has a car' (as do many people) and Pepe tiene un coche francés 'Pepe has a French car'. Section 4.1.7 discusses some of the cases in which this type of failure occurs.

4.1.6 Indefinite article not used before professions, occupations, social status, gender Important: un/una is not used before nouns describing profession, occupation, social status and is often omitted before nouns indicating gender. In these sentences, the noun can be considered a type of adjective that simply denotes a general type: Soy pilot/Son buzos Es soltero/Es casada (compare esta casada    'she is married'; see 33.4.1a) Se hizo detektiv . . . and the only Alejandra was a mujer (ES, Arg.) . . .

I'm a pilot/They're divers He's single/She's married (S)he became a detective. . . and even though Alejandra was a woman

(1)  Nouns denoting personal qualities rather than association with a profession or other group require the indefinite article: es carnicero 'he is a butcher (by trade)'; is Superman 'he is Superman', is a superman 'he is superman'; the sergeant said to himself: »He is not a thief. He is a madman" (MVLl, Fr.) "the sergeant said to himself "he is not a thief." He is a madman.”’ (2)  If such a noun is qualified, it usually becomes definite (not generic) and therefore requires an indefinite article. Compare the actor 'he is an actor' and he is an actor who never finds work 'he is an actor who never finds work'; I'm told you're the man left

4.1  Forms and use of the indefinite article


solo (ABE, Fr., dialogue) 'I'm told you're a man who ended up alone' However, the resulting noun phrase can still be a recognized profession or a generic type, so the definite article will not be used: I'm a Spanish teacher. See 4.1.9 for discussion. (3) The definite article is used if it means 'one of . . . . .': —Who is he/whom did he greet? —It's a teacher/It's one of the teachers '"Who was the one who said hello?" "He is one of the teachers".

4.1.7 Omission of the indefinite article with ser and nouns not included in 4.1.6 Omission of the indefinite article after being is often (a) in certain common sentences, eg hoy es fiesta; (b) in literary styles: a rare counterpart in English is the optional omission of the 'a' with 'part': 'this is (a) part of our heritage' esto es (una) parte de nuestro patrimonio. Omission is more common in negative sentences and apparently more common in European Spanish than Latin American. The omission in the following sentences seems to be optional and gives a slightly more literary or emphatic tone: Es (una) coincidenceencia Es (una) cuestión de dinero Es (una) victims of circumstance

It's a coincidence. It's a matter of money (S)he is a victim of circumstances

But the indefinite article is retained in many common sentences such as it can (colloquial) 'it's a nuisance', it's a shame/foam 'it's a shame', it's a problem 'it's a problem', it's a disaster 'it/( s)he is a disaster', he was a success 'he was a success'. Omission can occur after a negative verb, although it is not common after a positive verb: Not a nuisance/problem Not an exaggeration Not a deficiency

Not a nuisance/problem Not an exaggeration Not a deficiency

In the following three cases the omission produces a literary or formal effect: La codorniz es # ave tiernísima (MD, Sp.), The quail is an exceedingly tender bird (to eat) Es # mar de veras (MVLl Pe., dialogue ) It is (a) true sea ¡Esta/ésta es # cuistão que a ustedes no les This is a topic that doesn't matter   it's important! (JI, Mexico, dialogue)    do with you! In all the examples above, the proper gender for un or una could have been used in the places marked with #, but the original texts did not use the article. (1)  If the following noun is not generic, but only implies the possession of certain qualities, un/una should be used: el hombre es un lobo para el hombre 'man is a wolf to man' (but not a member of the wolf species), Mercedes es un terremoun 'Mercedes is an earthquake' (ie raising hell), esta hecho una foca 'he is very fat' (la foca = 'seal', animal). (2)  Omission of the indefinite article before a qualified noun tends to produce an archaic or literary effect or may make the sentence sound like stage directions as in entra una señora con sombrero verde con plumas de ostrich 'the lady with the green hat with ostrich feathers enters', where the green sombrero was much more normal today. Where Unamuno wrote, at the beginning of the 20th century, was un viejecillo. . . with big pockets levitón 'was a little old man in a big frock coat with deep pockets', a modern writer might prefer un levitón. (3)  In formal literary styles, the omission of un/una is normal in definitions when the subject comes first: novela es todo obra de ficción que . . . 'A novel is any work of fiction that . . .'.

48 Indefinite article

4.1.8  Omission of un/una after other verbs Spanish does not use un/una after several verbs such as tener 'to have', comprar 'to buy', sacar 'tomar/tirar' (with cinema tickets, etc. 'to buy' or 'book'), seek 'to look for', llevar 'to carry', haber 'there is/has', when its direct object is a noun referring to things that would otherwise have or take only one: umbrella, pen, nanny, servant, chef, hat, etc. Omission is normal when the object is something typical or expected. As NGLE 15.13e points out, one would say María tiene perro 'Mary has a dog', but María tiene una tortuga 'Mary has a turtle'. Manuel has a couple Pepe has a partner (female or male) My computer has an optical mouse My computer has an optical mouse Hay Mercado/subasta There is a market/auction Let's find him a girlfriend Let's find him a girlfriend Siempre lleva anillo ( S ) he always wears a ring Barcelona has a port and park and tram y Barcelona has a port, park, tram, metro,    metro and bus and cinema (LG, Sp.)    buses and cinema(s).) One person took the attack and pulled a gun Ya he saccado entry I have a ticket* *For various Spanish equivalents of 'ticket', see 44.1.5 note 1. (1)  Un/una is common if the object has special features: llevaba (una) falda blanca 'she was wearing a white skirt', tenía . . . una carita de chico pecoso. . . (FU, Sp.) 'she had a beautiful face like a freckled boy'. But the indefinite article does not always exclude the possibility of a generic meaning. NGLE 15.9e points out that siempre escribe sus novelas con un bolígrafo '(s)he always writes his novels with a ballpoint pen' means 'with a particular ballpoint pen' or 'with any ballpoint pen'; . . . con bolígrafo limits the meaning to 'any ballpoint pen'. Note also tengo móvil since hace años 'I have had a mobile phone/mobitel (one or more) for years', where un móvil can mean a specific phone. (2)  The use of un/una with unqualified nouns may suggest some suppressed comment: tiene un coche/ una casa . . . 'you should see his car/house. . .', you have one eye. . . 'you should see their eyes. . .'. This can sound lovely or endearing when applied to people, eg husband 'husband', novio 'boyfriend', novia 'girlfriend', eg tiene una mujer . . . 'he has a wife (and she is . . .)'. (3)  If it is normal to have more than one of the things listed, or if the idea of ​​'one' is relevant, the indefinite article should be used: tiene mujer y un hijo (EP, Mex., dialogue) 'he has a wife and a son', you have a dollar? (obviously not *¿tienes Dollar?) 'do you have a dollar?', tieneun novio en Burgos y otro en Huelva '(he) has a boyfriend in Burgos and another in Huelva'.

4.1.9 Retaining the indefinite article before qualified nouns When nouns are modified by a clause, phrase or adjective, they become specific and the indefinite article can be obligatory (indicate in square brackets if it is not obligatory): tengo padre 'I have a father' mas I have a father who is intolerable ' I have an unbearable father', he was (a) a man of careful manners (AM, Mex.) 'he was a man of prudent manners', they organized some peaceful demonstrations 'they organized peaceful demonstrations'. But if the resulting noun phrase is still generic, the indefinite article can still be omitted: you are (a) a respectable man 'you are a respectable man', he is a Protestant pastor 'he is a Protestant priest', Doctor Urdino is a serious man as well as a good manager (The Time, Col.) 'Doctor Urdino is a serious man and a good manager too'.

4.1  Forms and use of the indefinite article


(1) This rule also applies in the plural: it is an example/these are several examples we found in his novel 'this is an example/these are examples we found in his novel', I immediately became youthfully jealous of him (FU, Sp .) 'I was immediately filled with youthful jealousy of him', we called for water biscuits with cottage cheese (MVLl, Fr., in Spain he invited some . . .) 'he offered us water biscuits / American cottage cheese biscuits'.

4.1.10 Omission of the indefinite article in apposition The indefinite article is not usually used in apposition (see Glossary), at least in literary language: Today's Spanish, a language in turmoil ) We spent fifteen days in Acapulco, a place We spent two weeks in Acapulco, a place that I will never forget Then Jorge Money, a journalist was kidnapped Then they kidnapped JM, a journalist from La Opinión (MSQ, Arg.) daily newspaper The Opinion Buenos Aires, a city that doesn't attract me Buenos Aires, a city that doesn't (JLB,​ ​Arg., dialogue) attracts me Now, to find a worthy replacement for Pedro, Now let's start looking for a worthy task that is not easy (JJA, Mexico , dialogue) replacement for Peter; not an easy task (1) But in informal language, or if the noun in apposition is qualified by an adjective or clause, the article can be retained: resorted to Videla, a liberal and anti-Peronist military man (MSQ, Arg.) 'he sought help from Videla, a liberal and anti-Peronist military man'.

4.1.11  The indefinite article to distinguish nouns from adjectives Many Spanish nouns cannot be distinguished as adjectives: the use of a/a indicates that the noun refers to: Juan es cobarde/Juan es un cobarde Papa es (un) fascista Soy extranjero /un stranger

João is a coward/ João is a coward Father is a fascist I am a foreigner/I am a foreigner

(1)  The use of the indefinite article generally implies a stronger value judgment. Eres cutre (Sp., colloquial = stingy, stingy) = 'you are bad', eres un cutre = 'you are a bad person'; you are silly 'you are silly', you are silly 'you are silly/idiot'; es vaga (esp., colloquial = lazy) 'she is lazy', es una vaga 'she is a lazy person'. Un/unas is used in the plural to maintain the distinction: they are unhappy 'they are unhappy', they are unhappy 'they are miserable' (the meaning changes and is quite strong: un unhappy = 'wretched', 'a “to shiver se" ”').

4.1.12 Omission after as, in the form of, by, without, with (a) The indefinite article is not used after in the form of, in the form of and after as when it means 'in the capacity of' or 'through': prolog way through prolog way of stick as / as a stick as an example as an example I used my shoe as a hammer I used my shoe as a hammer Resigned . . . . . .“as the only way to obtain He renounced . . . . . . . . . 'as the only way to achieve peace' (JA, Mexico) peace'

50 Indefinite article (b)  Do not use after when means 'instead of', 'rather than' or 'for' in sentences like: for answer he gave you a kiss '(s) gave you a kiss for answer' , don't take no for an answer . Clear? (MS. Mex., dialogue) 'don't take "no" for an answer. Clear?' (c)  Not usually used after sin without: No vas a cortelo sin cuchillo Sometimes the rimless glasses were stained    (CF, Mex. In Spanish glasses = glasses) A ​​cat came without a tail without a shirt

You won't cut without a knife Sometimes he stained his rimless glasses (S) he came shirtless in a cat without a tail

But if the stressed idea is 'one', or, in most cases, if the noun is qualified by an adjective or clause, the indefinite article is obligatory: bez centa 'without (one) cent', bez friend one who tells his troubles 'without a friend to whom told his troubles'. (d) It is not used after con in the sense of 'dressed', 'equipped' and in many other adverbial phrases: He always goes with a coat a house with a garden The Sphinx is a lion with a man's head (JLB,​ Arg. ) Wrote in pencil

(S)he is always in a coat House with a garden The Sphinx is a lion with a man's head I wrote with a pencil

4.1.13 Omission in exclamations, after which and before such, vile, true, other, similar The indefinite article is omitted in the following types of sentences: Strange coincidence! What a mess! What a quantity!/What a noise!/What a shame! How could he do such/such a thing/   such a thing? pint/pound certain woman/another beer

What a strange coincidence! What a mess! What amount/noise/damage! How could he do such a thing? pint/kilogram certain woman/another beer

See 10.7 for certain and 10.13 for others.

4.2  Unos/Unas The Spanish indefinite article can be used in the plural with various meanings (for a comparison of algunos and unos, which can sometimes mean 'some', see 10.4.2. For the pronoun uno, see the Table of Contents).

4.2.1  Use of input/input (a)  before numbers, 'approximately': Price about thirty-five dollars Price about thirty-five dollars. . . and about five minutes later it stopped   and about five minutes later it stopped   (GGM, Kol.)

4.2  Some


(b)  before plural nouns, 'some' or 'some', or sometimes 'set': De momento no, pero si me invitas a unas Not now, but if you buy me a pair of copitas a lo mejor me, I'll think about it    of drinks, I may be thinking about it   (CORPES, Arg.) . . but it was worse: I smiled a few teeth, but it was worse: a row of   yellow teeth appeared (CRG, Sp.) El País, Sp.) It's a few streets from their homes It's a few streets from their homes   (La Jornada , Mex .) When used in this way, it can simply soften the force of the following noun. So you can add a modest note: Look at these photos - they are some views taken Look at these photos - they are a couple of   en Guadalajara   photos taken in Guadalajara He felt old, sad, useless and with some he felt old, sad , useless and with   deseos de llorar so much urgent da no puedo    desire to cry it was so urgent that   hablar más (GGM, Col.)    could no longer speak (c)  Before nouns appearing in the plural, some show that there is only one meaning. If the noun denotes symmetrical objects like trousers, binoculars, scissors or before pairs of objects like gloves, shoes, entry/entry means 'a pair': some glasses/curtains He wore blue sanded leather boots (ES, Mex.)

I fell down a ladder I'm going on vacation/holiday pants (American pants)/glasses/curtains She was wearing a pair of blue patent leather boots

(d)  The use of enter/enter can show that the following plural noun is not generally used: They are clowns They are clowns They are foxes They are foxes

They are (circus) clowns They are (act like) clowns They are foxes (type) They are really cunning/like foxes

(e)  Entry/unas may be needed to show that the following noun is a noun rather than an adjective or a noun used as an adjective, as in son místicos 'they are mystic(al)', son unos místicos 'they are mystics/ dreamers'. See 4.1.11 for examples. (1)  Sometimes the use of soma does not make much difference: pacifism must be translated into some political behavior that shows no leniency towards violent (La Vanguardia, Sp., some elective) 'pacifism must be translated into (a set of) patterns political behavior that shows no leniency towards bullies". (2) Some cannot be used to answer how many? 'how much?' NGLE 20.3u notes that when asked how many students were there? You can answer algunos, pocos, unos cuántos, varios ('a few') or with a number, but not *unos, just as we probably wouldn't answer 'alguns' in English. (3)  A few/a few can be used to mean 'a few', 'a couple': if the waiter took too long to bring us the bill, he would shout a few in French (ES, Mex., dialogue ; mesero = waiter

52 Indefinite Article in Spain) 'if the waiter took too long to bring us the bill/cheque, she would let out a few screams in French'.

4.2.2  Omission of the entry/unas There is a widespread tendency in written Spanish, especially in newspapers, to avoid the use of the entry (i de algunos) in sentences such as "American experts claim". . . This is what American experts claim. . .'. This journalistic trick hides the fact that only a few experts were actually consulted. Spoken Spanish requires los if the meaning is 'all American experts', algunos if the meaning is 'some'. In other cases, the omission produces a literary effect: flashing electric green letters announce la salida del vuelo (MVM, Sp.) 'flashing electric green lights announce the departure of the flight', where green letters would be more common. Also días después, una noche, green lights flashed in the crystals of my balconies (JMa, Sp.) 'one night, a few days later, green lights flickered in my balcony windows'.

5 Adjectives The main points discussed in this chapter are: • • • • • • • •

Forms of adjectives (Section 5.2) Compound adjectives like 'light blue', 'sociopolitical' (Sections 5.2 and 5.4) Abbreviated adjectives (eg buen for bueno) (Section 5.5) Agreement of adjectives (Section 5.6) Adjectives of place (Section 5.6) ) e.g.

5.1 General notes on Spanish adjectives (a) Almost all Spanish adjectives agree in number with nouns and pronouns, and many also agree in gender. They therefore have two forms, e.g. natural/naturales, or four, e.g. bueno/ buena/ buenos/ buenas. Some, eg male 'male', violet 'purple', are unchanging in form. (b) The position of the adjective is a subtle matter, the difference between a difficult problem and a difficult problem 'a difficult problem' is practically untranslatable into English. (c) It is necessary to distinguish between 'descriptive' adjectives (calling adjectives), eg 'big book', 'blond', from 'relative' adjectives (relational adjectives), eg 'nuclear power plant', 'crosswalk'. Look for definitions in the Glossary. (d) Many, but not all, Spanish adjectives become nouns if a determiner is added (see Glossary): joven/estas jóvenes 'young people'/'these girls'; see 5.9b. Nouns can occasionally be used as adjectives, as in ella es más mujer that Julia is 'more (of) a woman than Julia' (or 'more feminine'); see 5.9a. However, adjectives are formed in unpredictable ways from nouns, eg automóvil – automotive, metal – metallic, milk 'milk' lehal, milky and milky. (e) Some adjectives can be used with object pronouns and the verb to be: me es facil 'it's easy for me', nos son indiscindibles 'they are indispensable to us'; but most cannot. See 14.6.3 for discussion. (f) Adjective participles ending in -ante, -iente, ex. binding 'obligatory', worrying 'concerning', discussed in participles in 23.6. (g) The gerund in -ndo is a verb form and should not be used as an adjective: una muñeca que anda or una muñeca andante 'a walking doll', not una muñeca andando 'a walking doll'. For two exceptions to this rule, see 5.3. For a discussion of the gerund, see Chapter 24. (h) Spanish adverbs are invariant in form, even when they sound like adjectives: los telefonos están fatal 'the telephones are in a terrible state', estos mejor 'we feel better'. See 35.3.3. for discussion.

54 adjectives

5.2  Forms of adjectives There are three types of Spanish adjectives: • Adjectives of type 1 agree in number and gender with a noun or pronoun (5.2.1) • Adjectives of type 2 agree in number but not in gender (5.2.2 ) • Adjectives of type 3 they do not change shape: they are not numerous (5.2.3 and 5.2.4)

5.2.1  Type 1 adjectives (agree in number and gender) Include adjectives ending in: -o, -án, -és, -ín, -ón, -or (with the exceptions noted below), -ote and -ete. For male, model, oro, see 5.2.3–4; for cortés, discortés, montes, afin and brown see 5.2.2. How to form the feminine singular of adjectives of the 1st type: Masculine singular

feminine singular

ends with a vowel



ends with a consonant



masculine plural

feminine plural

ends with a vowel


Hello good

ends with a consonant



Important: in writing, the final -z is replaced by c before e. Any stress on the last vowel of the masculine singular disappears, as in the cases of inglés, musulmán, pillín in the following table: Other examples of type 1 adjectives (which agree in number and gender) Singular






















like a whistle




little fat


little fat


I must/bucmast
















(1) Español and andaluz are adjectives of the 1st type and end in -a in the feminine gender: española, andaluza, but other adjectives that end in -z or -l belong to another type, eg fierce, natural. (2) Eleven adjectives that end in -ili and have a comparative meaning belong to the 2nd type, that is, they do not have a special form in the feminine gender. These are (singular-plural): anterior - anterior anterior exterior - exterior exterior

inferior - rebaixa inferior/inferior interior - interiors interior/interior

5.2  Forms of adjectives

mayor - mayors bigger/older mejor - mejores better smaller - minors smaller/smaller/young worse - worse worse


posterior – posterior/subsequent superior – superior superior/superior superior posterior – lateral/beyond

Exception: la madre superiora 'mother supreme' of a religious order. (3) Cortés, 'kind' and discortés 'rude' are adjectives of the 2nd type, i.e. they do not have a feminine form. Montés 'wild', i.e. untamed, is often type 2: la caba montas 'wild goat', but also la caba montesa. These are the only adjectives ending in -és that do not have a special feminine form. (4) Marrón 'brown' and afín 'related'/'similar' are type 2 and therefore have no feminine form: una Camisa marrón, 'brown shirt', Ideias afines 'related ideas'.

5.2.2  Adjectives of type 2 (no separate form for feminine) There is no difference between masculine and feminine. This class includes: (a) almost all adjectives whose masculine singular ends in a consonant, except those ending in -ín, -án, -ón, -or, -és, which are almost all of type 1; (b) adjectives whose singular ends in -a, -e, -ú, -í. The plural is formed: (a) if the adjective ends in a consonant or in -í or -ú, with the addition of -es. In writing, the final -z is replaced by c before e; (b) in all other cases, adding -s. Singular and plural of the 2nd type of adjectives Singular




a socialist

socialist socialists


blue blue


big big


used to use/to use


imposing impozantan


happy cheering


useful useful


national national


Iranians / Iranian Iranians


fiercely hot


Indian Hindus (Asians)


despises valuable ruins


courtly courtesy


regularly regularly/'more or less'

(1)  Adjectives ending in -í usually form the -í plural in spontaneous speech and often in print, e.g. Pakistanis, Israelis; but the ending -íes is the formal written form. Some words, eg Maori/ Maori or Maori 'Maori' is uncertain, but at the current stage of the language, -íes is still considered the correct formal plural of most adjectives ending in -í and is recommended by the Academy, although forms in -ís are now accepted . (2)  If a diminutive or augmentative suffix is ​​added to a type 2 adjective, it becomes type 1: mayor 'big'/'elder'-mayorcito/mayorcita 'adult'; grande 'grande'-grandote/grandota 'extremely large'; vulgaran 'vulgar'-vulgarzote/vulgarzota 'rather vulgar'. (3) The dominant occasionally forms the very colloquial female dominant, 'bossy'/'dominadora'. There are also some other popular or slang forms of -nta, for example torante/torranta (lat. am.) 'lazy'/'lazy'; but other adjectives ending in -nte are not marked with gender, while some nouns ending in -nte are. See 1.2.7 and 23.6 for further discussion. The very common Mexican colloquial adjective padre 'big'/'fantastic' is of type 2: ¡qué padres están esos lente! (Spanish las gafas) 'those glasses (ie glasses, glasses) look great!'

56 adjectives

5.2.3  Adjectives of the 3rd type (without number and gender) They have only one form and are not plural: una rata macho 'male rat', unas macho 'male rat'. (See also 2.1.9 for a discussion of the plural of compound nouns such as perros policía 'police dogs', hombres rana 'frog men'.) Other examples are: ubuana* 'warning' (we are alert 'we are alert') , los puntos clave* 'the key question(s)', encinta* 'pregnant' (literary:  Seco recommends the plural encintas), standard 'standard', extra* 'extra', hembra 'female' (see 1.3), gratis 'free ' (i.e. free); model 'model', monstruo 'monster', sport (los coches sport 'sports cars'), tabú* 'taboo', ultra* 'extreme right' (noun los ultras often = 'hooligans'). Foreign words like light, heavy and crack (= 'brilliant', 'exceptional') are also invariable, as pornography usually is. (1)  This group is unstable, and words with an asterisk generally agree in the plural: los problema claves, los pagos extras, los tema tabúes, nuestra obligación es vivir postoânno alertes (MVLl, Pe.) 'our obligation is to live constantly alert' . (2) Although they look like nouns, maestro, virgen, perro, giant and snob agree like normal adjectives: llaves maestras 'master keys', tierras virgens 'virgin territories', ¡qué vida más perra! 'what a rotten life!', giant berenjenas 'giant eggplants'/American eggplants. (3)  Type 3 (intransitive) adjectives also appear in French, cf. des chemises marron 'brown shirts', but French words like violet, extra, tabou, modèle, rose have separate plural forms.

5.2.4  Invariant Color Adjectives The most common color adjectives – eg negro 'black', rojo 'red', azul 'blue' – these are the usual type 1 or type 2 adjectives. However, any appropriate preceding noun can be used color, de color or color de: ojos color (de ) humo 'eyes the color of smoke', color barquillo 'color of cookies'. The expression with color is sometimes omitted and the noun is then used as a type 3 adjective, i.e. it does not agree in number and gender: tres botones naranja/rosa/mauve/violet/esmeralda 'three orange/pink/purple/purple/emerald buds' , corbatas salmón 'salmon colored ties', fresa braces 'strawberry colored ribbons'. Similar nouns are: añil indigo cinnamon cinnamon saffron saffron chocolate chocolate beis beige  brown azure azure crimson crimson coffee coffee brown branch dark red

garnet deep red purple lilac golden golden straw straw sepia sepia

turquoise turquoise wine burgundy purple purple

(1) Colloquially, and with some writers, especially Latin American ones, orange, pink, violet, purple and some others can be plural: flores malva 'purple flowers', violet nails 'purple nails' (CB, Sp.), . . . . . . . . . purple eyes were of Mary (CF, Mex.) 'purple eyes were of Mary', ultra-violet rays (Granma, Cu.) 'ultra-violet rays'. But it seems to be generally avoided, especially in Spain: blue, lilac, pink, green paper folds (FU, Sp.) 'blue, lilac, pink, green paper folds', ultraviolet rays (El País, Sp.) ; , girl with purple eyes (CF, Mexico) 'girl with purple eyes'. Crimson 'red' is usually invariable, but is occasionally type 2 (ie crimson), but cf. great crimson roses (AG, Sp.) 'long crimson roses'. (2) These adjectives are not placed before the noun. As he smiles the morning is born. . . . . . . . . (Antonio Machado, Sp., before 1910) 'while the ruddy dawn smiled . . . . . . ' is a rare exception. (3) Gold color is usually inserted before more exotic shades: these were also salmon-colored garments (JM, Sp.) ) 'geranium-colored lamp moiré'.

5.4  Two-word adjectives


(4)  Beige is pronounced as in French or English in Latin America, beis in Spain. This last way of writing is recommended by El País and the Academy.

5.2.5  Compound color adjectives All compound colors of the type 'dark blue', 'light green', 'flag red' are generally of invariant form (in this respect Spanish resembles French, e.g. des yeux bleu clair): dark green leaves calcetini bright red una masa gris castaño [Mis ojos] son ​​​​​​​​​​​azul paledo (EP, Mex.)

dark green leaves pale/light red socks mass gray/brown USA gray My eyes are light blue

NGLE 13.7n gives examples of pluralization in good writers, eg ojos azules clara 'bright blue eyes', but prefers invariant forms. (1)  Well-known compound adjectives of this type can be used alone, but new or unusual formations may require the addition of de color, eg an off red stain 'opaque red stain', not off red stain. (2)  There are special words for some common mixed colors: verdirrojo 'red-green', verdiblanco 'greenish white', verdinegro 'very dark green', blanquiazul 'bluish white', blanquinegro 'black-white'. They agree like normal adjectives: verdinegros/verdinegras, etc. (3)  There is not a single word for 'brown' in European Spanish. Marrón (type 2) is mainly used for artificial things like shoes and also for eyes. Castaño is used for hair and eyes: pelo castaño, ojos castaños. 'Dark skin' is the skin of a moray eel. 'Terra brown' is tierra parda or tierra rojiza. Coffee (no deal) or colored coffee is used for 'brown' in many parts of Latin America.

5.3 Hirviendo e ardiendo Gerunds (see Glossary) cannot be used as adjectives in Spanish: you cannot say *a flying object for 'a flying object' which is a flying object; see 24.3 for details. But there are two exceptions, boiling 'boiling' and burning 'burning', which look like gerunds but can be used as adjectives: Bring me boiling water You have a burning forehead I am a hot coal (i.e. sexually excited ; MVLl, Fr ., dialogue )

Bring me boiling water Your forehead is burning I am more like a hot coal

(1)  Hirviendo, ardiendo are invariant in form, do not take suffixes and cannot appear before a noun. Chorreando 'to climb' may be another exception in llevo la ropa chorreando 'my clothes are dripping'. Hirviente for hirviendo is heard in Latin America.

5.4  Double-layer adjectives Some compound adjectives are composed of one word and behave like any adjective: muchachas pelirrojas 'red-haired girls' from pelo 'hair' and rojo 'red', cuernos puntiagudos 'pointed horns' from punta 'point' and acute 'acute' '.

58 Adjectives (1)  In adjectives joined by hyphens, only the second word agrees with the noun: movimientos politico-militares 'political-military movements', theories historic-critics 'historical-critical theories'. With the exception of such examples, the use of hyphens to join words is now rare in Spanish; cf. counterrevolutionary, Latin-American. See 44.4.6 for the use of the hyphen in these words.

5.5  Shortened forms of some adjectives Important: several common adjectives lose their final syllable under certain circumstances. (a)  Grande is shortened from gran before any noun: un gran momento 'a great moment', una gran Comida 'a great meal'. -de is occasionally retained in formal literary styles, especially before vowels. This archaism is rare today, but cf. Are you looking for a new great love? (JCC, Sp.) 'Is he looking for a new great love?', . . . and with a great burst of pithos and timbals (GGM, Col.)'. . . and with a great roar of whistles and timpani. (b)  The following loses its final vowel when placed before a singular masculine noun or a combination of a masculine noun and an adjective: alguno: algún estámí día some distant day postrero: tu postrer día (archaic) your bueno: un buen cocinero a good cook past dan malo: un mal ingeniero un mal Engenheiro first: mi primer amor meu primer amor ninguno: en ningún momento ni no moment tercero: el tercer hombre o third man In all cases the full form is used if a conjunction or adverb separates the adjective from the noun or noun phrase: esta grande pero costosa victoria 'this great but dear victory', un bueno aunque agrio vino 'good, although sour wine'. (1)  Grande is not abbreviated if more precedes: el más grande artist de su especialidad en América (EP, Mexico) 'the greatest artist in his field in America' (or el mayor arte), la más grande agressiva de dinamitero terrorism ( GGM , pluk.) 'the biggest terrorist bombing campaign'. After tan, gran is common - tan gran disaster 'such a great disaster' - but grande is found in very literary styles. (2)  Vernacular speech, especially Latin American, sometimes uses shortened forms of adjectives before feminine nouns. This is also seen in some good Spanish writers from the first half of the 20th century, but is avoided today: la primera mujer 'the first woman', not *la primer mujer, buena parte de 'the good part', not *the good part'. But if the adjective comes between primero or tercero and a masculine noun, any form is allowed: su primer(o) y Único amor 'your first and only love', but only su primera y Único novela (examples from NGLE 21.4f ). (3)  Santo 'saint' is shortened to san before the names of all male saints, except those beginning with Do- or To-: san Juan, san Blas, santo Tomás, Santo Domingo. It is not abbreviated when it means 'saint': el santo Padre 'The Holy Father', todo el santo día 'the whole day', el Santo Oficio 'The Holy Office' (ie the Inquisition). (4) For alguna and ninguna before feminine nouns beginning with the tonic a- or ha- see 3.1.2, 10.4 and 27.5.5. For everything, see 10.8. For the shortened forms tanto and cuánto (tan e cuán) see 10.16 and 28.6.2.

5.6  Agreement of adjectives


5.6  Adjective agreement Some issues of adjective number agreement are also discussed in 2.3, especially agreement with collective nouns (2.3.1). For the concordance of adjectives with titles such as Alteza 'Height', Excellence 'Excellence' see 1.2.11.

5.6.1  Agreement of adjectives following a noun (a)  One or more masculine nouns require a masculine adjective: un elephant asiatic 'Asian elephant', platos kombinano (Sp.) 'one dish', often mystified in the Spanish translation restaurants as ' combined dishes': means meat and vegetables served in a different way on a plate; cien mil Mexican pesos, '100,000 Mexican pesos'. (b)  One or more feminine nouns require a feminine adjective: la Grecia antigua 'old Greece', films chinese y rusas 'Russian and Chinese films', mi madre es english 'my mother is English'. (c)  Two or more nouns of different gender require a masculine plural adjective: profesores y profesoras ingles 'teachers and professors of English', puentes y casa decrépitos 'bridges and abandoned houses'. (1)  French drops the masculine adjective after a feminine noun: *des hommes et des femmes gros is incorrect, but hombres y mujeres gordos 'fat men and women' is good Spanish. (2)  Seco (1998), 124, notes the possibility of singular agreement with two or more nouns denoting one complex idea, eg talent and skill extreme 'extreme talent and skill' for extreme talent and skill. (3)  If several adjectives follow the plural noun and each adjective refers to only one individual item, the adjective will be singular: lospresidentes peruano y venezolano 'the Peruvian president and the Venezuelan president'. Lospresidentes venezolanos y peruvanos means 'Presidents of Venezuela and Presidents of Peru'. (4)  Adverbs that take the form of adjectives are always masculine singular: María habla muy clara 'Mary speaks very clearly', we are fatal 'we are in a terrible state/repair'. See 35.3.3 for further discussion.

5.6.2 Agreement with nouns joined by o or ni (a) With the conjunction o, agreement is optional. Plural agreement emphasizes the fact that o is not exclusive (ie one or the other or possibly both) and indicates that the adjective refers to both nouns: They were looking for an open shop or restaurant clearly refers to both) ( open ) restaurant They were looking for a woman or a man who could take responsibility (for the lack of staff capable of taking over see 26.2) (b) With neither 'nor' is a regular plural verb: neither Mario nor Juan were stupid 'neither Mario nor Juan were stupid'

60 adjectives

5.6.3  Agreement with collective nouns An adjective that modifies a collective noun is usually singular: la majojos está úñervena . . . "the majority is/are convinced"; but there are exceptions, which are discussed in 2.3.1.

5.6.4  Agreement of adjectives placed before a noun When an adjective precedes two or more nouns and qualifies them all, it generally agrees only with the first. This avoids the cumbersome combination of a plural adjective with a singular noun or a masculine adjective with a feminine noun, for example to avoid the distinctive "fresh roses". . . below: your usual wisdom and tolerance (ES, Arg.) and those fresh roses and carnations (JLB, ​​​​​​​​​​​Arg.)

her usual wisdom and tolerance and fresh roses and carnations

(1) The plural may appear to avoid ambiguity: your beloved son and grandson 'your beloved son and grandson' (both beloved), poor Mario and Jean Pierre (ABE, fr., dialogue) 'poor Mario and Jean Pierre' (2 ) French does not allow this construction. Compare deep breath and thinking and deep breath and thinking 'deep breath and thinking'.

5.6.5 'Neutral' agreement An adjective that does not refer to any noun is neutral in gender and masculine singular: It is absurd to work without help It is absurd to work without help It is dangerous, but I will do it And poverty is not healthy and extreme poverty not healthy, pleasant (MVLl, fr.) dialogue) 'too much swimming is not good either'. Here the adjective does not qualify the noun swimming, but the general idea of ​​swimming too much; good would also be right. This occurrence is quite common in everyday speech when there is no determiner with the noun (see Glossary), for example, so much food is not good (or good) 'a lot of this kind of food is not good', but always that food is not good 'this food is not good'. (2) In the local language of Asturias, El Bable, mass nouns have a neuter to distinguish them from nouns referring to individual items. This is sometimes insinuated in the Castilian language of that region, cf. one fresh onion «one (one) fresh onion» and one fresh onion «fresh onion» (i.e. quantity of onion), . . . . . . . . . fresh in standard spanish. (3) For adjectives with the article not (good, excellent, etc.), see

5.7  Formation of place adjectives 5.7.1  Adjectives referring to countries and regions are formed unpredictably, as in English. The following are worth mentioning (for the use of the definite article with country names, see 3.2.17):

5.7  Formation of adjectives of place

Afghanistan: Afghanistan Germany: German German Saudi Arabia/Saudi Arabia:   Saudi Arabia/Saudi Algeria: Algeria Algeria Argentina: Argentina Australia: Australia Austria: Austria Belgium: Belgium Belgium Bolivia: Bolivia Brazil: Brazil Canada: Canada Canary Islands: Canary Islands Castile: Castile Castile / Castilian   . See (2) Catalonia: Catalan Chile: Chilean China: Chinese Colombia: Colombian Costa Rica: Costa Rica,   Costa Rica Denmark: Danish Danish Ecuador: Ecuadorian Egypt: Egyptian (not *Egyptian) Scotland: Scottish Scottish Spain: Spanish. See (2) United States:   American. see note 1

Europe: European Finland: Finland France: French Wales: Welsh Wales, Galicia Galicia: Galician Gibraltar: Gibraltar Great Britain: British Greece: Greece Guatemala: Guatemala Netherlands: Dutch Honduras: Honduras Hungary: Hungarian (o) India: Indian/Hindu. See note 3 England: English, often used for 'British' Iraq: Iraqi Iran: Iranian Ireland: Irish Israel: Israeli Italy: Italian Japan: Japanese Latvia (not *Latvia): Latvian Lithuania: Lithuanian Morocco: Moroccan Moroccan (Moro is pejoratively )


Mejico/Mexico: mejicano/ Mexican. See note 4 New Zealand/New Zealand: New Zealanders. New Zealand in Spain, both in lat. I'm. Academy rejects *New Zealander Nicaragua: Nicaraguan Norway: Norwegian Norwegian Panama: Panamanian Paraguay: Paraguayan Peru: Peruvian Poland: Polish Portugal: Portuguese Puerto Rico: Puerto Rican/Puerto Rican El Salvador: Salvadoran Romania or Romania: Swedish Romanian Swedish: Switzerland : Switzerland Switzerland Uruguay: Uruguayan Vascongadas, Basque Country: Basque Basque; see (5) Venezuela: Venezuelan

(1)  There is much confusion about the word for America. The adjective Latin America or Latinoamérica is Latin American, and Latin Americans often use it to refer to themselves; also includes Brazil and French-speaking countries. Hispanoamericano or 'Spanish-American' is a linguistically more accurate but ethnically inaccurate term for the Spanish-speaking peoples of Latin America, but is avoided by Latin Americans. In Latin America, norteamericano means our 'American', although logically it also includes Canadians. American is often used as an adjective for the United States, also American in Mexico and some nearby republics. For the agreement with the United States, see 3.2.17 note 1. Americano is often considered Hispanic in Latin America, but generally means our 'American' in Spain, although according to the Academy it should mean just 'Latin American'. The adjective for América del sur or Sudamérica (or Suramérica) 'South America' - which does not include Central America, Mexico or the Caribbean - is sudamericano. Seco (1998), 421, says that the forms Suramérica, suramericano are generally considered "less acceptable" in Spain; El País (Libro de Estilo 2014) has changed its mind and now prefers the prefix sud-, e.g. South Africa, but insists on suroeste 'southwest', sureste 'southeast', etc. Sudamérica and sudamericano are often informally used in Spain to mean anywhere south of Río Grande. Latin Americans often colloquially use Gringo for North Americans, and some also for Europeans. It is not always hostile.

62 Adjectives (2)  El castellano is the Castilian language, that is, what is described in this book, strictly speaking the dialect of Old Castile that became the majority language of Spain. Catalans, Basques, Galicians and some Latin Americans sometimes object to calling el castellano el español. (3)  In Latin America, the word Índio is supposed to mean Native American, so hindú is constantly used for Asian Indians, although it actually means Hindu: los empleados hindus del raj británico (CF, Mexico, dialogue), 'Indian employees under the British Raj (for Hindus against Hindus, see 2.1.3c). El País insists on Indian for Asian Indian. Los hinduistas is often used today for 'the Hindus'. In Spain, American Indians or, more rarely, Amerindians, is used for Indians. Indiano is used to refer to a "colonial" who made money in Latin America and returned to Spain. (4)  Mexicans write México/mexicano, although they pronounce Méjico, mejicano: x stands for mexicas or Aztecs. The Latin American press and El País (Sp.) and El Mundo (Sp.) use these forms, and the academy prefers them, but j is common in Spain: Abc and the Spanish La Vanguardia use them. Some other Mexican place names are similarly affected, for example, Oaxaca, Xalapa (or Jalapa). El País insists on the spelling Texas and the pronunciation [té-χas]; the adjective is tejano [te-χá-no]; The Academy accepts Tejas and Texas. X is pronounced as 'sh' in some Mexican place names, for example Xcaret, Tlaxcala. (5) The Basque words Euskadi 'Basque country' (el País Vasco), euskalduna 'Basque'/'Basque speaker', euskera 'Basque language' are often seen in Spanish newspapers.

5.7.2  Adjectives referring to cities There is no general rule for forming adjectives referring to cities, and some places boast obscure forms, for example, Huelva – onubense, El Escorial – gurriato or escurialense. There are hundreds of these demons or demons: the Spanish version of Wikipedia includes them in its articles on places and cities. Some common examples are: Álava: alavés Alcalá: complutense. See note 1 Ávila: from Avila Badajoz: from La Paz Barcelona: from Barcelona Berlin: from Berlin Bilbao: from Bilbao Bogotá: from Bogotá Boston: from Boston Buenos Aires: from Buenos Aires/  Buenos Aires. See note 2 Burgos: from Burgos Cádiz: from Cádiz Caracas: from Caracas Córdoba: from Córdoba La Coruña: from A Coruña Dublin: from Dublin

Florence: Florentine Granada: Granada Havana: Havana Lima: Lima Lisbon: Lisbon Lisbon London: London   (not *Londiniense) Los Angeles: Los Angeles Madrid: Madrid Malaga: Malaga Miami: Miami Moscow: Moscow Murcia: Murcia Naples: Neapolitan New York: New Yorker Pamplona: Pamplones/   pamplonica invariável Paris: Parisian. see note 3

La Paz: Paceño/Pacense Quito: Quito Rio de Janeiro: Rioca Rim: Rimski Salamanca: Salmantino/ Salamanca San Francisco: San Franciscan San Sebastian: San Sebastian Santander: Santanderino Santiago: Santiago (Ch.), Santiagués (Sp.) Segovia: Segovian Seville : Seville Toledo : Toledo Valencia : Valladolid Valladolid : Valladolid Washington : Washington Saragossa : Saragossa

(1) La Complutense is the oldest university in Alcalá de Henares, now located in Madrid. (2) Portuguese refers to the province of Buenos Aires, although Portuguese is sometimes used for the city.

5.8  Intensive forms of adjectives


(3)  El País forbids the use of parisién and parisino in its columns, but they are heard colloquially. The Academy accepts Parisian.

5.8  Intensive forms of adjectives 5.8.1  Suffix -ísimo: meaning and formation The suffix -ísimo can be added to many adjectives. It reinforces the original meaning - Ana es riquísima 'Ana is very rich', from rich - and should be used sparingly. This suffix is ​​sometimes mistakenly called a "superlative" suffix, but it cannot be used in comparisons and is best thought of as an intensifier only. The modern trend is to prefer muy 'very' over the normal adjective. -ísimo cannot be added to all adjectives and there are irregularities. -ísimo is added after removing final vowels: grande – grandísimo, guapa – guapísima. The following orthographic changes occur: (a)  adjectives ending in -co/-ca and -go/-ga require a silent u to retain the strong c or g sound: rico – riquísimo 'rico', vago – vaguísimo 'vago' / 'lazy'. (b)  Adjectives ending in -z change z to c: happy – felicísimo 'happy'. (c)  For adjectives ending in two vowels, see 5.8.2. (d)  Adjectives ending in -ble change this ending to -bil: amable – amabilisimo 'friendly', posible- posibilisimo 'possible'.

5.8.2 Adjectives that do not take -ísimo The following adjectives do not take the suffix -ísimo: (a) those ending in -í, -uo, ío or eo if they do not have an accent on e: baladí 'trivial', arduo arduo ', spontaneous' spontaneous', blond 'blonde' (very blonde is possible, but rare), tarda 'late'. Exceptions: sour - very sour 'sour', broad - too broad 'broad'/'extensive', cold - too frigid 'cold', pure - too pure 'pure', pious - too 'pious', dirty - too concise' dirty '. (b) Words with stress on the last syllable except two (compound words) ending in -ico, -fero, -ene, -voro, politico 'politician', mammal 'mammal(ian)', homogeneous 'homogen', carnivore ' carnivorous '. (c) Diminutives and comparatives: grandote 'big', minor 'smaller'/'younger' But mostly 'very old' is heard, e.g. is greater 'she is very old/ancient'. (d) Compound adjectives, eg patizambo 'beaten', ojituerto 'one-eyed'. (e) Many adjectives with more than three syllables ending in -ble: inexplicable, unquestionable 'unquestionable', separable 'collapsible' There are some exceptions, eg pleasant - very pleasant 'pleasant', skilled - very skilled 'skilled'. (f) Those whose meaning cannot be further intensified: fantastic, ideal, infinite, immortal 'immortal', total, etc. Exceptions: same - very 'very' (same person 'same person'), singular - very singular 'singular' .

64 Adjectives (g) Adjectives of time and number: annual 'annual', daily 'daily', nocturnal 'nightly', weekly 'weekly', fifth 'fifth', last 'last', twentieth 'twentieth', etc. Exception: primero – primerísimo 'first'/'first of all'. (h)  Hirviendo 'boiling' and ardiendo 'burning'. (i)  Technical and scientific adjectives and most adjectives ending in -ist, eg decimal, thermonuclear 'thermonuclear', transformational 'transformative', separatist 'separatist', nationalist 'nationalist', etc.

5.8.3  Intensive Irregular Forms (a)  The following are best learned as separate words: ancient: very old crude crude crude cursi: sticky affected/pseudorefined inferior: infimo (literary) inferior/less/inferior joven: jovencísimo Jovem far far away: far away

major: maximum supreme/major minor: minimum minor minor/less best: excellent excellent (literary) worst: terribly bad/terrible superior: supreme superior/supreme

(b)  Some of the following forms are occasionally found in older texts and/or in ornate writing styles: the present form (if present) follows the literary form: amigo amigo/harsh amicísimo/amiguísimo celebrated famous famously cruel cruel rawlísimo/cruelísimo fertile fertile ubérrimo/ fertilísimo faithful faithful faithful/fidelísimo

free free very free magnificent magnificent magnificent magnificent poor poor poor wise wise wise holy holy holy holy

(c)  The old rule that the diphthongs ue and ie are simplified to ou and when -ísimo is added is now largely ignored, although novísimo 'very recently' must be distinguished from nuevísimo 'very new'. The forms in square brackets are literary: bueno buenísimo (bonísimo) good certísimo certísimo (certísimo) certain destro destro (destrísimo) habilidoso fuerte fuertísimo (fortísimo) strong recentísimo recentísimo (recentísimo) recent competition tenderísimo (ternísimo) tender In some words the diphthong is never modified , eg viejo - very old 'old', healthy - they are very 'healthy'.

5.9  Using nouns as adjectives and adjectives as nouns (a)  Nouns can occasionally be used as adjectives: You must be a more polite person This book is less innovative than others

You need to be a more decent person. This book is less of a novel than the others

5.10  Position of adjectives in relation to nouns


These nouns are invariant and, when modified by words such as más, menor, tan, are not followed by a definite or indefinite article. See 28.4.1 for nouns and adjectives modified with qué: ¡qué bandido eres! 'what a villain you are!'; How handsome you are! 'You are great!' (b)  Spanish adjectives can often be turned into nouns by means of a determiner (see Glossary): valiente/un valiente 'bravo'/'brave man', viejo/tres viejas 'old man'/'three old women', extranjero / los extranjeros 'strangers' '/'strangers'. A noun can take on a special meaning, as in impreso/un impreso 'impresso'/'printed form', helado/un helado 'frozen'/'ice cream', rojo/un rojo 'red'/'communist'. Some forms of nouns are simply not used: *sale con un Feliz is not said for '(he) goes out with a happy man' = Venda con un hombre Feliz; llegó con una chica guapa 'he was with an attractive girl', not *con una guapa, etc. , manco 'one-armed', sordo 'deaf', malvado 'wicked' – more likely to be used as nouns than as 'positive', but only practice and vocabulary reading can guide students in this matter. (1)  Uno and non un are used for masculine adjectives when the latter are used as nouns. Thus similitude = 'resemblance', but similitude = 'resemblance', as in le voy a charge modista who makes similitude (ABV, Sp., dialog) 'I'll call the dressmaker to make one like him'. Cf. I also prefer this cup to the 'I prefer this cup to a broken one' route. (2)  See 4.1.11 on the use of the indefinite article to distinguish nouns from adjectives, as in es grossero 'he is rude' and es un grossero 'he is a rude person'.

5.10  Position of adjectives in relation to nouns 5.10.1 General For the position of alguno, ninguno, cualquiera, mismo, possessive adjectives, etc., see these words in the index. For the position of ordinal adjectives, eg primero 'first', sexto 'sixth', see 11.12.3. The position of Spanish adjectives before or after the noun they modify is more variable than in English ('a good book', but never *'a good book'), and much more variable than in French. But the basic rules that determine whether one says un lejano ruido or un ruido lejano 'distant noise' are difficult to explain. The basic rule for all adjectives except ordinals seems to be: (a)  Limiting adjectives follow the noun. (b) Non-restrictive adjectives can come before or after a noun. Some always precedes a noun. 'Restrictive' adjectives limit the scope of the noun that precedes them: vino espumoso 'sparkling' is a restricted or specific type of wine; las salchichas English 'English sausages' refers only to a specific type of sausage. Non-restrictive adjectives refer to the whole denoted by the noun: las aburridas conferencias del decano 'the dean's boring lectures' and la poco apetitosa cocina britania 'tasteless British cuisine' are generalizations and refer to all members or aspects of the thing mentioned. Unfortunately, the distinction between restrictive and non-restrictive adjectives is not always clear, so the decision about where to put an adjective sometimes depends on a sense of language that is rare among non-native speakers.

66 Adjectives (1)  As a useful, though not absolutely infallible, guide to whether an adjective is restrictive, native speakers of English can apply the following test: Does an English adjective sound correct when pronounced with a strong accent - 'I don't know' I don't like sour apples, but I like sweet apples' – so it is almost certainly restrictive and its Spanish equivalent should follow the noun: no me gustan las manzanas agrias, pero sí me gustan las manzanas dulces. If an adjective in English sounds wrong when stressed. is probably non-restrictive and its Spanish counterpart can precede the noun. If one emphasizes the "beautiful" in "the beautiful sun of Spain", it suggests that there is another less beautiful Spanish sun. This is nonsense, so the Spanish adjective will probably come before the noun: el hermoso sol de España. Adjectives with ordinal number do not follow this rule, cf. it's in the fifth chapter, not the fourth 'it's in the fifth chapter, not the fourth'. See 11.12.3.

5.10.2  Examples of restrictive adjectives The following adjectives are restrictive and therefore always follow a noun: (a)  those that create a new type or subset of the thing described by the noun: el pan integral integral bread el calentamiento global warming global los cazas computerized fighter jets computerized la religión christiana Christian religion

quantum theory quantum theory front wheel drive front wheel drive red wine red wine digital channels digital channels

All the other examples in this section are actually examples of this type of adjective, which can be considered a transformed sentence: romantic poetry = that poetry that is romantic, green apples = those apples that are/are green. (b)  Those used for contrasting purposes, explicit or implicit: Bring me a clean spoon, I have a green and a blue shirt, we don't want salt water

Bring me a clean (ie not dirty) spoon I have a green and a blue shirt We don't want salt water

(c) Scientific or technical adjectives: transformational grammar lab language linguistics   transformational grammar   lab wireless connection wireless technical support email* touch screen *Email and, colloquially, mail are common in spoken Spanish, but the Academy recommends e- mail. (d)  Relative adjectives. They express the origin, content, substance or purpose of a noun. Its use is discussed in 5.11: wind energy in a railway tunnel wind energy

space ship spaceship children's television children's television

(e)  Adjectives of place, nationality, belonging, almost always restrictive: Argentinian climate or Argentinian climate English village or English village

the Democratic Party

5.10  Position of adjectives in relation to nouns

Mayan monuments Mayan monuments


Basque nationalism Basque nationalism Christian doctrine Christian doctrine

(1)  Only the sharpest styles would use such scientific or technical adjectives poetically or as epithets, although some, e.g., one-sided, microscopic, (p)psychoanalytic, materialistic, may be used as epithets (see 5.10.4a). (2)  Adjectives of nationality may occasionally be used as epithets when expressing supposedly typical traits (see 5.10.4a for a discussion of epithets): mi española impulsividad me hace escribir esta líneas (reader's letter, Sp.) 'my impulsiveness Spanish do I write these lines'; are britani reserva 'your British reserve'. Adjectives of place are sometimes prefixed in journalism to well-known features, as in la madrileña calle de Alcalá 'street (usually) Madrid Alcalá'.

5.10.3 Adjectives placed before a noun to denote an impression, reaction or subjective evaluation The most common reason for placing an adjective before a noun is to emphasize its emotional content, for example, una tremendo tragedia 'a terrible tragedy', un gran Poet 'a great poet', el unsetting problema del efecto invernadero 'the worrying problem of the greenhouse effect'. These adjectives are not contextually restrictive because the speaker wants to eliminate any allusion to some other tragedy, poet, or problem: in the previous example, there is clearly no greenhouse effect without concern. These preset adjectives can describe the speaker's impression, evaluation, or assessment of a thing or its appearance. They include a wide range of adjectives denoting shape, distance, size, color, texture, passage of time, praise, humor, guilt, or subjective assessment of any kind. Therefore, the more emotional the language, the more prepositional adjectives are likely to appear, as in poetry, poetic prose, journalism, and advertising. Examples: the magnificent ruins of Machu Picchu the magnificent ruins/in Machu Picchu a daughter with ideas in her sick head! (LE, Mexico, dialogue) teacher, dueño of wide culture teacher, highly educated man    (SPl, Mexico, dialogue) Sensational summer promotion! Sensational summer offer! this popular and veteran design package this popular and time-tested graphic design   graphics . . . entourage. . . ¡Turn your videos into authentic movies! Turn your videos into real movies! Sometimes the difference in meaning between postpositional and prepositional adjectives can be important, as in el poético lenguaje de Lorca 'Lorca's poetic language' (aesthetic opinion) and el lenguaje poético de Lorca 'the language of Lorca's poetry' (factual), or las decimonónicas attitudes del minister 'the views of a 19th century minister' (opinion) and la novela decimonónica 'the 19th century novel' (factual). But often the prepositional adjective is just more poetic or dramatic, and the postpositional adjective is more practical. The following examples will help you train your ear: el casi olvidado nombre de James an almost forgotten name James   MacPherson (JLB, ​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​Arg.)   MacPherson Hay ships anchored in constant contact There are ships anchored in the sea at   con los aviones nocturnos ( GGM) , Col.)    constant contact with the night plane Revolution meant fair to me Revolution meant fair to me   redistribution of wealth (MVL, Pe.)l    redistribution of wealth

68 Adjectives wreath of white flowers (LG, Sp.) Pear is easy to digest (cookbook,   Spain) increasing price of city land

a wreath of white flowers Pears are easily digested by the rising land prices in the cities

(1) Adjective position is fixed in many definite sentences: Alto Egipto 'Upper Egypt', Sumo Pontiff 'Pope', Baja California 'Lower California' (cf. Central America, United States, People's China, 'People of China', etc.) , 'broadband', 'blast furnace', 'on the high seas', 'Almighty God', 'common sense' etc. (2)  If the adjective is qualified by an adverb, it usually follows the noun in the usual styles: 'this very revealing news', cold aggressive girl, 'cold aggressive girl', with three equally dirty friends' with three equally mean friends friends'. Compare the advertisement of a utility torch (not a utility torch) 'they are advertising a utility torch/lantern from the USA' and the advertisement of a very useful torch 'they are advertising a very useful torch/lantern'. With plus and minus, any place is possible: the most popular presenter on Italian television, the 'most popular presenter on Italian television' or the most popular presenter on Italian television. However, constructions such as very revealing news 'very revealing news', that always surprising intelligence of dogs (SG, Mexico), surprising and unknown news for Julián. . . (IA, Sp.) 'surprising and - for Julian - unknown news. . .' are quite common in literary styles.

5.10.4  Other uses of adjectives placed before nouns The following types of adjectives are also placed before nouns: (a)  Epithets, i.e. adjectives used to describe typical or expected traits. This is not common in everyday or practical language, except in common phrases, but it is very common in literary, poetic, advertising or other types of emotive language: mi distinguished fellow el peligroso the Asian tiger un brave torero los volubles the Roman gods

my distinguished fellow the dangerous Asiatic tiger the brave toreador the fickle Roman gods

Epithets describe predictable or typical qualities. One could say un enormous elephant, but only un elephant cojo, since elephants are not typically lame; mi loyal amigo 'my loyal friend' but only mi amigo vegetarian 'my vegetarian friend'; hard problem or hard problem 'hard problem' but only (psychological) problem, since problems are not all or typically psychological. (b)  Adjectives that clearly refer to each of the items marked by a plural noun: a Kevin lo Único que le interesa son sus tontos juguetes y sus comics 'the only thing that interests Kevin is his stupid toys and his comics'. (JV, Mexico), where her sister claims that all her toys are stupid. More examples: muchas gracias por las magnificent rosas 'thank you very much for the magnificent roses', sus evaivas respuestas empezaba a irritarme 'your evasive answers are starting to annoy me', las sympathetic peticiones de nuestros oyentes 'the tender requests of our listeners'. For this reason, adjectives applied to individual entities are likely to be prefixed unless they refer to only one aspect or part of a thing:

5.10  Position of adjectives in relation to nouns

You could see the imposing Everest, the leftist Farabundo Martí at his alarming age. . .


Leftist Farabundo Martí could be seen scaling Mount Everest at his alarming age. . . (you only have one age)

But there is mountainous Argentina and flat. We also visit a modern city

There is mountainous Argentina and flat, we also visit a modern city (part)

(c)  Intensifiers, hyperbole and profanity – the latter are extreme examples of adjectives used emotionally and generally devoid of any real meaning: My incredible luck, that bloody computer! (Lat. Am.   computer or computer) Good soldier you are your happy family these cursed ants five pigs / lousy euros

my amazing luck this damn computer! Great soldier, you are (I don't mean. . .) your blessed family. . . those damned ants five miserable euros

5.10.5  The position of adjectives next to nouns linked by de The choice of position here depends on whether the noun phrase is a compound, i.e. a new term, or just a loose group of words. So las flores de España 'Spanish flowers' is not a compound, so it is said las flores wilds de España 'wild flowers of Spain', not *las flores de España wilds. But una casa de muñecas 'doll house' is a compound and is inseparable: una casa de muñecasbara 'cheap doll house', not *una casa cheap de muñecas. Only a long knowledge of Spanish provides a guide as to what is and is not a compound noun. Some noun expressions are uncertain: one could say unaciclo amarilla de hombre or unaciclo de hombre amarilla 'the bicycle of the yellow man' (the Spanish is unambiguous!). Other examples: amphibious assault ship amphibious assault craft basic computer course basic computer course a book full of interesting references a book full of interesting references   of a personal nature (JLB, ​​​​​​​​​​​​​​Arg.)    of a personal nature In the case of adjectives that can stand before a noun (see previous sections), several solutions are possible: una increíble candidad de oro, una candidad increíble de oro, una candidad de oro increíbleso 'an incredible amount of gold' are all possible. (1)  Relative adjectives (see 5.11) cannot be separated from their nouns: one cannot say *un peligroso informatico virus for un peligroso virus informatico or un virus informatico peligroso 'a dangerous computer virus'.

5.10.6  Position bueno, malo, grande, pequeño A general rule applies: when it is clearly restrictive, follow the noun. When used restrictively, they often denote objective qualities. When preceded by nouns, they usually express a subjective assessment – ​​which is usually the case, but see note 4 for the special case of pequeño. According to GDLE,, in the case of bueno and malo, the prepositional adjective can unambiguously refer to competence rather than moral qualities. So a good poet can be a scoundrel

70 Adjectives, but a competent poet, while a good poet can be both a good poet and a good man. Likewise, bad musician and bad musician 'bad musician', good friend = 'good as a friend' and good friend = 'good friend and good person'. (a)  Objective qualities I have a good coat for weekends and   weekdays, and a regular one for weekdays    one more or less for weekdays Oscar Wilde said there are no good books or Oscar Wilde said there are no good books books only good or bad books written (JLB, ​​Arg., contrast) Put it under the big tree Put it under the big tree Bring the big hammer Bring the big hammer my mayor / younger sister my older / younger sister (b)  Subjective qualities good carpenter great success big noise/poet/liar big drug dealers little problem (see note 4) greatest mexican poet without the slightest hint of insincerity

good carpenter big success big noise/poet/fraud big drug dealers small problem the greatest mexican poet has not the slightest impression of insincerity

(1) With hombre and mujer, bueno usually means 'good' after the noun and 'harmless' before: un buen hombre means 'harmless/simple man'. Little is weakest before a noun, e.g. pasamos un mal rato 'we had a lot of fun'. (2)  There are many established expressions: lo hizo de buena gana 'he did it willingly', oro de buena ley 'pure gold', en buen lío te has metido 'you are in great confusion', a mí siempre me pone buena cara ' (he) always tries hard with me', ¡qué little pata! 'what bad luck' etc. big window'. (4)  A small problem is normal, because problem is an abstract noun. However, a tiny house is rarer than a casita. For a discussion of this phenomenon, see 43.2.

5.10.7  Position of nuevo and viejo The usual explanation is that nuevo comes before a noun when it means 'second', and viejo comes before a noun when it means 'previous'/'old': tenemos un nuevo President/ un President nuevo 'we have a new president' ', nuevos progreso Técnicos 'new (ie more) technological development'. Likewise, un amigo viejo 'is an old friend' (ie long-standing) and un amigo viejo has years. Nuevo is usually placed after a noun when it means 'brand new', as is viejo when it means 'not new': un coche nuevo 'new car', un coche viejo 'old car'. However, viejo can be a preposition when it means 'not young': un viejo americano 'an old American'. This difference is substituted for the purpose of contrast: prefiero el coche nuevo al viejo 'I prefer our new (i.e. the latest) car to the old (i.e. the previous one)'.

5.11  Relative adjectives


5.10.8  Adjectives whose meaning varies according to position Here are some common cases of changes in meaning determined by the position of the adjective, but in many cases the distinction is not rigid and a good dictionary should be consulted for more information: antiguo cierto false medio poor rare rich similarly simple now brave true several

After the noun Before the long-ago or long-ago noun certain/unquestionable certain . . . counterfeit/fake not real 'pseudo-' medium medium bad (ie not rich) poor/miserable strange/rare rare rich delicious similar such . . . simple (ie mere) sad miserable brave 'great' (ironic) true real/authentic various/various various

For the same see 10.11, 10.14 respectively, soil/soil 10.15.

5.10.9 Adjectives that appear only before a noun The following sentences contain adjectives that usually appear only before a noun: I will do in both cases I will do in both cases so-called democracies mere mention of a thing mere mention of a thing He carried a lot of money (S)he carried a lot of money Let's find another doctor He dropped me in the center (S)he dropped me in the center often bird . . . . ./often follon . . . . . . . . . some guy. . . . ./some mess . . . . . . . . . (sarcastic tone)

a few times rarely, a little patience no   a lot of patience supposed/alleged author   alleged/alleged author self-proclaimed Buddhist self-proclaimed Buddhist such   nonsense I can't eat that much

5.11  Relative adjectives 'Relative' adjectives are usually equivalent to another noun: la vida familiar = la vida de familia 'family life'. Spanish has numerous relational adjectives formed from cf nouns. matinal 'morning' – morning (TV breakfast), fiscal 'tax policy', water 'a firefighting plane spraying water', or aquatic: aquatic plants 'water plants'/'water plants'.

72 Adjectives Relative adjectives cannot usually precede a noun (*matinal televisión is not Spanish). They generally cannot be compared using more or less, and many of them cannot be predicates of verbs like ser: one can say tasas universitarias 'university fees', but not *estas tasas son universitarias. There are exceptions. as constitutional, water: these enmiendas no son constitutionales 'these amendments are not constitutional'. New relational adjectives appear all the time, probably because the noun + adjective combination more effectively translates English compounds like 'computer virus', 'film text'. Some of these creations are short-lived or dismissed as journalistic jargon or jargon. There is no hard and fast rule for forming relational adjectives from nouns, and Latin American coins occasionally differ from peninsular ones, cf. spec. presumptive, lat. I am. assumed 'budget'; special radio program, lat. I am. radio program 'radio program (me)'. In some cases, eg viento-eólico 'wind' as in la energía eoólica 'energy of the wind' (from Eolo 'Éolo', Greek god of the winds), rocarupestre 'rock'/'cave' as in el arte rupestre 'rock art ', caza-cinegético 'hunting' as in game club 'hunting club', the adjective is derived from a completely different root. The following is taken from various print sources: de + noun Relational adjective la costia petrolera high oil prices oil price banking crisis banking crisis banking crisis hearing impairment hearing impairment hearing impairment automotive industry auto industry auto industry la hotel industry hotel industry hotel industry river fish river fish energy policy energy policy energy policy television program television program television program  programa el union piloteril pilot union pilot union sports center sports center sports center operating system operating system la contamination luminica light pollution (1) Important: in both languages, adjectives can be descriptive or relational by context: compare 'theatrical equipment' (relational = 'theatrical equipment') and 'theatrical behaviour' (descriptive). These pairs seem to be more common in Spanish and can confuse English speakers, who forget that a word like infantile can mean both 'children' and 'infantile'. Other examples: massive candidad huge quantity nervous person nervous person hospitable gesture hospitable gesture defense policy defense policy poetry love love poetry

mass media mass media nerve gas nerve gas hospital center hospital center defensive attitude defensive attitude loving smile

5.12  Translation of the English prefix 'un-' The Spanish prefix in- is less common than the English 'un-' and English speakers should resist the temptation to invent made-up words like *ineconómica from 'uneconomical'. Two languages ​​often coincide: undesirable 'undesirable', unthinkable 'unthinkable', insatiable

5.12  Translation of the English prefix 'un-'


'unbearable', intolerable 'unbearable', untouchable 'untouchable', unrealistic 'unreal', unbelievable 'unlikely'. But one often has to find a solution with poco, no or sin: unauthorized

unintelligent unintelligent unprofessional unprofessional incomprehensible misunderstanding unconvincing unconvinced unprincipled unprincipled untested untested

(1)  The list above shows that poco, like the French peu, negates the adjective: poco tired means 'not tired', not 'a little tired'. The preceding indefinite article returns the meaning 'a little': un poco cando 'a little tired'/'a little tired'.

6 Comparison of adjectives and adverbs The main points discussed in this chapter are: • Comparison of adjectives and adverbs (how to say 'more/less beautiful'), etc. (Sections 6.1–2) • Superlative adjectives ('more/less beautiful' , etc.). (Section 6.3) • Superlative adverbs ('more fluent'/'less persuasive', etc.). (Section 6.4) • Difference between more/less than and more/less than. (Section 6.5) • When to use más/menos del/de la/de los/de las que and más/menos de lo que. (Section 6.6) • Main and Minor. (Sections 6.8–6.9) • Comparisons of equality: 'like . . . as . . .', 'same as. . .', etc. (Section 6.15) Comparing adjectives in Spanish is not complicated, but English-speaking students often suffer from interference from French, which encourages the incorrect use of the superlative article and the failure to use both as 'as . . . as' in comparisons of equality (cf. French aussi . . . que). Important: English and French speakers should remember to use personal subject pronouns after comparisons: es más rubia que yo/tú = elle est plus blonde que moi/toi 'she is blonder than me/you', never * . . . what me/you.

6.1 Common comparison of adjectives and adverbs With the exception of the five adjectives and adverbs listed in 6.2, all adjectives and adverbs form a comparative with más. . . what else. . . than' or less. . . that's a minus. . . rather': Lemons are more sour than cherries You walk slower than me I am better than in bad company (MVLl, Fr., dialogue)

Lemons are more bitter than cherries You walk slower than me I am better than in bad company

(1) For the difference between more than/less than and more than/less than see 6.5. (2) Important: before sentences, verb phrases and neuter adjectives and participles, más/less than lo que or the corresponding gender and number más/less del que are required, as in he is younger than he looks'(s) he is younger than it looks'. See 6.6 for discussion. (3) Some people require that it is repeated more and less before adjectives and adverbs, as in we are talking about the most famous and most sought-after artist in urban art (APR, Sp., dialog) 'we are talking about the most famous wall artist and (more) sought-after (i.e. graffiti artist)', he is less shy and less quiet than his brother 'he is less shy and (less) quiet than his brother'. But this rule is not observed everywhere: I have never seen cleaner and happier eyes. . . (CF, Mexico, dialogue) 'I never saw clearer, happier eyes. . .', . . . one of the most analytical, philosophical and rational Marxist intellectuals of the communist left (CR, Mexico) 'one of the most analytical, philosophical and rational Marxist intellectuals of the communist left'.

6.2  Irregular forms of the comparative


(4) The comparative of an adverb and, in some circumstances, an adjective has the same form as the superlative. See 6.3.2 for discussion. (5)'. . . . . . . . . than ever. . . . . .' was translated. . . . . . . . than ever (but not * that much): you're younger than ever! 'you are younger than ever!' This use of never and other negative words used with a positive meaning is discussed in (6) The verb llevar, which has several meanings (see Index), is used in personal comparisons involving age or height: me lleva dois anos/two centimetres' (s)he is two years older/two centimeters workshop than me', although it took me many years my attitude was colored by a strange and respectful desire to protect her (JM, Sp.) 'although she was many years older than mine the attitude was tinged with a strange and respectful desire to protect her', How old has she been wearing it, can you tell? (MVLl, Fr., dialogue) 'How many years older are you than her, does anyone know?'

6.2  Irregular comparative forms There are five adjectives and adverbs that have irregular comparative forms: adjective

Side dish

comparative singular

comparative plural (adjective only)



good good






times times















malo/ne mnogo

nothing less

minus (unchangeable)


Important: these comparatives do not have separate forms for the feminine gender. (1) when the above words are used as adverbs, only the singular form is used: Her sisters speak better than her Here we are better

Her/his sisters speak better than her This is better for us/This is better for us

(2) Less and more can be adjectives or adverbs: you talk more/less than before 'you talk more/less than before' (adverbs), but we are more/less 'there are more/less of us' (lit. 'we are more/ less'). (3) The use of more or less with these forms of the comparative, eg *better is incorrect as are English forms like *'more better', *'less better'. It is said much better/worse 'much better/worse'. (4) The use of greater and less is discussed in 6.8 and (5) Better, worse is used for moral qualities, although better/worse are more common. See 6.3.1 note 3. (6) No longer meaning 'only': I have no more money than you see here 'the only money I have is what you see here' (7) Rather means 'quite a lot' or 'more than anything' in sentences like this favored the government 'this little/more than anything favored the government'

76 Comparison of adjectives and adverbs

6.3  Superlative adjectives See 6.4 for superlative adverbs. See 39.15.5. for the use of the subjunctive after superlative expressions.

6.3.1 Superlative adjectives formed with a definite article In statements such as 'the nearest station', 'the smallest tree', the superlative adjective (but not the adverb) is formed with el/la/los/las/lo mais more or less: he is the smartest/best/least shy 'he is the smartest/best/least shy': the hellish spiral of blood and death the hellish spiral of blood and death that has turned us into the most unsafe country, unsafe and violent country in the world, with the most violent and violent country in the world , high kill rate (El Tiempo, Col.) with the highest kill rate the best/worst that can happen. . . . . . . . . (See Chapter 8 for using lo) for you. . . . . . . . el mejor restaurante de Madrid (See note 2) the best restaurant in Madrid However, in some cases listed in 6.3.2, the definite article is not used. (1) French learners should avoid repeating the article: the most interesting example = the most interesting example or the most interesting example. *The most interesting example is not Spanish. (2) Phrases like 'the best restaurant in Madrid' usually require from Madrid, not from. See 38.8.3 note 1 for discussion. (3) Better/worse can be used for moral qualities rather than better/worse: I don't like to limit myself to children. . . . . . . . . but this/that is the worst of all (EA, Sp., dialogue) 'I don't like to beat children, but this is the worst of all', your father is the best of all, better than mine (MP, Arg., dialogue) 'your dad is the most beautiful of all, more beautiful than mine'.

6.3.2 Superlative adjectives formed without a definite article The definite article is not used in superlative constructions in the following cases: (a) when the possessive adjective precedes more or less (French contrast mon ami le mais loyal): my most loyal friend / my most loyal friend my most loyal friend But my innermost layer was sad But the innermost layer of me (literally 'my innermost layer (ES, Arg.)') was sad (b) After dress and other verbs to become, including stay(ing): Mary becomes more nervous This way it gets better

Maria is getting more nervous That's better/better

These sentences can also be understood as comparative. The meaning of the superlative can be clarified by using ser + el que or quién: Maria is the one who is the most annoying, she is the most beautiful. (c)  When the superlative does not involve comparison with another noun (this includes cases where something is compared with itself):

6.5  More/less than or more/less than?


Idealism is always easier Idealism is always easier (or 'easier')   when you're young   when you're young Sundays are the rainiest    the most depressing   here is the Rhine at its most romantic Here is the river Rhine is more romantic romantic (Reno compared to myself) I don't remember when I was happier Compare the following where a true comparison with another noun is involved: love without jealousy is the noblest (compared to other loves) 'love without jealousy is the best the noblest' , anchovy pizzas are the best 'anchovy pizzas are (the) best'. (e)  What in construction . . . more than . . .!': What a hard head . . . (MP, Arg., dialogue) What a cynical answer!

What a stubborn man. . . What a cynical answer!

6.4  Superlative adverbs (including bad and less) The definite article cannot be used to form superlative adverbs (including bad and less used as adverbs). Learners of French should remember not to use the article: compare c'est Richard qui danse le mieux and Ricardo es quien mejor baila. Examples: when he is nervous when he speaks faster. He speaks faster when he is nervous. The story enabled us   (ABE, fr.)    to fight more (literally 'better'; that is, 'stories    provoked our greatest quarrels'). . . the being who loved him the most and the one who loved him the most. . . the person who loved him most and   amaba (GGM, Col.)    whom he loved most The captain was one of those who caught   capture (Granma, Cu.)    more fish (1) Difference between el que me gusta más and el que me gusta, but 'the one I like most/most' is the accent, the first is stronger and therefore more likely to have a superlative meaning. Note that with the verb to like you must use more, not better; Contrast English 'I like this one better'.

6.5  More/less than or more/less than? Important: más de is used before numbers or quantities: My grandfather is over a hundred years old. It's half past three. I was sure that you would not be idle for more than six months    (AM, Mexico, dialogue)

My grandfather is over 100 years old It's half past three I was sure you wouldn't rest for more than six months

Compare the following examples where plus or minus is not a quantity: This restaurant is more expensive than before Traveling is more tiring than work

This restaurant is more expensive than before. Commuting is more tiring than work

. . . more than . . . meaning "just". Contrast Juan didn't buy more than twenty books 'Juan bought twenty books' or 'less/no more than twenty' and Juan didn't buy more than twenty books 'Juan only bought twenty books'. I also didn't spend more than a few days in Marbella (SP, Sp., dialogue) 'I only spent a few days in Marbella', the painting classes were just a more fun way to pass the time (GGM , Kol. ) 'the art classes were just more fun way to kill time'. (2)  In the following examples to be used, although there is a following number: tiene más fuerzas que tres hombres Conjunto '(he) is stronger than three men together', hablo más que los otras Cinco personas '(he) talked more than the other five People'. Here it is not compared to numbers, but to the strength of three men, the speech of five men. Spanish thus avoids the ambiguity that affects English: compare comoó más que tres personas 'he ate more than three people (he would eat)' and comoó (a) más de tres personas 'he ate more than three people' (cannibalism).

6.6 When to use more/less than/than/which and more/less than that Important: the following sentence can be translated in two ways: 'the bookstore sells more books in September than it (sells) in February': (a ) the bookstore sells more /fewer books in September than in February (b) the bookstore sells more books in September than in February sentence (a). However, this shortcut is not possible in Spanish if the second verb is a different word, and it is often impossible if the verb is repeated but in a different tense. In these cases, a special construction is needed in Spanish, but not in English: (c) The bookstore sells more books in September than it buys in February (d) The bookstore sold more books than last year, English speakers constantly produce incorrect translations of sentences like (c) and (d), eg *. . . . . . . . . sell more books in September **than you buy in February 'sell more in September than you buy in February' or *you brought more flour **than we need' for correct you brought more flour than we need ' you brought more flour we need'. The rule is: (a) If the comparison is made with a clause containing a direct object of the gender to be used and which must agree in number and gender with the noun or pronoun it refers to: He has more shoes than he has his mother (S ) he has more shoes than her mother (can be shortened to has more shoes than his mother, but the rest of these examples require a form) I've known her for more than years I've known her even more years than she's been out of Spain (JM, Sp., dialogue) she was outside of Spain. . . . . . . . more news than Diego would have. . . . . . . . . more news than Diego could have imagined (AM, Mexico).

6.7  More like a colloquial intensifier


They have better opportunities than I could ever have (EP, Mex. dialogue)    ever have. . . in front of three hundred people. . . at the head of 300 armed men - many   more than he led before   armed - many more than he had ever sent. . . (MVLL, Fri.) . . . more money than you would get on the rest of your. . . more money than you would make in   living in Miami or anywhere else (CP, Arg.)    the rest of your life in Miami or anywhere else (b)  If the comparison is made with a word or phrase without gender, for example a verbal phrase , whose invariant the phrase should be used: He's less stupid than you think He's less stupid than you think   (crees has no gender) They will explain to us better than they will explain to us better than explicanon a ellos (if lo explicanon it is   explained to them   without gender) Sp . 'They say I am' has no gender) You're not half brunette You're not half brunette/black like Celia   is Celia (genderless term is Celia) Don't thank me more than I deserve Don't thank me more than I deserve    (LS, Sp., dialogue.Without gender I deserve) So . . . He must have been even richer than I thought (JM, Sp., dialogue) I thought Becoming an investor is easier than you think (Excélsior, Mexico)   to think (1)  Popular English also uses a similar construction in comparisons: ?'she's smarter than you think', ?'you have brought more than we need' to the standard'. . . what do you think', 'what do we need'. (2)  The use of del que or de lo que seems unnecessary to English speakers, but is necessary in Spanish because más/menos de can only precede noun phrases and also because más que before a verb or adjective usually means 'instead of' or 'instead of' : spend more than earn '(he) spends more (i.e. 'instead of') than he earns', i.e. (he) is not one who earns but spends. Compare he goes more than he earns '(s) he spends more (money) than (s) he earns'. (3)  This alone was sometimes used in these expressions by good writers of the past, cf. Unamuno (Sp., writes before 1920), because Spain had a much more homogeneous process than is believed 'because Spain had a much more homogeneous process than is believed'; these days . . . what is believed. (4)  French does not have the problems indicated by del/de lo que, but unlike Spanish, it uses a redundant negative in comparatives with a clause: il en sait plus qu'il n'avoue = he knows more than he admits he knows more than he admits '.

6.7  Más as a colloquial intensifier Más is often used as an intensifier without comparative meaning in familiar speech on both continents, e.g. it's more drunk. . . 'he's drunk!' See 35.4.4.

80 Comparison of adjectives and adverbs For the standard construction qué vida más triste 'what a sad life!', qué hombre mais palamida! 'what a handsome man!', see 6.3.2e.

6.8 The use of the word major Major, which means both 'bigger' and 'bigger', is used as follows: (a) As a capital 'bigger' in comparisons involving physical objects, although it is not usually used for small things like pins and insects etc. ., and its use for physical comparisons is more characteristic of written language: This classroom is bigger/larger than the other Mallorca is the biggest/biggest in the Balearic Islands Play the biggest game on your computer!

This conference room is bigger than the others Mallorca is the biggest in the Balearic Islands Make the most of your personal computer!

(1)  One cannot say *lo mayor: lo más grande lo poner abajo 'let's put the bigger things down'. (b)  For the translation 'older' or 'older' when applied to people: My brother is older than yours, my elder brother is already older than your elder sister. . . actually older than Teresa ever was    (JM, Sp., dialogue) She was four years older than Daniel (AM, Mexico)

My brother is older than yours My older brother She is already older than her older sister. . . actually older than Teresa ever was. He was four years older than Daniel

Mayor is also a euphemism for viejo: una senora mayor 'old lady'. (c)  Mayor is used to mean 'greatest' or 'greatest': your greatest success 'your greatest success', the greatest criminal in the world 'the greatest criminal in the world', the greatest danger 'the greatest danger', your greatest worry/joy 'your greatest concern/joy'. (d)  Before nouns denoting size, intensity, frequency, force or quantity, mayor or más may be used, mayor being considered more elegant: mayor/más amplituda 'greater breadth', mayor/más intensidad, mayor/más fuerza ' higher power ' ', higher/higher power 'more power', higher/more frequency 'higher frequency', higher/higher weight 'higher weight'. Other examples: The greater the amount it contains, the more   the greater amount it carries (cookbook, Sp.)    the pronounced taste of garlic The greater the service provided, the greater   (El Diario de Hoy, ES)    the dignity you want to get more information In all the examples in (d) more is possible and is much more common in relaxed styles. (e) Preceding a number or words and phrases denoting a number, the mayor is required: in more cases 'in more cases', higher infant mortality rate, 'higher infant mortality rate', higher frequency of traffic accident 'higher rate of traffic accidents' , the most victims 'the most victims'. Note the stacking from much to much higher speed 'much higher speed'. See 10.12. note 1. (f)  Defined terms: mayor de edad 'age', hacer mayor 'to grow old', ganado mayor 'cattle' (horses, cows, mules only), calle mayor 'main street'.

6.11  ‘The more . . . the most. . .'/'less . . . less. . .'


(g)  Más grande can be used as a superlative: el más grande/el mayor Pensador Moderne 'the greatest modern thinker', but not in pejorative statements: el mayor naruja del pais 'the greatest rascal in the country' (not el más grande) .

6.9  Use of the minor Minor, unlike mayor, is not used for physical size: this room is smaller than that/that one, not*smaller than that/that one; she is smaller, not * smaller. However, it can be used for dimensions where English would allow 'less': the area is smaller/smaller than it appears. Also note my younger/little brother 'my younger brother' but my brother is younger/smaller than me 'my brother is younger than me'. Also el más pequeño de la familia 'the youngest of the family', not *the smallest of the family'. *Lo minor is also impossible: lo más pequeño 'that which is less'/'the smallest thing'. Minor is used in the same contexts as major in (b), (c), (d) and (e) in the previous section. Examples: Diego is three years younger than Martita and four Diego is three years younger than Sergio (CRG, Sp.) Martita and four years younger than Sergio Virginia was a few months younger than me Virginia was a few months younger than eu (AM , Mex., dialogue) You won't have the slightest difficulty (or You won't have the slightest difficulty   minimal or más pequeña) The risk of conflict decreases   a shorter time (1)  Common phrases: minor 'minor' , suitable for minors 'suitable for minors/young ', under 18 'younger than 18'.

6.10  Much more, much less, less, etc. Important: Before bad, less, mayor and minor, when these four words qualify a noun, mucho and poco are adjectives and must agree in number and gender with the noun that follows – which English speakers they usually forget: tienen muchos Less hijos que tú 'they have much fewer children than you'. See 10.12 note 1 for discussion.

6.11  ‘The more . . . most. . .'/'less . . . less. . .' How much . . . in advance . . ., less . . . nothing less . . . are standard formulas on both continents (without emphasizing how much): the more pictures the better the more pictures the better the more boys come the better the more boys eat the better the greater the distance from one the greater the distance of the galaxy from the galaxy to Earth , the faster it moves away    from Earth, the faster it moves away   (Abc, Sp. See quickly/hurriedly 35.3.1) The more I thought, the more it bothered me (JC, Arg., The more I thought alone, the more I annoying dialogue)

82 Comparison of adjectives and adverbs (1)  The use of mientras in this construction is less common in Spain, but very common in Latin America. Contra is heard in popular discourse in many places, including Spain, but it is stigmatized. Entre más/menos is considered correct in Mexico and Central America, but is stigmatized elsewhere: Mientras más pienses en ella, más tuya la The more you think about it, the more   haras (CF, Mex., dialogue)    you will make your own . . . la cabeza gacha, entre minus me vea, mejor . . . with bowed head, the less    of me    (EP, Mex., dialogue)    see it better? NGLE 205j notes but does not recommend the popular trend in Latin America to make cuanto invariant in phrases like ?cuanto más foto mejor, para cuantas más . . . (3)  'Not so much. . . but that. . . ' can be translated as much. . . cuanto: not so much that between two people . . . there are no secrets because they decide that way. . . until it is possible to stop counting. . . (JM, Sp.) 'It is not so important that there are no secrets between two people because they decide that it should be, but that it cannot be avoided'.

6.12  'More and more. . .', 'less and less . . .' More/less common Spanish equivalents are: He gets thinner and thinner I come every two or three years I come [to Cuba] every two or three years   ., dial.)    and it gets worse and worse

6.13  Superlative time expressions Neutral construction with what might be required: The last dinner is at eight. The earliest I can leave the house is at one. . . The wedding had to be as soon as possible    (ES, Mexico, dial)

We have dinner/dinner at eight at the latest. I can leave the house at one o'clock at the earliest. . . The wedding had to be as soon as possible.

6.14  Various translations of comparatives and superlatives in English, the least you can do. . . the least you could do. . . I am grateful/very grateful I am very/extremely grateful Of the two, this book is the most read Of the two, this book is the most read Under these circumstances, gastronomy is the least    (MVM, Sp .)    the least important part of it

6.15  Equality comparisons


Give him as much money as you can Give him as much money as you can best possible solution second best/worst second best/worst second most beautiful woman in the world second most attractive woman in the world Sabe sacar el mejor party of all (S)he knows how to make the most of everything Tan Duchess is like my priest She is as much a duchess as I am. . . (ironic; literally    'she is as much a duchess as my father')

6.15  Comparisons of equality 6.15.1  As thin as, as much as The formula is tan . . . as or both. . like . . . like', not so much. . . meaning 'so much that', as in rio/s and rio so much that he almost burst '(s)he was washing so much that he almost burst'. Tan is used before adjectives, adverbs and nouns used as adjectives; both are used in front of themselves, in front of nouns and when nothing follows: I'm not as young as you you know that as well as I do how much do you girls

I'm not as young as you You know as well as I do You're not as young as him I don't talk as much as you Boys and Girls

(1) However contrasting equality may mean: works as much for fun as to earn money 'he/she works as much for fun as to earn money'. Very. . . . . . . . as far as they can be used instead of literary styles. This construction is not used when there is no implicit contrast: Manuel and Teresa work in computing 'M. and T. work in computing', not both M. and T . . . . . . . . .

6.15.2  The same as, the same as, like These are used to express equality. Equal is used after a verb, not equal (see 6.15.3): Write the same as/the same as you (not *equal   as, *same as) He treated me as he always did (GGM, Col. )

(S)he writes the same as you. She treated me the same as always

(1) The comparison of equality with verbal expressions can also be expressed by the formula in the same way as/in the same way as/in the same way as/in the same way as: argued in the same way as many philosophers time '(s)he argued in the same way like many philosophers of that time'. (2) Different, different: it is different from the one you have 'it is different from the one you have', this chair is different from the other 'this chair is different from/other', it is different from/to you it is different from/to you ' A different construction is found in Latin America and heard in Spain, although Seco (1998), 164, says it is uncommon in the polite usage of European Spanish. There are several outlets in Spain, either there or in Latin America. (3) Note the following translations 'exactly/just like . . . . .' I did exactly as you told me / I did exactly as you told me 'I did exactly as you told me / Exactly as you told me'.

84 Comparison of adjectives and adverbs

6.15.3 Same or equal? Equally means 'equal', but equally, apart from being an adjective meaning 'equal', is an invariant adverb in its own sense 'same' Compare other equally difficult problems "other equally difficult problems" and a dress that fits her exactly by size (LG, Sp.) "a cloak that fits her exactly as if it were tailor-made". Other examples: When they get to know you, they will appreciate you equally. When they meet you, they will know that I (LO, Cu., dialogue) value you as much as you are the same as your father (ES, Mexico , dialogue) You are the same as your father He is the same as you (also the same as you) /It's like (S)he is the same as you although you (P)he does it as well as you (1) Latin American colloquial styles, but not formal ones, tend to have the equal adverb agree in number: they are of equal size because they are equally big 'they are equally big'. (2) In Spain it can equally be used colloquially to mean "perhaps" (ie the same as maybe, maybe or at best). See 20.2.4.

6.15.4  Regarding . . . As for (or simply for) is used after many and enough, since eBay sold enough cars to go around the moon more than four times (Excélsior, Mex.) 'eBay sold enough cars to go around the moon more than four times '.

7 Adjectives and Demonstrative Pronouns The main points discussed in this chapter are: • • • • • • •

Forms of demonstrative adjectives (section 7.1) Position of demonstrative adjectives (section 7.2) When should demonstrative adjectives be written with stress? (Section 7.3) The difference between este/ese/aquel and este/ése/aquél (Section 7.4) The use of aquela (Section 7.4.2) The translation of 'first' and 'last' (Section 7.4.3) Some translation problems a translation involving demonstratives (section 7.5)

Adjectives and demonstrative pronouns are those that mean 'this', 'that', 'these', 'they'. Spanish differs from French, German and English in that it has two words for 'that', ese and aquel, depending on the distance in time or space between the speaker and the thing referred to. Demonstratives have neutral forms, esto, eso and aquello, which are discussed separately in Chapter 8, although it is worth repeating that they should not be used to denote persons: este/éste es mi nuevo profesor, not *esto es mi nuevo profesore 'this is my new teacher'.

7.1 Forms of demonstrative adjectives and pronouns

that (near)



That's it




It is








they (near)

they (far)






It is



(1) See 7.3 when they should be written with emphasis. (2) Important: masculine singular forms do not end in -o! (3) Esta, esa and aquella must be used before feminine nouns beginning with the tonic a- or ha-: esta agua 'this water', esaaula 'that classroom', aquella haya 'that beech over there' (see 3.1.2 for a list of those nouns). This is the practice of well-edited texts everywhere, but forms like this weapon, this area are very common in spontaneous speech and often appear in informal writing. (4) In Latin America this is used and abused like the English 'er. . .' to fill pauses while the speaker is thinking.

86 Adjectives and demonstrative pronouns (5)  When two or more nouns are involved, demonstratives are repeated unless the nouns refer to the same thing: este hombre y esta mujer 'this man and (this) woman', but this poet y philosopher 'this poet and philosopher' (the same man).

7.2  Position of demonstrative adjectives Usually before a noun: esta miel 'this honey', ese árbol 'that tree', aquellas regiones 'those regions'. In spoken language, they can appear after a noun, in which case they strongly imply that the object is known. It may imply sarcasm and the construction should be used with caution. Compare esa mujer 'that woman' (neutral tone) and la mujer esa 'that woman'. . . '(sarcastic or flattering). However, the construction may simply indicate a reference to something well known, as in ¿quiere la bata esta? If it's going to get cold (CMG, Sp., dialogue) 'Would you like this dressing gown/American dressing gown? You'll catch a cold'. Other examples: Pero con la agency esa que ha monta, se But with that agency he founded, he is   está lining el riñón (ABV, Sp., dialog)    it simply merges into El type ese anda ya muy cerca de nuestra pista That the guy is already on our trail    (GZ, Mexico, dialogue) Me voy de aquí, no resisto el frío este I'm going. I can't stand this cold (eg   (interview, Granma, Cu.)   New York's) . . . since the afternoon they helped me. . . after that afternoon, when they   a llenar los formulorios de ingreso a la    helped me fill out my   social security from Social Security (ABE, Pe., Sp. rellenar un   enrollment forms) (1) Important: el/la/los/las are obligatory when the noun is followed by a demonstrative adjective: la gente aquella. (2)  The demonstrative after the noun remains an adjective, so it is not written with emphasis: never *la gente aquélla. In apposition (see Glossary), the following demonstrative is a pronoun: su novia tosía mucho, symptom ovo/this that worried him a lot 'his girlfriend coughed a lot, that's a symptom that worried him a lot', so traditionalists would use accent . See the next section for optional emphasis on this.

7.3  When should you write éste, ése, aquel? Our recommendation is never. This has been the advice of the Academy since 1959, reaffirmed in 2010, and supported by the most famous Latin American grammarians, including Seco. But many reputable publishers, including El País, and millions of ordinary citizens still refuse to accept this time-saving rule and continue to distinguish adjectives from pronouns, always writing the latter with an accent: un libro como éste/ése/aquél 'a book like this/that', prefiero éstas aquéllas 'I prefer these (female) to those'. In this book we show both possibilities, eg un libro como ese/ése 'such a book', but we strongly encourage students to omit the accent because its incorrect use in the demonstrative adjective and writing *este libro for this book seems illiterate. (1)  There is an inconsistency in the traditional system. It has always been the practice, even among conservative writers, to leave out the stress of demonstrative pronouns which antecede a relative clause or act as nominalizers (that, this of, etc. (see Glossary of Terminology); the reason why this is not, completely is clear So someone writes this novel is better than the one in

7.4  Use of this, that and that


that one. . . 'this novel is better than the one in which . . .', this and that. . . 'this/that that. . .', that of ayer . . . ' the one from yesterday. . .', etc. (2)  Omission of stress can theoretically cause ambiguities such as this purchase 'this purchase' and é's purchase 'this woman buys', but in practice such shocks are rare enough to be ignored or clarified by context. (3)  Traditionalists should remember that other languages ​​do not have to distinguish between adjectives and demonstrative pronouns: cf. Italian questo libro 'this book', un libro come questo 'this kind of book', traditional Spanish spelling este libro/un libro como éste.

7.4  Use of este, ese and aquel 7.4.1  Use of demonstrative adjectives/pronouns (a)  Este/esta/estos/estas refers to things close to or connected to the speaker and is equivalent to 'this': this libro 'this book', estos bushes 'this bush', esta catastrophe 'this catastrophe (which just happened)', these environmental 'these circumstances (which have just arisen/what we are talking about here)'. (b)  In terms of physical distance, ese/esa/esos/esas means 'that': ese libro 'that book', esos árboles 'those trees'. It can refer to objects at any distance from the speaker and therefore, in practice, can always replace it when it comes to space rather than time. But it cannot always replace ese, because it is not used for things that are close to the listener or the speaker. (c)  Aquel/aquella/aquello/aquellas resembles Old English 'there' or modern 'it/they there'. Spatial suggests distance and is rarely obligatory. It is discussed in detail in 7.4.2. este/este de aqui this here ese/ése de ahí that there aquel/aquél from allí (see 35.6.1 for that one there   difference between ahí and allí). no ese/ése bell aquel/aquél not that one, but that one over there Alcánzame ese/aquel libro rojo Pass me that red book I prefer the one you have the fifteenth anniversary was   los quince, de veras entraba una en sociedad    event, you were really entering   ( ES, Mexico, dialogue)    society ¿Cómo se llama aquella/esa estrella? what is the name of that star (up there)? Who remembers those TVs? nights without television?

7.4.2  This or that? This seems to disappear when speaking of distance in space rather than time: some grammarians complain of a tendency to use ese where it is more elegant. For this reason, when in doubt, students should probably translate 'it' this way, as it is almost always correct. This is used: (a)  When comparing distances in space, this one implies the farthest item, and it is common: —¿Quién plantó ese árbol? —¿Ese/Ése? —No, aquel/aquél No esa belfry aquella/aquélla

'Who planted that tree?' 'That?' 'No, the one behind' Not that tower, but the farthest one

88 Adjectives and demonstrative pronouns Even in these cases ese could be used, perhaps reinforced by a phrase like ese/ése de detrás or ese de más allá. (b)  When only one item is included, it is optional, but is generally used to indicate something that is distant from the speaker. The difference between ese libro and aquel libro is more or less the same as between 'that book' and 'that book over there': Tráeme aquella/esa taza Bring me that cup (from there) ¿Ve a aquel hombre que está tragando Do you see that man (there) how does the dolphin swallow? (call EM, Mex. or ese)   rum? (c)  As for time, it denotes the past and is often used for distant memories. En aquella epoche 'at that time' seems further than en esa epoche. After a past event is mentioned, it can be used in subsequent references to it: Debe de haber andado ya por los sesenta años lit. 'set   mujer (SP, Mex., dialogue; ese would    sail with') that terrible woman    implies that he is still with her) Quise llorar aquella noche pero ne I wanted to cry that night, but I couldn't   I could (CSG , Mexico , dialogue). . . and stars like . . . those stars like broken ice     un ice hecho añicos (LG, Sp.   Aquellas for a childhood memory) ¡qué noche aquella/aquélla! What a night it was! ¡que tiempos aquellos/aquéllos! (no es/esos) Those were the days! (1)  Aquel cannot be used for the future: ese lejano día can mean 'that distant day yet to come'. Aquel lejano día refers to the past. (2)  Aquel que (without written stress) is used, not el que when a preposition and a relative pronoun follow (as in 'the one in which . . .' aquel/aquella en el que/la que, not *el/ la en el/la que). See 7.5c and 39.13 for discussion. (3)  Aquel should not be used with the historical present because it is absurd to emphasize both the distance and the proximity of the action: not *en aquel año Cervantes writes el Quijote 'that year Cervantes wrote Don Quijote', but ou en ese año Cervantes escribe el Quijote , or that year Cervantes wrote el Quijote. (4)  For the neuter pronoun aquello, see 8.5.

7.4.3  'The first, the last' As aquel/aquél denotes something distant and este/este something close, they conveniently translate 'ancient' and 'last': Existían dos Partidos, el conservator y There were two parties, os conservadores   el liberal , this/this anticlerical and    and liberals, the latter anticlerical   that/that supporter of the Church    and the first supporter of the   Church (1)  This/this is often used in self-writing for 'the last': uno One of the guards - his back leaned towards the invalid and directed the glare of his dark glasses on Ornell (LS, Ch.) 'one of

7.5  Translation problems involving demonstratives


the bodyguards bowed to the invalid, and he directed the glare of his dark glasses at Ornell'.

7.5 Translation problems involving demonstratives (a) 'O . . . . . . . . which/who', 'they. . . . . . . . . who', etc. Which or whom are the usual equivalents. What is (unstressed) used in formal language: it brings up the one who (or he) who said it 'brings up the girl who said it', etc. See Chapter 40 (Nominalizers) for discussion. (b) 'Those of them,' 'those of you,' etc. Those of whom are frowned upon, except perhaps before you or you: Those of them who clapped yesterday Those of them who clapped yesterday Nicaraguans who know the truth those of us Nicaraguans who know the truth Those (among) you who claim that those of you who say yes Those who did not sign the form those (their/you) who did not sign (*those of them or *those of them in this form, the context is not Spanish) (c) 'The one where', 'the ones where', etc. What, written without stress, is a literary alternative to when the preposition precedes the relative pronoun. Someone writes that the room was more comfortable than the one he slept in before "the room was more comfortable than the one he slept in before". Spoken language often repeats the noun: the room was more comfortable than the room he slept in before; *not in(o) this is not possible. See also 39.13. (d) 'That's why/therefore . . . . .', 'this/that is where', 'this/that is who', 'this/that was when', etc. The translation of these sentences may involve the problem of "split" sentences, e.g. that's why he paid too much ( lat. am. that's why he paid . . .) 'that's why he paid too much'. See 41.3 for discussion. A simpler solution is therefore overpaid. . . . . . . . .

8 The neutral article and neutral pronouns This chapter is about: • • • • • •

oh well, as soon as possible (section 8.2.1) how smart they are . . . (Section 8.2.2) that (Section 8.3) Sterilize it as in I don't know (Section 8.4) look at them, fix them, etc. (Section 8.4.4) this, that, that (Section 8.5)

8.1 Neutral gender: Common Spanish nouns are either masculine or feminine, but some pronouns and articles have neuter, masculine and feminine genders and are important in the modern language. The neutral gender is considered necessary in Spanish to denote concepts, ideas, or statements (for example, a previous remark or sentence) that do not have a grammatical gender. Masculine and feminine articles and pronouns can only refer to nouns or pronouns, present or implied, and nouns and pronouns that are not neuter pronouns must be masculine or feminine. Examples should clarify: I don't want to talk about this/that (for optional stress on these pronouns see 7.3) I don't want to talk about this I don't like that I don't like I like new/ new new

I don't want to talk about it (ie some masculine or feminine noun. French celui-là/celle-là) I don't want to talk about it (Fr. cela) I don't like it (Fr. celui) -là/celle-là ) I don't like it (fr. cela) new (masc.)/new (feminine) what is new

For lo que, lo cual as relative pronouns (meaning 'which...'), see 39.6. For lo que and lo de as nominalizers (ie 'that which/of...'), see 40.1.5 and 40.1.3. For witty la que . . . why . . . see 40.1.4. In colloquial la de it means 'quantity'. . .' see 3.2.30. For the neuter pronouns todo 'all', algo 'something', mucho 'a lot' and poco 'a little' see Chapter 10.

8.2 'Neuter member' lo 8.2.1 Lo with masculine singular adjectives, participles and adverbs (a) With adjectives and participles: Lo followed by a masculine singular adjective or pronoun, or lo de . . . plus a noun or an adverb, can become a type of abstract noun. This is often equivalent to the English adjective + 'thing', but the translation may require some thought:

8.2  'Neutral article'


It is important that they tell the truth. It is important that they tell the truth because it was    it was for three horses (EP, Mex.)    three horses Try to forget what happened Try to forget what happened in search of something closer (CP, Arg .)    similar to commercial facilities what was said in previous chapter what was said in previous chapter never before seen in the united states never before seen in the us from the top of jacob's ladder (AO, Mex.) from the top of jacob's ladder Dad found out about our Father found out about us My thing was as hard as What happened to me was as hard as   lo de ustedes (GGM, Col., dialogue)        what happened to you Felicitas studied alone ( SP , Sp.) Felicitas studied as much as needed Go down from there to the top Take things off the top I'll tell you about my friend Josefina later I'll tell you (what happened)    my friend Josefina (b )  With adverbs or adverbial phrases: Combinations lo + más/menos + adverb + some expression meaning 'as much as possible ' are especially common and useful: hang back as far as you can. . . The earliest they can leave the house is six o'clock, they always work as little as possible.

Hang it as high as possible / as high as possible, as far back as possible, as fast as possible. . . I can leave the house at six o'clock at the earliest. They always do the minimum

(1)  En/a lo de Antonio means 'in/in Antonio's house' (en/a casa de . . .) in Argentina. (2)  In sentences with ser and some other verbs, the verb agrees with the predicate: lo mejor de la film son los actores (ne . . . es los actores) 'the best thing in the film is (lit. 'are' ) the actors' : ver2.3.3. (3)  Other Romance languages ​​do not have this useful distinction between adjective gender and neuter. In French, le plus tragique can mean both "the most tragic thing" and "the most tragic (masc.)". Italian il bello e il brutto can mean 'beauty and ugliness' (lo bello y lo feo) or 'beautiful (masc.) and ugly' (el bello y el feo). (4)  To choose between indicative and subjunctive in constructions with lo + adjective + es que, e.g. it's amazing/interesting that . . ., see 20.3.14. (5)  Lo is sometimes found with a noun used as an adjective: pues sí, Diego, ya Sabes lo disaster que soy (CMG, Sp., dialog) 'well, Diego, you know what a disaster I am', ya te salió lo mujer (AM, Mexico, dialogue) 'here is the woman in you' (literally 'the woman in you has come out'), uno de mis tíos dio un discurs sobre lo buen hermano que fue mi padre (DES, Mex. ) 'one of of my uncles gave a speech about what a good brother my dad was'. (6) When sufficiently and enough appear in expressions like 'intelligent enough to . . . ', 'she did it well enough to . . .' they are preceded by lo and followed by para: el cuello de su trench coat estaba lo opened wide to allow me to observe the pearl collar (JM, Sp.) 'the collar of his raincoat was open enough to

92 Neutral article and neutral pronouns let me see her pearl necklace', he had enough for those walks (SG, Mexico) 'he had enough (money) for those trips'. Ace can optionally precede the paragraph, especially when it is followed by an infinitive: she was so naive soly to swallow any story (LS, ch.) 'she was so naive soly as to swallow any story'.

8.2.2  Lo plus adjectives or adverbs translating 'like', etc. Lo with an adjective or adverb is usually translated into English 'like' or some similar word plus an adjective or adverb. In this case, the adjective must agree with the noun. The construction usually appears after verbs of perception ('see', 'perceive', 'understand', 'know') and after verbs of liking or disliking: (a)  with adjectives: ¿No se ha fijado en lo delgada que se ha Zar nisi notice how skinny she is? (ABV, Sp., dialogue)    become? What is amazing is modern y What is amazing is how modern    antiguos que son al mismo tiempo (ABE, Pe)    and ancient are at the same time. JV, Mex., dial.)    are (b)  with adverbs and adverbial expressions I llegé confiando en lo bien que lo iba a I arrived with confidence I am having fun   pasar   vai ter Haga que hablen de usted por lo bien que Let them talk about you because you   speak inglés (ad, sp.)   you speak English so well Si vieras lo mal que patina If you could see how he (a) patina mal Hay que ver lo tarde que es I can't believe how late it is (literally 'you have to    see how is late') (1) The usual colloquial construction is con lo + adjective. The translation varies depending on the context: ¿con lo caro que está todo qué me voy a andar buying un reloj? (IN, Mexico, dialogue. Spain probably ¿con lo caro que está todo me iba yo a comprar un reloj?) 'since everything costs so much, shall I buy a watch?' open 'you're really smart, let's see if you can open', . . . with a method that is '. . . since he is so curious'. (2)  De lo más + adjective is found in colloquial speech as an intensifying phrase: viene de lo más arregladita 'she comes dressed up', tomaban su cerveza de lo mais tranquilos (MVLl, Fr., dialogue) 'they went drinking beer very quietly ', make pudín de pan. My husband told me he was better (AA, Cu., dialogue) 'I made bread pudding. My husband said it was really delicious'. The adjective can remain in the masculine singular in this construction, e.g. Lucía viene de lo más arreglado 'Lucy comes all dressed up', las chicas vienen de lo más arreglado 'the girls come all dressed up', estos dos son de lo más diplomático (MS, Mex., dialogue) 'these two are so diplomatic'. (3)  In expressions of cause by or de can be used before lo + adjective: no pudieron pasar por logordos que estaban/. . . de (lo) gordos que estaban 'they couldn't pass because they were too fat'.

8.4 As a neuter pronoun


8.3  Hello This is a neutral pronoun in the third person. It has an invariable form and can only be used to translate 'to' when this pronoun does not refer to a specific noun. Compare en cuanto al régimen militar, prefiero no hablar de él 'as for the military regime, I'd rather not talk about it' (régimen is masculine singular) and todo fue terribly violent, y prefiero no hablar de ello 'everything was terrible unpleasant, and I'd rather not talk about it' (neutral). Ello can be used as a subject pronoun or can be combined with a preposition, but lo is its direct object form and le its indirect object form: yo lo sabía = 'I knew', Nunca *yo sabía ello; What should we do? (indirect object) 'What can we do about it?' this use of the word que)   forgot (or 'I won't forget') Por ello ya no se fía de nadie Because of that(s) he doesn't trust anyone anymore Las cosas que no importan no se entienden Things that don't things aren't '    because mi ne pone uno a ello (CMG, Sp.)    we understand because we do not    apply our mind to it Yo era un atômata del trabajo y de la school I thought of nothing else but work and ello's school, nothing interests me (EP, Mex.)    ( literally: 'I was an automaton from . . .') and onwards    nothing interested me (1)  When the subject is a verb, it is usually translated as 'this' and clearly refers to the whole preceding statement (this can often be used instead) . Habitó un siglo en la Ciudad de los He lived for a century in the City of the Immortals. When derribaron,    Immortals. When they demolished it, I advised la fundación de otra. Ello no debe   he recommended foundation   sorprendernos . . . (JLB, ​​​​​​Arg.)    second. This should not surprise us. . . (2)  Important: if ello is omitted in such sentences, the following verb will have a related noun or pronoun as subject and the meaning may change: to be extravagant 'the director said we didn't go over the budget, but that fact doesn't 'don't let us let's be extravagant'. . . . but does not allow us to be extravagant would mean '. . . but he does not allow us to be extravagant.”

8.4  Lo as a neuter pronoun 8.4.1  General usage As noted in the previous section, lo is a direct object pronoun corresponding to ello (but lo can also mean 'he' or 'that' referring to masculine nouns; see Chap. 14). Lo as a neutral pronoun does not refer to a noun, but to an idea, action, situation, clause or sentence: ¿Lo hacemos o no? Are we going to do it or not? —¿No sabíais/savían que estaba prohibido? 'Didn't you know it was forbidden?'

94 Neutral article and neutral pronouns I can't do it because I'm proud I can't do it because    as a worker prevents me from doing it    my pride as a worker   (CMG, Sp.)    prevents me The minister is having a hard time The minister is in a difficult situation (1)  Le is indirect object form of lo: ¿que le vamos a hacer? 'what can be done about it?', no le hace (South Cone) 'nothing to do with it' (Sp. no tiene (nothing) to see). (2)  Lo is sometimes used with todo to make the latter more specific. Compare Miguel lo Sabe Todo 'Miguel knows everything/everything about this' and Miguel Sabe Todo 'Miguel knows everything'. (3)  For Latin Americans, los dije 'I told them that', standard Spanish se lo dije, see 14.9.2.

8.4.2 ‘Resumptive’ lo Important: lo is used to repeat or summarize the predicates ser, estar and seem, the object of transitive verbs and haber ‘há/há’. Spanish does not like to leave these verbs isolated, as English does in a sentence like ¿tolera estar solo, o tolera la necesidad que tenga su cónyuge de estarlo? (Marriage Questionnaire in ABC, Sp.) 'Can you bear to be alone or can you bear the need for your partner to stay?'. Compare and lo hacía to feel stupid. Thought: "lo soy". Lo era, demostró serlo (MVLl, Fr., dialogue) 'they made him feel stupid. He thought "I did". He was one. He showed that ';. . .era hermosa como yo no sería Nunca 'she was beautiful in a way that I would never be' (LP, Mex., dialogue), you may have your neurons fully functional, but it doesn't seem like it (La Jornada, Mex. . ) 'maybe your neurons are working perfectly, but it doesn't seem like it'. Exception: this 'resumptive' is not used when the gerund is omitted after: —¿estás escri biendo otra novela? —Sí, estoy/Sí, lo estoy haciendo (no *lo estoy) 'are you writing another novel?' 'Yes I am.' '.

8.4.3  Colloquial use of la for lo La is used in some colloquial sentences where you would expect lo. It seems to be more common in Latin America than in Spain: la vous a pasar muy rico (SG, Mexico, dialogue; Spanish lo vous a pasar bien) 'let's have a good time', if they kill them, you will pay for it also, your families will pay for it (GGM, Col., dialogue; Sp. will pay for it), 'if they kill you, you'll pay for it too, your families will pay', you're playing 'you run' big risk' (and Spain), he's making out with his cousin '(s)he's cheating on him with her/his cousin' (and Spain), you're going to beat her 'you're asking for trouble'.

8.4.4  Verselas, arreglárselas, haberselas, etc. The feminine plural las is used idiomatically with some if verbs where we would expect it. Some of these verbs have unexpected meanings. The most common are: agenciárselas 'consertar' ('something') apañárselas* manage/face arreglárselas find a way to do something cantárselas tell someone some home truths darselas de imagine yourself as echárselas de imagine yourself as understand how to understand yourself facing habéselas face

ingeniárselas manage things so that jugárselas risk everything promise to be very happy have high hopes traérselas to be difficult/insidious see with date with see and desire * find something  difficult

96 Neutral article and neutral pronouns (2) Important: In some sentences, a pronoun can refer to both a situation and a specific noun, in which case gender-neutral and gender-neutral forms are interchangeable: I have neither talent nor strength. This/This is true (IS, Arg., dialogue; this is also possible) 'I have neither talent nor strength. It's true'; this is a military operation (GGM, Col., dialogue. This/this is . . . also possible) 'this is a military operation'. Also note: what is this? 'what is this?', who is this/that? 'who is this (man or boy)?', this/this is the problem 'this is the problem', this is the problem 'this is the problem'. When the subject of the verb is a noun, the pronoun agrees with it: the truth is this/that 'the truth is this', the problems are these/these 'the problems are these'. (3) Neutral forms should not be used to refer to living things. It is said that this/this is Miguel's wife 'this is Miguel's wife', this is not . . . . . .; this/this is the neighbor's dog 'this is the neighbor's dog', not 'this is. . . . . .' (= 'this thing is . . .'). But this is my son's cell phone 'this is my son's cell phone'. The neutral form is an insult when referring to a person: if this is a husband, may God come to see him 'if this (thing) is a husband, may God come to see him!' (exasperated woman). (4) That of (that) or that of (that) usually corresponds to 'saying that': Spengler said that "civilization is always saved by a handful of soldiers"' Spengler noted that "in the final example civilization is always saved by a handful of soldiers"', I thought the nearest thing was fetching the wool and returning the rubbish . . . (ABE, Fr.) 'I thought the nearest thing to this saying was "go for the wool and come back shorn" . . . . . .' .This of which also has a similar meaning: . . . .'.

8.5  Neutral demonstrative pronouns


All are in use on both continents, except those marked with an asterisk, which appear to be restricted to Spain. Examples: If you do, you will have to If you do, you will have to   conmigo or te las vas teneres que ver conmigo    have this with/face me de ligón (colloquial, He considers himself a big womanizer   Spain) This happened to me because I   ( GGM, Col., dialogue) I thought I was a genius Despite his fear he managed to leave them    azucarera and a jar of milk in the middle    a bowl of sugar and a small jug of milk on the table    (MS , Mex.)   middle table do your best to    keep her busy with her guardians (GGM, Col.)    guards busy So I tell you that   (CRG, Sp., dialogue)    too hard ve y se las deseas para And the police have difficulty controlling them   controlarlos (1)  First person plural habérselas is nos las habemos, not expected nos las hemos: in Don Luis we again have a Man and a Woman (j. Montesinos, Sp., cited in Seco 1998, 237 ) 'in Don Luis we deal with a Man and a Woman once again'.

8.5  Neutral demonstrative pronouns They have the invariable forms esto, eso and aquello. Because they cannot be confused with demonstrative adjectives, they never have a written accent—something that both learners and native speakers keep forgetting. They do not refer to any noun (cf. Fr. ceci, cela). The difference between esto 'this', eso 'that' and aquello 'that' (far away) reflects the difference between este, ese and aquel discussed in 7.4: ¿Quién ha hecho esto? Who made this? — I wanted to call reverse billing. 'I would like to do a reverse/US   —De eso nada    collection call.' 'No way/out of the question' Habia comprendido como todo aquello jamás ni con el   had something to do with humor   buen humor (ABE, Pe.)    or good humor ¿Qué hay de aquello/eso de los billets false? What's going on with this counterfeit money business? do you know what that means? (JV, Mexico) Did he know the meaning of this job? How could I have thought that thing   was true? that such a lie seemed to be true? (JC, Arg., dialogue) (1)  Important: the difference between neutral and non-neutral demonstrative can be crucial. Compare esto es un disaster 'this (situation) is a disaster' and este/este es un disaster - 'this (man, boy, book or some other masculine noun) is a disaster'. If the speaker is referring to a specific noun, a masculine or feminine pronoun should be used as appropriate, unless the speaker is referring to some kind of thing. Pointing to a coat in a shop window, one can say eso es lo que quiero 'this is the (kind/sort of) thing I want' or ese/ése es el que quiero 'this is what I want'.

9 Possessive adjectives and pronouns This chapter deals with words that mean 'my', 'your', 'his', 'her', our', 'their'; 'mine', 'yours' etc. The main points discussed are: • • • • •

Forms of possessive adjectives and pronouns (Section 9.2) Use of mi, tu, su, nuestro, vuestro, su (Section 9.3) Substitution of possessive adjectives for el/la/los/las (Section 9.3.4) Use of mío, tuyo , his/her (Section 9.4) Behind me, in front of him/her or behind me, in front of him/her/you (Section 9.7)

9.1 General Spanish possessives have two forms. The short forms, mi, tu (no accents!), su, etc., appear before a noun or noun phrase and correspond to the English 'my', 'your', 'his', 'her', etc. The full forms, mío, tuyo, suyo etc. roughly corresponds to 'mine', 'yours', 'hers' etc. and can just follow a noun or stand alone. In all cases, the possessive agrees with the number and, in some cases, with the gender of the thing possessed, rather than with the possessor. As possessives do not in themselves indicate the gender of the owner, su libro can mean 'his book', 'her book', 'your book' (from usted or from ustedes) or 'their book'. The most important difference between English and Spanish is that the latter often uses the definite article (el/la/los/las) instead of the possessive adjective when the identity of the possessor is obvious: me on roto el brazo 'I broke my arm', dame la mano' give me your hand' (see 9.3.4). This happens more often than in French and sometimes confuses English speakers.

9.2 Possessive forms 9.2.1 'my', 'your', 'his', 'her', 'our', etc. (possessive adjectives) personal pronoun








you (and you where used)

you (no emphasis!)


your (known)

he she

they are

from them



they are

from them

yours (formal)

me me

our (masculine) our (feminine)

our (masculine) our (feminine)


You you

your (masc.) your (femin.)

your (masc.) your (femin.)

yours (known. Spain only)

98 Adjectives and possessive pronouns Personal pronoun





they are

from them

from them


they are

from them

yours (formal)

(1) Important: in Latin America, su/sus is the only possessive form in the second person plural because vuestro is not used outside of Spain; see 9.6 for discussion. For the use of vos para tú see 11.3.

9.2.2  'My', 'your', 'her', 'his', 'our', etc. (possessive pronouns) The following forms are marked for number and gender (vuestro is not used in Lat. Am.). See 9.4 for the use of these words. Personal pronoun

Mass. singular and plural

fem. singular and plural



my my

my my


your voice

your your

your your

your (known)

he she

parts – parts

parts – parts



parts – parts

parts – parts

yours (formal)

me me

our - our

our - our


You you

yours - yours

your your

your (known)


parts – parts

parts – parts

from them


parts – parts

parts – parts

yours (formal)

9.3 Uses of possessive adjectives (mi, tu, su, nuestro, etc.) 9.3.1 Basic uses These words agree in number with the things they possess. Ours and yours also agree in the genus with the possessed thing. This is counterintuitive to English speakers and to Spanish-speaking English learners, who often say things like 'she forgot 'his' bag for 'her bag', probably because 'bag' is masculine: mi padre/my parents my mother /my flowers Where is your car? Where are your shoes? I trust your friend I trust your friends our money/our dignity your home/their homes (Sp.) You left your things here You left your things here If they don't want to leave us their lawnmower. . .

my father/my parents my mother/my flowers Where is your car? Where are your shoes? I trust his/her/their friend I trust his/her/their/their friends our money/our dignity your house/their houses You (sing.) left your things here. You (pl.) left your things here. If they don't want to lend us their lawnmower. . .

(1) As can be seen, su and sus mean several things. 9.5a shows how to clarify.

9.3  You use two possessive adjectives (my, your, their, our, etc.)


9.3.2  Possessive phrase with more than one noun If more than one noun is involved, Spanish differs from English in that the former uses a possessive phrase only when the nouns refer to the same thing or aspects of the same thing. Someone says mi padre y mi madre 'my father and my mother' (different people), mi chaqueta y mi corbata 'my coat and tie' (different things), but mi amigo y compañero 'my friend and colleague' (same person) , are paciencia y valor 'your patience and courage' (aspects of one virtue).

9.3.3  Possessive expression in military use In military circles, possessives are used to refer to officers: sí, mi general 'yes, general', no, mi coronel 'no, colonel', and sus ordénes mi teniente 'I await orders, lieutenant! '

9.3.4  The definite article instead of possessive adjectives Important: Spanish often uses the definite article where English uses possessive adjectives. Saqué mi pañuelo de mi bolsillo 'I took the handkerchief out of my pocket' is not incorrect, but it sounds unnatural: saqué el pañuelo del bolsillo (as long as it's from my own pocket) is more idiomatic. Draft of the Academy. . ., 3.10.9a, says that sentences like pase sus vacaciones en la playa de X, 'spend your holiday/holiday at beach X' para pase las vacaciones . . . foreign sound. The definite article is used when the verb, pronoun, or context makes it clear who the possessor is. The article is therefore heavily used with body parts and is normal with clothing and other close things, eg wristwatches, purses, wallets, pens, glasses, etc. This can confuse English speakers. 'You have a passport' usually implies that we don't know whose it is. Do you have a passport? the second person indicates that the sentence probably means 'you have your passport' - unless the context indicates that someone else is involved. In the following sentence, the very fact that purses are associated with women makes us translate el monedero as 'my purse' (the speaker is a woman): metí en una Bolsa de Playa el bronceador, las towels, la radio portable, el libro que estoy reading , das t-shirts, el monedero . . . (CRG, Sp.) 'I put sunscreen, towels, portable radio, the book I'm reading, two T-shirts, my bag. . . in a beach bag'. Other examples: Cierre/Cierra los ojos Close your eyes Diego metió la pata Diego put his foot on it Ignacio is bad with the roller Ignacio has problems with his knee computer) I began to think that Alicia lost    lost reason ( SP, Sp.)    her mind Introduces la mano izquierda en el bolsillo I put my left hand in the right pocket    derecho del pantalon ( ABE, Pe.)    of my pants [sic] Toda las chicas andan con la tripa al aire All the girls walk around with their belly/belly on the screen las orejas coloradas y Their ears are red with anger and their eyes are moist    los ojos hángúms (AM. Mex.) Me pica la nose or me pican las narices My nose itches (1)  But if no word indicates who the owner is, a possessive adjective should be used : mis ojos son azules 'my eyes are blue' (but tengo los ojos azules because the verb shows who it is

100 Possessive Adjectives and Possessive Pronouns), tus medias tienen carreras en las dos piernas 'your socks/tights are doubled on both legs' (medias usually means 'socks' in Latin America), he corregido tu redacción (cf. te he corregido la redacción ) 'I graded/graded your essay'. With clothes, the possessive can suggest that the item is not worn: he isto tunuevafalda en el dormitorio/en una tienda 'I saw your new skirt in the room/(for sale) in the shop/shop'. (2)  When the thing you possess is emphasized, contrasted, or determined by the context, or by an adjective or other words, or whenever ambiguity is to be avoided, the possessive adjective usually reappears: Usted póngase su Camisa, no la mía You put on your shirt, no to mine I saw your eyes big, tired, smiling y I saw your eyes, big, tired, smiling and   as if crying (FU, Sp.)    obviously crying Acerqué mi cabeza a la suya (CF, I brought my head close to his Mex. , dialogue; contrast) X leave your hands smooth and fragrant X leave your hands soft and   (or le/te leave your hands . . .)   perfumed Toco tus labios . . . (popular song) I touch your lips. . . (3)  The use of the definite article diminishes the thing possessed. Te toco los labios can sound accidental or natural. A mother says dame la mano, que vas a cruz la calle 'hold my hand, let's cross the street', but an old-fashioned lover may say dame tu mano y te haré sretan 'give me your hand (in marriage) and I will make you happy'. Therefore, in polite speech, the definite article is avoided when the possessed thing is a human being: ¡cuánto echo de menor a mis hijas! 'I miss my daughters very much!', siempre voy de vacaciones con mi mujer/mi novia (?con la mujer/la novia is joking or ironic, cf. popular British '. . . with “wife”) ' And I always go to holiday/holiday with wife/girlfriend'. (4)  In spoken Latin American Spanish, especially Mexican, possessive adjectives are sometimes combined with an indirect object pronoun: les Pinturas su casa (street sign, Oaxaca, Mexico) 'we'll paint your house for you'; me duele mi cabeza (Mexican colloquial) 'my head hurts', standard Spanish me duele la cabeza; do you get rid of your clothes? (EP, Mexico, dialogue) 'Why don't you take off your clothes?', standard Spanish ¿te quitas la ropa? (5)  Unlike English, Spanish usually uses the singular when each person has one: les sellaron el pasaporte 'they stamped their passports'. See 2.2.4. (6)  Someone tells me quité la Camisa 'I took off my shirt', not quite la Camisa (= 'I took off my shirt'/'I took off my shirt'), because the shirt does not come off by itself and requires effort. For this reason, abre los ojos is said to 'open my eyes' (they opened naturally), while abrí los ojos suggests that her eyelids were glued together and had to be separated.

9.4  Uses of mine, yours, his, etc. 9.4.1  Basic use of My, Your, His, etc. The pronouns my, your, his, etc. are used: (a)  to translate into English '. . . my/your/his/our etc.: my friend your acquaintance

a friend of mine

9.4  Uses my, your, his, etc.


my bad song /their (b)  as a literary, somewhat polished alternative to the possessive adjective: en mi novela/en la novela mía nuestro pan/el pan nuestro de cada día

in my novel/in this novel of mine, our daily bread

(c)  in Spain, in these rather formal sentences (see note 1): Well, my son/daughter, I am going, I advise you not to go, my friend

Well, honey, I'm coming, I advise you not to go, my friend

(d)  for the translation of the pronouns 'my', 'your' (see the next section for the use of the definite article in this construction): —Whose block is this? —My This drawing is yours This/this is yours, isn't it?

"Whose notebook is this?" “Mine” This doodle is yours This is yours, right?

(e)  In a few definite sentences: de nuestra parte/de parte a costa mía at my expense muy señor mío (S. Cone de   nuestra from our side en vindo suyo around him/   miconsideration) Caro despite my/de he/she/they /you   master (of letters)   me/despite him/her/you preposition suya na his/   her/his/their preposition/   her/his/their (1)  Latin American Spanish usually says mi hijo, mi hija, mi amigo: no, friend , I will stay at home. I will go another day (AA, Cu., dialogue) 'not my friend. I will stay at home. I will go another day'. This gives rise to forms like mijito (= my daughter) etc. In Spain, several expressions of love also optionally use the usual order, for example my life/my life, my sky/my sky, my love/my love, my sky etc.' dear'/USA 'dear', etc.

9.4.2  Define the article with my, your, his, etc. The definite article is required in the following cases: (a)  after a preposition. Compare — Whose car is it? —Mío 'Whose car is it?' 'My' and —Which car are we going in? —In my ""Which car are we going in?"" "In my"'. Other examples: I know your cousin, I know your cousin, but not his. If something bad happens to you, I would look at yours ( MS, Mex., dialogue)    after your loved ones (b) when the pronoun is the subject or object of the verb (even if the verb is not present): Toma el mío Tu padre deja te salir, el mio no Qué vida so sad yours Both DVDs are good, but ours is better

Take my Your father lets you out, not mine How sad his/her/their/his life is. Both DVDs are good, but ours is better

102 Possessive adjectives and pronouns (c) after 'to be', the omission of the article emphasizes actual possession: Jeremiah Saint-Amour's house, that of Jeremiah Saint-Amour's house, which was now his (GGM, Col. ) from now on it was hers But those qualities were much more hers (ABE, Fr.) hers than mine

9.4.3  Neutral article with what's mine, what's his, etc. The neutral form of the possessive has several meanings: My husband knows our things My husband knows about us Now you're in your place Now you're in your element Your/his was amazing That what happened to you was incomprehensible nothing stopped me from devoting myself I had no children and nothing stopped me from doing what I wanted My business is to confuse (M. de Unamuno , Sp.) Confusing people is what I do

9.5 Clarifying or replacing the possessive phrase with de+pronoun In some cases + the pronoun can be used instead of the possessive phrase, and when he/she refers to you or you, de você or de você are often added. This happens: (a) when it is necessary to clarify the meaning of his/hers, which can mean 'his', 'her', 'his', 'your' (you), 'their', 'your' (you ') . The context almost always makes ownership clear, but it can be emphasized or clarified by using his/her, you, theirs, you: you's umbrellas 'your (plural) umbrellas', his shirt 'your shirt'. The possibility of ambiguity is illustrated by the question 'Is this handkerchief yours or hers?', where someone would probably say that this handkerchief is yours or hers? Is this scarf yours? 'Is this scarf yours?' it is clear if someone is directly talking to the person. (b) When de means 'from' and not 'from', since I haven't heard from you (or your news) 'it's been a while since I heard from you' (1) In Spain they are assumed to be out of context as third person, so you may need to indicate that the meaning of 'your' (for Latin American usage, see 9.6)

9.6  Possessives: Latin American usage Latin American usage differs from European Spanish in several ways: (a) Where vos is used instead of tú (especially in Argentina and much of Central America), tu/tuyo are possessive forms: vos tenés tu birome ( Arg.) 'you have your ballpoint pen', in Spain tú tienes tu bolígrafo. (b) Since vosotros is not used in everyday Latin American Spanish (see 12.3.1 for details), su/sus is the only second-person plural possessive in all styles. (c)  In Latin America su/suyo is assumed out of context to be de usted/de ustedes 'of you'. Possession in the third person can be represented in everyday speech by de él 'his'/'his' (masc.), de ella 'hers'/'his' (feminine), de ellos 'theirs' (masc.), de ellas 'their' (feminine):

9.7  Possessive expressions after prepositions and adverbs


Do you want us to go to his room to see if he's there? (Dialogue of Costa Rica, quoted    if he is there?    Kany, 69; Sp. to his room/bedroom) There is not half as much work in your office   work as in mine (MP, Arg.,    what is in my    dialogue; Sp . our the house is on the corner', — Who did you give it to? — To our boss (VdeC, Cu.) '"Who did you give it to?" "Our boss"', standard Spanish a nuestro jefe ou al jefe. (e )  U in popular Mexican and Andean Spanish there is a tendency to use su/sus in noun + de + noun sentences, eg su libro de Juan 'Juan's book', su casa de mi amigo 'the house of my friend 'amigo'', standard Spanish el libro de Juan, la casa de my amigo.

9.7  Possessive expressions after prepositions and adverbs A common construction in spoken Latin American Spanish, also increasingly preferred by younger generations in Spain, is the use of possessive forms of pronouns (mío, tuyo, etc.) after prepositions that usually require de + pronoun, and after some adverbs : ?detrás mío = behind me 'behind me', and yet, in non-standard speech, ?entró antes mío 'he came before me', to enter before that yo. Examples: In myself (in myself) I am equal to all   reactionaries (MP, arg. dialogue;    reactionaries   Sp. in myself or inside) I want to be close to you (ibid., Sp. near you) to be close to you He did not understand because of how long he was intimidated. He was so intimidated in my presence    en mi front (MVLl, Pe., dialogue;    that he could not    rarely in written Spanish. Sp. in front of me) But another bus that passed behind But another bus that drove    suyo ran him over very violently the back collided violently with him   (El País, Sp., better behind him) and also (standard Spanish uses parenthetical forms): ?above me (above me ) ?in front of him/her (in front of him/her/you    you /they/them) ?outside him/her (next to him/her, etc.) ?outside his/her (outside him/her), etc.)

above/above me opposite him/her/you/them apart from him/her etc. separated from him/her etc.

(1)  This construction is found in the best Argentine writers, but is considered colloquial in other Latin American countries and incorrect in Mexico. It's spreading across Spain, but older speakers might frown. However, en vindo nuestro (literary) 'around us' is considered correct, as is alrededor mío for alrededor de mí 'around me'. (2)  Both contra mí/ti and en contra mía/tuya, 'against me/you', etc. are correct, but there is a tendency to favor the possessive in Latin America and this seems to be spreading in Spain: está en mi contra (Cartoon Peanuts, Arg.) '(s)he/it is against me', el hecho de que el telefono se hubiera puesto en mi contra . . . (SP, Sp.) 'the fact that the phone turned against me. . .'.

10 Miscellaneous adjectives and pronouns This chapter discusses a number of important words that can cause problems for English language learners: ajeno 10.1 something 10.2 alguien 10.3 something 10.4 both 10.5

every 10.6 exactly 10.7 any 10.8 too much 10.9 average 10.10

same 10.11 many and few 10.12 other 10.13 own 10.14 only 10.15

both 10.16 all 10.17 several 10.18

10.1 Ajeno: adjective, marked by number and gender A purely literary word meaning 'someone else's': el dolor ajeno (= el dolor de otros) 'someone else's pain', en casa ajena (= en casa de otro persona) 'someone else's house' : You care too much about what belongs to others so that people don't envy other people's success (Miss Universe, in Excelsior, Mex.)

You worry too much about other people's affairs. People should not envy other people's success

(1) Ajeno often translates 'stranger', 'distant': problema ajenos a mi responsabilidad 'problems beyond my responsibility', . . . a grown woman apparently unaware of everything (CRG, Sp.)'. . . a grown woman seemingly oblivious to everything', [El Papa] will not be oblivious to the challenges facing Mexico (Excélsior, Mex.) 'The Pope will not be indifferent to the challenges facing Mexico'.

10.2 Something: invariable pronoun or adverb It is used as a pronoun, it usually means 'something' or 'anything' in questions and after a while some other words: Behind you saw something big, black Let's see if something comes to your mind This house has something ominous This sentence was a preamble to something very serious (G GM, Colonel) See something? Do you know something I don't? (EM, Mexico, dialogue) There will be few who brought something

Behind you could see something big, black. Try to remember something. There is something sinister about that house. That sentence was an introduction to something very serious. Do you see anything? Do you know something I don't? There probably won't be many who brought something

(1) Important: used as an adverb means 'quite a bit', 'a little', although un poco, un tanto or rather so common in speech: Somos algo/a poco/ras bien inquieto 'we are a little/a little worried' , . . . with fine legs, although somewhat heavy in the hips (LO, Cu.)' . . . nice legs, although she was quite heavy in the hips', she is quite far'.

10.4  Neki, neki, neki, neki, neki


(2)  English question that opens the question 'you know something. . .? ' is guess what? Phrase do you know something? means 'do you know something?' (3)  Algo así, algo así como, are translations for 'something like . . .': weigh some like seven kilos 'she weighs about seven kilos', her name is Nicanora, or something like that 'her name is Nicanora, or something like that'. (4)  In negative sentences, nada translates 'anything' as well as 'nothing': no ​​saber nada '(he) doesn't know anything', I don't know where something is in this house 'I don't know 't' I don't know where it is something in this house. See 27.4. (5)  Something is gender neutral, so someone says something en lo puedan creer 'something they could believe', there's something I totally agree with you (JH, Mexico) 'there's something I totally agree with you' .

10.3  Alguien: intransitive pronoun Means 'someone', 'someone', as in vi a alguien 'I saw someone' (note the personal a before alguien; see 26.4.1). It also translates 'anybody', 'anybody' into questions and other types of sentences. Ungendered: He asked Andrés to stay at home He asked Andrés to stay at home in    in case someone calls (GGM, Col.)    in case someone calls Do you know someone/someone who can give a quote for car repairs? give me a car repair estimate? Someone always comes on weekdays Someone always comes on weekdays (1) *Some of the students, *some of them are rejected by the grammarians, even the Academy, (DPD 38) in favor of some of the students, some (among) them, but some of them ' one of the girls/women'. Occasionally someone from is needed because, unlike someone, it does not indicate gender: I think it alludes to someone in this house 'I think it refers to someone in this house' someone in the family will come and bring him 'someone in the family will come for him/her/you'. (2)  María Moliner notes that ?darle una cosa al someone without wishes is strange, because someone is too vague to be specifically masculine: dar a alguien un cosa que não wishes' 'give something to someone who doesn't want it' avoids an issue. (3)  'Give to someone else' means to give to someone else/some other/some other person. *The second person is not Spanish. (4)  Uno is sometimes used colloquially for 'someone' when gender is an important part of the message (for other uses of uno as pronouns, see 32.7.1): he fought with someone in the street '(s) he fought with a man from the street' , married a Valencian woman 'married a Valencian woman'.

10.4 Some, some, some, some: adjective or pronoun marked with number and gender 10.4.1 General use of some (a) As an adjective: The usual translation is 'some', French some(s). It is shortened to some before a masculine singular noun or a noun phrase: someday, or if you want any other! (ABV, Sp., dialogue) 'or if you love another man!', but some end 'some end'.

106 Various adjectives and pronouns In the singular some usually mean vaguely 'one or the other', 'one or more...'. . . . . .'. (For the difference between soma and soma, see 10.4.2): at some point in Peru's history at one point or another in Peru's history Sometimes he played less (SP, Sp.) He missed her from time to time. They need to take good care of these dishes. Someone. You should take good care of these dishes. instead, they might donate them in the future. Sometime in the future, you could donate them to a museum (LO, Cu., dialogue) them to a museum. See if there is a bottle Look left and see if there are more over a bottle of wine (b) Some as a pronoun (the short form of soma is not used as a pronoun): Again, the meaning can be vague 'one or more . . . . .' or 'one or two': Someone will know One or the other will know — Have you received letters from your family? "Did you get any letters from your…well, any, yes, family?" "Well, one or two, yes." One night the police came in and touched us. One night the police came and Someone had to go to the station and search us. At least one had to go (JLB, ​​​​​​Arg., dialogue; Sp. 'to speed up = to curl up) to the police station. There will be someone in the office that you will like There must be a man in the office that you like The plural 'some' or 'some' are common translations: With some of the third year you will have to do exercises with irregular verbs with some of the third year Some already want to walk Some already want to go Matthew German (called by some (President) Matthew German, called by some "little mouse") (JA, Mexico), called 'Mickey Mouse' (1) Important: in formal, mostly written styles, some may follow a noun, in which case it is the emphatic equivalent of ninguno, 'none', 'not . . . . . . . . . at all': he had no contact with the people (JMs, Sp.) 'he had no contact with the people', no military authority wants to give any explanation (The Press, year ) 'no military authority wants to give any explanation', she tolerates no questions (EP, Mexico) 'she tolerates no questions'. However, NGLE 48.4k notes that nothing becomes more common in this construction, ie formless/formless. (2) Important: today some are normally pronounced and written some immediately before feminine nouns that begin with a- or hatonic. The Academy no longer condemns it (DPD 38, NGLE 19.5h): some/some lost soul, some/some defensive weapon. (3) When que and a masculine noun phrase follow, some or some can be used (DPD 38): some that other book or some that other book Only some that others is allowed with feminine nouns. (4) When the singular some/some is combined with a pronoun in the second person, the verb is optionally in the second or third person, the latter being more common and recommended by the Academy (DPD 38): if any of you do it, you know / knows 'if any of you know(s)' In the plural, it agrees with the pronoun: some of you know 'some of you women know', some of us usually walk slowly (La Jornada, Mexico) 'some of us women generally walk slow'. But notice that some of us died (JP, Mexico) 'some of us died' which obviously excludes the speaker.

10.4  Neki, neki, neki, neki, neki


(5)  Važno: engleski 'some' (i 'any') nema ekvivalent u španjolskom kada dolazi ispred imenice koja se odnosi samo na dio ili količinu nečega, kao u 'daj mi malo vode' dame agua/ un poco de agua, 'nisi kupio pribadače' nisi kupio alfileres, 'imaš li integralni kruh?' Imate li punu tavu? U nekim slučajevima, un poco ili ninguno mogu biti dobri prijevodi za 'nešto': yo también quiero un poco 'I ja želim (malo)', ¿chuletas de ternera? Zar nemamo 'teleće kotlete/kotlete? Nemamo', no tenemos ninguna 'nemamo'; u jesen samo ninguna 'skoro nije ostalo'. 'Bilo koji' u smislu 'nije bitno koji' je cualquiera (vidi 10.8): Comidas a cualquier hora 'obroci u bilo koje vrijeme'. (6) Kada je alguno izravni ili neizravni objekt glagola i dolazi ispred glagola radi fokusiranja, dogovor se može određivati ​​prema broju popratne imenice ili zamjenice ili može biti treće lice: a alguno de vosotros os / lo/le quiiera ver yo en un lío como este/este 'Volio bih vidjeti jednog od vas u ovakvom neredu'.

10.4.2  Input and some contrasts These two plural words are not always easy to distinguish (input has other uses discussed in 3.4). (a)  The two words are interchangeable in the expression algunos/unos. . . others: Some came, some didn't Some came, some didn't. . . the theological explanations they gave. . . theological (ie obscure)    probable sale of some land and explanations    that made    purchase of others acceptable (AM, Mexico or some    sale of some land and   land)    purchase of others In a few weeks [ la morera ] would be In a few weeks the mulberry tree would be   full of fruit (SA, Arg. or unas)    a lot of fruits (b) Only some are possible in the sentence some of: I went out to dinner with some of the students 'went out to dinner with some students' . (c) Only unos/unas can be used to form non-generic nouns and adjectives: compare son payasos 'they are clowns (by occupation)', son unos payasos 'they are (behave as) clowns'. See 4.2.1c for details. (d) Only some can be used in the reciprocal plural construction: they admire themselves 'they admire themselves'. (e) Important: algunos is used when 'some' is not intended to be implied: algunos mexicans habla tres idiomi 'some Mexicans speak three languages' (since the entry here would mean 'a certain small group'). When they mean 'some', the two are interchangeable and the entry is usually followed by cuantos: me dió unas (cuantas)/algunas monedas de un euro '(he gave me a pair of one-euro coins'), . . . or when we risk a few dollars in casinos (ABE, Fr., or others)' . . . or when we play a few dollars in the casino'.

108 various adjectives and pronouns

10.5 Both: an adjective or pronoun with a number and gender marker 'Both', although it is quite literary and los/las dos is more common in speech. in both/in both cases in both cases . . . . . . . . . when they both came to live. . . . . . . . . when they both came from Acapulco to the capital of Acapulco (GZ, Mexico) to live in the capital—Which of the two is correct? —Both/Los of 'Which of the two is correct?' 'Both' (1) Important: the definite article is not used with both: both girls 'both/both (of) girls', never *both girls. 'One of both' is: one of/both. (2) Also note the following: your two daughters/cousins ​​'both your daughters/cousins', 'your two daughters/cousins' I spoke to your two brothers 'I spoke to your two brothers', not *your two brothers etc. Both the teacher and the students heard "both the teacher and the students heard" – never **both the teacher and... . . . .'. which is a poor English translation of 'both . . . . . . . . . It is . . . . . .'.

10.6  Each: intransitive adjective and pronoun 'Each', 'each'. Cada always precedes a noun: Cada loco con are the subject 'Each of his' (literally 'all mad    with his obsession') each of the students. . . each of the students. . . one book for every three students one book for every three students Phenomenon occurs every decade Phenomenon occurs approximately every   approximately (La Jornada, Mexico)   decade ABE, Pe.)    work with tachycardia (increased heart rate) —Do you want wool or silk ? —One of the 'Would you like wool or silk?' 'One of each.' complicated 'it's getting more complicated', it was less and less generous 'she was less and less generous', so the chances of Mexico having new military presidents (JA, Mexico) 'at this point, the chance of Mexico having more military the presidents became more and more distant'. English speakers should avoid using *more and more, *less and fewer. (2)  In colloquial speech in Spain and Latin America each is equivalent to 'all kinds . . .': speaks all nonsense 'nonsense he/she speaks. . .', there are all kinds of thieves 'there are all kinds of thieves . . .', you ask me all the questions! (SP, Mexico, dialogue), 'things you ask me!'. (3)  'Each', 'each': let each (or each/each) read as he sees fit 'let each read as he sees fit'. Each is common in Mexican texts. (4)  ?I shower every day or ?I shower every morning for . . . every day, . . . Every morning they spread, but some speakers reject them as Catalanisms, but the construction is increasingly accepted and correct in certain contexts. See 10.17.

10.8  Any, any, any: adjective or pronoun, marked for number


(5)  Note salía cada poca con ella 'he went out with her from time to time/from time to time', i.e. sometimes; he would also tell me he loved me from time to time 'he kept telling me he loved me'. (6) The expression cada que 'every time' is heard in Mexico, Colombia, Venezuela and Paraguay: we take coffee cada que viene al Puerto (from NGLE 19.9d) 'we drink coffee every time it comes to port'; on another place. . . every time he comes. Whenever not used in Spain.

10.7  Cierto: adjective, number and gender 'Real', i.e. 'specific'. Used like this, it comes before a noun: in certain cases, in certain cases, certain German, certain German. . . or in certain periods of the Presidency. . . or in certain periods during the presidential term   Fernándeza (La Jornada, Mexico)   Fernándeza And of course it fluctuated in a certain way. ) Determine is a more formal synonym: on certain trains there is a waiter service 'on certain trains waiter service is provided'. (2)  Un certo / una certo for 'certainly' are sometimes condemned as borrowings from French or English, but are common in all styles; The Academy does not object now. Insecure is found before partitive nouns — I was aware of (a) his/her tendency to exaggerate 'I was aware of his/her certain tendency to exaggerate' — and as a less common colloquial alternative to un such: he married a certain Dionysus of Mexico 'she married for a certain Dionysus from Mexico'. (3)  Placed after a noun or after a verb such as ser or seem, true means 'fixed', 'accurate', 'true': we received accurate reports of the second match. Is it true or not? (MP, Arg., dialogue) 'Is he sick? Is it true or not?', if it is true it is a sin (GZ, Mexico, dialogue) 'if it is true it is a sin'.

10.8 Any, any, any: adjective or pronoun, marked for number As adjective 'any'; as the pronoun 'someone'/'somebody' (fr. anybody). (a) As an adjective before any noun or noun phrase, and from any (but optionally any) is dropped: any time 'at any time', any woman 'any woman' Any(s) usually precedes a noun: he sleeps at any time of the day '(s) he sleeps at any time of the day', can be paid in any currency 'you can pay in any currency'. The idea of ​​a random choice is reinforced if it follows a noun, cf. English 'anyone'. When used like this for people, the effect is often pejorative, just like the English 'any old': . . . . . . . . not just any death, but. . . . . . . . . not any ancient death, but death itself (MB, Ed.) death every Tuesday. . . . . . . . said in the manner of One Tuesday (ie 'Tuesday beyond what seemed casual (GGM, Col. azul') said, in a way that should have sounded like Sp. seemed casual) casually

110 Miscellaneous adjectives and pronouns Let's take a walk down any street Your wife is not just any woman (that is, she    is something special) (b)  As a pronoun (the final -a is always retained): Cualquiera de los tres temaes era Any of the three topics were are thorny territory   un thorny terrain (MS, Mexico) . . . the need in which they are seen. . . the need they have to vent to anyone (ABE, Fr.) vent in front of anyone Not everyone auto nosotros (SV, Ch. like our car like ours) He was a man like everyone else (LP , Mexico) He was a man like everyone else other. Regardless of the challenges on the way to   building communism (FC, Cuba)    towards building communism. . . (1)  The plural adjective cualquieras is uncommon today, because the idea can be expressed by a singular noun: any woman who does not sympathize with feminism. . . 'any woman who does not / any woman who does not sympathize with feminism. . .'. In spontaneous speech and informal writing, there is a tendency to use the singular whenever the plural is needed. This applies to both the pronoun and the adjective: 'your children are guaranteed places at school, regardless of their studies' (ie whatever they study). Careful Speakers and the Academy (NGLE 20.4e) reject it, and the writing usually uses the plural. (2)  You will occasionally hear cualquiera used before any feminine noun, especially in Latin America, but foreigners should probably avoid it: ?de cualquier manera (CF, Mex., dialogue) ?y más malvados que cualquier otro tribu (MVLl, Fr., dialogue) 'and more vicious than any other tribe'. We see these clothes at Ortega y Gasset, Valera and some other Spanish fashion designers before the middle of the 20th century. (3)  Any amount is heard in most of Latin America, but not in Spain, meaning 'a large amount', eg any amount of flowers 'a large amount of flowers', Spain . . . A lots of . . . (4)  Note the subjunctives in . . . whatever explanation he gives, 'whatever explanation he gives'; see 39.15.2 and 20.5.4 for explanation.

10.9 Demasiado: adjective and pronoun marked with number and gender or invariant adverb As adjective 'many'/'too many'; as an adverb 'very'/'very good'. (a)  As an adjective, it must agree in number and gender: He ate too many grapes You ate too many grapes But the heat was too hot, but the heat was too great   para una danza tan miran (MP, Arg.,    for a slow dance   dialogue)

10.10  Middle adjective and adverb

You brought some screws   (a lot is treated as an adjective   a while ago)


You brought some screws

Nowadays, a lot is always placed before a noun. (b)  As an adverb (invariant in form) You talk too much, I know that/that too much. . . now it might be too late   (La Jornada, Mexico) This is too difficult

You talk too much, I know you too well. . . now it might be too late this is too hard

(1)  Adverb and adjective mean different things: too many (adv.) buenas intenciones = 'intentions that are too good', but too many (adj.) buenas intenciones = 'many good intentions' (from NGLE 20.5n) . (2) In some Lat. I am. countries, eg Peru, the adverb can also mean 'a lot' in popular speech, so la quiero also means la quiero muchísimo 'I'm really in love with her' (NGLE 20.8b).

10.10  Medio adjective and adverb On both continents this word functions as an adverb (invariable form) or as an adjective (inclined according to number and gender), both meaning 'half': adverb: They are half drunk They are half -drunk, half left to the saints , I more or less gave up on the saints (ie    (PJG, Cu.)    'I was no longer a believer') Let me. I'm half asleep. Leave me alone. I'm half asleep adjective media post/media luna They seized half a ton of marijuana   in Tijuana (Excélsior, Mex. Marijuana   elsewhere) average American middle class

half a liter/half a month Half a ton of marijuana seized in Tijuana average American middle class

(1)  Often used colloquially in Latin America to mean 'pretty', 'beautiful' (Sp. quite, más bien) as in es medio linda (Sp. guapa) 'she is very beautiful', son medio tontos 'they are very stupid', yo también estoy medio empengeno estos días (LO, Cu., dialogue) 'I've been very busy lately too'. (2)  In the Canary Islands and most of Latin America there is a strong popular tendency, which can sometimes be seen in the Latin American press, for the adverb to agree in gender: ellas son medias locas 'they (the women) are a bit crazy', for middle locations; llegó media delusionada (popular Mexican, quoted by Kany, 55) 'she arrived rather disappointed', la tenía media atragantada (legacy, arg., popular dialogue)'. . . she shoved him in the middle of the throat." The Academy defends the contribution average in all contexts.

112 Various adjectives and pronouns

10.11  Mismo (and Latin American variants): adjective marked with gender and number (a)  'The same' When it means 'the same', which is its usual meaning on both continents, it is always placed before the noun or noun phrase it qualifies: Lleváis/Llevan la ista blouse You are wearing the same blouse. . . with the same boys, but one day to the Greeks, . . . with the same waiters, but (dressed    otro Andaluces, otro French, aunque    as) Greeks one day, Andalusians    vinieran de donde vinieran (ABE, Pe.    another, French another,   In Spain mozos = camareros, mex. meseros)    no matter where they come from are from Estos dos Casos son el mismo These two cases are the same (ie identical) Estos dos son los mismo These two are the same (ie as before) —¿Es usted don Francisco? —The same 'Are you Don Francisco?' 'I am the same' (b)  Placed before or after a noun, mismo means 'the same'/'very'/'correct': Vivo en Madrid mismo/en el mismo Madrid I live in Madrid itself Aparca el helicopter en su mismo jardín/ ( S)he parks the helicopter right in his   en su jardín mismo   garden. To avoid ambiguity, mismo should be placed after the noun if it means 'very', 'by itself': el mismo Papa 'the pope himself' or 'the same pope', el Papa mismo = just 'the pope himself'. See also propio, 10.14b. (c)  Placed after the pronoun, emphasizes the pronoun, eg yo mismo 'myself', ella misma 'myself': —¿Quién construyó el chalet? ‘Who built the house?’ ‘I am alone’   — Yo mismo/misma   (el chalet = ‘isolated house’ in Spanish) No se llora por los demás. If you cry for One, you don't cry for others. Someone cries for   una misma (ES, Mexico, dialogue)    for herself (woman speaking) (d)  Placed after an adverb or adverbial phrase, mismo is itself an adverb and therefore invariant: por eso mismo ahora mismo/ya mismo aquí mismo Mañana mismo empiezo a escribir   (ABE, Fr. Mañana is an adverb here) Estoy al lado mismo del súper (?mismo al lado de is dialect)

so right now/right here tomorrow I'll definitely start writing, I'm right next to the supermarket

But if the adverbial phrase contains a noun that is not accompanied by a definite article, it may or may not agree with it. The arrangement always seems to be correct and is recommended: esta noche mismo/misma esta noche Vino esta mañana mismo/misma (S)he/it came this morning En España mismo/misma no se pudo In Spain itself it was impossible to avoid avoiding the llegada del bikini    the arrival of the bikini

10.12  Mucho e poco: adjectives, number and gender, or invariant adverbs


When the definite article is used, mismo is an adjective and must agree in number and gender: they found it in the chimney itself. (1)  Lo mismo can mean la misma cosa or it can be adverbial: como me vuelvan de dier lo mismo/la misma cosa. . . »if they tell me the same thing again. . .', they sold sardines as books on mechanics (AM, Mex.) 'they sold sardines as gladly as books on mechanics', we didn't have as much fun as if you were there 'we didn't have as good a time as we would have if you were there '. *Lo mismo como is substandard for lo mismo que 'the same thing'. For the same as the familiar European Spanish word for 'maybe', see 20.2.4. (2)  Note the following difference: that house is the same as (equal to) that / that 'that house is the same as the other' (ie the same thing is true, not the same house), that house is the same that Agustín bought 'that house is the same that Agustín bought'. (3)  Mismo is the stressed colloquial form of mismo in meaning (b): mismísimo President lo/le felicitó 'the president himself congratulated him'. (4)  Mexican and Central American everyday speech often uses mera in the context in (b): en la mera (same) canto 'right on the corner', he made mera (alone) 'he did it himself', since mere ( now now In various parts of Latin America, from Chile to Mexico, puro can be used: en la pura cabeza (on the same head) 'right on the head', etc. (from Kanya, 57ff), a puro Villa (bus driver in Tabasco , Mexico) '(I go) only to Villahermos' (Sp. solo/sólo a) . . .; había puras mujeres (Chilean colloquialism) 'there were only women there' (Sp. no había más que mujeres). (5) Mismamente (= equally) is rustic or humorous.

10.12  Mucho e poco: adjectives and pronouns marked with number and gender or invariant adverbs 'Very' or 'much' and 'a little' or 'little'. Used as adjectives, they agree in number and gender. Used as adverbs, they are invariable. (a)  As adjectives and pronouns: Mis kids don't make me mucho caso My kids don't pay much attention to me There are many limoneros on the terrace There are many lemon trees on the terrace Pon poca pimienta Don't put too much pepper on/in it Somos muchos /pocos There are many of us /there are few of us su poca paciencia she/her little patience —¿Cuánta harina she bought? "How much flour did you buy?" hours Many women complain about   de opening (pronoun)    new working hours (b)  Adverbial uses: Estoy añorando mucho a mi patria I miss my country very much Andrés   (GGM, Col.)   arrived

114 Miscellaneous adjectives and pronouns I sell a little lately (S)he hasn't been out much lately As little as you want As little as you want You don't know how little I like that man You don't know how much I like this man (1) Important : before bad, less, major and minor, when followed by a noun (present or implied), they agree more or less in number and gender - a fact that English speakers tend to forget: they have many more children who you/'have many more children than you'/'they have many more children than you', 27 years have not passed in vain, he has much more experience, much more maturity (FC, Cu.) 'twenty-seven years have not passed in vain, he has much more experience, much more maturity' , Eduardo has a lot less patience 'Eduardo has a lot less patience', with a lot more speed', This construction is apparently optional in Latin America : when I retire, there is no doubt that much less will happen to me (MB, Ur., Sp . much less stuff) 'when I retire, I will undoubtedly have a lot less stuff going on'. Informants from Peru and Mexico found it acceptable, but the Spanish refuse it. Before adjectives and adverbs, mucho and poco are adverbs and are invariable in the form: los problema were much greatest 'the problems were much greater'. (2) You should avoid mucho or mucha without a following noun in sentences like ?mucho vienedeVenezuela 'A lot of [crude oil] comes from Venezuela', correct. . . a large part comes from Venezuela. (3)  In the following sentences, mucho and poco do not agree with the preceding noun, but refer to the general idea at the base of the sentence: ¿three hundred thousand dollars? Is $300,000 too much? That's a lot', three boxes of plums? Those are the little 'three boxes of plums? That's not much.' Compare a thousand cases in a hundred days is little '1000 cases in 100 days is/is not a lot', and the beer they will drink will be a lot, for the benefit of the owner (MP, Arg., dialogue) 'and the amount of beer they will consume, for profit owner'. (4)  Muy 'very' can be considered a short form of mucho, used before adjectives and adverbs. The full form, therefore, reappears when used alone: ​​- Is it hard? -Enough. '"He's a worker?" "Look and"'. (5)  Muy de is often used in expressions such as that street has a lot of pharmacies 'that street has a lot of pharmacies', I don't really like going to mass 'I don't do well at mass', there was only one very dressed in a suit and kravati (MSQ, Arg.) 'only one came, all in a suit and tie'. (6)  Poco (but not little) negates the following adverb or adjective: infrequent = 'rarely'. See 5.12. (7)  'A lot' = a lot. Much of it is archaic or humorous. (8)  Un poco de is invariable, but phrases like ?una poca de sal 'a little salt' are heard in popular or joking speech, especially in Latin America.

10.13 Otro: adjective/pronoun, marked with number and gender Adjective 'other'/'other'; pronominal 'other'/'other'. Since the English 'other' otro is often ambiguous: voy a ask for otro café 'I'm going to have another coffee' can mean that you want more coffee (ie otro café más) or that you want to replace the coffee.

10.14  Propio: adjective, marked with number and gender


Someone else wouldn't believe you. Someone else would not believe you Put another (or 'extra') seal under circumstances different from those in which . . . under circumstances other than those in which   . . . What other politician would say that? What other politician would say that? Someone else did it The other 40 migrants on the boat managed to    swim to the shore (La Jornada, Mexico)   swim to the shore otros They threw the ball to each other (1) *Un otro para 'outro' (Fr. un autre) is a constant mistake of English speakers: dame otro 'give me another', not *dame un otro. Un otro is occasionally found in colloquial speech in Argentina and elsewhere in Latin America (NGLE 13.10p). Catalans sometimes say each other because of the mutual influence on their own language. (2)  The possessives mi, tu, su, nuestro, vuestro precede otro, as do alguno, ninguno; but it is followed by other adjectives, although many can appear in any position: your other pants, somewhere/nowhere else, I know that I am manipulated like many other people (interview, sp . , also mucha otra . . .) 'I know that I am manipulated like many other people', . . . something celebrated only by Carmen Serdán and four other teachers (AM, Mexico, dialogue)'. . . something that only Carmen Serdán and four other teachers welcomed with enthusiasm”; en otros pocos caso (cf. en pocos otros caso 'in not many other cases') 'in some other cases'; others several million peasants (MVLl, Pe.) 'several million other peasants'. The order + otros/kao is sometimes seen in Latin America, i.e. two more for two more. (3)  Los/las demas can be synonymous with los otros/las otras if the latter means 'the rest'/'the rest': todos los otros pais europeos 'all other European countries', . . . Talavante, a bullfighter unlike any other (El Economista, Mexico) 'Talavante, a bullfighter unlike any other'. (4)  El resto de also means 'the rest' in the sense of 'the rest'. The usual construction is with the definite article – . . . laws that we must respect like other citizens (El País style book, 2014) 'laws that we must respect like other citizens' - but the definite article after de is often omitted today: . . . the rest of the institutions that manage the professional life of El País (ibid.) 'other institutions that manage the professional life of El País'. (5)  Any sentence. . . another thing worth mentioning: in Mexico, drinking a glass of something alcoholic for breakfast can cause surprised faces and some other complaints (Excélsior, Mexico) 'in Mexico, drinking a glass of something alcoholic for breakfast can cause surprise and a protest or two'. choose between some other and some other before masculine nouns, see 10.4.1 note 3. (6)  The archaic adverb otramente ‘otherwise’ practically died out and was replaced by otra manera/otra modo.

10.14  Propio: adjective, number and gender (a)  Usually means 'correctly', as in: mi propio taxi/tus propias convicciones my own taxi/your own convictions Cada quien se crea su propio infierno (EP, Mex.) Todo world creates his own hell Si no lo veo con mis propios ojos no lo creo If I hadn't seen with my own eyes, I wouldn't believe in self-defense

116 Various adjectives and pronouns (b) They can also mean 'the same', 'very', etc. (same as in 10,11b.): Punctuations are the author's. We received an audience from the bishop himself.

Stripes are the author's. The bishop himself gave us an audience

Own is not used after pronouns: he did it himself, not *ella own. (c)  'Appropriate', 'correct', 'strange', 'characteristic': This smell is characteristic of Bhutan This smell is characteristic of Bhutan This language is not suitable for a diplomat This language is not suitable for a diplomat he arrives three hours late It is typical that he is coming    three hours late (1)  Lo propio can be an alternative to lo mismo 'the same thing': Miguel dijo lo mismo/lo propio 'Miguel said the same', succeeded lo mismo/ lo propio en casa de Toni 'the same happened in to Tony's house'.

10.15  Solo: adjective, marked by number and gender; Sólo or solo: intransitive adverb Adjective means 'alone', adverb 'only' (ie solemente). The adverb has always been marked with a written accent, but in 1959 the Academy decreed that the accent was needed only for the sake of clarity. In 2010, this "regulation" was downgraded to a "recommendation". Ambiguity is only possible with a singular masculine adjective, for example un hombre solo/un hombre sólo 'a man alone'/'only one man', solo en casa/sólo en casa 'alone at home'/'alone at home'. Solamente is an unequivocal alternative to salt. El País always prints solo for the feature. (a)  Use of adjectives: Yo me quedé solo I stayed alone Octavia me dijo que tenía de regresar sola Octavia disse me que de regresar sola     (ABE, Pe.)   sam En esta casa cada quien se serve solo (AO, Mex. ) . estos This is the only way these problems will be solved. Millions of people enjoy light. mind at that moment   lo what Graciela could ask    what Graciela could ask    (MP, Arg., dialogue. No *tan solomente) (1)  Negative + more. . . meaning 'only' (cf. French ne. . . que . . .): no hizo más que reírse 'all he did was laugh', no piensa más que en sí misma 'she only thinks of herself'. Not to be confused with más de, which is used with numbers to mean 'more than'. See 6.5.

10.16  Both: adjective, marked by number and gender; or an invariant adverb


(2)  Solas strictly means 'alone' (ie without anyone else), and is occasionally needed for clarity to avoid confusion between solo and solo, as in necesito estar a solas/solo voce 'I want to be alone with you' ( solo can be heard as solo 'only with you'), or lo solucionó a solas 'he solved it alone (no one else present)' and lo solucionó solo 'he solved it alone' (without help). Cf. also pero never had smoked a solas (GGM, Col.) 'but she never smoked alone', la primera noche en que quedó a solas con él (EP, Mex.) 'the first night she was alone with him'. Solas is not usually used on inanimate things. Estuve a solas con mispensaientos 'I was alone with my thoughts' is an elegant and rather poetic alternative to the solo. (3)  'Not only . . . but it's also not solo/sólo. . . bell. See 37.1a. (4)  ‘The only . . .', 'the only . . .', 'his only one' etc. Único is necessary if no noun follows: él es el Único que saber conducir 'he is the only one who can drive', es lo Único concrete que tenemos (LO, Cu.) 'it is the only real thing we have', lo Único es que no sé nadar 'the only thing is that I can't swim', es hijo Único 'he is an only child'. Compare el Único/solo ser por quien deseo vivir 'the only person I want to live for', son el Único/solo sustenance del gobierno 'they are the only support of the government'. (5)  In some Latin American countries, p. Cuba, Único can be used as an adverb meaning 'only', while other regions use it exclusively, cf. unique (na unique/solamente/sólo) en esta region 'só sólo in this region'.

10.16 Both: adjective and pronoun, marked by number and gender; or invariant adverb For the use of tanto and tan in comparisons, see 6.15.1. Both basically mean 'so much', 'so many' (French tant de). (a) As an adjective, it must agree in number and gender: so much snow/so much money/so many problems. . . . . . . . one of the many consolations of the poor. . . . . . . . . one of the many comforts of the poor (MP, Arg., dialogue) Can also function as a noun or pronoun (invariable in the tanto form): I didn't think they would dare/dare so much They charge so much commissions

I didn't think he/she would be so brave They get a certain percentage as commission

(b)  As an adverb, it is in invariable form: —It has more than three kilos—. Not so much! 'He weighs more than three kilos.' 'Not so much' He ran so much that he couldn't speak (S)he ran so much that he couldn't speak. . . (see note 2 for the Tan era. So much was so . . .   así . . .) much better/so much worse for them so much better/so much worse for them —Es no less than fifty 'That's 50 pesos no less. ” “So much better weight— Much better! (J JA, Mex. Dialogue)' This is a problem for both the opposition and the government

118 Miscellaneous Adjectives and Pronouns (1)  Un tanto (invariable) can mean a little: Manolo is a little strange 'Manolo is a little strange', reports show positive although somewhat limited results (Excélsior, Mex. Sp. reports for reports ) ' reports reveal positive , albeit with rather limited results'. NGLE 20.7j notes that the variant is somewhat . . is current in Mexico. (2)  Before adjectives or adverbs, you need this: ​​you were so hospitable 'you were so hospitable', he gets up so early that no one sees him he leaves 'he gets up so early in the morning that no one sees him leave', tan aproposo 'so much on purpose'/'so relevant', I'll send it to you as soon as I can. So little can be said – I was disappointed that so few people came 'I was disappointed that so few people came' – but not *tan mucho/a/os/as: I was happy that so many people came'. Phrases like tan (adverb) buena voluntar 'such good will/kindness' and tanta buena voluntar 'such good will/kindness' should be distinguished. Before mejor, peor, mayor and minor, the full form is used: so much the better/worse for you 'so much the better/worse for you', the danger was much greater because of the radioactivity 'the danger was even greater because of the radioactivity'. (3)  Tan before the verb instead of tanto is found on both continents, although tanto is more common in Spain: tan es así = tant es así 'it was so true', so they don't know her that they let her starve to death ( EP, Mex ., Sp. tanto . . ., tan poco conocen la) 'they know so little about her that they let her starve to death'. (4)  Even more singular nouns are colloquial and often sarcastic for 'many of', 'so many': hay tanto ricacho por aqui 'there are a lot of filthy rich people here'. (5)  Both . . . that for 'how much' is not Spanish: no travels as tú '(he) doesn't travel as much as you'. Very. . . which can only mean 'so much'. . . what'. See 6.15.1. (6) Qué tant and quán tan are considered correct in Latin America outside the Southern Cone for 'how much?', 'to what extent?': how likely is it that I will become president? (Excélsior, Mex.) 'Is it possible that he will become president?', how do you like it? 'how much (how much) do you like it?'. In Spain, one could say, what is the possibility of him becoming president? or what chance it has to become. . .?, how much do you like it?

10.17  Todo: adjective/pronoun, marked with number and gender 'All', 'every', 'whole', 'any'. (a)  When not followed by a definite or indefinite article, generally means ``all'' or ``any'': any food product that contains any food product that contains artificial colors. . . coloring. . . every Spaniard knows that. . . every Spaniard knows that. . . en todo caso in any case In all these cases, cualquier can be used instead of todo. (b)  With the definite article, possessive or demonstrative, or before proper nouns, its usual meaning is 'all of'/'all':

10.17  Todo: adjective/pronoun, marked with number and gender


all night/all that year all night/all that year all five Varadero. It's an amazing beach. All of Varadero. It's an amazing beach. All    foreigners envy us (LO, Cu., dialogue)    foreigners envy us Even Ricardo, with all his patience, if even Ricardo, with all his patience,   left the seminar   left the seminar Todo Barcelona habla de ello (see 1.3.9 All of Barcelona talks about it    score 1 for genre todo here) Order noun + todo/a/os/as, as in los commensales todos . . . for all guests 'all dinner guests' or the whole house. . . para toda la casa 'the whole house' is literary style (c)  Followed by the definite article and plural of time periods means 'every': The vet comes every month every Friday/year

The vet comes every month every Friday/year

(d) Pronominally, singular means 'all', plural 'todos'/'todos'/'todos': se enfe por todo 'he gets angry about everything', es todo propaganda 'it's all propaganda:— Where are the cutters? —Me las he 'Where are the strawberries?' 'I've   comido todas    comido todos' I pay for everything I pay for everything (e)  Agreement on todo must be noted in the following cases: When an adjective phrase follows todo , the latter agrees with the subject: la verja está tudo oxidada 'all the bars are rusty ', everything was covered with harina 'everything was covered with flour'. But when a noun follows, there is some uncertainty: su cara era toda pecas 'her face was full of freckles', el cielo era todo nubes 'the sky was in clouds', esa niña es all ojos (de Moliner, II, 1930 ), 'that girl is all eyes'; mas su madre es todo (or all) corazón 'your mother is all heart' (GDLE 16.6.5). Women usually say soy toda oídos 'Everything is in my ears', but you can hear everything. . .; also es all smiles esta mañana 'she is all smiles this morning'. Cf. also these chuletes son todo hueso 'these chops/chops are all made of bone'. In such cases the Academy recognizes both constructions. (f)  Relative clauses involving todo The following sentences illustrate some translation problems: todos los que dicen eso all who say that todo el que diz eso/todo aquel que diz eso history/faz-de-conta Cuanto/Todo cuanto escribe es bueno (literary) Everything he writes is good   or everything he writes is good for this poet, whose words will all fall on this poet, whose every word will be    recorded in our hearts    engraved in our hearts césped, for all whose surfaces the lawn grows, on on whose surface   small weeds    weeds grew this city, from which I know all the churches in this city, whose churches I know these novels, all the ones he read these novels, all the ones I read

120 Various adjectives and pronouns these children, the parents of all these children, whose parents I know   I know these pages, all written in Japanese these pages, all written     in Japanese palace, in which there is no room I palace, whose rooms I have    have not visited   I have visited (1) Important: it is said that we teachers are all happy or teachers are all happy 'we teachers are all happy'/'we teachers are all happy', and everyone (nosotros) is happy 'we are all happy', but we are not *all happy'. Also note all three girls, not *all three girls. (2)  Each is used if the actions are new rather than repetitive, or when the time period is preceded by a number: 'every day he goes out with a new girl' every ten minutes he goes out with some new nonsense' every ten minute(s) he goes out with someone with the new nonsense', three drops every four hours 'three drops every four hours'. (3)  Moliner, II, 1330, notes that al. . . it's more elegant than anything else. . . to indicate rate or quantity per time period in sentences such as: he smokes four packs a day '(he) smokes four packs/American packs a day', reads several novels a week '(s)he reads several novels a week', etc. (4 )  Cuanto can be used to translate 'absolutely all': it's not about forcing people to read every book ever written.'. Cuanto or todo which can also mean 'absolutely everything': from him he inherited a huge anger towards (everything) which sounds like authority (LS, Ch., in Spanish anger means 'dispute'/'argument' and anger would be used here ) ' he inherited from him a tremendous rage against anything that sounded like authority', . . . complaining about how much he has. . . (Excélsior, Mex.) 'to complain about everything that exists'. (5)  After the neutral object, Spanish usually makes the verb to be (and one or two others) agree with the following plural noun: with our new savings plan, everything is convenient 'with our new savings plan, everything is convenient'. See 2.3.3. (6)  Todo occasionally follows a noun in floral styles: el cielo todo eba semembro de estrellas 'the whole sky was covered with stars', el mundo le seem un jardín charme 'the whole world seemed to him like an enchanted garden'. (7)  Todo el mundo (singular agreement) is a set of sentences meaning 'all': todo el mundo los conoce 'everyone knows'. (8)  Anything followed by an indefinite article is often translated 'the whole . . .': he ate the whole peach cake 'he ate the whole peach cake', there was a whole series of misunderstandings'.

10.18 Various: adjective and pronoun, marked with number and gender (a) 'Various', in which case it usually – but not always – precedes the noun: in various parts of the country 'in various parts of the country', my reasons are various 'my motives are various', various (literary: de Moliner, II, 1442) 'various (different) aspects of the question'.

10.18  Miscellaneous: adjective, marked with number and gender


(b) 'Vários', 'variadas', in which case it may also follow or precede the noun. When used with hay or ser before a noun: flowers of many colors / many colors (the second option is more literary) The fauna of this area is very diverse / diverse of various species

flowers of various colors Fauna of this area is a very diverse selection of tapas (snacks)

(c)  Translation of 'various': on several occasions 'on several occasions', in different places in the Andes 'in various places in the Andes'.

11 digits The main points discussed in this chapter are: • • • • • • •

Numbers from 1 to billions (Section 11.1) Gender of numbers (Section 11.2) Adding ones and cents (Section 11.3) Millions and billions (Section 11.4) One or one? (Section 11.5) Cien or ciento? (Section 11.6) Percentages (Section 11.7)

• 'Score', 'dozen', etc. (Section 11.8) • Fractions (Section 11.10) • Ordinal numbers (first, second, third, etc.) (Section 11.12) • Rules for writing numbers (Section 11.16) • Telephone numbers (11.17)

Spanish numbers are simple and regular, although this makes the three unexpected forms five hundred 500 (not *five hundred), seven hundred 700 (not *seven hundred) and nine hundred 900 (not *nine hundred) easy to forget. Also remember that 16–29 are arbitrarily written as one word (sixteen, twenty-two, etc.), while other tens plus ones, ie 31–99, are joined by a y: thirty-one, eighty-six, etc.

11.1 Cardinal numbers: forms Spanish cardinal numbers (numbers used for counting) do not change form, except for uno 'one' and -cientos 'hundred', which agree in gender with the thing counted: 0 cero 1 uno/ una 2 dos 3 tres 4 four 5 five 6 six 7 seven 8 ocho 9 nueve 10 diez 11 once

12 twelve 13 thirteen 14 fourteen 15 fifteen 16 sixteen 17 seventeen 18 eighteen 19 nineteen 20 twenty 21 twenty one twenty one 22 twenty two

185 one hundred eighty five 200 two hundred/two hundred 205 two hundred five/two hundred five 300 three hundred/three hundred 357 three hundred fifty seven 500,014 five hundred fourteen thousand 1,000,000 one million

23 twenty-three 24 twenty-four 25 twenty-five 26 twenty-six 27 twenty-seven 28 twenty-eight 29 twenty-nine 30 thirty 31 thirty-one/one/one 32 thirty-two 40 forty

400 four hundred/four hundred 500 five hundred/five hundred 600 six hundred/six hundred 700 seven hundred/seven hundred 800 eight hundred/eight hundred 900 nine hundred/nine hundred 1000 thousand

41 forty one/one/one 50 fifty 60 sixty 70 seventy 80 eighty 90 ninety 100 one hundred/one 101 one hundred/one/one 102 one hundred two

1001 see note 5 1006 thousand six 1107 thousand one hundred seven 1998 thousand nine hundred ninety eight 2022 two thousand twenty two 5000 five thousand 11 000 eleven thousand

936,357 nine hundred and thirty-six thousand three hundred and fifty-seven 100,000,000 one hundred million

11.1  Cardinal numbers: forms


$1,000,000 one million dollars (for use see 11.4a) 7,678,456 pounds seven million six hundred seventy eight thousand four hundred fifty six pounds 1,000,000,000 billion 1,000,000,000 one trillion (see 11.4 b ) (1)  Important: 16 -29 are written as one word, such as 200, 300, 400, 500, 600, 700, 800, and 900. Forms like ten and six for sixteen are old-fashioned. In rural speech in some countries, one hears "nine hundred" times nine hundred. The numbers 31 to 99 are often written as one word in Chile cuarentaiocho for forty-eight, sixty-seven for sixty-seven; the newspaper El Mercurio de Santiago accepts this spelling. The academic community (NGLE 21.2k) prefers forms with y. The Academy condemns the omission of a, as in ?cuarentiocho, ?sesentisiete, although it is common in casual speech in some countries, except Spain. (2)  Important: one is not used before a hundred or a thousand: a pair of mice is capable of producing more than a hundred and twenty offspring per year 'a pair of mice is capable of producing more than 120 offspring per year', more than a thousand schools equipped with color televisions 'more than a thousand schools equipped with color televisions'. But un is used to distinguish different meanings, as in three hundred/one thousand eighty-four 301,084 and three hundred/one thousand eighty-four 300,084. However, NGLE reports that a thousand . . . it is common in Latin American media, cf. We paid 1113 million dollars for this (Excélsior, Mex. cited NGLE 21.3e) 'we paid 1013 million dollars for this', Spain 113 million. . .. (3) Important: The Academy (DPD, 462) now recommends separating every three decimal places with a space: 8 567 876 = English 8,567,876. Spaces are used in Cuba: more than 1,200,000 boys and girls who make up the organization Pionerosí (Juventud Rebelde, Cu.) 'more than 1,200,000 boys and girls who belong to the Pioneer Organization'. Years, house numbers and postal codes must not contain spaces: 2015, Avenida Maragall 3230 Madrid. However, a full stop (US 'dot') is used in Spain and most South American countries to separate the thousands: $19,000 = $19,000. Typists sometimes write years with a period, for example 1998, but grammarians frown. The Academy states that a comma must be used to separate decimals: 3.45 (pronounced three point four five, not 'three point four five') = British and American 'three point four five'. This system is in general use in Spain and southern Panama. To further confuse matters, Mexico, Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic, and Central American countries in general, but not Cuba, use the English-speaking world system, i.e. 1.25, pronounced with a comma twenty-five for decimals and commas to separate thousands: 5000 five thousands. (4)  1001 is theoretically one thousand and one and this form is used in counting and is not followed by a noun. Seco (1998), 446, notes that one thousand and one comes from the famous book One Thousand and One Nights 'One Thousand and One Nights' and is correct only in the vague sense of 'a lot': I have a thousand and one things to do 'I have a thousand and one things to do ', one thousand and one home automation applications allow the owner to rest (El País, Sp.) 'countless electrical devices allow the owner to rest'. However, mil y uno/a is common before nouns: mil y un euros '1001 euros', las mil y una sonrisas de Robin Williams (Excélsior, Mexico) '1001 smiles of Robin Williams'. Forms like one thousand and one euro are found in formal writing. (5)  Certain forms ending in -ón are used, with a slight pejorative meaning, to refer to people of a certain age: un cuarentón 'an old man of forty', un cuarentón 'an old man of fifty' , a lady of sixty years. Forms ending in -year-old are only descriptive, eg un quinceañero 'fifteen-year-old boy', twenty-year-old youth (CMG, Sp.) 'twenty-year-old woman'.

124 digits (6)  El País' Libro de Estilo 2014, 2.1.9, says that el/la joven or el/la adolescent is a person between 13 and 18 years old, so they are close equivalents to our 'adolescent'. (7)  Roman numerals are written with centuries: el siglo XXI = el siglo veintiuno, although common numerals are increasingly seen. (8)  Traditionally, the word 'ou' - o - was written with an accent between the digits to avoid confusion with zero. The Academy now dictates that 5 o 6 should be written, not 5 o 6. See 37.2. (9)  English speakers should not assume that signs like £, $, or € are clear to Spanish speakers anywhere. Write $50, £179, €1,000, not $50, £179. 1000 €. (10) For other dos. . . against two others. . . see 10.13 note 2.

11.2  Gender of numbers Numbers are masculine, unlike the letters of the alphabet, which are feminine: I put seven, not nine four

I put a 7, not a 9. The two 8s in the ad were spinning fast in opposite directions.

This also applies to hundreds and thousands when used as a noun (i.e. when followed by de): thousands of typhoon victims thousands of typhoon victims several hundred people present at the demonstrations (1) In informal styles, thousands is often made feminine before feminine nouns: thousands of birds (La Vanguardia, Sp.) 'thousands of birds', thousands of victims (The Economist, Mexico) 'thousands of victims'. Seco (1998), 297, claims that the last mile is "abnormal" and the Academy disapproves of it, but construction is often heard and seen.

11.3  Agreement one and hundreds Important: one and hundreds (but not hundred/hundred) agree in gender with a count noun. Foreign students keep forgetting to get hundreds to agree: one peso/one pound twenty one house five hundred dollars seven hundred approved women three hundred one female student on page five hundred and fourteen I sleep in four hundred   (room omitted)

one peso/one pound twenty one house five hundred dollars seven hundred women 301 student passed page 514 I sleep in (room) 400

(1)  Combinations of tens plus one and thousands (21,000, 31,000, 41,000, etc.) are problematic. Logically, one should say veintiuna mil mujeres '21,000 women', because nouns are feminine and mil is an adjective: se han visa affected treinta y una mil personas 'thirty-one thousand people are affected' (TVE broadcast). However, ways like veintiún mil pesetas, treinta y un mil mujeres

11.5  One or one?


'31,000 women', etc., are in common use, and many speakers do not accept veintiuna/treinta y una mil. Seco (1998), 445, notes that the masculine is indeed the traditional form and that the Academy approves of both. When thousands are multiplied by hundreds, the expected gender agreement should be used: doscientas mil mujeres '200,000 women', never *doscientos mil mujeres.

11.4 Million, billion and trillion (a) Important: million, billion and the little-used trillion are masculine nouns and are associated with the following noun or phrase: more than 13 million tourists will visit DF by the end of the year (Excelsior, Mexico) ' 13 million tourists are likely to visit Mexico City by the end of the year' (DF = Federal District, but see note 3). (b) Important: One billion and one trillion Hispanics do not have the same values ​​as they do in the United States and most other places in the English-speaking world: Spain and Latin America

USA, Great Britain, etc.

one million = 1,000,000


billion = 1,000,000,000 (see note 2) one trillion = 1,000,000,000,000


one trillion = one million billion


billion (thousand million) trillion (million million) million trillion

The left-hand column shows the values ​​used throughout the Latin American world, but it makes sense to ask which system is used when talking about national debts or stars, galaxies, atoms, etc. In Britain, "billions" and "trillions" had their Latin American values ​​until official adoption of the American system in 1974, and some people are still confused about their exact meaning. (1)  The phrase un millón/billón/trillón de is singular, so the following verb or noun must agree accordingly: el millón y medio estido fue inversão . . . 'the remaining million and a half have been/invested. . .'. 'A million and one' is un millon y uno/una, and y is used whenever a number word follows: un millon y cien, tres millones y mil, mas un millon doscientos mil = 'one million and two hundred thousand'. (2)  The term un millardo has been proposed for one billion (one billion) English speakers, but it does not seem to have caught on outside of Venezuela. (3)  Mexico City's name was officially changed in January 2016 from Distrito Federal to la Ciudad de México, often abbreviated to CDMX.

11.5  One or one? Uno loses the final vowel before a masculine noun or noun phrase, as does una before nouns beginning with the tonic a- or ha-. Twenty-one is shortened to twenty-one in the same context: one tiger, two tigers, three tigers one tiger, two tigers, three tigers (linguistic tangles) twenty one thousand men 21,000 men twenty one thousand women (see 11.3 note 1) 21,000 women one eagle, twenty one arms, thirty one eagle, 21 weapons, 31 axes

126 Numbers In the following examples, the final vowel is retained because no noun follows a number: no hay más que twenty-one 'there is only twenty-one', one hundred one paragraph 'paragraph 101', England, traditional ghost land , see one new por sus streets 'England, the traditional land of ghosts, witnesses the new on its streets'.

11.6  A hundred or a hundred? Ciento is an abbreviation of cien before another number that multiplies, or before a noun or noun phrase: cien mil bolivars 100,000 bolivars cien mil 100 mil de Mex.)

one hundred and eleven on page one hundred and eighteen

(1) The old rule was that ciento should be used when the number is alone: ​​​​—¿Cuántos son? —Ciento '"How many are there?" '"Hundred"'. This rule has been deprecated everywhere so the answer is now cien. Other examples: yo vivo en el cien 'I live at number 100', pues chaman cien o sobran cincuenta (AM, Mexico, dialogue) 'good, another hundred or fifty'. However, scient is still used in percentages: see the next section.

11.7  Expressing percentages The Academy recommends the percentage (NGLE 21.2m) and is common in written language, although the percentage is common in speech. One hundred percent is often used for 'complete', 'absolute', although one hundred percent is also found: forty-three percent forty-three percent both percent PCE won only 8 and a few percent of the Spanish Communist Party only votes ( El País, Sp. )   received just over 8% of the vote 60 percent of the intervals are predicted There are 60% of the forecast periods    of showers in Chiapas and Oaxaca             (La Jornada, Mexico) . . . sure, one hundred percent, yes. . . 100% guarantee that    discharges are harmless (El País, Sp.)    waste is harmless The investigation convinces me 100%    (interview, La Jornada, Mexico) Promises commitment and professionalism Promises 100% commitment and    percent (El País , Sp.)    professionalism (1 )  For the use of percentages, see 11.11.

11.8  'Score', 'dozen', etc. (aggregate numbers) There are a number of aggregate numbers, cf. our 'result', which is sometimes used to express approximate amounts:

11.10  Fractions

una several times sometimes una decena about ten una docena a dozen (often approximately,    used less than in English) una veintena punctuation/about twenty


quarantine about forty / quarantine one fifty about fifty hundred about a hundred thousand about a thousand

(1)  Important: like all collective nouns, collective numbers are often treated as singular: twenty houses are lined up to form a street in front of the river (LS, Ch.) 'a dozen houses are lined up to form a street in front of the river', lo esperaba una treintena de hombres con rifles (ES, Mexico) 'about thirty men with rifles were waiting for him'. See 2.3.1 for additional comments on collective nouns. (2)  Cuatro is very colloquially used in Spain and Mexico, and no doubt elsewhere, in the sense of 'couple'/'handful': no ​​​​​​hay más que cuatro gato 'there are only a few people around' ( lit. '. . . only four cats'), no son más que cuatro desgraciados los que ponen las pegatinas fascisti 'it's just a handful of wretches putting on fascist stickers'. (3)  Centenar and millar are used to express exchange rates: thousand dollars el centenar/millar '1000 dollars one hundred thousand' or, more colloquially, . . . every cien/for every cien, every thousand. (4)  An informal way of expressing 'a little above' is to use y pico, as in el piso veintipico (MVM, Sp.) 'twenty-something flat/apartment', treinta y pico 'thirty-something'. Also note son las cinco y pico 'it's only after/it's five o'clock'.

11.9  Mathematical Expressions Two and (or two plus) three is five Two times three is six Eight divided by two is four   (or eight divided by two . . .) Eleven minus nine is two Three is the square root of nine Nine is the square of three It makes a square of ten meters two square meters three cubic meters minus twenty

Two plus three equals five Two times three equals six Eight divided by two equals four Eleven minus nine equals two Three is the square root of nine Nine is three squared That's ten square meters two square meters minus three cubic meters twenty

The division sign is a colon, for example 3:6 = 0.5 (three divided by six is ​​zero point five) '3/6 = 0.5' (0.5 zero point five in Mexico).

11.10 Fractions There are nouns to express some lower fractions, for example la/una mitad 'half', el/un tercio 'third', dos tercios 'two thirds', el/un quarto 'one/room'. From 'fifth' to 'tenth' a masculine ordinal number can be used: un peti/sixth/seventh/octavo/ noveno/decimo 'fifth/sixth/seventh/eighth/ninth/tenth', but this is more typical for mathematics, technical or sports language, although it is also heard in polite speech: ganó three-fifths of a second '(s) won by three-fifths of a second'. In everyday language, the forms fifth part, sixth part, seventh part, etc. are used, although in some cases the usage is inconsistent and the part may be omitted. Note that I have a tenth of the fiber 'I've got a

128 Figures a few tenths of a degree of fever', a few tenths of a second later 'a few tenths of a second later'. The tenth part is one tenth of the Spanish National Lottery ticket. The third part is common in non-mathematical speech for the third. Examples: Half saved from a quarter of a kilogram to a quarter of a kilogram One third of Spaniards think that . . . The Spanish think that . . . Alaska and Venezuela guarantee only us Alaska and Venezuela guarantee only    two-thirds of this    us two-thirds of this supply   supplies (CF, Mexico, dialogue) Complicated fractions like 'four twenty-seven' are now usually expressed as decimal numbers. If fractions are used, the usual practice in Spain is to use the usual cardinal numbers: '1/20' = twentieth part, '1/90' = ninetieth part, '1/53' = fifty-third part. Forms such as twentieth part '1/20', ninetieth part '1/90', fifty third part '1/53' are avoided in all but formal language. Masculine ordinal forms can be used for high fractions: un milsimo de liter 'thousandth of a litre/litre'. Decomposed ordinals are also often used for hundredths, thousandths, millionths and billionths: part hundredths/thousandths/millionths, three and two hundredths '3/200'; part of the word is often omitted. After the first one-hundredth of a second, the Universe begins to gather    one second The Universe begins to take on a    familiar look (Abc, Sp.)    a familiar look The unemployment rate showed The unemployment rate showed a marginal   baju marginal of un stotinka   100th point drop   (Excélsior, Mexico) Bolt won by one hundredth of a second Bolt won by 100th of a second    (La Jornada, Mexico) (1)  Smaller fractions can alternatively be expressed - and usually are in mathematical language - by adding the suffix -avo to the main number: the twenty-fifth part '1/25' , three eighty-sixth part '3/86'. Mathematical language can use a masculine noun, for example three eighty-sixths. If two a's are joined when -avo is added, one can optionally be dropped and is usually in non-mathematical language: thirty (a) vo '30.'. (2)  Medio/a/os/as is the adjectival form for 'half': half dozen/pint 'meia dozen/half pint'; la mitad is the noun 'half'. Cuarto can act as an adjective or a noun: un cuarto kilo or un cuarto de kilo '1/4 kilogram', but always un cuarto de hora 'a quarter of an hour'. (3)  In this example, the optional use of con should be noted: it costs eight euros and fifty-seven cents.

11.11  Articles with numbers Certain common numerical expressions, especially percentages, appear with el or un. This is especially true when the numerical value is preceded by a preposition and, after complir, all llegar a . . . meaning 'to complete': Vivo en el Cinco I live at number five Cuando George Burns cumplió los noventa When George Burns completed    años. . . (La Jornada, Mexico)   ninety

11.12 Ordinal numbers


He said when he reached eighty (S) he said when (s) he reached eighty. . . a 55% reduction in . . . a 55% drop in the number of    judgments passed and    judgments issued; and 102%    102% increase in the sum of    increase in the total number of   lawsuits filed (La Nación, Arg.)   procedures, say 20% of Mexicans (n ​​) . . . 20% of Mexicans say. . . thirty percent of the working-age population 30% of the working population But it already costs between three thousand and five thousand euros. I am forty-three years old

It cost between 3,000 and 5,000 euros. I am forty three (years old)

(1)  The article is not used everywhere with percentages: programmable spending represented 18.2% of GDP last year (La Jornada, Mexico uses a semicolon as in English) 'last year, the projected cost represented 18.2% of GDP -a', he got only 46.4% of the total number of votes (El Nacional, Ven.) 'he just got 46.4% of the total votes'.

11.12  Ordinal numbers 11.12.1  Ordinal numbers from one to ten These translate 'first', 'second', 'third', etc. They agree in number and gender: el quinta libro, la quinta casa 'the fifth book', 'the fifth house '. Special ordinal forms from first to tenth are in everyday use, but cardinal numbers invade even these in expressions like el siglo nueve/noveno 'the ninth century', with the ordinal being considered more correct: primer(o) first second second tercer (o ) third fourth quarter

five five eight eight six six nine seven/seven ten

el tercer hombre the third man Elizabeth II (second) Elizabeth II Ferdinand VII (seventh) Ferdinand VII

the third time the third time the tenth century

(1)  Primero and tercero lose the final vowel before a masculine singular noun or noun phrase: el primer récord mundo 'the first world record', el tercer gran éxito 'the third great success'. For details, see 5.5b. (2)  Séptimo is usually pronounced seventh and the Academy approves of this spelling. Many people, especially in Spain, find this unacceptable. (3)  Nono is used for novena when referring to popes: Pío nono 'pope Pius IX'. (4)  In the titles of royal families and popes, the usual rule is to use an ordinal number below eleven, a cardinal number for numbers above ten: Enrique V (Enrique Quinto) 'Henrique the Fifth', but Juan XXIII (Juan Veintitrés ) 'John 23'. (5)  See 32.9.1 how to pronounce and write dates.

130 digits

11.12.2 Ordinal numbers above ten The use of the special ordinal forms listed below is decreasing and is now mostly found only in official or official language. Bold forms are used for fractions in technical language: tres doceavos 'three twelfths' They are also often used as ordinal numbers in Latin America: twelfth part of a six-year period (CF, Mexico, dialogue) 'one twelfth of six years', and occasionally in Spain, although it is condemned by Seco (1998), , Country Style Book and Academy, NGLE 21.1d. 11th undécimo onceavo 12th duodécimo doceavo 13th decimotercero treceavo 14th decimocuarto catorceavo 15th decimoquinto quinceavo 16th decimosexto dieciseisavo 17th decimoséptimo diecisieteavo 18th decimoctavo dieciochavo 19th decimonoveno/decimonono   diecinueveavo 20th vigésimo veinteavo 21th vigésimo/a primero/a 25th vigésimo/a quinto etc. twenty five 30. thirty thirty 36. thirty six 40. forty forty 50. fifty fifty

60. sixties 70. seventies 80. eighty 90. nineties 100. cent (in common use) cent 200. two hundred 300. three hundred 400. four hundred 500. five hundred 600. sixth 700. seven hundred 800. 900. nine hundred 1000. thousand ( in common use) 2000. five hundred thousand

(1)  Important: In informal, written and spoken style, those ordinal forms above the tenth are avoided and the usual cardinal numbers are used, eg commemorating the eighteenth anniversary of the death of Myrna Mack Chang (La Hora, Guat.) 'Commemorating the 18th anniversary of the death of Myrna M Chang', three hundred and fifty board meetings '350. board meeting', fifteen days to go for my fiftieth birthday (CMG, Sp., dialogue) 'it was fifteen days before my fiftieth birthday', the Spanish high-speed train will soon count its half million passengers (El País, Sp. , instead of five hundred thousand ) passengers) 'Spain's high-speed train (AVE) will soon receive (literally 'enter your receipts') its 500,000th passenger'. Some newspapers, eg La Nación of Argentina and El Mercurio of Chile, print regular forms, for example 65. [sixty-fifth] anniversary, others, p. Mexico's La Jornada and Spain's El País use cardinal forms, i.e. 65th [sixty-fifth] anniversary. (2)  Decimoprimero, decimosecond, for undecimo, duodecimo, were traditionally condemned, but are now accepted by the Academy (NGLE 21.4i), although El País does not. (3)  Forms such as 13, 16 and 16 are now obsolete, although El País accepts them. Unified forms like twenty-fifth, twenty-seventh, etc. are also common for '21' to '29'. If the words are separated, both elements must agree in gender and number: the twenty-sixth answer or the twenty-sixth answer. (4) On the first day of the month you can say el uno de. . . or the first of . . . the latter is more common in Latin America, but is often heard in Spain.

11.15  Dimensions and other numerical expressions


11.12.3  Position of ordinal numbers Usually preceded by: en el tercer capito/en capito tercero in the third chapter complex relationship between science and politics complex relationship between    bajo el Tercer Reich (El País, Sp.)   science and politics under the Third Reich for who knows what time and time again the first three paragraphs/paragraphs the first three paragraphs   begin

11.13 Division every five months every five months Everyone pays their share Everyone pays their share I gave a thousand pesos to each of them I gave each of them 1000 pesos The actors entered two by two The actors entered two by two He went up the stairs stairs three between three ( S)he went up the stairs three steps at a time   (from NGLE 21.8c) They brought bouquets of individual flowers (literary Each carried a bouquet of flowers/Each style   , informal each brought    one carried a bouquet bouquet) One of your employees offered us pathas One of your employees offered each of us    glasses of wine (JV, Mexico)    a glass of wine (1)  NGLE notes that 'each'/'one by one' beings die everywhere, but it is quite common in Latin American newspapers.

11.14  Single, double, triple, etc. one ticket (Latin-Am. card) one way ticket one single room one single room each and every problem all problems with one exception with one exception none none Air contains twice as much oxide de The air contains twice as much nitrogen nitrogen    as Washington (Granma, Cu.)    oxide than Washington My salary is twice yours My salary is twice his double glass double glass double bed double bed They doubled the sum They doubled the sum This quantity is three times this quantity This quantity is three times this quantity

11.15  Dimensions and other numerical expressions This room measures 2.5 (two point five) by   3.75 (three point seventy five) The area is three square meters. It forms a square of two thousand cubic centimeters

This room measures 2.5 by 3.75. The area is three square meters. Two square meters 1000 cc

132 Pictures The wire is one hundred meters long/one hundred meters deep/wide five meters eight horse power two stroke engine thirty degree angle Forms a right angle Must be five below zero even/odd/prime numbers two ninths divided by three sevenths   (see 11.12.2 for discussion of -avo) ten cubic/sixth/ninth

The cable is 100m long Is five meters/meters deep/wide 8 horsepower two-stroke engine 30 degree angle Makes a right angle Must be five degrees below zero even/odd/prime numbers two ninths divided by three sevenths ten to thirds/sixths/ ninth (103, 106, 109)

11.16  Numbers: Rules for Writing There is no universal agreement on rules for writing numbers, but the following recommendations are summarized, with some additions, from the Academy's Diccionario panhispánico de dudas and apply to non-technical work. Digits are used: (a)  for all numbers consisting of four or more digits; 56,982, 5,073, 2019, etc. (b)  for all numbers that include a decimal value: 2.8 kilograms, 21.5 kilometers; (c)  for percentages greater than 10: 11 percent, 67.5 percent; (d)  for numbers preceded or followed by an abbreviated unit or symbol: 64 km (sixty-four kilometers), 24° (veinticuatro grads), 45 pages. (forty-five pages), €90 (ninety euros). (e)  for the dates: 23 March 2023; see 36.9 for more on date format. Numbers are used for years (1998, 2005) but not for decades: los años noventa 'the nineties'; (f)  when a number follows a noun and expresses a value in a series (this includes addresses): Avenida de la Libertad 7, 2nd izquierda 'Avenida de la Libertad 7, apartment on the second floor, door to the left', N-342 'National highway 342', room 378' room 378'. Letters are used: (a)  for numbers that can be written in one word: quince, diecisiete, veinticuatro, doscientos, etc.; (b)  for round numbers expressed in two words: three thousand, cien millones; (c)  for numbers up to 99 joined with y: setenta y ocho, noventa y nueve; (d)  for all approximate figures: input seventy thousand dollars 'about 70,000 dollars', ¡te lo he dicho cien veces!, 'I told you a hundred times!', tengo mil y una cosas que hacer 'I already have a thousand and one thing to do'; (e)  for numbers said to have been spoken: me dijo que quirá quires to buy setecientos cincuenta '(he told me he wanted to buy seven hundred and fifty'); (f)  to indicate hours that are not times: llegó a las diez y media/a las cuatro cuarenta y cinco '(s)he arrived at 11:30'/'at 4:45'.

11.17  Telephone Numbers


(1)  El País says in its 2014 Stylebook, 11/10, that you should not start a sentence with a number, except in headlines and abbreviated messages. He forbids his journalists from opening with Ten people were injured. . . "Ten people were injured. . .'; better Ten people were injured in total. This is not seen everywhere: three people died and 22 were injured. . . (El Comercio, French).

11.17  Telephone numbers El País's Libro de Estilo, 2014, 11.24, recommends that telephone numbers be expressed in pairs: 54 06 72, speaking as cincuenta y cuatro – cero seis – setenta y dos, and this is the usual form in which telephone numbers are said in spanish. If the number of digits is odd, write the first group, which can be said as a combination of hundreds: 542 67 22, speaking as quinientos cuarenta y dos– sesenta y siete – veintidós or, more commonly, Cinco – cuarenta y dos – sixty-seven – twentyidós. Extensions are sometimes written in square brackets: 033 527 76 89 (19). Phone numbers are usually written with dashes separating the numbers that are pronounced as individual numbers. However, there is no objection to phone numbers being pronounced as separate numbers – siete dos cuatro uno tres ocho nueve – 7241389 – which is easier for foreigners.

12 Personal pronouns, subject The main points discussed in this chapter are: • • • • •

Forms of personal subject pronouns (Section 12.1) Use of subject pronouns (Section 12.2) Formal and informal modes of address (you, your and you) (Section 12.3) We (Section 12.4) Pronouns and agreement (Section 12.5)

This chapter covers the Spanish pronouns I, you and you, you, he, she, we, you, you and they. These are pronouns used as the subject of a verb, as in I sing 'I sing', you speak 'you speak' However, they are used much less than their English equivalents for reasons explained in 12.2.1. The use of the third person object pronouns le/les and lo/la/los/las is discussed separately in Chapter 15. For adjectives and possessive pronouns, see Chapter 9. For se pronouns and pronominal verbs (see Glossary), see chapters 30 and 32.

12.1 Classification and forms 'Subject' pronouns are used to emphasize the subject of the verb: yo hablo, 'I speak', él duerme 'he sleeps'. See 12.2.1 for details on its use. Personal pronouns, subject Person SINGULAR




you (notice the emphasis!)


informal: see 12.3.2



informal. Only in some lat. I am. countries. see 12.3.1



formal: version 12.3.2

3. mask.

he (emphasis!)

on, to

see 12.2.1–2

3. a woman


she, it

version 12.2.1–2 PLURAL

1. more.



version 12.4

1. pet.



version 12.4

2. mask.



unofficially, Spain only: see 12.3.3

2. female



unofficially, Spain only: see 12.3.3

2. formal



formally in Spain; formal or known in Latin I am. See 12.3.3

3. mask.



see 12.2.1–2

3. a woman



see 12.2.1–2

(1) For the third person neuter pronoun ello, see 8.3.

12.2  Use of subject pronouns


12.2  Use of subject pronouns 12.2.1  Emphasis and contrast Important: The identity of the subject of a Spanish verb is usually obvious from the verb ending: hablo 'I speak', habló 'he/she/you/it spoke', vendimos 'we sell', salieron 'they /you (ustedes) have gone' etc. The forms yo/tú/él/ella/usted(es)/ellos/ellas are therefore usually only needed for emphasis or contrast. It is a serious mistake, common among English speakers, to use Spanish subject pronouns unnecessarily. ** I got dressed and then went to pick up my son, but I was late is completely unacceptable for 'I got dressed, then went to pick up my son, but I was late'. All yos should be deleted, except perhaps the first one, and only if necessary for one of the reasons listed in this section. Subject pronouns are used only: (a)  when the pronoun appears without a verb: —¿Quién ha venido? —Ellos —¿Quién lo ha hecho? —Nosotros/as —¿Quién es? — yes

'Who came?' 'They/Them' 'Who did this?' 'We have come' 'Who is it?' 'I'

(b)  When there is a change of subject, not necessarily within the same sentence, and the subjects are opposed to each other: Much confusion is caused by English speakers who ignore this rule. Mi hermana es Médica y ella Nunca está en casa means 'my sister is a doctor and she (ie someone else) is never at home', while '. . . y is never at home refers to my sister. Tú eres listo, pero ella es genial You are intelligent, but she is a genius My wife works and I stay at home My wife works and I stay at home   with children   with children ¿Mami le cuenta a Dios que Mita no va a He says li mama God da Mita    misa y que yo me porta mal? (MP,    don't go to mass and I behave badly?    Arg., dialog) He was with some friends and I was with a   client (GZ, Mex., dialog)    client (c ) To emphasize the point: Pues yo no quiero salir Well, I don't want to leave (i.e. even if   you want) Tú haz lo que te dé la gana You do what you want (implies    'I don't care') Ríete de mí , pero tú vas a llegar muy alto Laugh at me (if you want ), but you will    (ES, Mexico, dialogue)    go far (literally 'very loud') (d)  To clarify ambiguous verb endings: yo tenía/ él tenía 'I had'/'he had', que yo fuese/que él fuese 'that I should go/be'/'that he should go/be', yo estaba trabajando 'I was at work'. However, in most cases the context makes the meaning clear and a pronoun is not necessary. (e)  In the sentences soy yo 'it's me', eres tú 'it's you' (arg. sos vos), es él/ella/usted 'it's him/her/you', são nosotros/nosotras 'it's us we', sois vosotros/vosotras 'it's you', son ellos/ellas/ustedes 'it's they/you'. (1)  Important: English can emphasize almost any word by simply saying it louder, eg 'you must talk to her, not her brother', but this use of loudness or stress usually produces

136 Personal pronouns subject to an unfortunate effect in Spanish. The latter uses other devices, e.g. split sentences (she is the one you should talk to, not her brother; see 41.3) or changes in word order: you should talk to her, not her brother. Other examples (bold in English shows stress and volume): 'where are you going?' to you, 'what is he doing?' and what is he doing?/what is he doing?, 'you are not coming with us' you are not coming with us/you are not coming with us'. See 42.1.2 for further comments on this matter.

12.2.2 Subject pronouns for inanimate nouns He/she/they/they can translate 'it' or 'they' when applied to inanimate things, especially after a preposition: not outside the house, but inside it 'not outside the house, but in it ', I like your hat, but you'd better 'I like your hat, but you'd better'. But they are considered human beings when used as the subject of a verb. Therefore, wind blows 'wind blows' cannot be shortened to he blows, which means '(he) blows'; blowing means 'they blow'. Nor can you say *I bought a table and an armchair. It has a leather cover and is of Italian design for an armchair. . . . . . . . . and the table is from . . . . . . . . . "I bought a table and an armchair. The chair is covered in leather, and the table is of Italian design (example GDLE 19.2.2). Subject pronouns are, however, sometimes used in Latin America for an inanimate subject, where peninsular speakers would not use a pronoun at all or would use the corresponding form este/este 'this'/'last' or that/ that (or ono /aquél)' first': 'The opposition' has disappeared from the radio, 'The opposition' has disappeared from television and the daily press. . . . . . . . radio, television and daily press. It survives, minimally, harassed, Opera, minimally and harassed, from the opinion columns of all newspapers (MVLl, Pe.) newspapers

12.3  Formal and informal forms of address 12.3.1  Voseo In Spain, vos for 'you' is archaic, but it is used instead of tú in many parts of Latin America. Vos for tú is universal in speech and writing in Argentina and students of this type should use it; but see 20.12.5 for subjunctive forms used with vos. It is accepted in most social circles in Uruguay, Paraguay, eastern Bolivia and most of Central America, including the far south of Mexico: in Costa Rica, for example, tú is considered unnatural. It occurs locally in Colombia, Ecuador and Venezuela and is probably spreading there, but may be considered "low class" or provincial, although views vary locally. In Chile, it is rejected by the middle and upper classes. It is not common in Peru, Panama, Cuba, central and northern Mexico, and Puerto Rico, but pockets of the voce exist in some of those countries. The possessive adjective for vos is tu/tus, the object pronoun is te, and the prepositional form is vos: ¿te das cuenta de que estoy hablando de vos y de tu amigo? 'do you realize I'm talking about you and your friend?' Verb forms used with vos vary by region and are best learned locally. For verb forms used in Buenos Aires see 16.7.1 note 2 and 21.2.3. Vos was once used as a second person singular polite pronoun in Spain and is still used there in ritual language in official documents, in some prayers, when addressing the king on very special occasions.

12.3  Formal and informal forms of treatment


formal occasions and in pseudo-archaic styles, e.g. in the play Las Meninas, Buero Vallejo. In Spain this archaic vos uses the normal verb endings for vosotros and the possessive adjective/pronoun is vuestro/a/os/as.

12.3.2  Tú (vos) ou usted? Important: in Spain today tú is used for people by name (but see note 2), i.e. between friends, work colleagues, family members, for children and animals and in prayers. It is also heavily used among foreigners under the age of 40, and even those over 40 will find that young waiters or clerks call them tú. Tú is therefore much more used than the French tu or the German Du, and is much more common than it was 70 years ago. Tú (or vos in parts of Latin America) should not be used anywhere for people in authority. for example. police or elderly foreigners unless they encourage its use. Using tú where you expect usted can express contempt or threat: attackers call their victims tu, not usted. In most of Latin America, tú ou vos is used less easily than in Spain, and students are likely to be careful when adhering to usted (with foreigners). An uneducated female character in a Mexican novel complains that the Spanish people still don't know each other and screams (ES, Mexico, dialogue) 'Spaniards shout at each other and call people tú even when they don't know them'. (1)  In Chile, usted and tú can be mixed together for a familiar address. In the following passage, an upper-class mother on the beach calls her little boy Alvarito, métase un poco al agua. Mójese las patitas siquiera. . . Can you see that the eagle is rich? (SV, Ch.) 'Alvarito, get into the water a little. At least get your feet wet. Do you see how beautiful the water is?" A similar phenomenon is found in Colombia, where usted is even used for informal address, i.e. where else only tú or vos would be used; this phenomenon is called ustedeo. (2)  Usted and name can combine when you want to indicate distance from someone you know, eg an employee: bueno, Pura, pues hasta mañana. Y cierre al salir (CMG, Sp., addressing a maid) 'Okay, Pura, well, see you tomorrow. And close the door on the way out. Usted is also used for older people when they are treated with respect as don + their name: ¿cómo está usted, don Roberto? (3)  In some families, especially in rural areas, usted(es) is used to denote parents and grandparents, but the custom is disappearing.

12.3.3  Vosotros/as ou ustedes? Important: vosotros (vosotras when talking to women) is the plural of tú and is used in Spain for two or more people in the same circumstances where tú is used for one person. This is normal in Spain, but in Latin America vosotros/as is not used in everyday language and is replaced by ustedes, a phenomenon also found in the Canary Islands and locally in popular speech in southern Spain. A Latin American mother addresses her child with tú or, sometimes, vos, and her children with ustedes. Even animals in Latin America are called ustedes. Foreigners should remember to use vosotra for two or more females, but vosotra when groups include at least one male. Vosotros and its possessive vuestro are sometimes found in Latin America in business correspondence, flowery speeches and similar ceremonial texts, cf. . . . with regard to the recomposition of the relationship between

138 Personal pronouns, subject Argentina y vuestro country '. . . with regard to the re-establishment of relations between Argentina and your country' (from a commercial letter addressed to Great Britain).

12.3.4  Usted/ustedes Usted is a formal or polite pronoun meaning 'you' and is similar to French vous, German Sie, although French and German usage is a poor guide: see 12.3.2–3. In Spain ustedes is the plural of usted and is reserved for formal situations, but in Latin America ustedes is the plural of usted and also of tú/vos. Therefore, it is the only subject pronoun in the second person plural in everyday use. Since they derive from the archaic formula Vuestra Merced 'Your Grace', they require third person verb forms: usted habla 'you speak', ustedes hablan 'you (plural) speak'. Usted/ustedes used to be shortened to V./Vs., Vd./Vds. or Ud./Uds in official documents or business letters, but the full lowercase forms usted/ustedes are now common and recommended. The object forms usted/ustedes are discussed under third person pronouns in Chapters 14 and 15. (1)  As subject pronouns usted/ustedes must appear only once at the beginning of a text or statement, and then occasionally to recall a polite tone. While omitting usted/ustedes altogether may sound too informal, repeating it constantly can seem creepy.

12.4  Nosotros/as, nos The first person plural is constantly used in books and articles when the author speaks modestly about himself. It is less pompous than the English 'royal We': in this paper we have tried to focus on the problem of inflation of . . . In this paper I ('we') tried to deal with the problem of inflation. . .'. (1) Important: when the subjects of the verb are exclusively feminine, nosotrases must be used. (2)  The following construction is found in the Southern Cone: Fuimos con mi hermano. . . (in another place, I went with my brother/my brother and I went with my brother) 'I went with my brother' (lit. 'we went with my brother'), and then we went to Patagonia, with Matilda ( ES , Arg., interview; Sp. went with Matilde/ Matilde y yo fuimos) 'so Matilde and I went to Patagonia'. (3)  Nos para nosotros is obsolete, but used by popes, bishops and monarchs in official documents or ritual language.

12.5  Pronoun Agreement in English and Spanish Verbs sometimes agree with personal pronouns in ways that are strange to English speakers: Soy yo/Somos nosotros/Fuisteis That's me/That's us/That was you/That was them   vosotros/Fueron ellos   (lit 'I I am', 'we are we', 'you were    you', 'they were they') write again, but    you stimulate you. Y luego que tampoco la    there is nothing to stimulate her more. we help nadie (CMG, Sp., dialogue)    And in the end none of us help her —¿Quién ha dicho eso? —He was your 'Who said that?' 'It was me' [any second or third person] y yo or You/(She) and I are going   nosotros go

12.5  Pronoun agreement in English and Spanish


Tú ili vosotros y [usted(es) or third person] You and he/you go   van Él y usted(es) [or any third person pronoun] He and you/they go   out When you answer the phone, say soy Ana 'it's Ana', literally 'I am Ana', soy Antonio 'says Antonio'. Es Ana 'is Ana' is only possible when someone else is talking about her.

13 Personal pronouns used with prepositions This short chapter discusses: • the forms of pronouns after prepositions (Section 13.1) • conmigo and ti (Section 13.2) • the pronouns sí and the co form (Section 13.3)

13.1 Pronoun forms after prepositions Yo, tú and have separate forms used after prepositions: mí, ti and sí (this pronoun is discussed in 13.3). In other cases, the usual subject forms, él, ella, ello, usted, nosotros/as, vosotros/as, ustedes, ellos/ellas, are used after the preposition. Important: mí and sí have an accent that distinguishes them from mi 'my' and si 'if'. You don't have an accent - a fact that is constantly ignored by both foreigners and locals: You don't know anything about me I have nothing against you The closer I am to you, the more energy I get every minute (EP, Mex., dialogue) (the more is usually the more elsewhere) I believe in you (Arg. Sp. and Mex. . . in you) not in front of you I mean he/she We believe you/you/you He ran after them past them

(S)he doesn't know anything about me I have nothing against you The closer I am to you the more energy I get every minute I believe in you not in front of you I think of him We trust you (S) ) he ran after them except for them (wife)

The seven prepositions or preposition-like words have a form common to all subject pronouns (but the pronoun obeys slightly different rules: see 13.3 note 4). These are: between 'between'/'between' (but see note 5), except 'except', even when it means 'even' instead of 'up to', even 'including'/'even', minus 'except', except 'except'/'save', according to 'according to': Everyone did less/except/saved you Let it be between you and me. It's a matter between Hernán and me (GZ, Mex.) Up to you you can do Up to you I don't know anything about life (ES, Mexico, dialogue)

Everyone did it but/saved you Keep it between you and me. It's something between Hernán and me. Even you can do it. According to you, I know nothing about life

(1) Important: English speakers should avoid mistakes like *except me, *between you and me, etc.

13.3  Yes, I understand


(2)  Important: the preposition is repeated after the conjunction (and, or): para ti y para mí 'for you and for me', not *para ti y mí; para Mama y para ti 'for Mama and you', not *para Mama y ti. (3)  Note the definite phrases from tú a tú 'on equal terms', hablar de tú (ie tuear) 'to address someone like you'. (4)  For constructions like ?detrás tuyo para detrá ti 'behind you' or ?delante mío za adelante de mí 'in front of me', see 9.7. (5)  Mí is used after entre in a sentence defined by entre mí as in this will end badly, he said entre mí 'this will end badly, I told myself'. In some regions, there is a popular tendency to use prepositional forms with entre when talking about an actual spatial location: tonight I will put Inês to sleep in my bed, between me and Pelusa (MP, Arg., dialogue ; Sp. entre la Pelusa y yo) 'to-night I will put Inés to sleep in my bed between me and Pelusa' (la Inés Inés is a popular style; see 3.2.21). (6)  Vos is a prepositional form used instead of you in Argentina and other regions of voce: do you want me to lie to you? (CP, Arg., dialogue, ie do you want me to lie for you?) 'do you want me to lie for you?'

13.2  With me, with you Important: with me and with you special forms are used instead of with + me, with + you: are you coming with me? 'Are you coming with me?', I don't want to fight with you 'I don't want to fight with you'. In Voseo areas, you rarely hear: I won't argue with you "I don't want to argue with you". In popular speech in some Latin American countries you hear ?con mí, con yo, con ti, but these forms should be avoided.

13.3  Sí, consejo Sí (with emphasis) and consijo are special prepositional forms of the pronoun se. To be used after prepositions except with. Consigo is used for con + se and means 'with him/herself' or 'with them'. Sí combines with mismo when used reflexively: they wash. In other cases, the use of it with itself is variable, with no clear agreement between native speakers. She does not think of herself She does not think of herself This phenomenon is already very interesting This phenomenon is very   in itself    interesting Diamond that they wanted for themselves Diamond that many would like   muchos (advert., Sp.)    themselves Came back to themselves ( see note 3) (S) came back (came to consciousness) He put the glass next to him (LOr, Cu.) He put the glass next to him . . . so lazy that he was barely fit. . . so lazy she could barely    read alone    read alone She can't give more of herself (S)he does the best(s) he can ES, Mexico, dialogue)   (woman speaking) Dedicated to destroying from within   what he used to love (EP , Mexico) to himself everything he once loved. He is angry with himself

142 Personal Pronouns Used with Prepositions (1) Some speakers insist on adding the word self alone and will not accept phrases like beside themselves without it. (2) If is unique because it is the only pronoun that requires a prepositional form after entre: entre você e eu 'between you and me', but between them 'between them': they speak Spanish between themselves (or between them)' they speak Spanish with each other ', the officials looked at each other (EM, Mexico) 'the policemen looked at each other'. He said that John among himself means 'John spoke to himself'. (3) There is a strong colloquial tendency, criticized by the Academy (NGLE 16.4d), to use that in the first and second person of return to oneself 'to return to oneself', dar de si 'to give oneself' and some other constructions. It is heard ?turned into self, and properly turned into me is often avoided, even by polite speakers. The last of the following examples reflects some people's hesitation: I came back to myself already when I was in the clinic (interview, El Nacional, Mexico) 'I recovered when I was (literally 'already was') in the clinic', "Sorry, you didn't. Will you get up so we can see you?" — I'm awake, I just don't give in anymore (EA, Sp., dialogue) 'Excuse me, can you get up so we can see you?' That's all from me', when I turned inside myself, or inside myself, I heard a rumor (SP, sp., dialogue) 'when I came back I heard a noise'. (4) There is disagreement about that in modern language. That it is mandatory when it does not refer to identified persons as in there are people who talk a lot about themselves (self) 'there are people who talk a lot about themselves'. It must be used (NGLE 16.4n) in reflexive clauses where the direct object of the verb is intensified: on pere 'he washes', they criticized each other 'they criticized each other'; instead . . . . . . . . . for yourself, for yourself. . . . . . . . . But in other cases, when you are talking about a specific person, the modern trend is to use a non-reflexive prepositional pronoun. In response to the questionnaire, the vast majority of respondents (professionals and students from Spain) rejected that in the following sentences: they speak French to each other (to each other) 'they speak French to each other', they answered with one of their hands (ES, Arg., to against themselves ) 'she held him with one hand', he had his hands resting on the bar, in front of him (in front of him) 'his hands were resting on the bar, in front of him (alone)' In the above example, ante is tolerable, since is ante itself literary; but before him is normal in speech, although some speakers respect the distinction between before him 'in front of him (himself)' and before him 'in front of him' (someone else). That is mandatory in defined sentences such as by yourself 'by yourself', by yourself, by yourself (po sebi) 'by yourself'. (5) Da seems to be avoided with you, probably because the latter feels like the second person, while Da is the third person: in front of you is a man who . . . . . . . . (interview, El Nacional, Mexico) 'You have before you a man who . . . . . .', keep it for yourself, I know you play it for you (JC, Arg., dialogue) 'I know you play it (music) for you'. (6) The French pronoun soi suffered a similar decline over the years and was replaced in many contexts by lui-meme, elle-meme (alone).

14 Personal pronouns, object The main points discussed in this chapter are: • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •

Forms of object pronouns (Section 14.1) Uses of object pronouns (Section 14.2) Order of object pronouns (Section 14.2.4) Position of object pronouns (Section 14.3) Do you want to see or do you want to see? (Section 14.3.4–5) Emphasis of object pronouns (Section 14.4) Restrictions on possible combinations of object pronouns (Section 14.5) Object pronouns and verbs of motion (Section 14.6.1) Results and existence with personal pronouns (Section 14.6 .two ) . –3) Summary of lo with be and be (section 14.7) Object pronouns used to show personal involvement (section 14.8) Substitution of le for se ('the two l rule') (section 14.9) Se los latinos to se lo (section 14.9 .2) Redundant object pronouns (section 14.10)

This chapter deals with the "object" forms of personal pronouns: me, te, lo, la, le, nos, os, los, las, les. These pronouns can cause problems for English speaking students. The controversial issue of the distinction between lo/la/los/las and le/les is discussed separately in Chapter 15.

14.1 Forms of object pronouns The term 'object pronouns' is used in this book to refer to me, te, lo, la, le, nos, os, los, las, les and se. Traditional grammars usually divide these pronouns into two lists, 'direct object' pronouns and 'indirect object' pronouns, but only the third person set has two forms, lo/la/los/las and le/les, and the distinction between them is not always the same as well as the traditional distinction between 'direct' and 'indirect' objects. See Chapter 15. For 'pronominal' verbs such as irse, caerse, lavase (often mistakenly called 'reflexive' verbs), see Chapter 30. SINGULAR Subject Pronoun

object pronoun

English equivalent




you are you)


you (known)

he she you

him/her (mask.), la/le (žen.)

he, she, it, you (see note 1)

144 Personal pronouns, object PLURAL we, we



You you


you (known, Spain only)

today, today, that

the/them (mask.), the/them (žen.)

they, you (see note 1)

(1) The difference between third person direct object forms (lo/la/los/las) and le/les is discussed in Chapter 15. (2)  Usted/Ustedes use object pronouns in the third person: los (in Spain also les) vi (a ustedes) ayer 'I saw you (plural) yesterday'. (3)  Te is the object form of tú and also of vos where vos is used: see 12.3.1. (4)  Os corresponds to vosotros/vosotras and is therefore not heard in Latin America, where ustedes is used for polite and familiar address: see 12.3.3.

14.2  Rules Governing the Use of Object Pronouns 14.2.1  Impreciseness of Spanish Object Pronouns Important: The strangest feature of Spanish object pronouns for English speakers is the impreciseness of their meanings. Spanish object pronouns simply indicate the person or thing "hit" by the verbal phrase, but do not themselves indicate how the object is hit: this must be worked out from the meaning of the verb, the context, or common sense. Typical examples are te pedí un tequila, which means 'I ordered tequila for you' or 'I ordered tequila', or me operé de appendicitis, which certainly means 'I had an operation for appendicitis', but could have an unlikely meaning 'I had an appendectomy'. This inaccuracy can be seen in these 15 different translations of the Spanish word me: Me han visa They saw me Me dejó una finca (He left me a property Me ha aparcado el coche (O)he parked the car   for me I bought a diary   from me/for me Me sacron tres balas They took three bullets out of me I put a pacemaker in me Me han quitado a mis hijos They took away my children Me tiene envyia (S)he is jealous of me

I threw a snowball (She) threw a snowball at me They found a thousand dollars They found 1000 dollars in me They threw a blanket over me I'll find a hotel I'll find a hotel Always me (She) always blames me I broke my arm I broke my arm The dishwasher broke 'on' me

(1)  A special case arises when the object pronoun and the subject pronoun (usually marked with a verb suffix) refer to the same person or thing, as in me lavo 'I wash (se)', and ambiguously 'you made a mistake', Miguel se va 'Miguel leaves' , nos caimos 'we fell'. We call these verbs "pronominal verbs" and discuss them in Chapter 30.

14.2  Rules governing the use of object pronouns


14.2.2 Difference between direct object and indirect object pronouns Important: there is no difference in form between first and second person direct object pronouns and indirect object pronouns, as can be seen in these examples: Mario me/te/nos vio Mario je vidi me /you/us (direct object) Mario me/te/nos dio un regalo Mario gave me/you/us a present (  indirect object) The key difference is that indirect objects in English can only receive something, in Spanish indirect objects can gain or lose. Both English and Spanish say te envioron un paquete 'they sent a package for you'. But English does not allow *'they confiscated your package', while Spanish does: te confiscaron un paquete. This basic difference between the two languages ​​must always be remembered.

14.2.3  Use of third-person object pronouns for usted/ustedes Third-person object pronouns also have a second-person meaning because they are used for usted/ustedes 'you': Doctora Smith, le aseguro que la llamé Dr Smith ( fem .), guarantee I called   ayer   you/she yesterday Le vi ayer (Spain only; see 15.5.1 and 2) I saw you/him yesterday Lo vi ayer (Latin America and, I saw him/you yesterday    by choice , Spain also) Los /las vi ayer I saw you/them yesterday

14.2.4  Order of object pronouns Important: when more than one object pronoun appears, their unchanging order is: 1  2   3    4 se te/os me/nos le/lo/la/les/los/las i.e. if, if happens, comes first, second person precedes first person, and third person pronouns come last: María said I met the other day (GZ, Mexico, dialogue) They didn't want to tell us You spilled the paint Let's buy it los He became too smart for us I jumped on him (JC, Arg., Sp. I jumped on him)

Maria told you I met him by chance the other day They didn't want to tell us Your ink ran out Let's buy them for ourselves He became a genius 'within us' I threw myself at her

(1)  As explained in Chapter 15, in Spain le is often used as a direct object pronoun referring to men: no le conozco para no lo conozco 'I don't know him'. (2)  Inversion of correct order with if, e.g. ?me se ha cair for se me ha cair 'I dropped it' (literally 'fell 'on me'), *¿me se oye? because if you hear me? 'can anyone hear me?'/'can anyone hear me?' is a well-known fallacy of uneducated speech, sometimes imitated by comedians to provoke laughter.

146 Personal pronouns, object (3)  In all the examples given, the pronouns are in the order indirect object - direct object (te lo doy 'I give you', se lo tragaron 'they swallowed', etc.). However, if te me critiquen means 'they criticized you to me', how can someone say 'they criticized me to you'? Apparently, the same order is used for both meanings, so recommanon/alabaron/criticaron/presentaron 'they recommended me/praised/criticised/they introduced you to me' can also be understood as '. . . me for you'; GDLE 19.5.7 cannot find any explanation for this strange ambiguity. In practice, the problem is avoided, eg by simply saying me recomendaron, etc. There is no problem if the verb form clarifies the meaning: ¡qué guapa te me has puesto! can only mean 'how attractive you have become to me!' e iba a llamarte pero te me anticipationnte can only mean 'I was going to call/call you, but you called me first/arrived first'. (4) Important: You can never combine these unstressed pronouns with 'e',​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​ than in other words: 'I saw him and she' is never **lo y la vi. The only possibility is the use of contrastive forms (14.4): lo/le vi a él y la vi a ella or los vi a él y a ella. 'I saw him but not her' is lo/le vi a él pero no a ella. (5) Identical pronouns cannot appear next to each other, so combinations like me me, if and if cannot occur (see 30.11 to avoid the latter).

14.3  Position of object pronouns The position of object pronouns in relation to the verb depends on the form of the verb.

14.3.1  Pronouns with perfective verbs Pronouns appear in the order given in 14.2.4 immediately before perfective verbs, that is, all verb forms except the infinitive, gerund, past participle and imperative: Se los delivered We gave them (masc. ) him / her /   to/to them/to you (to see here see 14.9) Te los envioré luego I will send them (masc.) to you later Nos lasguardan They guard/guard (femin.) for us In compound tenses (i.e. tenses formed with haber plus participle past) pronouns are placed before haber: Lo he comprar Nos habian visa

I bought them. They saw us

(1)  No word can come between the object pronouns and the verb, so a sentence like **la siempre había admiredo is impossible for siempre la había admired 'I always admired her'. In pronunciation, these pronouns are always unstressed: written me lo ha is pronounced as one word [me-lo-aes-kɾí-to]. (2) In the literary style before the 20th century, object pronouns were sometimes joined to perfective verbs: contestoles así 'he answered like that' = les contestó así, found base prognan 'he found himself exiled' = found himself exiled, ocurriósele 'it happened to him/ on her mind' = se le ocurrió. The rules for this construction are omitted here, since it no longer exists, except in some defined expressions, eg habrase visa. . . 'Well, have you ever...? . .' (usually written with an unnecessary accent, see habraza), diriase (literary) 'one could say', dícese (literary) 'it is said'. Dicesis which survives in various forms in spoken Latin American Spanish, eg says; see 32.4.1 note 8.

14.3  Position of object pronouns


Pronouns attached to finite forms are occasionally seen, less and less, in ceremonial titles in some Latin American countries: Enrédanse gobiernos de Washington y Londres en mentes sobre Irak (Granma, Cu.) lies over Iraq'.

14.3.2 Position of object pronouns with imperative Object pronouns are added to positive (not negative) imperatives: tell me 'tell me', we understand 'buy for us', but don't tell me, we don't Don't buy . See Chapter 21 for a full discussion.

14.3.3  Position of object pronouns with the infinitive (a)  If the infinitive is not preceded by a perfect verb, the pronouns are added to it in the usual order: Sería una locura encenderlo It would be crazy to set it on fire Rechazaron el proyecto por consideralo They rejected the project because it was too expensive. . broad sectors that are not available broad sectors of the population that   a permitírselo (La Jornada, México)    are not ready to allow them to Important: as the examples show, when two or more pronouns are attached to the infinitive, the accented letter is necessary to show that the position of the stress has not changed . Compare quitarme and quitármela. (b)  If the infinitive depends on the finite verb, there are two possibilities: Or join the pronouns to the infinitive, as in the previous examples: Quiero hacerlo I want to do it Pudieron salvala They managed to save her Intentaron robárnoslo They tried to steal from us Propusieron alquilarnoslos They suggested we rent them No tomé nada, alguien debió I didn't take anything, someone must have   dármelo (Informador, Mexico)    given it to me This is the safest option for students because it is always correct. Or put pronouns before the finite verb: lo quiero hacer, te lo acabo de dar, etc. See the next section for a discussion of this possibility.

14.3.4  Want to see or want to see? Students will constantly hear constructions with 'shifted' pronouns as in lo voy a hacer, lo quieren comprar instead of voy a hacerlo, quieren comprarlo 'I will do it', 'they want to buy'. Both forms are equally acceptable, but shifted forms are more common in spontaneous speech. The following verbs often appear in this construction, but many other verbs also allow it (see 22.2.

I want to send you (fem.) As much as I want to give (masc.)   to you/him/her/them, I can't

148 Personal pronouns, object power Can't take it/No le puedo Can't take it/him away from I have to take it from myself You should explain to us / You should explain to us that He has to give it back to you / He has to give it back to you to finish But I just saw it / I just saw it

You must explain to us (S) that he must return it to you

But I just saw it!

I even managed to fall   down some stairs   stairs must He de consult it/Lo he de I'd rather sleep on it (literally 'consult your   consult pillow pillow') stop Don't stop calling her / Don't stop calling her

Don't forget to call her

go to I was afraid that Roberto would tell him/he would tell his mother

I was worried that Roberto would go and tell his mother

Povratak na How You Tell Me Again/How You Tell Me Again I'm Leaving

If you tell me again, I will

14.3.5  When is offset construction not allowed? The 'shifted' construction is not possible with all verbs: the list in 22.2.2 shows most of the verbs that allow the construction. There are several situations in which the shifted construction is not allowed with any verb or is restricted: (1)  When pronouns join an infinitive, they must stay together if they are shifted. Tienes que decirmelo can be switched to me lo tienes que decir 'you have to tell me', but not to *me tienes que decirlo. (2)  If the finite (non-infinitive) verb already has an object pronoun, no change is allowed. In te interesa hacerlo 'it is in your interest to do it' or te vai com interesa, so *te lo interesa hacer is not possible. Some verbs, especially those meaning 'to allow' as well as to see, are exceptions to this rule. Me lo permitieron hacer is informal for me permitieron hacerlo 'they let me do it', me la dejaron ver it is possible for me dejaron verla 'they let me see it'. Nos ha visa hacerlo for nos lo ha visar '(s)he saw us doing it' is also possible, but in a colloquial tone.

14.3  Position of object pronouns


(3)  No other word can be placed in a shifted construction between the finite verb and the infinitive: prefería no hacerla 'I'd rather not do it' but not *lo preferería no hacer, quiero mucho verla but not *la And I really want to see ' I really want to see her' etc. Exceptions: some common verb phrases that include a preposition, usually a or de, or a conjunction that allows colloquial movement: he tried to do/tried to do that '(s) tried to do that', started is working / started working 'he/she/you started working', I have nothing to envy 'I have nothing to envy him/her/you', who has nothing to do is you (AM, Mexico, dialogue) 'who should 'you don't interfere'. (4)  If the main verb is a positive imperative (and therefore not strictly speaking a finite verb form), the change is not allowed: try do 'try to do', come and see her/it', not *lo looking for, *la come see . Colloquial speech can break this rule with dejar: let me do it my way (ABV, Sp., dialogic, because let me do it. . .) ‘let me do it my way’. With negative imperatives, there can be a shift in familiar speech: don't try to do it/don't try to do it, be careful, don't stain it/don't try to do it 'be careful not to make it dirty', don't start feeling guilty (CMG, Sp. , dialogue box) 'don't start feeling guilty'/'don't start blaming yourself' (5)  Hay que does not allow pronoun change in polite speech in any of its tenses, although sentences like ?lo hay que hacer ( para hay que hacer) are heard in popular discourse in certain regions. NGLE 28.6s frowns. Doing also disallows movement: it seemed to recognize her '(and) it seemed to recognize her', not *she seemed to recognize. (6)  If the perfect verb means to say, believe, claim, etc., no change is allowed: they believe they know everything, but not *lo creen saber todo, 'they think they know everything', you denied you did this, but not *denied si to do this 'you denied doing this' (GDLE 19.5.5). (7)  If more than one infinitive is involved in a construction that allows pronoun change, several solutions are possible, the first one being safer for foreigners: I won't tell you again/I don't want to tell you again/ I don't want to tell you again You can start doing this/ You can start doing this/You can start doing this You should try to do this/You should try to do this (You should try to do this is colloquial)

I don't want to tell you again. You can start doing it. You should try

14.3.6  Position of pronouns with gerund (a)  In combination with estar (continuous verb forms) and some other verbs, eg Walk, go, venir, quedar, the pronouns can be joined or moved: Te esto lo contando/Estoy contandotelo Only in Spain: note the double o.

I tell you/I tell you that he indulged in self-pity I tell you (S)he told everyone (S)that he was looking at him

150 Personal pronouns, object (b) In almost all other cases, pronouns are attached to the gerund: he likes to watch them 'he has fun watching them', there are many users waiting for him (Excélsior, Mexico), there are many users waiting for this' (1) Adding pronouns to the gerund little is more formal and probably safer for foreign students. If the auxiliary verb is an infinitive preceded by one of the verbs that allow pronoun change (see 14.3.4–5), several solutions are possible: he must remember that/ ?he must remember that/he must be remembering '(s)he certainly remembers this/him', they had to keep watching/they had to keep watching/ ?they had to keep watching' (2) Follow allows both constructions, but many native speakers would not accept the pronoun change with continue: they were seeing each other/they continued see 'they continued to see each other', we keep losing 43 (Excélsior, Mex.) 'we' another 43 (people)', she considered it all very natural ( ABE , fr.) 'she still considered it all very natural'; but they kept seeing it, he keeps giving me the '(s)he still bothers me' can instead of *they kept seeing it,* he keeps giving it to me. . . . . . . . .

14.3.7 Position of object pronouns with past participles Pronouns come before the auxiliary verb: It's wrong. They brought it from China. We sent it to you.

He was wrong. They brought it from China. We have already sent it to you

(1) In sentences where pronoun change is possible (discussed in 14.3.4–5), there are two possibilities: we had to sell/we had to sell 'we had to sell to him/her', there I saw her again /I saw her again 'I saw her again', I couldn't open/I couldn't open 'I couldn't open', I had to talk to her/I have to talk to her(s) I must have talked to him/her' (2 ) Literary language that used to join personal pronouns with the past participle, especially when the auxiliary verb is omitted. Kany, 156, attributes his mare stall accident to an "accident he had in the yard where the mares are kept" in Uruguay. Dry (1998), 334, says it is 'inelegant', and the sentence would now be written on the accident that befell him. . . . . . . . .

14.4  Stress of object pronouns 14.4.1  Stress of object pronouns in non-reflexive sentences Object pronouns can be stressed by adding + to the prepositional form of the pronoun (that is, the forms shown in 13.1): La vi a ella, pero no a él I saw her, but not him They will give to you, but not to her. They will give to you, but not to her. You are talking to me! If I retired, well, I wouldn't see you   (SG, Mexico, dialogo)    or (1)  English speakers are tempted to omit the unstressed pronoun in these constructions, but * vi a ella is not Spanish for la vi a ella ' I saw her '. However, usted occasionally appears alone: ​​​​¿en qué puedo servi a ustedes? (example from GDLE 19.4.1) 'how can I help you', more often . . . serve you.

14.5  Combinations of object pronouns


14.4.2  Emphasis of object pronouns in reflexive clauses 'Reflexive' clauses can be stressed by adding the appropriate number and gender to the prepositional pronoun. Reciprocal phrases (ie meaning 'one another') can be emphasized by the appropriate form of both: They washed They washed It's hard to live with someone you don't know It's hard to live with someone you love ( Abc , Sp.)    doesn't appreciate each other They love each other They love each other They love each other They love each other (two women) They love each other We only have each other All we have is each other (ie our   (La Jornada, Mex) .)    friends (1)  If they are a man and a woman involved in a mutual action, one might expect el uno a la otra or la una al otro, but both pronouns are usually left in the masculine: Rubén and María love each other 'Ruben and Maria love each other', but Maria and Laura love each other (two women).

14.5  Combinations of Object Pronouns 14.5.1  Restrictions on the Possible Combinations of Object Pronouns Spanish allows the following combinations of object pronouns before verbs or attached to the infinitive, imperative, or gerund; (a), (b) and (c) are very common: (a)  Direct object pronoun: la vi 'I saw her', sin conocerlos 'without knowing them' (b)  Indirect object pronoun me dijiste 'you said me', estaban enseñándonos la muestra 'they showed us the sample'; (c)  Indirect object pronoun followed by direct object pronoun me lo diste 'you gave me that', ¿puedo probármelo? 'can I try it on?', cómpratelo 'buy it for you'. The following two combinations are less common: (d)  Two indirect object pronouns: me le has estropeado la Camisa 'you ruined his/her shirt because of me!', sírvamele un helado al niño 'serve the little boy ice cream for me ', échamele un vistazo a esta carta 'look at this letter for me'. This combination of two indirect objects is avoided when the first pronoun is not I, so phrases like *nos te pusieron una bonito 'they punished you 'at our expense' are avoided. It also sounds very strange when the second pronoun is not le/les: *me nos has roto el teléfono *'you broke the phone 'on us''' would be avoided in both languages. (e) A direct object followed by an indirect object, as in ¡qué borde te nos has puesto! 'how nasty you have become to us!'/'you have really become nasty to us!' (1) The combination of two direct object pronouns is not possible in Spanish and is strange in English, cf. 'he was declared president, and after they declared him, he went on. . .', which would have to be reformulated in Spanish: después de que lo/le nombraran president, pasó a . . .. This restriction on the use of direct object pronouns in Spanish clarifies the difference between the passive and the impersonal si. See 32.5.2. (2) For the impossibility of **lo y la vi for 'I saw him and her', see 14.2.4 note 4.

152 Personal pronouns, object

14.6 Object pronouns with verbs of motion and with be and result 14.6.1 Object pronouns with verbs of motion Object pronouns are not used when it comes to mere arrival or physical access: I'm going to a meeting—I'm going there (not *I 'go) 'I'm going to a meeting ' – 'I'm going', he approached the table > he approached her, didn't he? *he approached her. all the west that came to us. . . . . . . . . all the western world (ie the western world (MVLl, fr.)) that has come to us . . . . . . . . He is usually turned to when there is no alternative. How do those who go to it intend to approach it? (The Day, Mex. Rare university? (ie what do students think of the transitive) use think) university?) However, exceptions occur colloquially with the following verbs, especially if the verb is in the third person: He came up to her from behind (JMs, Sp .) He came up behind her She met him around the corner (LG, Sp.) She caught up with him around the corner Don't come near her (EP, Mex., dialogue) Don't come near him Not only the children's hiccups then, but they joined those from bell, but hiccups were added to it servant (JD, Ch.) (1) This construction is rare in first and second person: if you oppose him /her '(s) he/she opposed him/her' because if you he/she opposed him/her it is possible, but you opposed him/her "you opposed him/her" instead of ?you opposed him/her he. Forms in the first and second person are more common in Latin America, especially in Mexico (J. Lope Blanch, 1991, 20), so it is common to find sentences like I implore you to join us (to . . . to join us )' . I invite you to join us. (2) He stood in front of him, he stood in front of me '(s)he stood in front of him/her', '(s)he/you stood in front of me' often occurs colloquially because he/she stood in front of himself placed in front of me , and are more dramatic in tone. (3) Important: the above example from JD (José Donoso - they gathered..) strangely breaks the rule that object pronouns are not used with such verbs when the sentence refers to non-human things. They would be joined by normal construction. Donos' example may be a case of misrepresentation, in which case the file is explainable. (4) Object pronouns are used with come, come and come with when their object is a man: when the news of their victory reached me. . . . . . . . . ' when the news of his triumph reached me. . . . . .', the wardrobe came to him 'the American wardrobe/the wardrobe collapsed on him/her/you', for me don't come at me with stories because I know everything (ABE, fr., dialogue) 'don't come at me with stories because I know everything about it' (5) He says that . . . . . . . . '(he) comes to tell him/her that. . . . . .' file belongs to decir: this tells you that . . . . . . . . . It doesn't 'fit him/her' well, how about you? 'how are things'/'how are you?', preference is involved, not movement.

14.6  Object pronouns with verbs of motion and with ser and result


14.6.2  Pronouns with ser, resul and adjectives This section deals with the difficult question of why one can say esta herramienta me es useful 'this tool is useful to me' but not *esta casa me es cura? 'this house is dark to me'. English has similar complications: why can someone say 'she was always nice to me' but not *'she was always shy with me' (na . . . always shy with me')? Being + object pronoun is possible only with certain types of adjectives: Nos era indiscindible contacto a tus padres We had to get in touch with their parents Le era más facilo supportar los dolores ajenos It was easier for him to endure   que los propios (GGM , Col .)    suffering other than my own Voy a serle muy franca (ABE, Fr., dialogue) I will be very honest with you Being honest repels me Lombardo Toledano To be honest with you, Lombardo Toledano   (EP , Mexico , dialogue )    repels me The following list shows some other adjectives which can be given object pronouns with ser: pleasant/unpleasant   pleasant/unpleasant ajeno strange conocido/desconocido   known/unknown painful painful easy/difficult easy/difficult familiar familiar favorable favorable favorable /unfaithful faithful/unfaithful

beautiful/ ungrateful beautiful/   unpleasant indifferent indifferent loyal lawful allowed natural natural necessary/unnecessary   necessary/unnecessary allowed/forbidden   allowed/forbidden

possible/impossible possible/   impossible profitable profitable known known friendly/unfriendly friendly/   unpleasant (of people) honest honest honest enough open/not enough   enough useful/useless useful/useless

The problem is further complicated by the existence of two other Spanish verbs, to result and to stay(if), which can also be used with object pronouns and adjectives as in le resultaba cheapest 'it seemed cheap to her/him', but it is clear to me that you terráras lo que quieras 'but it is clear to me that you will get what you want' (LS, Spanish, dialogue). Quedar(if) is further discussed at 7.30.33 and the result is further discussed at 31.3.7. Examples of using result with object adjectives and pronouns: Me result muy triste la situación que Acho situation in which he lives very much   está viviendo (Excélsior, Mex., ne me es . . .)   sad . . . a gesture that always seems ostentatious to me. . . a gesture that I always find extraordinary   (LS, Sp.) It is difficult and absurdly risky for me I find it difficult and absurdly risky to buy    to buy something for someone I do not know well   (CP, Arg.) . . . envuelta en una sábana, pues ahora su . . . wrapped in a sheet because now   desnudez le resulta insoportable (ES, Mex.)    she found her nakedness unbearable The following are adjectives that often appear in the construction object pronoun + result + adjective: boring suitable suitable attractive attractive expensive expensive comfortable comfortable

handsome suitable amused exciting exciting obvious evident familiar familiar

funny funny impossible impossible unusual unusual intelligible intelligible interesting interesting

154 Personal pronouns, unpleasant object boring dangerous dangerous

difficult boring picturesque picturesque

surprising surprising suspect suspicious

Some of these adjectives can also be used with ser, for example me era/resultaba imposible/familiar/lejano 'I thought it was impossible/familiar/far away', etc. The difference between these adjectives and those that can appear in the construction me/ te/le/nos/os/les. + ser + adjective ser seems to be used with adjectives involving a higher level of personal emotional involvement, eg loyal, veran, sincere. But we admit that it is often very difficult to explain why some phrases, e.g. les was useful 'it was useful for them' sounds right and others like *me es exciting sound wrong, while eu results exciting 'I think it's exciting' normal. (1)  Many adjectives can also be formed with para: ¿tan tarde te es vivir conmigo? (ABV, Sp., dialogue) or is it so difficult for you to live with me? 'is it so difficult for you to live with me?', es apto para ellos/les result apto 'it is suitable for/for them' (2)  The nuance conveyed by the result is often almost untranslatable. Compare es feo = 'it/it is ugly' and feo 'the effect is ugly'/'it/it is ugly as a result'; the senator was also more shy than she expected 'the senator turned out to be more shy than she expected' (ES, Mexico). See 31.3.7 for more details.

14.6.3  Be and result multiple object pronouns and nouns: If it bothers you, tell me If it bothers you, tell me It's in your best interest. . . It is in our interest. . . It was a great pleasure for/for me/him etc. It turns out that your traitorous brother    (ES, Mexico, dialogue) is also good. The salt mine turned out to be a good business (MVLl, fr.) The salt mine/salt mines turned out to be a    good business. . .. It would be Well, have the courage to tell it [  great novel (CMG, Sp., dialogue)    . . . . history]. It would make a great novel (1)  Spanish does not allow pronoun constructions in translations of phrases like 'I was always a good mother to him': siempre fui una buena madre para él (no *siempre le fue . . . ).

14.7 'Repeat' that with existence, existence, doing and there The predicate of being, being and doing is repeated or summarized with lo: —The earth looks good from here—. And that. ""The terrain looks good from here." "It is." This construction is discussed in 8.4.2. For has, has/has, etc. ch

14.8  Object pronouns used to indicate personal involvement Object pronouns can simply show that a person is emotionally affected, as in the French exasperated "residerez-moica!" 'just look at this for me!'. The effect is usually not translatable into standard English, but popular English sometimes uses 'on me', 'on you', etc., to include the affected person: se me han ido de casa 'they left the house 'on me'', se le ha averiado el coche 'his/her car broke down "about him/her"':

14.9 'The Two L's Rule'


Well, I fired one because I smoked and Well, I fired one [employee] because she now has another who, in addition to smoking, smoked 'on me' and now I have another who drinks me (EA, Sp., dialogue, colloquial)    who does not he just smokes, he already drinks 'in me' The students went to the   manifestación (ABE, fr., dialog),    demonstration of the existence of the   President. . .? (I A, ch., dialogue)    We embalmed the president? My mother-in-law bought a watch and   caminaba (AA, Cu., dialogue; Sp. no le    a month later it didn't work ('on her')   funcionaba) You ruined three of my shirts! You ruined three of your shirts for me! (popular style) Cuídenme mucho a este niño (EP, Mex.) Take good care of this child for me Péiname a la niña Make a girl for me (1)  This feature of involving an emotionally involved person is more commonly used in parts of Latin America than in Spain. Me le Pintastes la Mesa 'you painted the table for him/her for me' is acceptable to some Latin American speakers, but with some exceptions, European Spanish tends to avoid grouping two indirect object pronouns. See 14.5. (2)  If a third-person person is involved, use le or les, not lo/la/los/las: One of your children died.

14.9  'Two L rule' 14.9.1  Substituting le for se Important: two pronouns starting with l cannot stand next to each other. Le or les should be replaced with se: le doy 'I give him/her/you' + lo 'this' > se lo doy 'I give him/her/you', never *le lo doy: Quiero darselo I want to give it to him/her /to/them If you say that to ella, I told her that If you say that to ellos, I told them (masc.) ¿Quiere usted que se lo envuelva? Do you want me to wrap it for you? Anne wanted to help us with the suitcase. . . Anne wanted to help us with the suitcase. No se lo permitimos (JH, Mex., dialogue)    We do not allow her (1)  This phenomenon, which has no equivalent in French, Italian or Portuguese, is sometimes explained by the 'ugliness' of many l's. This explanation is unconvincing, but it reminds students that in Spanish two object pronouns beginning with l can never sit next to each other. This is a very firm rule that is followed throughout the Spanish-speaking world in all styles of language.

14.9.2 Se los latinoamericano to se lo The combination se + neutral lo is very ambiguous. Se lo dije can mean 'I told him, her, you (usted)', 'them' (ellos or ellas) or 'you' (ustedes)'. él/ella/usted/ellos/ellas/ustedes can be added if the context does not make the point clear: se lo dije a ustedes 'I told you' etc. represents les with the plural of the direct object pronoun, i.e. se los dije, u se lo dije a ellos/ellas 'I told them':

156 Personal pronouns, object A un policía le había gustado más bien poco The policeman really didn't like her    la gracia y se los había dicho (JC, Arg.,    a joke and he told them like this   dialogue, for se había dicho) Si eso es cierto es un sin y If so, then it is a sin and I will   se los voy a prohibir (GZ, Mexico, dialogue)    forbid them to do it DeMello (1992), 1, reports that in Mexico City this construction is about as frequent in polite and uneducated speech and is on its way to being accepted as correct throughout Latin America; but it is rarer in Lima, La Paz and some other places. This construction is not used in Spain where it is only possible in this context.

14.10  Redundant object pronouns Spanish uses object pronouns all the time, even when the thing they refer to is already named by a noun. In this respect it is very different from French and English. Some of these redundant pronouns are almost obligatory; others are more typical of informal styles.

14.10.1 Redundant object pronouns when objects precede the verb If, for the purpose of emphasis or focus, a direct or indirect object precedes the verb, a redundant pronoun is required, except in the cases listed in note 1. Compare I bought this house five years ago and this house I bought five years ago 'I bought this house five years ago'. Examples: Will you deny me, I will get the money (CF, Mex., dialogue) I would like to see some of you    me in a good thicket (DS, Sp. dialogue)

You will not deny me, I carry money with me, I would like to see one of you in a real mess

(1) Important: redundant pronouns are not used with indefinite direct objects, i.e. with those that are not followed by he/she/they/them, this/that/that or some words that mean 'my', 'your' ', ' she ', etc.: muchaprisa must have 'he must have been in a hurry', the meat I don't eat 'the meat I don't eat!', the planes we have here that cost millions 'we have planes here that cost millions. . . . . .', how much nonsense you are talking! 'what nonsense you are talking!'; but I leave the books here. The use of las in the following example would be incorrect: —did you buy flowers? — Yes, I did (GDLE 24.2.1, I didn't) '"Did you buy flowers?" "Yes, I did" (I bought answers, did you buy flowers?). GDLE and 5.5 notes that expressions such as "the fever is not" are heard in northern Spanish dialects. A number by itself does not always form a definite noun: I will give you a thousand euros for a picture 'I will give you 1000 euros for a picture', but usually I will give you a thousand euros 'I will give you give you a thousand euros'. (2) The redundant pronoun is not used after eso in sentences like eso creo yo 'that is what I think', eso digo yo 'that is what I think' (but compare eso lo digo yo 'that is what I say ' ). (3) For a discussion of the effect of placing the object before the verb, see chapter 42, esp

14.10  Redundant object pronouns


14.10.2  Redundant pronouns and indirect objects When an indirect object follows a verb, a redundant pronoun is very often used: Well, if they don't tell you how to do it . . . This solution seemed to be the best   more precise (JMG, Sp.)    because Doña Matilda José's age becomes more and more visible José's age you can recognize more and more They were very afraid of los truenos (S)he was very afraid of thunder He didn't 'don't say anything to his mother (GZ , Mexico, he didn't tell his mother   dialogue) Bring orange juice   ( AM, Mexico, dialogue. Jugo = meat juice   in Spain; el zumo = fruit juice) (1) The absence of a redundant pronoun in these cases depersonalizes the indirect object and would be natural in official documents or business letters when an official tone is needed: Escriba un carta al Ministerio de Hacienda 'write a letter to the Ministry of Finance', the Government will not hide the internal problems of the country of Pope Francis (OneMásUno, Mexico) of Pope Francis', this does not suit Odradek (JLB, ​​​​Arg. Odradek is an inhuman creature) 'this is not characteristic of Odradek; This type of floor needs to be waxed every week 'this type of floor needs to be waxed every week'. In most other cases, a redundant pronoun is used, more than 50 years and almost always with proper nouns: give Mario 'Give Mario', they stole from Muriel 'they stole from Muriel' (robar a . . .' to steal from . . . '). But the redundant pronoun is sometimes omitted with other nouns for stylistic reasons, cf. a studied way of emphasizing the irony that all women love (JM, Sp.) "a studied way of emphasizing the irony that all women like", where women like it is less literary; or all that is left of this morning you can give to the chickens (MP, Arg., dialogue; or se lo podés dar a las gallinas. Spanish you can by vos form podés) 'you can give the chickens all that is left of this morning'. GDLE, 19.4.1, says that the omission is very rare, although slightly more common with say and give. (2)  This rule does not apply – at least in Spain – to direct objects following the verb as in Ana vidila Julia 'Ana saw Julia'. See 14.10.4.

14.10.3  Le para les redundantes There is a strong tendency in spontaneous language everywhere to use the singular le for the plural les in this construction. DeMello (1992), 2 reports that in Latin America it is equally common among nonhumans and humans, but Peninsular informants generally stated that it is less acceptable in humans: Cualquiera le da vuelta a las razones por las Anyone can think of the reasons why viniste conmigo (JMG. Sp., dialogue)    por que te vous came to me not to attach importance to details not to attach importance to details ¿Quieres devolverle la isla de Manhattan a Do you want to give the island of Manhattan   los Algonquins? (CF, Mexico, dialogue)    back to the Algonquins? ?Le viene natural a los niños (polite Children are natural   Spanish, overheard) I want to leave a better Mexico for    a mis nietos (EP, mex., dialogue)    my grandchildren

158 Personal pronouns, object (1)  Phrases like él les (para le) da mucha importancia a las apariencias '(he attaches great importance to appearance') may sound strange to some speakers. But using the singular le for les is technically "wrong" and should be avoided in formal writing—for example, in this sentence, omitting the redundant pronoun altogether.

14.10.4 Redundant direct object pronouns As noted in 10.14.1, a redundant pronoun is often needed when the direct object precedes the verb, as in the flowers I buy yesterday 'I bought flowers yesterday' When the direct object follows the verb, the use of the redundant object pronoun is common to everything: now you have to tell me everything 'now you have to tell me everything'. It is also needed when the object pronoun needs to be strengthened, for example la a vi, but not i ele 'I saw her, but not him' (not *a vi). In other cases, the use of a redundant pronoun with direct objects is generally avoided in Spain, but is common in Latin America in spontaneous speech and also in written language in Argentina: Le quiere mucho a ese hijo (Spain, known) Morgan also sent invitations to Abdulmalik ( JLB, ​​​​​​​​​Arg., dialogue; Sp ...sent for Abdulmalik) In Córdoba, they don't know Peron, they mistake him for a tango singer (JA, Arg., dialogue; Sp. doesn't know ) Convince a friend to accept a scholarship (MVLl, Fr., dialogue; Sp. convinces a friend . . .)

(S)he loves that son very much Morgan also sent for Abdulmalik. They had never heard of Perón in Córdoba. You were mistaken for a tango singer. Convince your friend to accept the scholarship

This is less common, but not unheard of, with non-human direct objects.

14.10.5  Redundant Pronouns in Relative Clauses Redundant pronouns appear in spoken Spanish in relative clauses to 'summarize' or echo the direct or indirect object relative pronoun, especially in non-restrictive clauses (see 'restrictive' in the Glossary) and can appear in written form , especially if several words separate what and the verb that depends on it: Grammarians advise muchas cosas que Grammarians recommend many   nadie las dice (especially, informer)    things that no one says confess I   animé a do cerla a nadie ( Latin American,   never he did not have the courage to do   de Kany, 150)   anyone Sólo por ti dejaría a don Memo a quien so much Sólo por ti yo would do let Don   le debo (CF, Mex. , dialogo)    Memo, to whom I owe so much DeMello (1992). ), 4, shows that the construction is very widespread, even in quite formal discourse in Spain and Latin America, but it may sound uninstructive to some, especially in restrictive sentences (the first two examples), and is best left to native speakers.

15 Le/les and lo/la/los/las The main points discussed in this chapter are: • • • • •

Basic rules for choosing between lo/la/los/las and le/les (Section 15.2) Use of le/les as indirect object pronouns (Section 15.3) Use of lo/la/los/las as direct object pronouns (Section 15.4) Controversy over le/lo and regional variants (Section 15.5) The use of le/les as direct object pronouns in Standard Spanish everywhere (Sections 15.6–10)

This chapter is devoted exclusively to the problem of the relationship between the object pronouns in the third person le/les and lo/la/los/las. For first and second person pronouns (including usted and ustedes) and for third person pronouns (él, ella, ellos, ellos), see Chapter 12.

15.1 The le/lo controversy: a summary of the arguments contained in this chapter The rules governing the correct choice of third-person object pronouns vary greatly in everyday spoken language across the Spanish-speaking world: the 80 pages GDLE devotes to the subject reveal that spoken usage sometimes even differs between places less than 50 kilometers away. However, the situation in the written language is quite stable and can be summarized (albeit somewhat simplified) as follows: the pronoun used for third-person direct objects, human and non-human, in more than 90 percent of the Spanish-speaking world is lo /la for the singular and los/las for plural. Le and les are used for indirect objects as defined in 14.2.2 and 15.3. This scheme is recommended for students because it generally produces acceptable sentences on both continents. However, there are exceptions to the above rule - some of them are important. These are discussed in Sections 15.5 and 15.6–10.

15.2 Third Person Object Pronouns: Basic Rules Beginners can apply the following scheme, which is valid throughout Latin America and is acceptable, although most Spaniards do not prefer it. These rules will give correct sentences more than 90% of the time.

160 He/they and he/she/they/them Object pronouns of the third person Direct object

indirect object

SINGULAR Masculine











The following sentences illustrate these rules: Ángela saw Antonio Angela saw Antonio Ángela Antonio saw Angela Vio el libro (S)he saw the book Vio la casa (S)he saw the house María greeted Juana María disse alô a Juan Juan je said hello to Maria Juan said hello to Maria. He saw men (S) he saw men He saw women (S) he saw women He saw books (S) he saw books He saw houses (S) he saw houses they greeted Maria and José (S) they greeted Maria and José are Marija and Angela (S) greeted Marija and Angela

Lo vio She saw him La vio He saw her Lo vio (S)he saw La vio (S)he saw Le dijo hola She greeted him Le dijo hola He said hello to her Los vio (S)he saw them Las saw (S) saw them Los saw (S) saw them Las saw (S) saw them Les dijo hola (S) said hello to them Les dijo hola (S) said hello to them

(1)  European Spanish, especially in the central and northern areas, prefers the form le for the masculine singular direct object man: le vi 'I saw him': see 15.5.1 for details. (2)  Important: usted and ustedes 'you' (politely) use object pronouns in the third person: lo vi ayer 'I saw him/it/you yesterday', le vi ayer (Spain) 'I saw you (masc.) / him yesterday', la vi ayer 'I saw you/him yesterday' (female), los vi ayer 'I saw them/you yesterday', las vi ayer 'I saw them/you (female)/ yesterday'. This possibility that the third person object pronoun can also refer to usted(es) should be kept in mind, since it is not systematically represented in the translations of this book.

15.3  Use of le/les as 'indirect object' pronouns: detailed rules Le/les are often described as third-person 'indirect object' pronouns (indirect object pronouns). But 'indirect object' is a term that encompasses many meanings in Spanish, and the basic principle underlying the use of le/les is that le/les can refer to any person or thing that is gained or lost by the action described in the verb phrase. As we have said more than once elsewhere, in English the indirect object can only get or get: we cannot say *'they stole fifty dollars for him,' but le robaron cincuenta dolara is good Spanish. Whatever deviations from these examples may be heard, foreign students are advised to use the files in the following contexts:

15.3  Use of le/les as an 'indirect object' pronoun: detailed rules


List A: Typical usage of le/les (in translations, 'you' appears as a reminder that lo/los/la/las and le/les can refer to you or you, as well as 'he', 'she', ' it' or they'.) (a)  Receiving or getting anything, an impression or feeling I gave/sent a letter I didn't tell them the truth We threw snowballs at him They gave him an injection This coat fits him The secretary liked him they like honey

I gave him/her a letter I didn't tell you the truth We pelted him/her with snowballs They gave him/her an injection This coat fits him/her/you ( S ) he/she liked the secretary They/ You love honey

and also words meaning 'to happen', for example succeed, happen, supervenir, pass: les souvenir un tragedia 'they/you suffered a tragedy', nothing happened to him/her/you'. (b)  Loss or removal They stole a million pesos They stole a million pesos from them/you They pull a tooth They pull her/his tooth His/her hair falls out If it passes ready (S ) he gets over it quickly/You get over it. . . No le puedo aceptar tan dinero I cannot accept so much money from   you/he/she Also, in Latin America, primi: devastated because he/she did not accept to receive the gift of love (popular press, Ch.) ' upset because she refused to accept his gift of love', Sp. . ..he refused to accept the gift of love. (c)  Sufficiency, insufficiency, lack, excess Les just decir que sí All they/you have to do is say 'yes' Le lackan thousand pesos (She/You have 1000 short pesos Twenty dollars a day was enough for him to live with /you managed to live on 20    dollars a day Marc's suit is too big for him Marc's suit is too big for him (d)  Ask, demand, order ​​He was asked several questions You were asked for our names and addresses He asked you to sit down He asked/they asked you to sit down He ordered you/you to surrender Compare(s) told her to buy bread' and told her to buy bread'.(e)  Numerous sentences that include another emotion: I(s) am afraid of bats (see 10.14. 3) Ana hates him You had a great affection for him

I'm afraid of bats Ana has something against him/her/you You really liked him/her

162 Le/les and lo/la/los/las (f) Numerous sentences composed of make plus a noun The cold is very bad for them/you The cold made them/you very bad The boy made a face at him O the boy made a face towards him/ her/you We didn't pay attention We didn't pay attention to them/you You have to face reality You have to face reality It is necessary to reflect (S) him/You should have reflected (g) Indicate the people or things affected by something done to a part of their body or some intimate property. For more details on this construction and for the omission of the possessive adjective with body parts and intimate things, see 9.3.4: You're stepping on his toes! At that age, your brain softens. You didn't wear the shoes he wore

You're stepping on his toes! Their brains soften at that age. You didn't see the shoes he was wearing

(h)  In a few cases which are more difficult to classify, and which may be regarded as conveying the ideas of 'giving', 'removing', 'welfare', 'involving', 'intimately influencing'. What should we do? No (South Cone; Sp.   doesn't matter) Dale! And guess the topic! I can't hear you at all. Thank you. The lawyer's response has affected you greatly   (see 15.6 for more on this usage)

What can be done about it? It's irrelevant Hit him!/Go ahead!/Move! Oh no, not again! (ie we've heard this before) I don't hear anything saying thank you The lawyer's response hit him hard

This multiplicity of meanings can generate ambiguities: le compré un dress 'I bought a dress from her/for her', Ángel les robó una manzana 'Ángel stole an apple from/for them/you'. The context almost always makes the meaning clear or the sentence can be reformulated: compró una calculator para él '(he) bought a calculator for him', etc.

15.4  Use of lo/la/los/las Lo/la/los/las are third-person 'direct object' pronouns, the 'direct' object being understood here as the person or thing directly affected by the verb phrase, but not the ' loss' or 'win' in the ways described in List A above. List B: Contexts usually requiring lo/la/los/las (direct object) The use of lo for human males in this list reflects standard Latin American usage. The second of the alternative forms reflects widespread usage, preferred but not required in most of Spain: see 15.5.1 for discussion. 'You' in the translation reflects the possibility of usted/ustedes. (a)  Direct physical actions (although there are some exceptions, such as le pega '(he) hits him/her'; see 15.6.4): Lo/Le interrogaron La operaron Coge estos papeles y quémalos

You interrogated him/operated on her/take these papers and burn them

15.5 The le/lo controversy: general observations


They put you to sleep with some drink in    mejunje en la sidra (JLB, ​​​​​​​​​​​​​Arg., dialog;    cider   Sp. le or lo) (b)  Verbs of perception, e.g. 'see', 'hear', 'know ', etc. I don't know the director I saw her yesterday at the market My father looked at him proudly (IA, Sp. or le) I recognized one immediately (JM, Sp. or le)

I don't know the director I saw her/you yesterday at the market Your father looked at him proudly I immediately identified one of them

(c)  Praise, blame, admire, love, hate and other actions that indicate attitudes towards a person or thing: Your teachers praise you I really envy the nuns Your husband adores you I love you very much

Her teachers praise him/her I am very envious of the nuns She/her husband adores her/you I love her/him very much

For some speakers, lo quieren = 'they want him/you/it', le quieren = 'they love him/you'. (d)  'Naming', 'naming', 'describing' (but see 15.6.4 for the verb llamar): Los denominaron “los decadentes” They were named by you 'decadentes' Lo/Le nombraron alcalde They were named by you the mayor Las describió in gentle words (S)he/you (feminine) described them in gentle words Lo calificó de éxito (S)he described it as a success (1)  Lo/la/los/las agree in gender with the noun they represent. If there is no gender noun, lo is used: dijo que llegaría a las siete, pero no lo creo '(he said) he will arrive at seven, but I don't believe it', esto no lo aguanta nadie 'no one can bear that'. This neutral use of lo is discussed in 8.4. (2)  The pronouns me/te/nos/os in the first and second person may be used in any of the above sentences instead of the pronoun in the third person, as long as the result makes sense.

15.5 The le/lo controversy: general comments The use of le/les as a direct object pronoun has always been controversial. Beginners can follow the scheme given in 15.2, but will find at least some of the variations described below. Some of them are dialects, but some are basic features of certain varieties of Spanish and can be used by foreigners. Section 15.5 describes regional variations. Sections 15.6–10 describe certain subtleties in the use of le and lo found in the best written and spoken Spanish.

15.5.1  Le for lo in Spain: more details Important: the most prestigious styles in Spain, i.e. the variety used in publication, in most media and by most speakers in central and northern Spain, prefer le vi por lo vi when the expression means 'I saw him' as opposed to 'I saw him': —¿Did he see Miguel? —No, he didn't see 'Have you seen Miguel?' 'No, I didn't see him' —¿Has visa mi lápiz? —No, no, he also 'Have you seen my pencil?' 'No, I don't see'

164 Le/les and lo/la/los/las (1)  The Academy has changed its mind on this phenomenon several times over the last 150 years and now accepts this use of le. Students may hear some Spaniards argue that lo vi applied to a human male sounds vaguely regional. He will also note much inconsistency in Spain in the use of le or lo in reference to human males, lo being more common in the south and not uncommon elsewhere. El País (Libro de Estilo 2014, 13.3.4), accepts the use of le for human male direct objects, but prefers lo because it is used throughout the Spanish-speaking world, except in northern and central Spain – although even here lo be is commonly heard . (2)  This use of le for lo often sounds incorrect to Latin Americans, but sections 15.6.1–5 will show that, although less common, the Latin American use of le for human direct objects is actually more widespread than otherwise claimed. (3)  It is surprising that feminists were not more irritated by the fact that in the lechistic system of central and northern Spain only men were elevated above inanimate male objects by the use of le instead of lo. La vi means both 'I saw her' and 'I saw her'.

15.5.2  Les for los in Spain The use of les for los, eg les vi por los vi 'I saw them' (masc. or masc. and fem.) is very common in Spain when the pronoun refers to human males, but is not recommended by the Academy (NGLE 16.8j). Careful writers use los in sentences like los vi 'I saw them', but the use of les in such contexts is so common in spoken and written Spanish that foreign students need not worry too much about the rule: les (para los ) llevaron a una casa where they were imprisoned mucho rat (JB, Spain) 'they took us to the house where they were imprisoned for a long time', la colonización les explotó (PLE, Spain) 'the colonization exploited them', there is much circumstantial evidence and comments from people who they know them well (RM, Sp.) 'there is a lot of indirect evidence and comments from people who knew them well'.

15.5.3  Le por la in Spain: regional use Speakers of northern and northwestern Spain, especially Navarre and the Basque provinces, often use le and les for feminine direct human objects as well as for masculine ones: le vi = both 'I saw him' and 'He saw sam je', les vi = 'I saw them (women)' but lo vi (masculine) and la vi (feminine) = 'I saw'. This usage sometimes appears in the literature, but the Academy disapproves of it (DPD 393) and foreign students should avoid it. The same phenomenon is sporadically heard elsewhere, e.g. in Valencia and Paraguay.

15.5.4  La for le (a ella) in Spain (laísmo) People in central Spain, including Madrid, may use la as an indirect object pronoun to refer to a woman: ?Yo la dije la verdad (para yo le dije la verdad ) ?thank you her taste (MD, Sp., dialogue, because I praise her taste)

I told her the truth that I praise her taste

Elementary school teachers have waged war against this kind of laicism for years, and the Academy rejects it (NGLE 16.10c). Foreigners should avoid it.

15.6  Le is used for direct human objects throughout the Spanish-speaking world


15.5.5  Lo por le in Latin America Extreme loísmo, i.e. the use of lo for an indirect object, occurs in popular discourse in many parts of Latin America: Kany, 137, cita da Guatemala ya no tarda en llegar. What do you think? "It won't be long now. Do you want to talk to him?' (speak). The same phenomenon is occasionally heard in the dialects of Spain, but it should not be imitated.

15.5.6  Le por lo/la applied to inanimate objects in Spain In familiar speech in Madrid, Quito, Ecuador, and in texts before the 20th century, le is used as a direct object pronoun even for inanimate nouns: ?no le he read today 'I haven't read it [the book] yet', ?unos niegan el hecho, others say that 'some deny the fact, others affirm it' (B. Feijoo, Sp., mid-eighteenth century , para lo affirman ). That construction is stigmatized today.

15.6 Le is used for human direct objects throughout the Spanish-speaking world Even when all regional and dialectal factors are taken into account, le is often used as a direct object pronoun in the best styles of Spain, where la/las would be expected, and in Latin America , where one would expect lo/los or la/las. This can be seen in the translation of the following sentences, where 'she' is the direct object of 'flattered': (a) 'he flattered her', (b) 'the joke flattered her'. We expect the Spanish translations to be (a) él la halagó, (b) la broma la halagó, and this is what many native speakers accept. However, many speakers, both Spanish and Latin American, translate (b) as la broma le halago, this is the most common form in polite speech. As a result, although the rules for the use of le/les already given in 15.3 and the rules for lo/la/los/las given in 15.2 and 15.4 allow foreign learners to form sentences acceptable to most native speakers, they do not always explain the everyday use of these pronouns.

15.6.1 Le to mark respect (le de politeness) In certain areas, some speakers use le for direct human objects as a sign of respect. Spaniards who say lo vi for 'I saw you' may prefer the le vi for usted form 'I saw you'. Argentine informants were convinced that they would say no quería molestarle 'I didn't want to bother you' when talking to their boss, but molestarlo when talking about him; GDLE 24.5 reports on the phenomenon in Chile, Venezuela and Ecuador. Colombian informants said he was abused in both cases. (1)   García (1975) reports that some speakers in Buenos Aires distinguish between hospital le llevaron al and hospital lo llevaron al 'they took him to the hospital', the former suggesting that the patient walked or cooperated, the latter that he was loaded; and some Spaniards seem to accept the distinction. For the Colombian informants, only lo llevaron was possible, and the Leísta Spaniards spoke only le llevaron in both cases.

15.6.2  Le/les is preferred when the subject of the verb is inanimate Le or les are often preferred direct object pronouns in Spain and Latin America when they denote a human being and the subject of the verb is inanimate. Compare the following sentences: la espera su wife 'her husband is waiting for her' and le espera una catastro 'a disaster is waiting for her/him'. Le is most often used when the human direct object reacts emotionally, as in expressions like 'this surprised you', 'this shocked you'.

166 Le/les and lo/la/los/las The phenomenon is vividly illustrated in this Peruvian phrase where le reflects an inanimate subject (a tooth) with a direct human object, but lo also reflects a human subject, the dentist, and a direct human object: si [the muela ] le molesta mucho, lo puedo atendimento hoy mismo (de Variedades, 238) 'if [the tooth] bothers you a lot, I can attend to you today'. Other examples: Le bitter la idea de haber strangulado She was bitter at the thought that   las palabras que estaba a punto de    she choked (literally 'strangled') the words   conducted (CC, Sp.)    she was just about to tell him Él se miraba la sangre que le había He looked at the blood that splattered (MVLl, Pe.) him Sin embargo, le molestaba confronte con However, it bothered him to come face to face with Parody Le charme recibirlo en su casa (ES, Mexico, He would be glad to have you in his house   dialogue) The following pairs further illustrate the rule: La anguish le acompañaba siempre Yo la acompañaba siempre

Anxiety went with her/him always And I always went with her

Consuelo was surprised that she didn't answer. I really admire Consuelo

Consuelo was surprised that he didn't answer. I really admire Consuelo

A thousand euros is enough to live on, I couldn't get it

1000 euros is enough for him/her to live on. I couldn't reach her

Gas makes them laugh, I will make them laugh

Gas makes them laugh, I will make them laugh

(1)  The following verbs are also particularly likely to be affected: commiter 'to attack' (doubts, etc.), afligir 'to hurt' (pain, etc.), asustar 'to frighten', ayudar 'to help', appease' to calm down', coger 'take', complacer 'please', convince 'convince', distracter 'entertain'/'distract', charm 'enchant'/'bewitch', estorbar 'prevent'/'upset', irritate 'irritate', fascinate' fascinate', fatigue 'fatigue', exasperate 'rage', upset 'worry', harass 'bother', worry 'concern', seduce 'enchant', appease 'calm down', etc. (2)  The rules set out in this section reflect the usage in Spain, the Southern Cone, and Mexico, but many native speakers do not take full advantage of these subtleties, so they may disagree about the correct pronoun to use. Strong speakers eg Colombians may use lo/la where others prefer le.

15.6.3 Le/les preference after impersonal se (see 32.5 for this construction) If an impersonal precedes a third-person object pronoun, there is a general tendency to prefer le/les when the object is human. Se le notaba tímida y cut (LG, Sp.) It can be seen that she was   ashamed Entonces se le leerá como se le debió Then it will be read as always   leer siempre . . . (MVLl, Fr.),    were read. . . Hello doctor, ¡que bien se le ve! Hello doctor, you look good! (Peruvian speaker, Variety 238) Se le nota triste (JH, Mexico, dialogue) She looks sad/You see she's sad

15.6  Le is used for direct human objects throughout the Spanish-speaking world


(1)  The use of le/les for the direct object removes the ambiguities caused by Spanish's lack of distinctive object pronoun forms. The use of lo/la after invites us to read it as a substitute for le according to the firm rule that two object pronouns beginning with l cannot appear next to each other (14.9). Thus lecortaron la cabeza 'they cut off his/her head' is pronominalized la corteron 'they cut (he/she)' (never *le la corteron!). For this reason, se la notaba palida can suggest '(he) noticed that his hand, face, head, cheek, chin (or some other feminine noun) were pale'; se le notaba shows that the whole person is meant. (2)  The use of la after the impersonal se to denote a woman and lo to refer to a man is not, however, impossible: la luz se apagó y só se lo veía (MVLl, Pe.)' the light went out and you could hardly see it', if he looked pale in the photographs (JM, Sp.) 'he looked pale in the photographs', —No se le actua de ningún hecho—. And what was he accused of then? (Interview by La Nación, Arg.) "He was not accused of anything." "Then what is he being accused of?" (both forms are used). (3)  In Spain, le/les is occasionally seen even for nonhuman direct objects after impersonals, although in this example los was more common and more correct: a los esperpentos de Valle-Inclán siempre se les ha considered ejemplos de expresionismo español (ABV, Sp.) 'The Esperpentos of Valle-Inclán have always been considered examples of Spanish Expressionism'. (4)  The verb llevarse prompts the use of lo for human and non-human direct objects. The majority of informants from the strongly Leioist regions of Madrid, Segovia and Valladolid preferred lo a le in se rompió una pierna y se lo/le llevaron al hospital en ambulancia 'he broke his leg and they took him to the hospital in an ambulance' (1 75%, 1 25%); a mi padre me lo/le voy a llevar a pasar las vacaciones con nosotros 'I will take my father with us on holiday' (lo 62%, le 38%). This is clearly a peculiarity of the verb llevar: le is reserved for the meaning 'take to him/her' and lo for the meaning 'to take' as in se lo lévão a casa '(he) took home'.

15.6.4  Le/les is preferred with certain verbs Some verbs often take le for what English speakers would probably consider their direct object when that object is a person. This removes some of the ambiguity of the Spanish object pronoun system, or can clarify the meaning of the verb (see, e.g. take): Creer 'to believe': yo no le creo, señora, 'Señora, I don't believe you', but sí que lo creo 'I believe'. Discussing 'to discuss'/'to discuss', when it means 'to answer': ¿desde cuándo le arcutía? 'Since when did she answer him?' (MVLl, trans., dialogue). Enseñar 'to teach'/'show': les enseñaba '(he) taught them (human direct object)/showed' but lo enseñaba '(he) showed/taught'. Understand: no le entiendo 'I don't understand him/her/you' but lo entiendo 'I understand'. Gustar/agradar/complacer/placer 'to please' and all verbs of similar or opposite meaning: le gusta la miel '(he/she likes/you like honey', le nojo de findse sola 'she didn't like to meet solo'. Importar 'important ', concernir 'to worry' and verbs of similar meaning: no les importa que no tengan dinero 'they don't care that they don't have money'; eso no le concierne a usted 'it's none of your business'.

168 Le/les and lo/la/los/las Call 'to call'. Many speakers prefer le/les when the verb means 'to give a name', although lo/la are also common: that's why they call her mami (ABV, Sp., dialogue) 'that's why they call her 'mum', we were told at the "briefing", they call it (TV interview, Cu.) 'we were told at the "briefing", as they call it'; but this usage is not universal: the jolliest was called el Trompo (GGM, Col.) 'the jolliest were called 'Spinning Top'. To baptize, decent usage says they called her María 'they called her 'María'. La/lo/(le)/los/las are common object pronouns used when the verb means 'phone' or 'to call': I'll call her as soon as there's news 'I'll call you/is as soon as there's news' , but it's possible: she called him eight times (EM, Mexico, dialogue) 'she called him eight times'. Summoning takes him/her. Obey 'to obey': have you obeyed Mademoiselle Durand? 'Did you listen to Mlle Durand?' (EP, Mexico, dialogue), although the verb is also found with la/lo. Paste 'beat':. . . with husbands who beat them (JEP, Mexico)'. . . with husbands who beat them', would you hit a wife? (EM, Mexico, dialogue) 'would you hit a woman?'. Pegarlo/pegarla etc. is assumed to mean 'to stick (i.e. stick)'. La pegaba for 'he hit her' is heard in the familiar language, cf. then he changed and gave her affection and hit her (RM, Sp.) 'then he changed and made her jealous and hit her', he insulted her and hit her (SP, Sp.) 'he insulted her and hit her'. NGLE 41.2e considers this "rustic". Worry, worry 'worry': he worries 'worries him/her/you'. Remember: when it means 'remember': remember is 'I remember her', but recuérdale que viene tonight 'remind her that he(s) is coming tonight'. Pull when means 'pull' rather than 'throw' or 'throw away': la amigo le tiraba de la mano (JM, Sp.) 'his/her friend was pulling her/him/your hand'. Compare lo/la tiró '(s) he threw/(s) he threw'. Tocar when means 'to be in turn', not 'to touch': compare le toque a usted, señora 'it's your turn, Señora' and la tocó austed, señora '(s)he touched you, Señora'.

15.6.5  Le/les in double accusative constructions In Juan la oyó 'Ivan heard her' la is normal. In 'Ivan heard her sing an aria' there are two objects, one inanimate 'aria' which is obviously less active than the other human object 'she'. Spanish speakers usually use le to indicate the most active object: Juan le oyó cantor un aria (la occurs, especially in Spain, but can be dropped by polite speakers). Questionnaires, based on the examples of García (1975), elicited the following responses from 20 educated citizens of Madrid, confirming García's findings with Latin American speakers: María no quería venir, pero. . . oblige to come (la 70%, le 30%) 'Marija didn't want to come, but we forced her to come' (single accusative); poor Mary, her priest always. . . obliges to tell the truth (la 35%, le 65%) 'Poor Maria, her father always forces her to tell the truth' (two objects, 'ela' and la verdad). (1)  See usually takes lo (in Spain le)/la/los/las: yo me quedé s ella because I wanted to see her sign the contract 'I stayed with her because I wanted to see her sign the contract'. (2)  Dejar 'let' tends to take la (and in Latin America lo) when the following infinitive is intransitive: lo/la dejaron ir 'they let him/her go' (le dejaron for 'he' in Lehist Spain) . If the infinitive is transitive le, it is more common: le dejaron comprar un helado 'they let him/her buy ice cream'. The same applies to hacer: la hice bajar a su estudio 'I made her go down to the office', but le hice take un café 'I made her/him drink coffee' (from DPD 194). Allow take it: le permitieron do it.

15.11  Forum


15.7  Pronouns with verbs of motion Para acude a ella '(s) he goes to her', se les acercó '(s) he approached them', see 14.6.1.

15.8  'Repetition' or 'echo' of lo with ser, estar and haber The predicate of ser, estar, seem and haber is summarized or 'echoed' in lo: parécia Italiana y lo era 'she looked Italian, and she was'. See 8.4.2 and 34.2.2 for details.

15.9  Se for le/les when lo/la/los/las follows For the obligatory replacement of le with se when lo/la/los/las precedes, as in se lo di 'I gave it to him' (never *le lo di), see 14.9.

15.10  Latin America se los for se lo For the very common Latin American colloquial form ?se los dije 'I told them/you (plural)', for the form se lo dije a ellos/ellas/ustedes, see 14.9.2.

15.11  Le for les Due to the universal colloquial tendency to use le for les when the latter is a 'superfluous' pronoun, because I always tell the truth to my parents 'Eu semper digo a verdade aos meus pais', to tell them the truth, see 14.10.3.

16 Verb Forms in Spanish This chapter discusses the following topics: • • • • • • • • • • • •

The Three Conjugations (Section 16.1.1) Overview of the Spanish Verb System (Section 16.2) Conjugation of Regular Verbs (Section 16.3) Spelling Changes Affecting All Verbs (Section 16.4) Irregular Verbs: Introduction (Section 16.5) Radical Verb Change (Section 16.6) Notes on different forms of verbs (Section 16.7) Regional variations affecting verbs (Section 16.8) Verbs and written stress (Section 16.9) Verbs ending in -cer or -cir (Section 16.10) Irregular forms of prepositions and stem-changing verbs (Section 16.11) List of irregular verbs (section 16.12) Formation of compound tenses: example (section 16.13)

Readers of this book should already be familiar with the forms of regular verbs and the most important irregular verbs, but they are listed in this chapter for completeness. Argentinian vo forms are mentioned because they are in standard use in that country, and normal in some other places. See 12.3.1 for details. (1) Important: The translations of the verbs listed in this chapter mostly show only the most obvious meanings. Many verbs have multiple meanings that should be looked up in a good dictionary.

16.1 The three conjugations Spanish verbs belong to one of three conjugations or types of verbs, distinguished by the infinitive vowel: (1) -ar (2) -er (3) -ir, or -ír in the case of the verbs listed in 16.6 6. Complete conjugation of three typical regular verbs in -ar, -er and -ir is shown in 16.3.

16.2 Overview of the Spanish Verb System (a) Important: There are important and predictable changes in spelling that affect certain verbs, both regular and irregular. They are discussed in 16.4. (b) Important: the vosotros forms are not used in Latin American Spanish: the ustedes forms replace them in speech and writing. Latin American Spanish students will not need to use the vosotros forms, but they are used all the time in Spain. (c) Important: all compound tenses (he hablado, habian visa, etc.) are formed with the auxiliary haber (see 16.11.22) and the past participle. The latter is unchanged in form in these times, unlike French and Italian. For an example of the conjugation of complex tenses, see 16.13. (d) The future subjunctive is almost obsolete. See 16.7.7 and 20.9.

16.3  Conjugation of regular verbs


16.3  Conjugation of regular verbs The three verbs hablar 'to speak', comer 'to eat' and vivir 'to live' are completely regular and do not undergo spelling changes: they must first be learned. The -ir conjugation differs from the -er conjugation only in the ways shown in bold: Root Infinitive Gerund Past Participle Imperative (tú) (vos) (vosotros/as) (usted) (ustedes)

habl- sa- talk eat talk eat talk eat

live live live live

talk eat talk eat talk eat talk eat talk eat

vive vivi (Argentine forms: see 12.3.1) vivid (Spain only) viva vivan

INDICATIVE (ie non-conjunctive) FORMS. Its use is discussed in Chapter 17. Present Forms in brackets are Argentine vos forms: see 16.7.1. hablo hablas (hablás) habla

we talk as you say you eat (eat) they talk eat

we eat you eat they eat

live live (live) live

we live we live we live

Perfect (see 16.13) See 16.11.22 for the conjugation of haber. he hablado, etc.

i comi itd

i vivi etc

Imperfect spoke spoke spoke

we talked ate you talked we ate they talked they ate

we eat eat eat

živio lived lived

we lived we lived

we talked ate you talked ate you talked ate

we ate we ate we ate you lived ate lived

we lived you lived

Past Tense I spoke you spoke you spoke

More than perfect (see 16.13)

Past tense (rarely used. See 16.13)

spoke, ate, lived, etc.

I spoke, ate, lived, etc.

Future I speak you speak on speaks

vamos falar you will come you will falar you will come you will falar you will come

Future perfect (see 16.13) I will speak, eat, live, etc.

we will eat they will eat they will eat

I will live we will live you will live you will live you will live

172 Verb forms in the Spanish conditional we would talk we would talk you would talk you would talk you would talk they would talk

would eat would eat would eat would eat

he would live he would live he would live

The Perfect Conditional (see 16.13) would speak, eat, live, etc. SUBJUNCTIVE (discussed in Chapter 20) Present Subjunctive talk let's talk talk talk talk talk talk

how will we eat eat how to eat

live live live live live

See 20.12.5 for the preferred subjunctive forms in Argentina, where the pronoun vos is used instead of tú. Perfect subjunctive (see 16.13) to speak, eat, live, etc. Imperfect subjunctive Spanish has two forms of the imperfect subjunctive, more or less interchangeable (see 20.1. 3) (a) -ra forma hablara hablaramos hablaras hablarais hablara hablaran

ate ate ate ate ate

would you live would you live would you live would you live

comedies comedies comedies comedies comedies

we would live we would live we would live we would live

(b) -formed hablase hablase hablase hablaseis hablase hablase

The more than perfect subjunctive (see 16.13) would be spoken, ate, lived, etc. object, eat, live, etc. Subjunctive futura (more or less obsolete, see 20.9) hablare hablare hablare hablareis hablare hablaren

we eat we will eat you will eat you will eat

viviere we will live you will live you will live you will live

16.4  Spelling Changes Affecting Verbs The spelling rules described in this section apply to all Spanish verbs.

16.4  Spelling changes affecting verbs


16.4.1  The infinitive ends in -zar Z is written c before e: rezo 'I pray', recé 'I prayed', recemos 'let's pray', etc.

16.4.2  An infinitive ending in -car or -quir C is written qu before e: saco 'I take', saqué 'I took', sack 'let's take', etc. (1)  If the infinitive ends in -quir, which is written c before o or a: delinquir 'to commit a crime', delinco 'I commit a crime', etc. Delinquir is used in formal styles, but other verbs ending in -quir are rarely seen or heard.

16.4.3  The infinitive ends in -gar G written gu before e: pago 'I pay', pagué 'I paid', pay 'we pay', etc.

16.4.4 Infinitive endings in -guar Discover, dilute, appease and other verbs ending in -guar are conjugated like regular -ar verbs and u is never stressed (ie always pronounced /w/). But the diaeresis (colon) is written above you before the continuation and to preserve the /gw/ pronunciation. The only forms with diaeresis (forms in square brackets are unchanged): • Imperative: (you) find out, (you) find out • Past tense: I found out, (you found out), (you found out), ( we found out), (you found out ) ), (they discovered) • Present Subjunctive: to discover, to discover, to discover, to discover, to discover, to discover

16.4.5  Infinitive ending in -cuar See 16.9.3.

16.4.6  The infinitive ends in -ger or -gir G is written j before o or a: Protege 'to protect', protejo 'I protect', protemos 'we protect', etc. ', let's pretend 'we pretend', etc.

16.4.7  The infinitive ends in -guir Gu is written g before o or a: Seguir 'follows', sigo 'I follow', sigamos 'we follow'. This affects the verbs to lift, to get, to follow, to pursue, and to pursue, which are all irregular in other ways: see 16.6.5.

16.4.8  The infinitive ends in -cer Most of these verbs have a slight irregularity. See 16.10.1 for discussion.

16.4.9  The infinitive ends in -cir They can also have a slight irregularity, see 16.10.2.

174 Spanish verb forms

16.4.10 The infinitive ends in -ñer, ñir, -llir ie. written e and ió written ó after ñ or ll. The combinations *ñie, *ñió, *llie, *llió do not appear in Spanish: tañer 'to ring' gruñir 'to grunt' tañendo grunting tañó grunted tañeron gruñeron tañera gruñera tañese gruñese

dive 'dive' dive etc.

16.4.11  The infinitive ends in -eer, -uir, -aer, -oer When an unstressed i appears between two vowels, it is written -y-. See poseer 'possess' 16.11.36, construct 'build' 16.11.13, traer 'bring' 16.11.47, roer 'mill' 16.11.41. This rule also applies to oír 'listen' 16.11.29. Examples of contrujendo, trayendo, oyendo, etc.

16.5  Irregular Verbs: General Observations Only about twenty Spanish verbs—not counting verbs derived from them—are traditionally defined as truly irregular. They are: walk walk 16.11.5 asir grab (rarely used)   16.11.6 stop stop 16.11.8 fall fall (and some   compounds) 16.11.9 give give 16.11.15 decir say (and some compounds) 16.11.16 estar be 16.11.21 haber auxiliary verb or   'ha/ha' 16.11.22

hacer do/do  16.11.23 go go 16.11.24 oír hear 16.11.29 pode pode 16.11.34 put put (and various   compounds) 16.11.35 produce produce (and   all verbs ending in  –ducir ) 16.11.37 want to want 16.11 . 38 know know 11.16.42

salir exit 16.11.43 ser ser 16.11.45 tener ter (and several   compounds) 16.11.46 traer bring (and   compounds) 16.11.47 valer valer (and   compounds) 16.11.48 come come (and   compounds) 16.11.49 see a vidi 11.16.50

16.6  Stem-changing verbs Stem-changing verbs are numerous: there are several hundred of them in everyday use, although many of them are derived from better-known verbs, e.g. discount 'discount' is conjugated as conta 'to tell'/'to tell a story'. Verbs that change the base have regular endings, but the vowel in the base is modified in some way, cf. conta 'to tell a story' > cuenta '(he) talks', miss 'to lose' > pierdo 'I lose', senti 'to feel' > siente '(he) feels' > sintió '(he) remembered', etc. These verbs must be learned separately, because their infinitive is not a guide as to whether they change radically. Compare renovar 'to renew' and tend to 'tend to', which radically modify verbs, and innovar 'innovate', intend to 'claim/pretend' which do not. The following list shows common types of verbs that change radically and a selection of recurring verbs to learn first.

16.6  Radical change of verbs


16.6.1  Conjugated as conta 'count'/'count', 16.11.14 Acordarse 'to remember', acostarse 'to go to bed', bet 'to bet', aproba 'to approve', avergonzarse 'to be embarrassed', collarse 'to sneak , esforzarse 'make an effort', show 'show', prove 'prove'/'try' (i.e. 'prove'/'test'), recall 'remember'/'remember', renew 'renew', rotate 'move' / 'shoot a movie', drop 'drop'/'drop', sonar 'sound', soñar 'dream', tronar 'thunder', volar 'fly'.

16.6.2  Conjugated as cerrar 'near', 16.11.11 Acertar 'to hit'/'hit the target', apretar 'to squeeze/press', atravesar 'to cross', calentar 'to warm up', comenzar 'to begin', confessar 'to confess ' , awaken (if) 'wake up', empezar 'begin', en rrar 'lock', bury 'bury', gobernar 'rule', helar 'freeze' (liquids), manifest 'demonstrate' (i.e. protest), deny 'to deny', nevar 'snow', think 'to think', recommend 'to recommend', sit 'to sit', temblar 'to shake', tropezar 'to stumble'.

16.6.3  Conjugated as mover 'move', 16.11.28 Develop 'unroll', return 'return', dissolve 'dissolve', doler 'hurt', wrap 'wrap', llover 'make rain', morder 'bite', oler 'to smell' (see 16.11.30), remover 'to shake' (Latin Am. 'to remove'), resolver 'to resolve', soler 'to be used to' (+ infinitive), volver(se ) 'to return'/ 'to become '. (1)  Verbs ending in -olver have an irregular past participle: vuelto, devuelto, resuelto, etc.

16.6.4  Conjugated as perdir 'perder', 16.11.32 Responder 'tender' (i.e. pay attention), defender 'defend', encender 'ignite/ignite', comprehensor 'entender', extenderse 'extend/stretch' (at a distance ), tend to 'tend'.

16.6.5  Conjugated as ask 'ask', 16.11.31 Comper 'compete', imagine 'conceive', get 'achieve'/'manage', correct 'correct', melt 'melt', reject 'say goodbye', choose 'choose'/'choose', moan 'moan', prevent 'prevent'/'prevent', meditate 'measure', follow 'continue'/'continue', continue 'continue' (course of action), surrender 'surrender ', repeat 'repeat', reñir 'to rebuke' (see 16.11.40), follow 'to follow', service 'to serve' /'to be useful', clothes 'to wear'/'to wear'.

16.6.6  Conjugated as riír 'to laugh', 16.11.39 Desleír(se) 'to dissolve/dissolve', greírse 'to be vain', (re)frír 'to fry', sonríre 'to smile'.

16.6.7  Conjugated as senti 'to feel', 16.11.44 advertir 'to warn', repentir 'to repent', consentir 'to agree', convert 'to convert', become 'to become', negation 'to deny', dissent 'to disagree' , amuse 'have fun', hurt 'hurt', interfere 'mingle', invest 'invest', lie 'tell lies', prefer 'prefer', refer to 'relate to' , suggest 'suggest'.

176 Spanish verb forms

16.6.8  dorme 'to sleep' and morir 'to die', 16.11.18 16.6.9  jugar 'to play', 16.11.25 16.6.10  acquire 'to acquire', 16.11.3 16.6.11  Conjugated as discernir 'to discern', 16.6.11. 17 cernir 'to sift' (cernirse = 'to hover'/'to tear'), related to 'to interest' (third person only).

16.6.12  Stem change verbs that are sometimes or often regular (a)  Some verbs are not sure or have become regular. These include: cementing 'cementing', coupled as clamping or, more commonly, regular. Derrocar 'overthrown' is now commonplace. Mentar 'to mention' is more and more regular, but polite usage still prefers to conjugate it as cerrar. Plegar 'double' is conjugated as cerrar or optionally regular. (b) The following variant meanings stand out: bet means 'post a sentry' when regular, but when conjugated as count means 'to bet'. Aterrar is regular when it means 'to frighten', but it is conjugated like cerrar when it means 'to flatten'/'to raze it to the ground' (rare). Asolar means 'to water' when it is regular, but conjugated with count it means 'to level/draw to the ground' (today often always regular).

16.7  Notes on different tenses These sections highlight predictable features of verbs and can help in the learning process. Unless otherwise noted, Argentine vos forms are the same as standard tú forms.

16.7.1  Present Tense Forms The present tense endings of regular verbs and all but a few irregular verbs are shown in 16.3. However, there are numerous verbs in the -er and -ir conjugations where the first person singular ending is added to an irregular stem, eg producir 'to produce' > produkiti 'I produce', poner 'to put' > pongo 'to put', etc. It has to be learned separately. (1)  Important: four irregular verbs have the first person singular ending in -y: dar 'gift' > doy, estar 'ser' > estoy, ir 'ir' > voy, ser 'ser' > soy . (2)  Argentinian vos forms of the present tense are formed by dropping any unstressed and ending of the European Spanish form vosotros: vosotros habláis > vos hablás 'you speak', vosotros sois > vos sos 'you are', vosotros teméis > vos temés 'you fear'; but vosotros vivís > vosvivís 'you live', vosotros decís > vos decís 'you say'. The verb forms used with vos in other voseo areas, eg most of Central America, may differ slightly from the Argentinian forms and must be learned locally.

16.7.2  Forms of the imperfect indicative The continuations of the imperfect indicative are shown in 16.3. These endings are added to the root left after removing the infinitive. There are only three exceptions: ser 'to be': era, eras, era, we were, erais, eran ver 'to see': veía, veías, veía, veemos, veíais, ir 'to go': iba, ibas, iba, íbamos, ibais , iban   veían (not expecting *via, *vias, etc.)

16.7  Notes on different tenses


16.7.3  Past Tense Forms (American 'past tense') The past tenses (tú and vos) of regular and basic verbs are shown in 16.3. (1) Important: the ending of the third person plural is -eron (not -ieron) in the past tense of: • conducir 'to direct' and all verbs whose infinitive ends in -ducir: condujeron, redujeron • decir 'to say' : dijeron • ser e ir 'to be' and 'to go': fueron • traer 'to bring': trajeron and all verbs whose infinitive ends in -ñir, -ñer or –llir: see 16.4.10. (2) Important: most of the irregular verbs listed in 16.5 have irregular past tense stems, and many of them have unexpected first and third person singular endings without stress on the final vowel. Hacer 'to do' and traer 'to bring' are typical: hacer: hice, hiciste, hizo, hicimos, hicisteis, hicieron; traer: ruho, ruho, ruho, ruho, ruho, ruho, attracteron. (3)  Important: conjugated verbs like senti 'to feel', ask 'to ask' and dorme 'to sleep' present irregularities in the third person past tense and, therefore, in the imperfect subjunctive: sintió > sintieron pidió > pidieron durmió > durmieron sintiera/sintiese pidiera/pidiese durmiera/durmiese (4)  The forms used with vos are the same as the standard tú forms, but see 16.8.1c for the popular and stigmatized tendency to add -with second person singular forms.

16.7.4  Future and conditional forms The future and conditional endings (tú and vos) are the same for all verbs, regular and irregular: they are shown in 16.3. These suffixes are added to the infinitive, except in the cases of the following 12 verbs that have a special future tense/conditional stem, shown in bold: caber 'to stand': cabr- Poder 'to be able': podr- decir 'to say': dir- poner 'to put' : pondr- haber (assist. verb): habr- Quero 'to want': querr- hacer 'to do': har- saber 'to know': sabr-

salir 'to leave': saldrtener 'to have': tendrvaler 'to value': valdrvenir 'to come': vendr-

Example: Future: you will, you will, you will, you will, you will, you will. Conditional: would, would, would, would, would, would.

16.7.5  Forms of the present subjunctive The present subjunctive endings are easy to remember: -ar verbs: the endings are the same as the present of regular -er verbs, except that the first person ending is -e: hable , hables, hable, hablemos , hableis, hablen. -er and -ir: the suffixes are the same as the present tense of regular verbs -ar, except that the first person ending is -a. eat/live, eat/live, eat/live, eat/live, eat/live, eat/live. (1) Important: As for regular verbs and most irregular verbs, these suffixes are added to the root that remains after removing the -o from the first person present tense: e.g. vengo

178 Spanish verb forms 'I come' > venga, conducco 'I drive' > I lead, quepo 'there is room for me' > quepa (de caber, 16.11.8) etc. There are six exceptions: give 'give' dé, des, dé, demos, deis, den. (accent on dé    distinguishes it from de 'de') estar 'to be' esté, estes, esté, estémos, estéis, están haber haya, hayas, haya, hayamos, hayáis, to have ir 'to go' vaya, vayas, vaya , vayamos, vayas, vyan saber 'to know' sepa, sepas, sepa, sepamos, sepáis, know to be 'to be' mar, mares, mar, seamos, seais, sean (2)  In the case of a radical change of the verb, the changes occur in the usual vowels, eg count, count, count, count, count, count (from count; v. 16. 11. 14), ask, ask, ask, etc. (from ask; see 16.11.31). Verbs like estar 'to feel' have another irregularity in the present subjunctive: to feel, to feel, to feel, to feel, to feel, to feel. This verb should not be confused with sitar/sentar 'assentar'/'sentar' which is conjugated as close. Morir 'to die' and dorme 'to sleep' also have additional irregularities in the present subjunctive. See 11.16.18 for details. (3)  In Argentina, and even more so in Uruguay, the forms of the present subjunctive vos used by attentive speakers are the same as the standard forms of the present subjunctive tú. See 20.12.5 for a discussion of this point.

16.7.6  Imperfect subjunctive forms There are two sets of imperfect subjunctives: the imperfect subjunctive in -ra and the imperfect subjunctive in -se. They are shown in 16.3. When used as subjunctive forms, these two sets of forms are interchangeable, the -ra form being more common, but there are some differences between its other uses: see 20.1. Continuations of the imperfect subjunctive are always added to the base of the third person singular of the preterite indicative. In the case of regular verbs, this stem is found by removing the ending from the infinitive, for example habl(ar) > habl-: yo hablara/hablase, tú hablaras/hablases, él hablara/hablase, etc. Infinitive Past root Imperfect subjunctive senti 'sentir' and verbs like it sint(ió) sintiera/sintiese, etc. ask 'request' and similar verbs pid(ió) pidiera/pidiese etc. ) fuera/fuse etc. producir 'produce', and all verbs produj(o) produjera/ produjese,   ending in -ducir   etc. tener 'ter' tuv(o) tuviera/tuvise etc. (1)  Morir and dorme have third person past roots mur(ió) and durm(ió), so they are past subjunctives muriera/ muriese, durmiera/durmiese etc. (2)  The forms -ese, -era etc., not -iese, -iera, are used with the following verbs: decir 'to say' dijera/dijese etc. ser 'to be' fuera/fuese etc. .traer 'bring' a path/costume, etc.

16.7  Notes on different tenses


all verbs whose infinitive ends in -ducer, Conductera, Produce, etc. all verbs whose infinitive ends in -ñer, tañese, bullera, etc. -ñir or -llir

16.7.7  Forms of the subjunctive future The subjunctive future is practically obsolete and can be ignored by foreign students. Its limited surviving use is discussed in 20.9. It is formed in the same way as the imperfect subjunctive in -ra, except that the last a becomes e. -ar verbs: -are, -ares, -are, -áremos, -areis, -aren. -er and -ir verbs: ‑iere, -ieres, -iere, -iéremos, -iereis, -ieren. The future subjunctive of the verbs shown in note 2 16.7.6 has the endings -ere, -eres, -ere, -éremos, -ereis, -eren.

16.7.8  Imperative forms See 16.3 for regular forms and Chapter 21 for irregular forms and the use of imperatives. (1)  The forms of vos used in Argentina and most other voseo areas can be found by removing the -d from the European imperative vosotros: contad > conta, decide > decí, etc. The imperative vos de ir 'ir' is andá.

16.7.9  Forms of the past participle The forms and use of the past participle are discussed in chapter 23.

16.7.10  Forms of complex tenses Forms of complex tenses, eg he hablado 'I spoke', has visa 'you saw', habian tenido 'they had', habrán hecho 'they will do', etc., are always predictable if can conjugate haber (see 16.11.22) and the past participle is known. For this reason, the individual complex tenses are not listed, but the complete forms of the complex tenses of the typical verb are shown in 16.13. The use of complex tenses is discussed in 18.2-6. (1) Important: Unlike French, Italian and German, modern Spanish does not form compound tenses of any verb with 'to be'. Compare the French je suis venu(e), the Italian sono venuto(a), the German ich bin gekommen and the Spanish he venido.

16.7.11  Gerund forms (see 24.2) 16.7.12  Participle forms of adjectives Refers to forms such as worrying, convincing, which are discussed in 23.6.

16.7.13  Continuous forms of verbs Spanish has a whole range of continuous forms, e.g. estoy hablando 'I speak', estove espera 'I waited'/'I waited for a while' etc. All are formed from the appropriate tense of estar (see 16.11.21) and the invariant gerund. Its use is discussed in Chapter 19.

180 Spanish verb forms

16.7.14  Forms of the passive A passive with ser, e.g. fueron visa 'they were seen', hacido recognized 'she was recognized', etc., is formed by the appropriate tense of the verb to be (16.11.45) and the past participle which agrees in number and gender with the subject to be . There is another passive form, called the passive reflex: se publicó en 2019 'it was published in 2019'. Both forms are discussed in Chapter 32.

16.8  Regional Variations Affecting Verbs 16.8.1  Colloquial Variants The Spanish verbal system is extremely stable throughout the Hispanic world, despite the large number of forms and exceptions. Popular regularizations of irregular forms, eg *cabo for quepo (from caber 'to stand'), *produció for produjo (from producir 'to produce'), *andé for anduve (from andar 'to walk') are stigmatized. Four colloquial or popular forms are noteworthy: (a)  The use of vos instead of the pronoun tu in many parts of Latin America, especially in Argentina. It is discussed in 12.3.1; (b)  use of the infinitive for vosotros imperative form (used only in Spain): dar para papa 'give', callaros for callaos 'shut up!'/'be quiet', iros for idos 'go away', etc. For discussion, see 21.9a; (c)  suffix -s in the second person singular of the past tense, e.g. ?distes for diste 'you gave', ?hablastes for hablaste 'you spoke'. It is common in popular speech on both continents, but is stigmatized and avoided in careful speech; (d)  plural form of haber (different from hay) when it means 'there are'/'there are', eg ?habian muchos por había muchos 'there were many'. It is more or less accepted in speech in Latin America, but is avoided in formal writing and rejected in Spain. See 34.2.1; (e)  the tendency in some popular Latin American dialects to make radical changing verbs regular, e.g., *cuentamos for contamos 'we say', *detiénete for distente 'to stop'. Such forms sometimes appear in the novel's dialogues, but they are highly stigmatized; (f) the use of a special tú form of the present tense in Chilean vernacular (never in formal styles or cautious speech), eg stay for you are, soja for you.

16.9  Verbs and acute stress This section deals with the rules for writing acute stress on verbs.

16.9.1 Spelling and pronunciation of aislar, congregate, prohibitir, rehuir and similar verbs whose root contains a diphthong When the last syllable, except one of the infinitives, contains a descending diphthong (the one whose second letter is i or u is pronounced y or w), this diphthong may or may not be split into two syllables when stressed, for example

16.9  Written verbs and accents


Pronunciation (see preface for phonetic symbols)

forbid forbid forbids it forbids get together get together get together rehuir run away from rehúye s(h)e run away from

[pɾoy-ßíɾ] (two strokes) [pɾo-í-ße] (three strokes) [rrew-níɾ] (two strokes) [rre-ú-nen] (three strokes) [rre-wíɾ] (two strokes) rre -ú-ye] (tri blow

Compare the following verb where the diphthong is not interrupted: cause cause cause cause cause

[kaw-sáɾ] (two syllables) [káw-sa] (two syllables)

Since 1959, the stressed vowel in these broken diphthongs has been written with an accent; in the opinion of the Academy, the fact that -h- occurs between two vowels does not make a difference. Isolar 'to isolate', reunite 'to bring together' and interdict 'to forbid' are common examples. (you isolate), isolate join, join, join (join me), (join), join forbid, forbid, forbid (we forbid), (you forbid), forbid Present subjunctive: isolate, isolate, isolate , ( isolate ), (isolate), isolate gather, gather, gather, (reunamos), (reunáis), reúnán forbid: forbid, forbid, forbid, (forbid), (forbid), forbid The following verbs are similarly affected, but the verbs in square brackets are now archaic or rare: (kum to adopt) (ahilar to harmonize) (ahincar to encourage) (ahitar to faint) ahumar to smoke (food) (airar to rage) (amohinar to upset) archaize to archaize

aullar howl aunar unite aupar help go up cohibir contain (desahitarse digest) take root create roots Europeanize Europeanize Hebraize Hebraicize

judaizar judaize maullar to miar prohijar adopt rehilar quiver rehusar refuse sobrehilar pour (in   costura)

(1)  The spelling rule of this Academy is now generally observed in all printing, but many people still omit the accent in the manuscript. (2)  With other verbs, the diphthong is not terminated. When a diphthong is stressed, the stress falls on its first vowel, so no written stress is needed, e.g. arraigarse 'create roots' > arraigo, encausar 'process' > encausa etc. diphthong is usually retained), desvainar 'to peel off', embaucar 'cheat', embaular 'stack' (coffin/coffin: variable), envainar 'sheath', peinar 'comb'/'to cut someone's hair', reign 'rule', etc.

182 Spanish verb forms

16.9.2 Verbs whose infinitive ends in -iar There are two types. Most are conjugated as a change 'to change': -ia survives as a diphthong and is always pronounced [ya], so the verb is conjugated as a regular verb -ar and the accent is not written on the i. But about 50 conjugated verbs like send 'send' . They are conjugated as a change - i.e. regularly - except that the diphthong is also stressed and written with stress in the following cases (forms in square brackets are not affected): • Imperative: (you) send, (you) send, (you) send send ), (vi) you send • Present tense: I send, I send, I send, (enviáis), (senviáis), I send • Present subjunctive: I send, I send, I send, (enviemos), (enviéis), I send A list and the following shows the usual verbs that are conjugated how to send : agriar to sour (but usually likes change) ally to ally amnesty amnesty expand/increase anxiar anxio por arriar inundar/towload adorn arrange (with clothes) autograph for autograph auxiliary help (usually as change) check damage bird prepare a biography write a biography reconcile reconcile (usually as a change) oppose counter-create* create/create a challenge provoke reject disorient

emigrate emigrate   (also as cambiar) expiar expiar ecstasy ecstasy   (generally as cambiar) seduce deceive trust* entrust photograph photograph glorify for chronic   (also as cambiar) inventory inventory liar* bind/pack

a type of mechanograph mitigate mitigate   (often as change) hum* hum (as a bird) insist on x-raying make up reconcile   usually like a change) repatriate return (also   like a change) cool down cool off spray spread telegraph telegraph empty empty brag boastful (almost always  like cambiar) vary vary from glaze to glaze (also  likes to change)

* The Academy has new rules about writing some forms of verbs marked with an asterisk. See 44.2.4.

16.9.3 Verbs whose infinitive ends in -uar Almost all are conjugated as actua 'to act', i.e. ti can be stressed, and then it is written with an accent. The only forms affected are (forms in square brackets and those not listed are not affected): • Imperative: (you) act, (you) act, (you) act • Present Tense: age, age, age, (we act ) ( agimos) actamos • Present subjunctive: ato, ato, ato, (we act), (we act), to act Verbs that are conjugated as to act: accentuate accentuate soften soften

conceptualize continue

devalue devalue devalue

16.10  Other verbs with minor irregularities

carry out evaluate evaluate except mitigate mitigate soften vary graduate graduate get used to get used to


individualize individualize punctuate punctuate/emphasize fall in love   evaluate insinuate insinuate insinuate insinuate rerate yield (profit, etc.) perpetuate perpetuate situate situate precept establish as a value norm/precept

(1)  For verbs whose infinitive ends in -guar, see 16.4.4. (2)  Verbs ending in -cuar, e.g. evacuar 'to evacuate' and adecuar 'to adapt to (policy/situation etc.)' were traditionally conjugated regularly, i.e. how to find out but without trepidation; this is the solution preferred by El País. But the act-like conjugation is now so common that the Academy accepts it (NGLE 4.9i).

16.9.4  Verbs ending in -ear All are regular. The combination ee is never written with an accent, except in the continuations of vosotros of the present subjunctive and in the first person singular of the preterite, e.g. passé. Pasear 'to go for a walk' is conjugated like this: • Present indicative: paseo, paseas, pasea, paseamos, paseáis, pasean • Present subjunctive: pasee, pasees, pasee, paseemos, paseéis, paseen • Preterite: paseé, paseaste, paseó , paseamos , paseasteis, pasearon

16.10  Other verbs with minor irregularities 16.10.1  Verbs ending in -cer If the infinitive ends in -cer, the spelling changes c > z before applying a or o in the case of several verbs. However, the only verbs ending in -cer that are conjugated in this way are: (a)  those where c/z appears after a consonant: coercer coagir ejercer practice persuade persuade (re) twist twist (stem destorcer destorcer   change: see 16.11 12)

beat to defeat

(b)  the following exceptional verbs: • (re)cocer, boil (alimento) (root change; see 16.11.12) • escocer picar (intransitive), conjugated as cocer; picar 'picar' is more common • mecer to swing; mecerse to swing The rest is as it seems, i.e. -zc- appears before -o or -a. See 11/16/10. For hacer, placer, yacer, see the list of verbs at 16:12.

16.10.2  Verbs ending in -cir The spelling change c > z before a or o is applied in the case of regular verbs esparcir 'spread/scatter', fruncir 'furrow/wrinkle' (eyebrows), resarcir 'return (effort)' , uncir 'to play' and zurcir 'to patch'/'to sew'. Any other, eg to produce, to be lucid, should be viewed suspiciously, and checked in the list of 16.12.

184 Spanish verb forms

16.11  Model of irregular and stem-changing verbs 16.11.1  Forms: general Irregular and stem-changing verbs are listed in alphabetical order. The list omits such oddities as the archaic abarse, found only in the form ábate 'go away!', or usucapir 'to acquire proprietary rights by customary use', used in legal jargon and only in the infinitive. In general, only irregular forms are shown, except for some very common verbs.

16.11.2  Abolir 'abolir' Traditionally considered an 'incorrect verb': only forms in which the verb ending begins with -i are used: Infinitive: abolir Gerund: aboliendo Imperative: abolid (*abolid is not used) Present Tense : only abolimos i abolis the present subjunctive is used: it is not used

Past participle: abolished

However, NGLE 4.14d and El País now accept all forms of this verb, regularly conjugated (ie abole not *abuele), although those shown above are used more often. All other times are regular. Other verbs or constructions can replace rarely used forms, eg sin that is abolished by sin that is abolished. Some other verbs are wrong, but only abolish, attack and violate (see 16.11.4) are common today: aggression see 16.11.4 empedernir 'to harden'/'petrify' (sole arrecirse (Lat. Am.) 'to be frozen hard' participle, hardened, is in current use) aterirse 'to be stiff with cold' (only to guarantee 'guarantee' (guarantee in Spain,   infinitive and participle in present use)   but still used in Peru and the south blandir 'to to wave' Cone, where it is often conjugated  correctly)

16.11.3  Acquirir 'to acquire' (also inquirer 'to inquire') The infinitive was already to acquire, hence -ie- when the main vowel is stressed. Forms in square brackets are correct, as are all forms not shown, eg acquired, acquired, will acquire, acquired, etc. • Imperative: (you) acquire, (you) acquire, (you) acquire), (you) acquire • Indicative present: acquire, acquire, acquire, (acquire), (acquire), acquire • Present subjunctive: acquire , acquire, acquire, (acquire), (acquire), acquire

16.11.4  Assault 'to attack'/'to attack' Some classify it as an irregular (like abolish; see 16.11.2), others as a regular verb -ir. The academy's new dictionary declares it to be a normal -ir verb, and El País agrees. Transgress 'transgress' is also now considered regular.

16.11  Forming irregular verbs and stem-changing verbs


16.11.5  Andar 'walk'/'walk' Pravilni glagol -ar osim za preterit i prošli konjunktiv: Preterit: I walked, you walked, you walked, we walked, you walked, they walked Imperfekt Konjunktiv (-ra): walked, would walk, walked, walked, anduvierais,   anduvieran Imperfeito do konjunktiva (-se): anduviere, you walked, walked, we walked, anduvieiseis,   anduviesen Prošli oblici poput *andé, *andaste são ouvidas, ali são snažno stigmatiziran.

16.11.6  Asir 'to grab'/'to grab' This verb is dying out and grabbing is now much more common. Forms containing g are avoided, but other forms are heard, e.g. I grabbed a branch to fall down. It is conjugated like a regular -ir verb except for (the forms in square brackets are regular): Imperative: (usted) asga, (vosotros) asid, (ustedes) asgan Present Tense: asgo, (aces, ase, asimos, asís, asen ) Present subjunctive: asga, asgas, asga, asgamos, asgáis, asgan

16.11.7  Brbljati 'to stutter' Today it is found only in those forms whose ending begins with i, eg brbljao, brbljao. For other forms, regular chatter is used and is a common verb in spontaneous speech.

16.11.8  Caber 'encaixar' Numerous irregularities: Gerund: cabiendo Past participle: cabido Imperative: (tú) cabe, (vosotros) cabed, (usted) quepa, (ustedis) quepan Present tense: quepo, cabes, cabe, cabemos , cabéis , caben Imperfect (regular): cabía, cabías, cabía, cabamos, cabáis, cabían Past tense: cupe, cupiste, cupo, cupimos, cupisteis, cupieron Future: cabré, cabrás, cabrá, cabremos, cabréis, cabrán  Conditional: cabría etc. Present subjunctive: fit, fit, fit, fit, fit, fit Imperfect subjunctive (-ra): cupiera, cupieras, cupiera, cupierais, cupierais, cupieran Imperfect subjunctive (-se): cupiese, cupieses, cupiese, cupiesemos, cupieseis, cupiesen (1)  Usage: Do I fit in? 'Is there room for me?', it didn't fit 'it won't fit', we didn't fit 'it didn't fit us', both of their clothes didn't fit in the wardrobe (ES, Mex. In Spain ormar = el armario) 'there was no room in the wardrobe/ wardrobe for two women's clothes', there is no doubt that . . . "There is no room for the slightest doubt about that. . .'.

16.11.9 Caer 'pasti' Gerundij: falling Particip prošli: pao Imperative: (you) fall, (you) fall, (you) sika, (vi) fall Present: fall, fall, poop, we fall, fall, fall Imperfekt ( pravilno): spade, spade, spade, spade, spade, spade

186 Tvori dva španjolska glagola Prošlo vrijeme: cai, you fell, fell, we fell, you fell, they fell Futur (pravilan): vou cair, itd. Uvjetno (redovito): cairia itd. Prezent do konjunktiva: cayera, cayeras, cayera, cayeramos, caigáis, cayena Imperfeito do konjunktiva (-ra): cayera, cayeras, cayera, cayéramos, cayerais, cayera Imperfeito do konjunktiva (-se): cayese, cayeses, cayese, cayésemos, pao, pao

16.11.10  Verbs ending in -cer All verbs ending in -cer are conjugated as agrader 'agrader', shown below, except for the regular verbs coercer, ejercier, (con)vencer and mecer and the stem-changing verbs escocer, ( re ) to cook and (re)twist. They are discussed on 16.10.1. In all other verbs ending in -cer, c > zc before a or o. All forms are as for regular verbs in -er, except (forms in square brackets are regular) Imperative: (ti) hvala, (ti hlava), (you) thank you Present indicative: thank you, (thank you, thank you) you, thank you, thank you, thank you) Present subjunctive: thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you

16.11.11 Close 'to close'/'to close' A common type of stem change verb. The endings are of regular -ar verbs, but the e basically changes to ie when stressed. All forms are the same as for the regular -ar verb, to prepare (the correct forms are in square brackets): Imperative: (ti) close, (ti) close, (ti close), (ti) close Present: close, close, close, ( we close), (we close), to close Present Subjunctive: to close, to close, to close, (to close), (to close), to close

16.11.12  Cocer 'to cook' (food) This and three similar verbs, torcer 'to twist', destorcer 'to unroll' and torcer 'to twist'/'to twist', are conjugated exactly as a move except for the predictable spelling change c > z before a , o (correct forms are in square brackets): Imperative: (you) cook, (you) cook, (you cook), (you) kitchen Present: cook, cook, cook, (we) cook) , (you cook), they cook present subjunctive: to cook, to cook, to cook, (we cook), (cozás), to cook

16.11.13  Construir 'construct' Verbs ending in -uir are very common. It is written unstressed and between vowels and, for example, builds on the expected *konstruíó, and the unexpected y is inserted in various ways, for example build to the expected *gradi. Gerund: building  Past participle: built (unstressed! See 44.2.3 for explanation) Imperative: (you) build, (you) build, (you) build, (you) build Present Tense: I build, you build, build , we built (unstressed!), you build,   built Imperfect (regular): built, you built, we built, you built, you built, built Past Tense: I built, you built, we built, we built, you built, built Future (ordinary): I will build, etc. Conditional (regular): would build, etc. Present subjunctive: build, build, build, we build, build,   build

16.11  Forming irregular verbs and stem-changing verbs


Imperfect subjunctive (-ra): construyera, construyeras, construyera, construyéramos, construyerais,   construyeran Imperfect subjunctive (-se): construyese, construyeses, construyese, construyésemos, construyeseis,   construyesen (1)  Argüir 'to discuss (a point)' é is written with dieresis whenever u is followed by i. This preserves [gwi] pronunciation: arguyo, argüimos, argüí, argüía, but arguya, arguyeron, etc. (2)  Huir 'flee' (but not rehuir 'avoid/avoid') and flurr ' flow' are under the influence of the Academy's new spelling recommendations. See 44.2.4.

16.11.14  Contar 'to tell'/'to tell a story' A common type of radical-changing verb: root o changes to ue when stressed. All forms are as for the regular -ar verb, except (the forms in square brackets are regular): Imperative: (tú) cuenta, (usted) cuenta, (vosotros contad), (ustedes), cuentan Present: cuento, cuentas , cuenta, (we count), (you count), they count Present subjunctive: count, count, count, (we count), (count), count

16.11.15  Dar 'gift' Gerund: dar Past participle: dada Imperative: (tú) da, (vosotros) dad, (usted) dé, (ustedes) den Present tense: doy, das (also used with vos), da , damos, dais, dan Imperfect (regular): daba, dabas, daba, Dábamos, dabais, dadan Past Tense: di (unstressed!), dao, dao (unstressed!), dao, dao, dao Future (regular) : I will give, etc. Conditional (regular): I would give, etc. Present subjunctive: dé, des, dé, demos, deis, den Imperfect subjunctive (-ra): diera, dieras, diera, dieramos, dierais, dieran Imperfect subjunctive (- se): diese, dieses, diese, diesesmos, dieseis, diesen (1)  The stress in the present subjunctive forms distinguishes them from the preposition 'de'. This accent becomes unnecessary - although it is seen in print and often written by hand - when a pronoun is added: give me 'give me', give 'give him/her', give us 'give us'.

16.11.16  Say 'say' Gerund: diciendo Past participle: said Imperative: (tú) di, (vosotros) decide, (vi) say, (ustedes) digan Present tense: digo, dices, dice, decimos, decís, dicen Imperfect (correct): he said, you said, he said, we said, you said, they said Past Tense: I said, you said, he said, we said, you said, they said Future: I will say, you will say, he will say, we will say, you will say, they will say  Conditional: would say etc. Present subjunctive: say, say, say, say, say, say, say, say, say, say, say, say, say, say, say, say, say, say, say, say, say, say, say, say, say, say, say, say, say, say, say, say, say, say, say, say, say, say, say, say, say, say, say, say, say, say, say, say, say, say, say, say, say, say, say, say, say, say, say, say, say, say, say, say, say (1) Predicir 'to predict' and contradictir 'to contradict' are regularly conjugated in the future, conditional and tú imperative: predicére etc., predicaria etc., tú imperative to predict etc. Seco (1998), 351 says that forms like prediré, contradiria are "rare" , but the Academy (NGLE4.11a) accepts them.

188 Spanish verb forms (2)  Desdecir (eg descirse from 'to return') has the imperative tú desdice, but is regular, although less common forms like desciré, desciría are not considered incorrect. The same goes for the contradiction 'contradict': contradict, contradict, contradict, rarely contradict, contradict.

16.11.17  Discernir, 'discern' This shows the usual stem modification e > ie, but verbs like discernir are very rare in the -ir conjugation: only cernirse 'float'/'appear', preoccupation (third person only) ' to interest' and hendir (in Spain also hender, to like to understand) 'to separate' are conjugated like he. The correct forms are in square brackets: Imperative: (you) discern, (you) discern, (you) discern, (you) discern present indicative: I discern, you discern, discern, (we discern), (you discern), discern Past Tense (usual): I discerned, you discerned, discerned*, we discerned, you discerned, they discerned* Present subjunctive: discern, discern, discern, (we discern), (you discern), discern Imperfect subjunctive (-ra) ) (regular): to discern, etc. Subjunctive imperfect (-se) (regular): discernment, etc. *Not expected *discernió, *discernier All other forms are like the regular verb -ir.

16.11.18  Dormir 'to sleep', morir 'to die' Dormir and morir are the only verbs of this type. In addition to the usual change o > ue when the o is stressed, the root vowel in the third person is u. U also occurs in the first and second person plural of the present subjunctive and in the gerund. The forms between square brackets are correct: Gerund: sleep  Past participle: sleep, but muerto is the past participle of morir Imperative: (tú) sleep, (you sleep), (you) sleep, (you) sleep Indicative present: I sleep, you you sleep, you sleep, (we sleep), (you sleep), they sleep Imperfect (regular): slept, you slept, we slept, we slept, you slept, they slept Past Tense: (I slept), (you slept) , slept, (we slept), (you slept), they slept Future (correct): I will sleep, etc. Conditional (correct): I would sleep, etc. Present subjunctive: sleep, sleep, sleep, let's sleep, let's sleep, let's sleep Imperfect subjunctive ( -ra): sleep, sleep, sleep, sleep, sleep, sleep, sleep Imperfect subjunctive (-se): sleep, sleep, sleep, let's sleep. , to sleep, to sleep (1)  In literary and journalistic styles, the participle muerto is sometimes used instead of matado 'dead' when it comes to human beings: a total of three soldiers were killed by an explosive device' .

16.11.19  Get up 'raise'/'sit down' This verb has alternative forms in some of its times, and today forms with y- are preferred. The forms in brackets are correct: Gerund: irguiendo Past participle: raised Imperative: (tú) yergue/irgue, (vosotros erguid), (usted) yerga/irga, (ustedes) yergan/irgan Present tense: yergo/irgo, yergues / irgues , erect/irgue, (erguimos), (erguis), erecten/irguen Imperfect (regular): erguía, erguías, erguía, etc.

16.11  Forming irregular verbs and stem-changing verbs


Past tense: (erguiste), (erguiste), erguió, (erguisteis), erguieron Present subjunctive: yerga/irga, yergas/irgas, yerga/irga, yergamos/irgamos, yergáis/irgáis,   yergan/irgan Imperfect subjunctive (-ra) : irguiera, irguieras, irguiera, irguieramos, irguierais, irguieran Imperfect subjunctive (-se): irguiese, irguieses, irguiese, irguiésemos, irguieseis, irguiesen (1)  All other forms are regular. Usage: no te agaches—bridge raised 'stop bending over - sit up straight', 'climbed/raised up like a snake', 'the dog pricked up its ears', it pricked up its ears for a moment, reclined on the pillow (JV, Mexico) 'for a moment was sitting, leaning on a pillow'.

16.11.20 Errar 'vagar'/'err' This verb conjugates like close, i.e. e > ie when stressed, but ie is written ye. However, it is regular in the Southern Cone and Colombia and some other parts of Latin America, i.e. error, error, mistake, etc. Conjugated as a regular ar verb, except for (forms in square brackets are regular): Imperative: (ti) yerra, ( you) yerre, (you got it wrong), (you) yerren Present tense: yerro, yerras, yerra, (we will), (we will make a mistake), we will make a mistake present subjunctive: we will make a mistake, we will make a mistake, we will make a mistake, (we will make a mistake ), we will be wrong

16.11.21  To be 'to be' This verb is used very often. The difference between it and being, which means 'to be', is discussed in chapter 33. Gerund (reg.): being  Past participle (reg.): state Imperative: (tú) está, (vosotros está, reg.) , (you) are, (you) are Present Tense: I am, you are, you are , we are, you are, you are Imperfect (regular): I was, you were, I was, we were, you were, they were Past Tense: I was, you were, were, we were, were are, were Future tense (reg.): I will be etc. Conditional (reg.): would be etc. Present subjunctive: be, be, be, be, be, be, be, be, be, be, be, be, be , be, be, be, be, be, be, be, be, be, be, be, be, be, be, be, be, be, be, be. , be, be, be, be, be, be, be, be, be, be, be, be, be, be, be, be, be, be, be, be, be, be (1)  The imperative is often formed from the pronoun ( i.e. 'reflexive') form, i.e. remained, remained, remained, remained. They are often - but unnecessarily - written with emphasis, eg stay See 21.2.6.

16.11.22 Haber, auxiliary verb, and also 'there is', 'there is', 'was' etc. This common verb is used to form compound tenses of all regular and irregular verbs (for discussion of compound tenses, e.g. I spoke, saw are, see chapter 18). It is also used in the third person only as a main 'existential' verb, cf. there were many 'there were many', there will be less than five 'there will be less than five'. When used in this way, its present indicative form is hay: see Chapter 34 for a discussion of its use. Gerund: having Past Participle: there were Imperative: (not used) Present Tense: he, has (also used with vos) e (hay), we, have, have Imperfect (regular): had, had, had, we had, had, had

190 Spanish Verb Forms Past Tense: hube, hubiste, hubo, hubimos, hubisteis, hubieron Future: habré, habrás, habrá, habremos, habréis, habrán Conditional: would have, would have, would have Present Subjunctive: habrás, have, let us to have, ter, ter Imperfect subjunctive (-ra): would have, we would have, we would have, we would have, we would have, we would have Imperfect subjunctive (-se): we would have, we would have, we would have (1) Past subjunctive in -ra is also widely used to form the perfect conditional, i.e. if I called you, she would call you 'I would call you'. See 17.7.5 for discussion. (2) When it means 'there was/was/will be', etc., this verb is singular: there were five 'there were five' Forms like ?habían five are unacceptable in Castilian-speaking Spain and in writing everywhere, but are heard in the Spanish language spoken in Catalonia and Latin America. (3) We have is used in the sentence we have them 'we're going with'. See 8.4.4 note 1 for an example. In other contexts, the shape we have is stigmatized. See 34.2.1 note 2. (4) The form ?haiga is sometimes heard for the subjunctive haya, but is stigmatized as rustic or illiterate.

16.11.23  Hacer 'fazer'/'fazer' There are several compounds, eg undo 'undo', falsificati 'counterfeit' Gerund: haciendo Past participle: done Imperative: (you) do, (you) do, (you) do, (you) do Present Tense: I do, you do, we do, we do, you do, they do Imperfect (regular): did you, did you, did, did, did, did, did, did, did, done, done, done, done, done, done, done, done, done, done, done, done, done, done, done, done, done, done, done, done, done, done, done, done, done, done, done, done, done, done, done, done, done, done, done, done, done, done, done, done, done, done, done, done, done, done, done, done. go, go, go will, will, will Conditional: would, etc. Present Subjunctive: do, do, do, do, do, do, do, do, do, do, do, do, do, do, do, do, do, do , do, do, do, do, do, do, do, do, do, do, do, do, do, do do do , do, do (1)  Satisficer 'to satisfy' is conjugated as hacer - will satisfy, satisfied, etc. - although the imperative here can be both tearful and satisfied. (2)  The form ha for hace is obsolete, but is occasionally seen in archaic expressions such as años ha 'a few years ago' for hace años.

16.11.24  Ir 'ir' Numerous irregularities: Gerund: yendo Past participle: ido Imperative: (tú) ve (see note 2), (vosotros) id (see note 1), (usted) vaya, (ustedis) vaya Present indicative : voy, vas (also used with vos), va, podes, vais, van Imperfect: iba, ibas, iba, íbamos, ibais, iban Past tense: fui (unstressed!), fuiste, fue (unstressed!) , we were, you were, they were Future (regular): I will, you will, you will, we will, you will, they will  Conditional (regular): I will etc. Present subjunctive: vai, vai, vai, vai, vai, vai Imperfect subjunctive (-ra): vani, vani, vani, vani, vani, vani, vani Imperfect subjunctive (-se): vani, vani, vani, vani , van . , out out

16.11  Forming irregular verbs and stem-changing verbs


(1)  Imperative vosotros from irsa is irregularly idos (for intended *íos). See 21.2.4 for further discussion of this pattern. (2)  The Argentine standard you have to go is andá. The intended imperative vos i is reportedly heard in vernacular speech in northeastern Argentina, but is stigmatized (NGLE 4.13j). We have never seen it in written Spanish.

11.16.25  Play "for playing" (one game). This verb is unique in that it is u>ue when stressed. Also notice g>gu before e. All forms are as for regular -ar verbs, except (forms between square brackets are regular): Imperative: (tú) juegue, (usted) juegue, (vosotros juegad), (ti) jueguen Present : juego, jugas, juegue , (we play) ), (you play), they play Past Tense (usual): I played, you played, we played, we played, you played, they played Present subjunctive: play, you play, play, (let's play) ), (you play ), play

11.16.26 Lucir 'ficar bem', 'to wear' a new dress as she wore 'she wore a new dress' C > zc before ou o. All other forms are as with the regular verb -ir (the forms between brackets are also regular): Imperative: (tú luce), (usted) luzca, (vosotros lucid), (ustedes) luzcan Presente do indicative: luco, (luces , luce, lucimos, lucís, lucen) Present subjunctive: luzca, luzcas, luzca, idemo luzcamos, luzcáis, lucencan (1)  Verbs ending in -ducer are conjugated as a product, shown in 11.16.37.

11.16.27  Cursing 'curse', blessing 'blessing' Conjugated as saying in some tenses and regular in others. Forms that differ from the adverb are shown in bold: Gerund: expletive Past participle: cursed (for cursed, blessed, see 23.2.1) Imperative: (you) curse, (you) curse, (you) curse, (you) curse Present indicative: I curse, you curse, you curse, we curse, you curse, they curse Imperfect (regular): cursed, etc. Past tense: I cursed, you cursed, we cursed, we cursed, you cursed, they cursed Future (correct): I cursed, you cursed, cursed, we cursed, you cursed, they cursed Conditional (correct): would curse, you cursed , cursed , we would curse, you would curse, they would curse Present Subjunctive: to curse, to curse, to curse, to curse, to curse, to curse Imperfect Subjunctive (-ra): to curse, to curse, to curse, to curse, to curse Imperfect Subjunctive (- se): to curse, to curse, to curse, to curse, to curse, curse

16.11.28  Mover 'to move' A common type of stem change verb. The o in the stick changes to ue when stressed. All other forms (including those in square brackets) are like regular -er verbs:

192 Forms two Spanish verbs Imperative: (tú) to move, (usted) to move, (vosotros moved), (ustedes) to move Present Indicative: to move, to move, to move, (to move), (to move) , to move Present Subjunctive: to move, to move, to move, (to move), (to move), to move.

16.11.29 Oír 'to listen' (also desoír 'to ignore', 'to ignore a request') Gerund: oyendo Past participle: oído Imperative: (tú) oy, (vosotros) oíd, (usted) oiga , (ti ) hear Present tense: I hear, you hear, hey, we hear, you hear, they hear Imperfect (regular): heard, heard, heard, heard, heard, heard, heard Past Tense: heard, heard, heard, heard, heard, heard , heard Future (correct ): I will listen, etc. Conditional (regular): I would listen, etc. Present Subjunctive: I hear, you hear, you hear, you hear, you hear, you hear, you hear, you hear, you hear, you hear, you hear, you hear, you hear, you hear, you hear, you hear , hear, hear, hear, hear, hear, hear, hear, hear, hear, hear, hear, hear, hear, hear, hear, hear, hear, hear, hear, hear, hear, hear, hear, hear, hear, hear, hear, hear , you hear, you hear, you hear, you hear, you hear, you hear, you hear, you hear, you hear, you hear, you hear. (1)  There is everywhere a confused and widespread tendency to mistake hearing for hearing, which properly means 'hearing' and not 'hearing'. You hear answering machine messages such as leave a message when you hear a tone to when you hear a tone 'leave a message when you hear a tone'.

16.11.30  Oler 'to sniff' Oler is conjugated as a stroke, but shows the predictable tone for u and when this diphthong is at the beginning of a word. All forms, including those in square brackets, as with the regular verb -er, except: Imperative: (ti) smell, (you) smell, (ti oled), (you) smell Present Indicative: I smell, smell, smell , ( we smell), (you smell), they smell Present Subjunctive: smell, you smell, you smell, (you smell), (you smell), they smell

16.11.31  Ask for 'to ask for' The endings are correct, but the e of the stem changes to i when it is stressed, and also to the gerund, past third person and imperfect subjunctive: Gerund: asking Past participle: asked Imperative: ( you) ask , (you) ask, (you) ask, (you) ask Present Tense: I ask, you ask, he asks, we ask, you ask, they ask Imperfect (regular): he asked, you asked, he asked , we asked, he asked, she asked Past Tense: I asked, you asked, we asked, we asked, you asked, they asked Future (regular): I will ask, etc. Conditional (regular): I would ask, etc. Present Subjunctive: to ask, to ask, to ask, to ask, to ask, to ask, to ask Imperfect subjunctive (-ra): to ask, to ask, to ask, to ask, to ask, to ask, to ask Imperfect subjunctive: (-se): to ask, to ask, to ask, to ask, to ask , to ask

16.11.32  Perder 'perder' A common type of stem change verb. Continuations are regular, but e basically changes to ie when stressed. All forms, including those in square brackets, are as for the regular verb -er, except:

16.11  Forming irregular verbs and stem-changing verbs


Imperative: (you) lose, (you) lose, (you) lose Present indicative: I lose, you lose, lose, (we lose), (you lose), lose Present subjunctive: lose, lose, lose, (we lose) , (to lose), to lose

16.11.33  Placer 'to please' It is found only in the third person and is rare today, but not completely extinct: gustar (common) is a common word for 'to please'. It is conjugated as grateful (see 11/16/10), except that archaic irregular alternatives, not used today, existed for the following third person forms: present subjunctive sing. cap, pl. pluggeron

imperfect subjunctive pluguiera(n)/pluguiese(n)

16.11.34  Poder 'to be able' Gerund: puiendo Past participle: podido Imperative: not used Present tense: I can, you can, you can, we can, you can, they can Imperfect (regular): you could, you could, could , we could, you could, they could Past Tense: I could, you could, could, we could, you could, they could Future: I can, you can, you can, we can, you can, they can Conditional: could, etc. Present subjunctive: can, you can, you can, we can, you can, they can Imperfect subjunctive (-ra): you could, you could, you could, we could, you could, you could bi Imperfect subjunctive (-se): you could, you could, you could, you could, we could, you could, you could

16.11.35  Put 'that put' Gerund: put Past participle: put Imperative: (you) put, (you) put, (you) put, (you) put present indicative: put, put, put, put, put, put Imperfect (regular): put, put, put, put, put, put, put Past Tense: put, put, put, put, put, put, put Future: put, put, put, put, put, put, put  Conditional : would also put t. Present subjunctive: put, put, put, put, put, put, put Imperfect subjunctive (-ra): put, put, put, put, put, put, put, put, put, put, put, put, put, put , put, put, put, put, put, put, put, put, put, put, put, put, put, put, put, put , put, put, put, put (1)  Also compounds like compose 'compose' , impor 'to impose', propose 'to propose', d decompose 'to divide something', suppose 'to assume', etc. In the imperative tú of these compounds, emphasis is written, e.g. compose 'compose' > compón, posponer 'postpone' > pospon.

16.11.36  Possess 'to possess' This verb and similar ones, p. leer 'to read', creer 'to believe', requires the y sound between vowels to be written y, not i. This is a spelling rule, not an irregularity: Gerund: owned Past participle: owned Imperative: (you) own, (you) you own, (you) own, (you) own Present Tense: I own, own, we own, we own, own, own Imperfect (regular): own, own, own, own, own, possess

194 Spanish Verb Forms Pretérito: I owned, owned, owned, we owned, owned, owned Future (regular): I will own, etc. Conditional (regular): would own, etc. Present subjunctive: has, has, has, has, has , has Imperfect subjunctive (-ra): has, has, has, has, has, has, has Imperfect subjunctive (-se): has, has, has, has possess, possess, possess, possess

16.11.37  Producir 'producer' Conjugated like lucir except for the past tense and for forms based on the past tense stem. The past tense endings, and therefore the subjunctive endings for past and future, are -eron, -era, -ese, etc., not -ieron, -iera, -iese. Imperative: (you) produce, (you) produce, you produce, you produce Present: I produce, you produce, produce, we produce, you produce, produce Imperfect (regular): produced, etc. Past tense: I produced, you produced, we produced, we produced, you produced, they produced Future (correct): I will produce etc. Conditional (regular): would produce etc. Present subjunctive: to produce, to produce, to produce, to produce, to produce, to produce, to produce, to produce, to produce, to produce, to produce, to produce, to produce, to produce, to produce, to produce, to produce, to produce, to produce, to produce , we produce, we produce produce, produce, produce (1)  Past tense forms such as *produced, *carried out are common errors in popular discourse, but they are stigmatized.

16.11.38  Querer 'querer'/'amar' Gerund: quierendo  Past participle: dear Imperative (rarely used): (tú) quiere, (vosotros) quered, (usted) quiere, (ustedis) quieran Present tense: quiero, você I want, we want, you want, you will Imperfect (regular): wanted, wanted, wanted, wanted, wanted, wanted, wanted Past tense: wanted, wanted, wanted, wanted, wanted, wanted Future: will, will, will, we will, we will . , we want, we will want  Conditional: would, etc. Present subjunctive: I want, I want, I want, I want, I want, I want Imperfect subjunctive (-ra): I want, I want, I want, I want, I want, I want, I want, I want, I want , want, want, want, want, want, want Want, want, want, want, want, want, want, want, want, want, want, want, want, want, want, want, want, want, want, I want, I want

16.11.39  Reír 'to laugh' This verb is actually conjugated in almost the same way as to ask, although the absence of a consonant between the vowels masks the similarity: Gerund: riendo  Past participle: riu Imperative: (tú) ríe, ( ti) to laugh, (vi ) laugh (you) laugh Present Tense: river, laugh, laugh, we laugh, laugh, laugh Imperfect (regular): laughed, laughed, laughed, laughed, laughed, laughed Past Tense: he laughed, he laughed. , we laughed we laughed,* we laughed, you laughed, they laughed Future (correct): I will laugh, you will laugh, you will laugh, we will laugh, you will laugh, they will to laugh  Conditional (regular): I would laugh, etc. Present subjunctive: ría, rías, ría, riamos, rials*, rían Imperfect subjunctive (-ra): riera, rieras, riera, riaros, rierais, rieran Imperfect subjunctive (- se): riese, rieses, riese, riesemos , rieseis, laughter.

16.11  Forming irregular verbs and stem-changing verbs


*The Academy now recommends that these forms be written without stress. See 44.2.4. This only applies to reír and freír for "to fry". With other verbs whose infinitive ends in -eír, the final vowel of the third person singular of the past tense is written with an accent, e.g. smile, sofrió, etc.

16.11.40 Reñir 'to scold' This and other verbs in -eñir are conjugated like to ask, except that, as usual, i.e. > e and ió > ó behind ñ; see 16.4.10. Only forms other than ask are shown, and the forms in square brackets are also regular Gerund: edge Past Tense: (edge), (you kissed), edged, (we kissed), (you kissed), they kissed Imperfect subjunctive (-ra) : kidney, kidneys, laughing, laughing, laughing, laughing Imperfect subjunctive (-se): laughing, laughing, laughing, laughing, laughing, laughing.

16.11.41  Roer 'roer' Forms in square brackets are little-used alternatives. In practice, the first person singular indicative is avoided and can be expressed with Está Roendo 'I am Roendo'. Gerund: roendo Past participle: roído Imperative: (tú) roer, (você) roer, (você) roa (roiga/roya), (ti) roan (roigan/royan) Present Tense: roo (roigo/royo; Academy prefers roo ), gnaw, gnaw, gnaw, gnaw, gnaw Imperfect (regular): gnaw, gnaw, gnaw, gnaw, gnaw, gnaw Past tense: gnaw, gnaw, gnaw, gnaw, gnaw, gnaw Future (regular): I will gnaw. etc. Conditional (regular): to bite etc. Present subjunctive: roa (roiga/roya; Academy prefers roa), roas (roigas/royas), roa (roiga/   roya), roamos (roigamos/royamos), roáis (roigáis/royais ), roan (roigan/royan) Imperfect subjunctive (-ra): royera, royeras, royera, royéramos, royerais, royeran Imperfect subjunctive (-se): royese, royeses, royese, royésemos, royeseeis, royesen

16.11.42  Sablja 'saber' Gerund: to know Past participle: to know Imperative (rarely used): (tú) knows, (you) know, (you) know, (you) know , you know, they know Imperfect (regular): I knew, you knew, I knew, we knew, you knew, they knew Past Tense: I knew, you knew, he knew, we knew, you knew, they knew Future: I will know, you will know, you will know, we will know, you will know, they will know Conditional: I would know, etc. Present subjunctive: knows, knows, knows, knows, knows, knows Imperfect subjunctive (-ra) : knows, knows, knows, knows. , knows, knows Imperfect subjunctive (-se): knows, knows, knows, knows, knows, knows

11.16.43  Salir 'sair'/'sair' Gerund: saliando Past participle: salido Imperative: (tú) sal, (vosotros) salid, (usted) sali, (ustedis) salsa Present Tense: salgo, sals, sala , mi mi you go, you go, they go Imperfect (regular): he went, you went, he went, etc. Past Tense (regular): I went, you went, you went, etc. Future: I will go, you will go , will go, we will go, you will go, they will go Conditional: would go, etc. Present subjunctive: go out, go out, go out, let's go out, go out, go out

196 Forms of Spanish Verbs Imperfect subjunctive (-ra) (regular): saliera etc. Imperfect subjunctive (-se) (regular): saliese etc.

16.11.44  Feeling 'sentir' Common type of -ir verb. The endings are regular, but the main vowel changes to ie or to i in certain forms: Gerund: feeling Past participle sense Imperative: (tú) local, (you) feel, (you feel), (vi) feel Present Tense: feel, feel, you feel, (we feel), (you feel), you feel Past Tense: (I felt), (you felt), felt, (you felt), (you felt), they felt Present Subjunctive: feel, feel, feel, let's feel, we feel, we feel Imperfect subjunctive (-ra): to feel, to feel, to feel, to feel, to feel, to feel Imperfect subjunctive (-se): to feel, to feel, to feel, to feel, to feel

16.11.45  Ser 'to be' Very common verb with several irregularities. For its connection with estar, see Chapter 33. Its past tense and also the past subjunctive are the same as ir 'ir': Gerund: seiendo Past participle: sido Imperative: (tú) sé (see note), (vosotros) sede , ( you) to be, (you) to be Present Tense: I am, you are (see note 2) is, we are, you are, they are Imperfect: era, you were, era, we were, you were, were Past Tense : I was (unstressed!), you were, were (unstressed!), we were, you were, they were Future (correct): I will be, you will be, you will be, we will be , we will be, you will be, they will be conditional (regular): they would be etc. Present subjunctive: mar, mares, mar, seamos, mares, sean Imperfect subjunctive (-ra): out, out, out, out, out , out, out Imperfect subjunctive (-se): out, out, out, out , out , van (1)  Emphasis in the imperative differs from the pronoun se. (2)  In Argentina and most other places where vos is used for tú, the present tense form is sos: sos muy intelligent 'you are very intelligent', i.e. you are very intelligent.

16.11.46  Tener 'ter' Pay attention to the irregular past and future tenses: Gerund: teniendo Past participle: tenido Imperative: (tú) ten, (vosotros) tened, (usted) tenga, (ustedis) tenen Present tense: tengo, tengo , has, we have, have, have Imperfect (regular): you had, you had, we had, you had, you had, they had Preterite: I had, you had, we had, you had, you had, they had conditional : would have etc. Future: I will have, you will have, you will have, you will have, you will have, you will have Present subjunctive: you have, you have, you have, we have, you have, you have Imperfect subjunctive (-ra) : you had, you had , you had, we had, you had, you had Imperfect subjunctive (-se): had, had, had, had, had, had, had (1)  Imperative tú from compounds like reter 'to keep', stop 'to stop', has an accent: keep, stop. The accent must be removed if a pronoun is added: detente, retenlo, etc.

16.11  Forming irregular verbs and stem-changing verbs


16.11.47  Bring 'bring' Gerund bringing past participle Imperative (you) bring, (you) bring, (you) bring, (you) bring present indicative: bring, bring, bring, bring, bring, bring, bring, bring Imperfect (regular): brought, brought, brought, brought, brought, brought Past Tense: brought, brought, brought, brought, brought, brought (not * brought) Future (regular): I will bring, etc. Conditional (regular): would bring, etc. Present Subjunctive: bring, bring, bring, bring, bring, bring Imperfect Subjunctive (-ra): bring, bring, bring, bring, bring, bring, bring Imperfect Conjunctive ( -se): bring, bring, bring , to bring, to bring, to bring, to bring (1)  The past tense of truja, trujuste, etc. is found in Golden Age texts and occasionally in dialects.

16.11.48  Valer 'worth it' Gerund: valiendo Past participle: valido Imperative: (tú) vale, (vosotros) valeu, (usted) valga, (ustedes) valgan Present tense: valgo, vales, valemos, valeis , they are worth Imperfect (regular): worth, you were worth, it was worth, we were worth, you were worth, they were worth Preterite (normal): you were worth, you were worth, it was worth , we were worth, it was worth, it was worth Future: I will be worth, you will be worth, that will be worth, we will be worth, you will be worth, that will pay off Conditional: it will pay off, etc. Present subjunctive: valga, valgas, valga, valgamos, valgáis, valgan Imperfect subjunctive (-ra ): valiera, valieras, valiera, valeras, valierais, valieran Subjunctive imperfect (-ra) ): valiese, valieses, valiese, valiesemos, valieseis, valiesen

16.11.49  Venir 'vir' Gerund: veniendo Past participle: come Imperative (you) come, (you) come, (you) come, (you) come present indicative: I come, you come, you come, we come, you come , come Imperfect ( regular): you came, you came, we came, you came, you came, they came Past Tense: I came, you came, we came, you came, you came, they came Future: I will, you will come, they will come, we will come, you will come, they will come Conditional: they would come, etc. Present subjunctive: come, come, come, come, come, come, come Imperfect subjunctive (-ra): come, come, come, come, come, come, come Imperfect subjunctive (-se): come, come, come. , come, come, come, come, come (1)  The imperative tú and the third person plural present of compounds like prevent'prevenir'/'prever' have stress: strong storms were predicted 'strong storms were predicted'.

16.11.50  See 'to see' Gerund: to see Past Participle: seen Imperative: (you) see, (you) see, (you) see, (you) see Present Tense: I see, I see, I see, you see, you see, come Imperfect : I saw, you saw, I saw, we saw, you saw, they saw Past Tense: I saw (no stress!), you saw, you saw (no stress!), we saw, you saw, they saw Future ( ordinary): I will see, etc. Conditional (correct): verija, etc. Present subjunctive: see, see, see, let's see, see, see

198 Forms of Spanish verbs Imperfect subjunctive (-ra): viera, vieras, viera, viéramos, vierais, vieran Imperfect subjunctive (-se): viese, vieses, viese, viésemos, vieseis, viesen (1)  The root of the verb is stressed in the compound form in the first and third person singular of the past tense and in the third person singular of the present tense, e.g. entreví 'I foresaw', entrevió '(s) he foresaw', prevé '(s) foresaw', previó '(s) foresaw'. (2)  The imperfect is slightly irregular, as the expected forms would be *via, *vias,*via, etc.

16.11.51  Yacer 'to lie' (as in 'he lay there') (US 'to lie') Almost never used today, except on tombstones: estar tumbado, estar acostado are common translations. It is conjugated as hvala (11/16/10), except for the alternative forms shown in square brackets (correct forms sometimes appear in literary styles): Imperative: (usted) yazca (yaga/yazga), (ustedes) yazcan (yagan/yazgan ) Present indicative: yazco (yago, yazgo), other proper persons Present subjunctive: yazca (yaga/yazga), etc.

16.12  List of irregular verbs A few very rare verbs have been omitted, but this does not guarantee that all the verbs listed are in common use today. Forms in square brackets indicate verbs found in infinitive or past participle forms, which are often the only surviving remnants of verbs that are otherwise obsolete (cf. aterirse). For verbs beginning with the prefix re- that are not listed here, see the verb stem. supply: -cer 16.11.10 abolish: 16.11.2 bother: -cer 16.11.10 open: past participle   abierto absolver: move 16.11.28   past participle abstenerse: tener 16.11.46 abstraer: traer 16.11.47 acaecer : -cer 11.16. 10 hit: close 11/16/11 happen: -cer 11/16/10 wake up: count 11/16/14 dock(se): count 11/16/14 add: close 11/16/11 adherer: feel 11/16/44 adolecer: - cer 11/16/10 fall asleep : -cer 16.11.10 acquire: 16.11.3 aducer: produce 16.11.37 warn: feel 16.11.44 thank: -cer 16.11.10 attack: 16.11.4 alentar: close 16.11.11 almorzar: count 16.11.14   z > c before i

dawn. -cer 11.16.10 ensure: count 11.16.14 but   sometimes how to ensure:   reg. in Latin America walk: 11.16.5 twilight: -cer 11.16.10 add: put 11.16.35 pasu: close 11.16.11 appear: - cer 11.16.10 wish: -cer 11.16.10 bet: count 11.16.14   reg meaning 'set a guard' press: close 11.16.11 approve: count 11.16.14 discuss: build 11.16.13 (reset: abolish 11.16.13) 2) rent: close 11.16.11 regret: feel 11.16.44 ascend: lose 11.16 .32 assent: close 11.16.11 consent: feel 11.16.44 assir: 16.11.6 destruction: say 11.16.14 if   means 'to chase', but   The Academy allows to regulate

conjugation for all  meanings atañer: see 16.4.10 meet: miss 16.11.32 atener: tener 16.11.46 horrify: how to close 16.11.11   kada = 'drop',   reg. kada = 'terrorize' attract: bring 11.16.47 cross : close 11.16.11 assign: build  11.16.13 arrive: arrive 11.16.49 wind: close 11.16.11 disgrace: count 11.16.14 z > c before e: diphthong  written üe , for example: subjunctive   shame etc. babble: 11.16.14. 7 bless: curse 16.11.27 (rule: abolish 16.11.2) polish: growl see 16.4.10, cook: dip (if) see  16.4.10 adjust: 16.11.8

16.12  List of irregular verbs

fall: 11.16.9 heat: near 11.16.11 error: -cer 11.16.10 blind: close 11.16.11  g > gu before e belt: struggle 11.16.40 sift: lose 11.16.32 sift: discern 11.16.17 close: 11.16. .11 circumscribe: irreg. past   finite participle cook: 11.16.12 tense: count 11.16.14 collect: ask 11.16.31  -g > j before a, or hang: count 11.16.14  g > gu before e begin: close 11.16.11  z > c before i sympathize: -cer 11.16.10 appear: -cer 11.16.10 compete: ask 11.16.31 please: -cer 11.16.10 assemble: put 11.16.35 check: count 11.16.14 imagine: ask 11.16.31 concern : discern 16.11. 17 agree: close 11.16.11 conclude: build 11.16.13 agree: count 11.16.14 descend: lose  11.16.32 sympathize: move 11.16.28 lead: produce 11.16.37 advise: feel 11.16.44 admit: close 11.16. .11 come together: build 11.16.13 move: move 11.16.28 know: -cer 11.16.10 get: ask 16.11.31  gu > g before a, or agree: feel 11.16.44 comfort: count 11.16.14 consonant: count 11.16. 14 assemble: build 11.16.13 limit: compete 11.16.40 build: 11.16.13 count: 11.16.14 contain: lose 11.16.32 contain: have 11.16.46 contradict: 11.16.16 collect: bring 11.16.47

oppose: do 11.16.23 oppose: put 11.16.35 oppose: come 11.16.49 contribute: build 11.16.13 contest: feel 11.16.44 recover: -cer 11.16.10 agree: come 11.16.49 convert : feel 11.16.44 right : ask 16.11.31   g > j before a, or corrode: bite 11.16.41 cost: count 11.16.14 grow: -cer 11.16.10 believe: possess 11.16.36 cover: reg. past part:   covered give: 11.16.15 decay: fall 11.16.9 tell: 11.16.16 reduce: -cer 11.16.10 take away: produce 11.16.37 defend: lose 11.16.32 postpone: feel 11.16.44 slaughter: reckon 11.16. 14   written diphthong üe demolish: move 11.16.28 demonstrate: count 11.16.14 negate: close 11.16.11   g > gu before e offend: count 11.16.14 postpone: put 11.16.35 dissolve: ask 11.16.31 overthrow: today in the day regular: c > qu before e mismatch: close 11.16.11 disagree: count 11.16.14 disapprove: -cer 11.16.10 discourage: close 11.16.11 repeat: walk 11.16.5 disappear: -cer 11.16.10 unfasten: close 11.16. 11 disapprove : count 11.16.14 get upset: close 11.16.11   g > gu before and ignore: lose 11.16.32 get upset: come 11.16.49 fall: lose 11.16.32 fall: fight 11.16.40 catch: count 11.16 .14 ​​g > gu before e mark: count 11.16.14 pause: put 11.16.35


confused: close 11.16.11 ignore: -cer 11.16.10 disconsolate: count 11.16.14 yield: count 11.16.14 disagree: come 11.16.49 describe: past participle   described discover: past participle   revealed not tell: 11.16.16 clearly : close 11.16 .11 unwind: count 11.16.14 unwind: lose  11.16.32 discover: close 11.16.11 unwind: move 11.16.28   past part: unwind unwind: -cer 11.16.10 undo rule: close 11.16.11 undo: to 16.11.23 thaw : close 11.16.11 dissolve : close 11.16.11 belittle : laugh 11.16.39 tarnish : show 11.16.26 dismember : close 11.16.11 deny : feeling 11.16.44 belittle : -cer 11.16.10 disobey : -cer 11.16.10 ignore: listen 11.16.29 skin: count 11.16.14 fire: ask 11.16.31 fire: close 11.16.11 wake: close 11.16.11 butcher: close 11.16.11   usually butcher,   reg. z > c in front move e: -cer 11.16.10 develop: close 11.16.11  g > gu before e; now often  regular depopulate: count 11.16.14 disprove: possess 11.16.36   past participle  taken/taken away fade: quarrel 11.16.40 expel: close 11.16.11 reject: build 11.16.13 destroy: build 11.16.13 fade: -cer 11.16.11 . 10 shameless: count  11/16/14 z > c before e; diphthong written ue

200 Spanish Verb Forms stop: have 11/16/46 reduce: bring 11/16/47 become: 11/16/49 restore: move 11/16/28   past participle return postpone: feel 11/16/44 digest: feel 11/16/44 dilute: build 11/16 13 discern: 11.16.17 disagree: feel 11.16.44 reduce: build 11.16.13 dissolve: move 11.16.28; dissolved past participle dispose: put 11.16.35 relax: lose 11.16.32 distract: bring 11.16.47 distribute: build 11.16.13 amuse: feel 11.16.44 hurt: move 11.16.28 sleep: 11.16.18 choose: ask 11.16.31 g > j before a, or soak: -cer 11.16.10 beautify: -cer 11.16.10 ram: ask 11.16.31 embrace: -cer 11.16.10 brutalize: -cer 11.16.10 stone: close 11.16.11 dwarf: - cer 11.16.10 start: close 11.16.11   z > c before and impoverish: -cer 11.16.10 exalt: -cer 11.16.10 ignite: -cer 11.16.10 gray: -cer 11.16.10 more expensive: -cer 11.16. 10 ignite: lose 11.16.32 close: close 11.16.11 believe: close 11.16.11 locate: tell 11.16.14 hide: past participle   hide harden: -cer 11.16.10 weaken: -cer 11.16.10 enrage: -cer 11.16. 10 enlarge: -cer 11.16.10 smug: laugh 11.16.39 bold: count 11.16.14   now often reg Academic community prefers irreg. conjugation to capture: to dive ver 16.4.10 to go crazy: -cer 16.11.10

change: close 11.16.11 rust: -cer 11.16.10 mute: -cer 11.16.10 blacken: -cer 11.16.10 ennoble: -cer 11.16.10 pride: -cer 11.16.10 enrich: -cer 11.16.10 hoarse: -cer 11.16.10 bleed: close 11.16.11 be proud (be) -be 11.16.10 turn a deaf ear: -a 11.16.10 understand: lose 11.16.32 soften: -a 11.16.10 bury: close 11.16.11 open: past participle semi-open past say: say 16.11.16 hear: hear 16.11.29 amuse: have 16.11.46 imagine: see 16.11.50 sadden: -cer 11.16.10 numb (be ) -cer: 11.16.10 swell: -cer 11.16. 10 age : -cer 11.16.10 degrade: -cer 11.16.10 wrap: move 16.11.28   past participle enveloped equal to: value 11.16.48 rise: 11.16.19 err: 11.16.20 escape: plunge see   4.16.10 punish: close 16.11 .11 mock: -cer 11.16.10 burn: cook 11.16.12 write: past participle   written strive. count 11.16.14  z > c before e establish: -cer 11.16.10 be: 11.16.21 shake: -cer 11.16.10 close: argue 11.16.40 erase: build 11.16.13 send: ask 11.16.31 expose: put 11.16 .35 expand: lose 11.16.32 separate: bring 11.16.47 pass: -cer 11.16.10 favor: -cer 11.16.10 flourish: -cer 11.16.10 flow: build 11.16.13

strengthen: -cer 11.16.10 strength: count 11.16.14   z > c before e rub: close 11.16.11   g > gu before fry: laugh 11.16.39   past participle fried moan: ask 11.16.31 rule: close 11.16 . 11 growl : see 16.4.10 cover: -cer 11.16.10 garrison: -cer 11.16.10 have: 11.16.22 do: 11.16.23 stink: lose 11.16.32 freeze: close 11.16.11 fill: ask 11.16.31 cleave : lose 11/16/32 cut: discern 11/16/17 hurt: feel 11/16/44 put on: close 11/16/11 cook: feel 11/16/44 rest: count 11/16/14   g > gu before e tread: count 11/16/14 flee: build 11/16 . 13 moisten: -cer 11.16.10 prevent: seek 11.16.31 impose: put 11.16.35   imp: sing: impon incense: close 11.16.11 include: build 11.16.13 undo: set 11.16.35 induce: produce 11.16.37 conclude : feel 11.16.44 affect: build 11.16.13 enter: feel 11.16.44 enter: feel 11.16.44 ask: acquire 16.11.3 write: past participle   write institute: build 11.16.13 instruct: build 11.16.13 hinder: feel 11.16 .44 interpose: put 11.16.35 intervene: come 11.16.49 present: produce 11.16.37 intuit: build 11.16.13 hibernate: close 11.16.11   Academy prefers   regular conjugation invert: feel 11.16.44

16.12  List of irregular verbs

invest: request 11.16.31 go: 11.16.24 play: 11.16.25 languish: -cer 11.16.10 read: possess 11.16.36 rain: move 11.16.28 shine: 11.16.26 curse: 11.16.27 manifest: close 11.16. 11 keep: have 11.16.46 measure: ask 11.16.31 mind: close 11.16.11 (often  common) lie: feel 11.16.44 deserve: -cer 11.16.10 snack: close 11.16.11 grind: move 11.16.28 bite: move 11.16.28 die: 11.16.18 show: count 11.16.14 move: 11.16.28 flake: dive see   4.16.10 birth: -cer 11.16.10 refuse: close 11.16.11   g > gu before e snow: close 11.16 . 11 obey: -cer 11.16.10 obscure: -cer 11.16.10 hinder: build 11.16.13 get: have 11.16.46 offer: -cer 11.16.10 hear: 11.16.29 smell: 11.16.30 oppose: put 11.16. 35 darken: -cer 11.16.10  (darken is the older  spelling) fall: -cer 11.16.10 suffer: -cer 11.16.10 fade: -cer 11.16.10 opinion: -cer 11.16.10 ask: 11.16.31 think: close 11/16/11 disappear: -cer 11/16/10 stay: -cer 11/16/10 continue: ask 11/16/31   gu > g before, or belong to: -cer 11/16/10 pervert: feel 11/16/44 pleasure: 11/16/33 bend : close 16.11.11

g > gu before e inhabit: count 11.16.14 power: 11.16.34 putrefaction: variant of putrefaction,   accepted in Latin Am. rare in Spain: -u- is used   for all other forms   preserve past part: broken put: 11.16.35 possess: 11.16.36 postpone: put 11.16.35  tú imperative postpone anticipate: 11.16.16 predisposed: put 11.16.35 prefer: feel 11.16.44 prescribe: past participle  prescribed assume: put 11.16.35 overcome: -cer 11.16.10 overcome: assert 11.16.48 prevent: come 11.16.49 predict: see 11.16.50 prove: count 11.16.14 produce: 11.16. 37 utter: feel 16.11.44 promote: move 16.11.28 propose: put 16.11.35 continue: ask 16.11.31  gu > g before prostitution: build  16.11.13 provide: possess 16.11.36   past participle conditional/  conditionally come: come 16.11.49 rot: regular; also see  may break: close 11.16.11 want: 11.16.38 raer: fall 16.11.9 (ray is   a rarer alternative to raigo) respawn: -cer 11.16.10 smooth: -cer 11.16.10 relapse: fall 16.11.9 isolate : build 11.16.13 glow: cook 11.16.12 recommend: close 11.16.11 recognize: -cer 11.16.10 scold: come 11.16.49 remember: count 11.16.14 lie down: count 11.16.14 reduce: produce 11.16.37


choose again: ask 16.11.31  g > j before a, or consult: feel 16.11.44 strengthen: count 16.11.14   z > c before e rub: close 16.11.11   g > gu before e water: close 16.11. 11   g > gu before e regiment: close 11.16.11   regular rule also: ask 11.16.31   g > j before a, or repeat: do 11.16.23 avoid: build 11.16.13 laugh: 11.16.39 rejuvenate: -cer 11.16. .10 fix: close 11/16/11 regret: move 11/16/28 remove: move 11/16/28 render: ask 11/16/31 discard: close 11/16/11   g > gu before e restore: count 11/16/14 argue: 11/16/40 redo: ask 16.11.31 double : close 11.16.11   g > gu before e refill: count 11.16.14 replace: put 11.16.35 fail: count 11.16.14 reproduce: produce 11.16.37 restart: close 11.16.11 require: feel 11.16.44 resend: feel 11.16 0.44 resonate: count 11.16.14 resolve: move 11.16.28   past participle resolved resonate: count 11.16.14 shine: -cer 11.16.10 reset: -cer 11.16.10 restore: build 11.16 . 13 edge: close 11.16.11  g > gu before e shake: close 11.16.11 keep: have 11.16.46 keep: fight 11.16.40 turn: cook 11.16.12  c > z before a, or pull: bring 11.16.47 return: build 11.16.13 bring back: bring 11.16.47

202 Spanish verb forms reventar: cerrar 11/16/11 reverdecer: -cer 11/16/10 revert: to lose 11/16/32 revestir: to ask 11/16/31 revolar: to count 11/16/14 revolcar(se) to count 11/16/14   c > qu before e revolver : move 16.11.28   past participle mixed strengthen: -cer 16.11.10 roll: count 16.11.14 bite: 16.11.41 pray: count 16.11.14   g > gu before breaking: past participle   broken saber: 16.11.42 leave: 16.11 . 43 satisfy: do 11.16.23 seduce: produce 11.16.37 reap: close 11.16.11   g > gu before e follow: ask 11.16.31   gu > g before a or or sow: close 11.16.11 sit: close 11.16.11 feel : 11.16.44 be: 11.16.45 seen: close 11.16.11 draw out: ask 11.16.31 over(e)ntend:   lose 11.16.32 replace: put 11.16.35 mark: go 11.16.43 come: come 11.16.49 suffer : laughter 16.11.39, past

sofrito participle weld: count 11.16.14 used for: move 11.16.28   future, conditional and   past and future   subjunctives not used fall out: count 11.16.14 sound: count 11.16.14 smile: laugh 11.16.39 sleep: count 11.16. 14 peaceful : close 11.16.11   g > gu before e maintain: have 11.16.46 bury: close 11.16.11 sublease: close  11.16.11 subscribe: see subordinate: come 11.16.49 subvert: feel 11.16.44 suggest: feel 11.16.11 .44 assume : put 11.16.35 sign past participle  subscribe replace: build  11.16.13 take away: bring 11.16.47 touch: see 16.4.10 shake: close 11.16.11 touch usually proper   but usually as   close 11.16.11 in Mex. gentle : lose 11.16 .32 has: 11.16.46 tries: closes 11.16.11 color: struggle 11.16.40 twist: kitchen 11.16.12

c > z before a, or toast: count 11.16.14 translate: produce 11.16.37 bring: 11.16.47 transcribe: past participle   transcribe transfer: feel 11.16.44 violate: 11.16.4 transpose: place 11.16.35 transcend: lose 11.16. .32 transfer: close 16.11.11   g > gu before e transparent: lurir 16.11.26 transpose: put 16.11.35 transpose: count 16.11.14   c > qu before e change: count 16.11.14   c > qu before i thunder: count 11.16.14 stumble: close 11.16.11   z > c before falling: see 4.16.10 value: 11.16.48 come: 11.16.49 see: 11.16.50 pour: lose 11.16.32 dress: ask 11.16. 31 fly: count 11.16 .14 postpone: count 11.16.14   c > as soon as e return: move 11.16.28   past participle return lie: 11.16.51 zaherir: feel 11.16.44 dive: see 4.16.10, point 6

16.13  Formation of complex tenses The forms of complex tenses are completely predictable, provided you know the full conjugation of haber (16.11.22) and the past participle of the verb: The complex tense conjugation of ver 'ver' is shown here as an example: Pay attention to the irregular past participle, seen : Perfect INDICATIVE 'I saw', etc.

More than perfect 'I saw' etc.

I saw I saw I saw

had seen

we saw you saw you saw

we had seen they saw they saw

16.13  Formation of complex tenses

Future perfect 'I will see', etc.

Conditional 'I would see', etc.

I will have see I will have see

I would see I would see

we will have seen they will have see oni će vidjeti

we would have see you would have see they would have see

Past Tense 'I saw', etc. (rarely used. See 18.4) was seen was seen

we had seen you had seen they had seen KONJUNKTIV

perfect saw saw saw

we saw we saw we saw

-ra imperfect form we would see we would see we would see you would see you would see you would see you would see you would see

- would be created would see would see would see

we would have see you would have see they would have see


17 Use of indicative (non-continuous) tenses The indicative tenses discussed in this chapter are: • • • • •

Present Tense (I speak, we go, etc.) (Section 17.3) Past Tense (I spoke, we went, etc.) (Section 17.4) Imperfect Tense (I spoke, we went, etc.) (Section 17.5 ) Future Tense (I will speak, go will, etc.) (Section 17.6) Conditional tense (I would speak, I would go, etc.) (Section 17.7)

Continuous verb forms (I speak, we do, etc.) are discussed in Chapter 19. The subjunctive is discussed in Chapter 20. Complex indicative tenses—I spoke, I saw, I did, I would write, I wrote I would go, I would think, etc.—are discussed separately in Chapter 18. The forms of regular and irregular verbs are shown in chapter 16.

17.1 Names of verb tenses There is little agreement among grammarians about the names of Spanish verb tenses. Another source of confusion for English speakers is the fact that the past tense simply means 'the past' (las glorias pretéritas = 'the past/glories of the past'), while the English 'past tense' (in the US 'past tense') refers to specific Spanish past tense. Below are the common variants; Current Academy usage is in bold: Name used in this book


spanish names


you speak, you have


imperfect indicative

said, you had

past imperfect, past tense


I said you have

past perfect simple, past indefinite, past tense, perfect absolute

perfect indicative

I said you have

present perfect indicative, present perfect indicative, present indicative

more than a perfect indicator

you spoke, you had

preterit plus quaperfect, ante-past tense

indicative future

I will speak, you will have

simple future, imperfect future


would talk, would

simple conditional, post-past, potential, hypothetical future

17.2 Tense in Spanish: general notes The following points are important: (a) The name 'present tense' for forms such as hablo, voy is misleading, as this form can also express future, past and timeless statements. See 17.3.

17.3  Use of the present tense


(b)  The name 'future tense' for forms such as hablaré, will, is misleading, as it can also be used for guesses and estimates, and there is also more than one way of expressing the future. See 17.6. (c)  The difference between the imperfect and the past tense, eg between hablab and hablé can confuse English speakers, as both can be translated by the simple past tense of English, for example 'I spoke', although they mean different things: see 17.4. (d)  Spanish resembles English and differs from French, German and Italian in having a whole range of continuous forms: esta lloviendo 'it is raining', estabas pense 'you were thinking', he estado comiendo 'I ate'. However, the similarity to English progressive forms ('I go', 'you wait', etc.) is misleading; see 19.1.2 for details. (e)  The difference in meaning between the past tense hablé 'I spoke' and the perfect ele hablado 'I spoke' is respected in Spanish and English, but confused or lost in spoken French, Italian and German. However, the relationship between Spanish verb tenses is not exactly the same as that between 'I spoke' and 'I spoke': see especially 18.2. The use of the perfect tense is also greatly influenced by regional variations.

17.3  Use of the present tense For the use of the present tense in conditional sentences, eg si sales, buy pan 'if you go out, buy bread', see 29.1-2. For the use of the present indicative as future, see 17.6.3.

17.3.1  The present tense to indicate timeless or ordinary events that are still happening The present tense is used to express eternal or timeless truths or ordinary states or events that are still happening in the present: It rains in Ireland, I smoke more than forty a day Marta is Venezuelan I have a credit card Eating alone depresses me (CMG, SP) I know your jokes by heart

It rains a lot in Ireland I smoke more than forty a day Martin Venezuelan I have a credit card eating alone makes me depressed I know your boring jokes by heart

(ES, Mexico, dialogue. See 30.2.1 note 3 for this use of me) (1)  As in English, using the continuous tense for a habitual event can make it unusual, surprising or temporary, i.e. not necessarily a habit : Alicia estaba bebiendo más lately (GZ, Mexico) 'Alicia has been drinking more lately', estás fumaro mucho 'you've been smoking a lot (lately)'.

17.3.2  Present for events happening now. The Spanish non-continuing present tense can also show that the action is actually happening now: duermen means 'they sleep' as well as 'they sleep'. English speakers are often confused by this overlap with the continuous: saying 'he comes' instead of 'he comes' sounds archaic.

206 Use of indicative (non-continuous) tenses See Chapter 19 for more information on this issue. The following examples show that there is often only a slight difference between the present simple and the present continuous: Write/You are writing a novel, what are you doing?/What are you doing? (they   mean the same thing when expressing  surprise) It's snowing/It's snowing (but see 19.1.3) The door needs/a coat of paint is needed (from NGLE 23.5f)

(S)he is writing a novel What are you doing? It's snowing. The door needs to lick the paint

In the last example, NGLE notes that the continuous form makes the need more urgent.

17.3.3  Present tense used for states as opposed to actions The simple present, not the continuous, is usually used for states rather than actions, e.g. seem tired 'looks tired/looks tired', brilla la luna 'the moon it shines'. See 19.3b for discussion.

17.3.4  Present tense used for very recent or immediate events The simple present tense is often used for events that are happening in the present but are not necessarily happening now, eg for imminent or recent events: I'm getting married I'm getting married ¿Qué dices ? (= ¿qué estás diciendo? when What did you say (just then)?' or 'What   indignation or surprise do you intend)   to say?' or 'What are you saying?' What makes me ahogo/fall! I'm drowning/falling! Ya voy! I'm coming! Merino passes the ball to Andreas Merino passes the ball to Andreas ¿Vienes? Are you coming? (1) Important: In the examples above, the events are imminent or have just happened. English speakers constantly misuse the Spanish suffix for this type of statement, as in ?mi hermano se está casando 'my brother is getting married' when they mean to marry or marry. See 19.1.2–3 for further discussion.

17.3.5 Historical present or historical present The present tense is used much more than in English to indicate the past as a way of dramatizing a story. This device is common in popular English ('Annie comes in and tells me . . .') and may sound unfortunate in formal English, but is common in literary and spoken Spanish as well: ¿Cuántos pozos quedan por los alrededores? ' How many wells are left? here?' makes a skeptical gesture. 'I don't think    Never mind, confirm — interrupts him   it's worth it." "It doesn't matter. . "You have to come back before it gets dark, Bueno, pues me llama y dice me que por qué Anyway, he calls me and asks me   see you. ¿Vernos? ¿Dónde?, he says   why don't we meet. !? you En cualquier sitio, dige me. Pero, ¿qué   Where?' , I tell him. 'Anywhere',   es lo que les pasa a tus amiguitas?, he   says. 'But what happens to

17.3  Use of the present tense

say. It's just that they're not as beautiful as you,   he tells me. In good times, you found out, I tell her (SP, Sp., dialogue. Woman about her ex-husband)


your friends?" I tell him. 'Actually, they're not as attractive as you,' he tells me. "It's a good time to figure it out," I tell him

(1)  As in English, this use of the historical present is common in headlines: el Papa charge contra el laicismo de España '(El País, Sp.) 'The Pope attacks secularism in Spain' (he did it the day before) , Perfecciona Mexican cirugía fetal (La Reforma, Mexico) 'Mexican perfects fetal surgery'. (2)  The historical present is almost always used after por poco 'almost' (in Mexico often poco y . . .), and often after casi 'almost': me cai por unas escaleras y por poco/casi me rompo el tobillo 'I fell down the ladder and almost broke my ankle', casi me mata, which was not difficult at all at the time (ABE, Fr.) 'almost killed me, which was not difficult at all at that time team', por poquito y no me caso ( ES, Mex., dialogue) 'I almost didn't get married'. Exceptions can be found on both continents: por poco me hizo llorar de lo cariñosa que es (MVLl, Fr., dialogue) 'she is so gentle that she almost made me cry'. (3)  The type of historical present can occur in contexts where the meaning is "not yet". Standing on the platform, one might say el tren no llega 'the train hasn't arrived yet' para no ha llegado dadavía (in parts of Latin America . . . no llegó Todavía). This use of the present tense in such sentences is common in Chile and Argentina, but less common elsewhere (NGLE 23.6i).

17.3.6  The present tense used as an imperative This is often used in everyday speech to give strong commands: tú te callas 'you just shut up'. All matters relating to the imperative are discussed in Chapter 21.

17.3.7  Using the present tense to ask permission The present tense is often used to ask someone's consent: ¿Te lo mando yo? Should I/should I send it to you? Shall I write to the abuelos? Should I write to our grandparents? ¿Nos vas?, he asked, and ella answered 'Let's go?', he asked, and in response she tomó la mano y sin soltársela del salieron took him by the hand and without letting go   restaurant (EP, mex. dialogo )   they left Restaurant.

17.3.8  Use of the present as future Spanish constantly uses the simple present to refer to the future: mañana Vamos a California 'tomorrow we will go to California', and veo luego 'See you later' . See 17.6.3.

17.3.9 Present tense in sentences like 'this is the first time I've seen you' and other time expressions English uses the perfect tense in sentences like 'this is the first time that . . ' and 'I was. . . for n days/weeks', etc. Spanish uses the present tense: Es la primera vez que la veo It's the first time I see her Since hace dos días estoy treating de I'm trying to contact Mr. Morales   comunicame con el señor Morales   por dois dias  (Prensalibre, Guat., dialogue )

208 Use of indicative (non-continuous) tenses The past tense used in such constructions is imperfect: see 17.5.3. See 36.2 for more information about tenses used in time expressions.

17.4  The Past Tense: General Notes The Spanish past tense describes events that finished in the past or are thought to have finished in the past (see 17.4.3 for the reason for this difference). He occasionally emphasizes the fact that the event begins in the past: see 17.4.7. English constantly fails to distinguish the past tense from the imperfect: 'I drank' can be bebí – bebí el café de un tirón 'I drank my/coffee in one gulp' – or bebía: estuvepensa mientras bebí el café 'I was thinking while I drank ( i.e. 'I was drinking') my/coffee'. Some students seem to think that the past tense refers to events "further in the past" than the imperfect, but both the past tense and the imperfect are past tenses. The difference is not a matter of reality versus distance: los pterodactilis tenien, unfortunately, 'pterodactyls had wings' is correct; *. . . tuvenon unfortunately not. The past tense is used in many varieties of Latin American Spanish, where the perfect tense is used in Spain and some other countries, eg Peru and Bolivia: Miguel no llegó Todavía sounds Latin American to people in central Spain who say . . . no ha llegado Hojevía, just like 'they haven't arrived yet' sounds American to Brits who say 'they haven't arrived yet'. See 18.2 for discussion. (1) Technical note: many grammarians describe the past tense as "perfect" in aspect (ie, it marks the completion of an event). The Academy considers this aspect to play an important role in the grammar of Spanish verbs (NGLE 23.2c), but some linguists deny this. Regardless of the truth, we avoid the terms "perfect" and "imperfect" aspect on the grounds that they can confuse students, as explained in 17.4.3.

17.4.1 The past tense used to denote individual events or states or sets of past completed events or states A single completed past event or state, or set of completed past events or states, is expressed in the past tense. This is the basic use of the past tense: World War II began in 1939 World War II began in 1939. There was an explosion There was an explosion. Where there was grass, now there was dirt. Where there was grass it was cracked and dry (RM, Sp. ) now a piece of dry broken ground Nobody likes to hire a man nobody likes to hire a man who was/was in prison (EM, Mex., dialogue) was in prison First I wrote a story myself (AGa, Sp. ) The first thing I wrote was a short story Martin called it four times Martin called it four times He wrote it eighty times (S)he wrote it eighty times (1) The past tense used to describe a series of completed events that happened separately (in any order), as in a walk, I went home, I was afraid and here I am (LS, Cap., dialogue) 'I went for a walk, I went home, either fear me, and here I am'. In lists of events, the imperfect tense suggests that they happened simultaneously or in common. Compare cried, screamed, laughed. . . . . . . . . 'he cried, screamed, laughed' (at the same time) or 'he cried', etc.

17.4  Past tense: general observations


(2) 'Historical present' - Laura entra y me dice. . .'Laura comes in and tells me. . .' – can also be used for completed events, but is literary or colloquial in style. See 17.3.5. (3)  The imperfect is occasionally used in journalistic language for completed individual events. See 17.5.8. (4) Compare lo hicimos tres veces 'we did it three times' and lo haciamos tres veces 'we used to do it three times'. The latter does not refer to a certain total number of events.

17.4.2 Past tense for events that happened over a period of time The past tense should be used for events that continued over a period of time. By 'definite' is meant a period of time of a certain duration, that is, one whose beginning and end are stated or clearly implied: I stayed in Bilbao for two years During the trip, Eugenio was very communicative (SP, Spain). communicative Dinosaurs ruled the earth for millions millions of years You forget the years we worked together You forget the years we worked together Those days Lawrence felt very close Those days Lawrence felt very close Error (EP, Mex. ) with Erro For years we couldn't talk about anything another For years we couldn't talk about anything else (GGM, Col., dialogue) The party was a success The party was a success (from beginning to end) It was a glorious day It was a glorious day (from beginning to end) (1) Important: the question is about the past tense, not the action: He spoke for two hours and then continued to speak for another three hours '(s) talked for two hours and then continued to speak for another three hours' is possible. For the optional alternative I talked about for two hours, see 19.2.3. (2) Compare the last two examples in the columns with when I arrived I saw that the party had succeeded 'when I arrived I saw that the party had succeeded' (it wasn't over yet) and as it was a glorious day we went to the zoo ' since it was a beautiful day we went to the zoo' (but maybe it rained later in the day). (3) Words such as always and never often denote actions or states that continue throughout a period of time: I always tried to have fun 'I always tried to have fun', I was always very grateful to him (EM, Mexico, dialogue) ' I was always very grateful to him', Fermin Eguren could never see me (JLB, ​​​​​​Arg., dialogue) 'Fermin Eguren could never stand me' (i.e. over time I mean it, but their enmity can still continue in the present). But they can refer to ordinary actions that take place without a definite period and therefore require the imperfect, as in before you always went to mass 'you always went to mass', it was never as hot as now 'it was never to be as hot as now '. (4) In sentences involving expressions like every day, every year, any time is possible: see next section. (5) Actions performed during a certain period of time can be habitual, in which case the imperfect is used, as in he spoke for three hours (or he spoke for three hours) '(he) spoke for three hours', i.e. in an indefinite number on different occasions, Mario always stayed three

210 Use of indicative (non-continuous) verb tenses días en mi casa 'Mario was always three days in my house', also indefinite number of occasions.

17.4.3  Using the past tense to refer to common events The imperfect tense is often used to describe common events in the past (see 17.5.2), but the past tense can also describe common or long-lasting events in the past, and this often confuses students. In mi padre fumarba/fumó mucho cuando era joven 'my father smoked a lot when he was young', so long is possible, regardless of whether he continued to smoke after his youth and whether he is still alive or not - it is this possibility that makes the linguistic terms 'perfective' or 'complete aspect' and 'imperfect' or 'incomplete aspect' useless to Spanish learners. The imperfect tense considers the habit to be ongoing at the specified time. The past tense looks back as an event seen as a whole, i.e. something that continued through a certain period of time, eg your youth, that year, that period I'm talking about, etc., although it may have continued after that. English ignores this difference in perspective, so in the following examples the difference between past tense and imperfect tense is practically untranslatable: Mi niñez fue/era happy My childhood was happy Recuerdo que llovió/llovía mucho cuando I remember it rained a lot when we lived in   we lived in Canada  Canada Alonso got up/got up every day Alonso got up every day at eight to go to work   a las ocho go to work (he usually got up) problems  problemas (we had) more usually He always slept like his father slept, with him He always slept as his father (had)   a gun hidden in her belt   slept, with his gun hidden in his pillowcase   pillowcase (G GM, Coronel Durmió como dormió . . . su padre would mean the same) The new secretary was the poet Jaime Torres The new secretary was JTB who declared   Bodet, quien declarée: “I am not a politician”   'I am not a politician'   (JA, Mex.) Stalin was a regular presence at the house Stalin was a regular visitor at   de los Alliluyev (RM , Sp.)   Alliluyev's' house (1)  Really permanent features – p. ethnicity, constant size, identity - are expressed in the imperfect because they tend to be part of the general background. Thus la casa era muy grande 'the house was very big', mi padre era indio/blanco 'my father was Indian/white', Miguel hablaba vasco 'Miguel could speak Basque'. But if qualities are acquired or developed, it is not impossible: cf. Your priest was a very tall, very handsome, very intelligent man (AG, Sp.). However, students are advised to use the imperfect in such sentences, as using the past tense can sound too literary, as in Sir Thomas Browne (1605–82) supo el griego, el latín, el frances, el italiano y el español , and was one of the first writers to study Anglo-Sajón (JLB, ​​​​​​​​​​​Arg., more generally sabía . . .) 'Sir Thomas Browne (1605-1682) knew Greek, Latin, French, Italian and Spanish, and he was one of the first writers to study Anglo-Saxon'; in this case, fue is possible for era, but i guess it sounds weird.

17.4  Past tense: general observations


17.4.4 Using the past tense to indicate an event that has come to an end The past tense can indicate that a process has finally come to a conclusion, as in: Once the money was in my hands, As soon as the money reached my hand   compré la casa , bought house I didn't recognize Selina until she was   in front of me (SP, Sp.)   in front of me I didn't recognize Selina until she got excited. When he was at sea, he started  Evinrude (EM, Mex.)   Evinrude (engine at the back) Conversation gradually disappeared (ir + gerund Conversation gradually disappeared   indicates a long process; finished)

17.4.5  Using the past tense to indicate an event that actually happened The past tense can clearly show that an event happened, while the imperfect tense does not give us that information. Compare: we had to cross two deserts to get to the oasis 'we had to cross two deserts to get to the oasis' (and we did), and we had to cross two deserts to get to the oasis 'we had (more) to cross two deserts to oasis' (there is no information whether we have arrived or not). This construction is common with ser and with modal verbs such as Poder, Quero, Tener Que, for which see Chapter 25. Other examples: Fue un error decírselo It was wrong to tell him/her (we   we did it) it was a mistake to say to him/her (we may have committed or     not committed) Fue una presa facil (he/he/was easy prey (and was caught) Era una prey facil   (same translation but the victim may have escaped) work hard to get (but we did) Costaba work to get it It was hard work to get it (may or may not   tried) The train arrived at eight The train arrived at eight The train arrived at eight (but it may or may not have after I arrived then) (1)  For this reason *fue un error devolvale el dinero, por eso no lo hice has the absurd meaning 'I made a mistake in returning your money, so I didn't'; . . . it was a mistake . . . It should be used.

17.4.6  Past tense to indicate a quick or short-lived event The past tense can sometimes show that an event lasted only a moment. In these cases, the imperfect would indicate an event that has not yet ended at the moment being spoken of: Hubo una nota de alarma en su voz There was a (brief) note of alarm in your voice When I opened the horn, I felt a ray of warmth When I opened the oven I felt the very rush of heat Estuvo was on the verge of thinking that those were on the verge of   manos no eran suyas (CF, Mex.)   thinking that those hands were not his

212 Use of indicative (non-continuous) verb tenses

17.4.7  Past tense used to indicate the beginning of a state or action The past tense can indicate the beginning of an action. Compare my daughter walked at eleven months (ie she started walking) 'my daughter walked at eleven months' and my daughter walked at eleven months 'my daughter walked at eleven months'. Also: I liked (cf. I liked 'I liked I liked her/him   I agree with him/her') Rosa I liked from the first moment I liked ('I liked') Rosa immediately from the first moment There was a little girl and we called her Rita (M. Rodoreda, There was a little girl and we called her Rita   Castilian translation, Sp.) Everything inside seemed far away and Everything inside (suddenly) looked  lone (LS, Č . )    for distant and strange to me. . . since 1957 when I first went to . . . since 1957, when I first became   aware of the Cuban Revolution   aware of the Cuban Revolution. . . (interview, Granma, Cu., Sp. I knew)

17.4.8  The past tense used to indicate certainty in the future The past tense is occasionally used in Spanish phrases to indicate absolute certainty in the future: Cuando llegue, llegó (S)he will be here when (s)he is here (and it is that! ) When it's over, it's over (1)  This construction is more common in Latin America. The following three examples are not heard in Spain: Para las dos ya lo acabé (Mex., de Lope I will finish in two hours   Blanch, 1991; Sp. ya lo tendré/ habré  acabado) Mañana ya llegó el día ( LRS, PR , dialogue Tomorrow is the day!   Sp. mañana es el día) Nomos Fuimos (Lat. colloquial Am., Let's/Let's go part right   Sp. nos Vamos)   now (literally 'we are perdi')

17.4.9 Special past tense meanings of some verbs Some verbs require special translations when they appear in the past tense. This applies particularly to the modal auxiliaries ought, might, desire, knowledge, discussed in Chapter 25. Two other verbs to which it refers are: (a) Ter: the past tense can mean 'to receive'/'to get', imperfect means 'had' in the sense of 'was in my/his, etc. possession': I got the impression that . . . . . . . . . I got the impression that. . . . . . . . . got the impression that. . . . . . . . . I got the impression that. . . . . . . . . I got a letter/I got a letter I got a letter/I got a letter when he had the opportunity to study he got an engineer at the Open Technical College

17.5  Imperfect: in general


This does not override the rule given in 17.4.2 that the past tense must be used for actions that last a definite time: he had a fever for three days. (b) Saber: Alejo met Rafael 'Alejo met Rafael' (for the first time), Alejo met Rafael 'Alejo met Rafael'.

17.4.10 The past tense used to distinguish an event from a descriptive background The past tense is sometimes used to show that an event is part of a story, while the imperfect shows that it is a descriptive background. This is clear to English speakers in a sentence like tu vieron tres niños 'they had (ie "produced"/"gave birth to") three children', which are usually three separate events, and tienái tres niños, which is a state of affairs, not an event . A less obvious difference is between querian hacerlo 'they wanted to do it', which is a state of mind, and quisieron hacerlo, which is an event with an outcome, i.e. they wanted to do it and they tried, successfully or not. In the following example, the past tense (in bold) represents the publication of statistics as an event, while the imperfect depicts the background: En noviembre se registraron 85,320 contracts, 85,320 labor contracts were registered   de los cuales 83,419 fueron infinidos. in November, of which 83,419   Es decir, las colocaciones han cair   was long-term. In other words, the   significantly respected cifra récord   number of employed people is   del pasado octubre, que fue de más de un   significantly dropped compared to   million. El paro fell by 157,444 people   a record number last October, which   since November 1996, when la tasa de   was more than a million. Unemployment   at 14.04%   is down 157,444 people from   November 1996, when the unemployment rate   was 17.04% (1)  English speakers find this difference confusing when it comes to the verb to be. María Luz Gutiérrez Araus (1995, 32), cites an interesting example from García Márquez (Col.): un perro . . . He bit four people who got in his way. Three were black slaves. La otra fue Sierva María 'the dog bit four people who got in its way. Three were black slaves. The second was Sierva María. The past tense puts Sierva María in the foreground – she is an important character in the novel. The imperfect pushes the other three characters into the descriptive background. But such clear examples are also rare in literature: it would be said in the vernacular. . . it was Sierva Maria.

17.5  Imperfect: in general The Spanish form of the imperfect indicates a past event or state that is considered to be continuing at a specified time. Compare M. estaba en el ejército 'M. was in the army' (then: imperfect) and M. estuvo en el ejército 'M. was in the army' (ie some time in the past: past tense). It is therefore often used to describe something that was already in progress when something else happened (17.5.1) and to express ordinary events in the past (17.5.2), although the past tense can also sometimes describe ordinary events, as explained in 17.4.3. In conversational Spanish, the imperfect can replace the conditional. See 17.5.4 and 29.5 for discussion. The following notes should be read in conjunction with the comments on the past tense in section 17.4.

214 Use of indicative (non-continuous) verb tenses

17.5.1 Imperfect to indicate past events and states already in progress when something else happened The Imperfect is used for background descriptions; the past tense is used for background events (imperfects in bold): Yo volvía del cine cuando vi a Niso I was returning from the cinema     when I saw Niso Miró over her shoulder to be sure She looked over her shoulder to be   to nadie la acechaba (GGM, Col .)   sure that no one was waiting for her When I entered the room I noticed that olía a When I entered the room I noticed   quemado   I could smell burning I returned to the room , but there was no stall I returned to the room, but he   ( AM, Mex., dialogue)   was no longer there (1)  For the possible use of the imperfect continuous in some of these sentences, e.g. estaba acechando, instead of the non-continuous imperfect, see 19.2.1b.

17.5.2 Imperfect used to indicate events that continued in the past for an indefinite period. The imperfect can indicate that an event continued in the past indefinitely (or it may not have continued). It is often used to describe characteristics, situations, common actions and other events that do not have a clear beginning and end: Los griegos adoraban a muchos dioses The Greeks worshiped many gods Cada vez que os veíais lo decía He said that every time you meet ( IA , Sp. dialog) He exasperated this Mexican foods from These Mexicans of four or five hours   four or five hours of duration (CF, Mex.)   exasperated lunches he A veces le dolían el aire y la tierra que pisaba which   el sol del amanecer, las cuencas de los ojos   stepped to hurt her, the morning sun,   (AM, Mexico)   eye sockets (1)  But the past tense must be used if a time period is specified, as in 'she was (fue) president for four years'; see 17.4.2.

17.5.3 Imperfect in expressions like 'I haven't seen her for years', 'it was the first time . . .' English speakers should pay attention to the use of the imperfect in the following type of sentence where English uses the pluperfect tense (for the tenses used in sentences of this type, see 17.3.9): Hacía tres años que no se veían (AM, Mex.) Was it was the first time she saw me coming, after a week

They haven't seen each other in three years. It was the first time I saw her and (he) followed me for a week

17.5.4  Imperfect for the conditional The imperfect is often used in familiar speech instead of the conditional. This most often happens in four cases:

17.5  Imperfect: in general


(a)  When the conditional refers to the immediate future. In this case, Spanish is similar to English: you can say 'he said he would come' or 'he said he was coming': Promisei que lo venía/vendrían They promised he would come/iriam  come Jurou que he did/iria ( S) swore he would do it I thought you wouldn't come/     you don't come anymore we knew that reinforcements   from moment to moment (see note 1)   were arriving/will arrive at any moment (b )  in office and in power, in which case the imperfect is a little more colloquial : That could be the solution, take a look. . . (CMG, Sp.,   dialogue; or could) You should/should do it now (see note 2)

That could be the solution, you know. . . you should do it now

(c)  In conditional sentences in familiar Spanish (see 29.5 for details and see note 3): Even if you had no money, me casaba/marriaria I would marry you even if you had no money   contato Yo que tú Compraba una nueva ( ES, Mexico , If I were you I would buy a new  dialogue) (d)  In familiar Spanish, to express desire or refusal: Ya le decía yo cuatro Verdades I wouldn't mind giving him/her a piece of my mind! (literally 'tell him/her the four truths') They had to build a monument to the guy* who were supposed to build a monument to the guy   invented el café (MD, Sp., dialogue)   who invented coffee and left me I would like to eat ice cream now and feel bih se   tan bien   great. . . ni loca me casaba con un español (ES, Mexico, I wouldn't marry a Spanish woman even if I were   dialogue)   crazy (Mexican woman speaking) At first sight, a man did not kill a fly At first sight, a man would not 'not kill kill one fly * Tío, literally meaning 'uncle', is often used in popular speech in Spain for 'dude', although many consider it vulgar. The female equivalent is an aunt. (1)  This is not possible if the future is not immediate: he swore to always love me (the unloved . . .) 'he swore to love me forever'. (2)  This is particularly often the case with the power and duty to show that someone should or could have acted differently in the past, eg You could have done that, couldn't you? 'you could do that, couldn't you?'; see 25.2.3 and 25.3.3 for details. (3)  The imperfect cannot replace the conditional when it indicates guesswork or estimation, as explained in 17.7.2.

17.5.5  Hablaba ou estaba hablando? If the action is not habitual and is truly past (eg 'I was leaving the next day' is actually future in the past), the distinction between the continuous and the discontinuous imperfect is often blurred: yo

216 Use of indicative (non-continuous) verb tenses hablaba/estaba hablando con los vecinos cuando llegaron los bomberos (preferably estaba hablando) 'I was talking to the neighbors when the firemen arrived'. See Chapter 19 for more information on the continuum. However, the verbs ir and venir and some others are not used much in the continuous form: see 19.3c.

17.5.6  Imperfect in children's language An interesting use of the imperfect called ludic imperfect or 'playing imperfect' is found in children's language: vamo a jugar a que yo era un vaquero y tú eras un indio 'let's pretend I'm a cowboy and you're Indian'.

17.5.7  The Imperfect for Polite Requests The Imperfect can be used to express politeness in requests and inquiries: What did you want? Excuse me, I wanted to speak to the director

What would you like? Excuse me, I'd like to speak to a manager.

17.5.8  The Imperfect Used for the Past Tense in Literary Styles In journalistic language, the imperfect is sometimes used as an alternative to the past tense for dramatic effect. Usually the sentence includes a time adverb that shows that the action is a completed event: Poco después, la policía françaaršena a Soon after, the French police   DM, de 56 años (El País, Sp.)   arrested 56 years - old DM The day before, in Santiago de Cuba, it was The day before, in Santiago de Cuba,   asesinado Frank País (Granma, Cu.)   Frank País was killed (1)  Arrestó e fue would be more normal in both examples. This construction, called dramatic imperfecto, is also found in literary French.

17.6  Future Tense: In general Spanish, like English, has several ways of expressing the future, and the so-called 'future tense' (hablaré, venirás) is not common in everyday speech, which is said to be disappearing, except in its 'suppositional' role described in 17.6.5: (a) We are going to the cinema tonight (b) We are going to the cinema tonight (c) We are going to the cinema tonight (d) We must go to the cinema tonight

tonight we're going to the cinema tonight we're going to the cinema tonight we're going to the cinema tonight we're going to the cinema

(a)  describes an event that is prearranged or scheduled; (b)  is the intended or 'intended' future and is often an informal substitute for the actual future, will, will, etc.; (c)  often excludes the idea of ​​a prearranged or scheduled event. Consequently, it can sound quite uncertain or, depending on the tone and context, it can sound like a command or a promise;

17.6  Future tense: general


(d)  is discussed in 25.4.1. It is sometimes heard in Latin America with a future meaning, but in the Castilian-speaking areas of Spain it usually implies an obligation and is now a bit old-fashioned, more or less like the English "we are going to the cinema tonight". It is common in Mexico as an alternative to deber de; see 25.4.1b.

17.6.1  Use of the future tense to indicate future time Often, especially in informal speech, the present and future tenses are interchangeable. However, the future is used: (a)  for temporary or less certain statements about the future, eg for predictions or for statements where the context does not make it clear what the future refers to: If it rains, the game will be postponed In the distant future the sun will rise In the distant future the sun will rise Para entonces we' ll all be bald We'll all be bald by then (said of   something that will take a long time) Me ha cien euros. Con esto tiraré (S) he gave me 100 euros. I'll get by   by next week, and we'll see by next week. So we'll see   (it's impossible to see here)  See you tomorrow at the Palace, ¿no. (CF, Mex., dialogue. See you   Presidential palace, shall we not go?'   would mean greater certainty) (b)  The future is often used for promises or predictions, especially long-term ones, because they are not pre-contracts by nature: Have confidence in me . I won't let you down Trust me. I will not disappoint you ¡No pasarán! It won't pass! Don't be afraid. . . ya nadie le hara daño Don't be afraid. . . no one will hurt you   (EM, Mex., dialogue)   more Ali look after him as if he was already mío, because Ali look after him as if he already   in this case will be my daughter one day   he belonged to me, because in that case   ( ABE, Fr., dialogue) will one day belong to my daughters A true revolution will never recognize A true revolution will never allow   jamás la impunidad (VdC, Cu.)   for crimes to go unpunished (1)  Difference between sentences like te veo mañana and te veré mañana 'See you tomorrow' can only be one tone. Some respondents stated that they would use the present tense in te veo mañana (informal) and the future tense in lo/le veré (a usted) mañana (formal). (2)  For the tense used after words meaning 'perhaps'/'probably'/'perhaps' see 20.2.1. (3)  The present can be used colloquially (but not with ser 'to be') for short-term promises presented as pre-contracts, e.g. I'll get it back to you tomorrow', bueno, te llamo 'OK, I'll call you'.

17.6.2  Future tense used for commands As in English, the future tense is occasionally used for strict commands: No matarás Não mata No saldrás de esta casa hasta que yo no te lo You will not leave this house until I allow  allow (see 27.2 4c for the second no)   stop

218 Use of indicative (non-continuous) verb tenses

17.6.3  Present Tense with Future Meaning The present tense is often used in informal language to indicate the future. If the subject is human, it conveys the idea of ​​prior agreement and is therefore used especially for scheduled games or events, cf. English 'I'm going to Spain next year', 'we attack tomorrow'. If the subject is not alive, the action is predicted as certain or fixed, eg el tren sale mañana a las 7 'the train leaves tomorrow at 7' (scheduled departure). Compare mañana el tren saldrá with las siete 'tomorrow the train will leave at seven', suggesting an unplanned or unexpected departure. The fact that the verb refers to the future is usually indicated by a time phrase such as mañana, esta noche, el año que viene. The following examples have an informal tone: Vamos a Bolivia el año que viene Next year we will go to Bolivia Te llamo/Nos vem I will call you/See you later Esta noche hay tormenta, veras There will be a storm tonight, you will see El día least thought le tiran a tu A beautiful day (lit. 'the least expected day') they   madre la casa (CMG, Sp., dialogo)   will tear down your mother's house Ahorita vengo, voy por el čena I'll be right back. I'll go take the money   (ES, Mex., dialog. In Spain ahorita  = ahora mismo) (1)  This use of the present tense is particularly common with verbs of motion such as ir, venir, salir, llegar. (2)  Events predicted in the indefinite future are by nature less certain, so the present tense should not be used: si las cosas continúan así, ya no habrá árboles 'if things continue like this, there will be no more trees' . (3)  If there is nothing in the sentence or the context that clearly shows that the statement refers to the future, the present tense is taken as the true present and the future must be shown in some unambiguous way, for example by switching to another infinitive or future tense. Compare me it seems da no hay sitio 'I don't think there is room' and me it seems da no habrá/va a haber sitio 'I don't think there will be room'. (4)  The present tense of ser is usually used for the future only in calendrical statements: mañana es jueves/fiesta 'tomorrow is Thursday/a party', but mañana el discourse will say el President 'tomorrow there will be a speech by the president', not se *es.

17.6.4  Go to . . . + infinitive The future tense is often expressed ir a + infinitive. This may express firm intention or may simply be a colloquial alternative to the future tense – but not the suppositional future mentioned in 17.6.5: espéreme tantito, voy a ver quién toca . . . (ES, Mex., dialog. Tantito = un momentito in Spain) 'wait a minute, I'll see who knocks at the door'. Want. . . it practically replaces the usual form of the future tense in many people's speech. Kany, 192, gives several Latin American examples such as ya va usted a quer pelear con nosotros por semejante pqría (French, popular; Spanish se va usted a pelear con nosotros por . . .) 'of course you will want to quarrel over a little trash like this', ¿cuánto va a quer, señor? (Mex., popular; Sp. ¿cuánto va a ser?/¿cuánto quiere?) 'How much do you want, sir?'. But the future is by no means extinct in speech, as can be seen in this passage from colloquial Cuban:

17.6  Future tense: general


- And what are you going to do in these four walls? 'And what are you going to (keep silent) between these   — I'm going to clean the room, I'm going to wash my head,   four walls?' blouse to work on Monday, sit   I will sit in the armchair, I will take the crossword,   Armchair, solve the crossword, take care   I will look at the balcony, I will cook, I will eat   the window, cook, bite my nails. . . I don't have nails. I don't have a single free minute! one single free minute!' (AA, Cu., dialogue; Sp. hare un crucigrama) (1)  Imperfect iba a, etc. can also be used as future in the past. See 17.7.3. (2)  Omission of a, e.g. va callarla '(he) will call her', is heard in familiar Latin American speech but should be avoided.

17.6.5  Future Tense Used for Guesses and Approximations Important: One use of the future tense is to express guesses or approximations. This use of the future tense generally produces much more idiomatic Spanish than sentences involving about or about. The future tense in questions expresses surprise, disbelief or speculation: It will be half past ten, so it must be around 9:30   (CMG, Sp., dialogue) You have already eaten, haven't you? I think you've already eaten, haven't you? A few years will be enough. . . Gannon wrote to me from Mora that it was a few years ago that   Gualeguaychu (JLB, ​​​​​​​​​​​Arg.)   Gannon wrote to me from Gualeguaychu Pase usted, please. Sit down. It will be Please enter. Sit down. You must be tired  tired (JJM, Pan., dialogue) — Where's your bag? "I'll get 'Where's your bag?' (Lat. Am. What time will it be?) I wonder what time it is? Eh, you don't want my boss to see this Hey, you don't want my boss to see   (JM, Sp., dialogue)   this, right? What's he thinking about all this? 'What can he think of all this?' (CF, Mexico, dialogue) (1)  Kany, 190, notes that this use of the future tense is more common in Spain than in Latin America, where deber(de) . . . is more common: it must (not) be five = it will be five o'clock or must (not) be five. See 25.3.2 for duty, which is also used in Spain. NGLE 23.14s considers the assumed use of ir a in Latin American Spanish: what will happen when the years pass? (Sp. ocurrá) 'what will happen when the years pass?' (2)  For the use of the future perfect for assumptions, eg how much will they pay? 'I wonder how much they paid?', see 18.6a.

17.6.6  Two cases where the future tense is not used (a)  As in English, the future tense is not used after 'if'/si: *si vendrás mañana/*'if you come tomorrow' is incorrect in both languages ​​​​for si vienes mañana/'if you come tomorrow'. An exception to this rule is mentioned in 29.8.1 note 3. This does not refer to the emphatic use of si described in 35.4.8: ¡si will be funny! 'wow, he's stupid!'

220 Use of indicative (non-continuous) tenses (b)  Students should avoid using the future tense after cuando in sentences such as comeremos cuando llegue Julia (present subjunctive) 'we will eat when Julia arrives', not *cuando llegará Julia'. Students who know French or Italian are likely to succumb to this temptation. See 20.4.7 for more details.

17.7  Conditional: in general For conditional forms see 16.3 and 16.7.4. The name 'conditional' is correct because it often shows that the event is conditional on some other factor, as in podremos ir mañana 'we could go tomorrow' (if the weather is good, if we are free, etc.). But it has other functions that have nothing to do with the idea of ​​conditionality, notably expressing assumptions or approximations in the past (17.7.2) and expressing the future in the past (17.7.3). (1) Important: For purposes of agreement, the conditional counts as past tense, so the subjunctive in the subordinate clause governed by the conditional must also be in the past tense. Compare es absurd que vengas mañana 'it is absurd for you to come tomorrow' and it would be absurd que vinieras/vinieses mañana 'it would be absurd for you to come tomorrow' (see 20.8 for a detailed discussion). (2)  Colloquial language may use the imperfect instead of the conditional, especially in conditional sentences (see 17.5.4 and 29.5 for discussion). (3)  For the replacement of the imperfect subjunctive by the conditional in some regions, e.g. ?si yo tenría dinero for si yo tuviera dinero 'if I had some money' see 20.12.2.

17.7.1  Using conditionals to express conditions The conditional is also used for implicit conditions, that is, conditional statements that do not contain an if clause: It would be crazy to run it without oil. su dispatcho sería The only thing that wouldn't have in his office   una cocina (GZ, Mex., dialog)   would be a stove (1)  For the conditional in conditional sentences, p. if it was less cold we would go to the beach 'if it were less cold we would go to the beach' see Chapter 29.

17.7.2 The conditional used for guesses or assumptions about the past The conditional is used for guesses and approximations about the past in the same way that the future is for guesses about the present or the future (see 17.6.5): They would be about ten-six in the morning It must have been six in the morning (EM, Mexico) He must have been (or was/should have been) in his thirties (S) he must have been in his thirties I looked after them for a while. . . . . . . . so I think I kept (diaries - 'diaries') that I was going to burn them for a while (CMG, Sp., dialogue). . . . . . . . so I must have burned them

17.7  Conditional: in general


Gregorius would have been born in Glasgow (JC, Arg.) Gregorius would have been born in Glasgow as a mollusk or gastropod fossil - like a snail or snail fossil - which would belong to the period - snail type - which probably belonged to the Quaternary to the Quaternary period (1) In the newspaper , more in Latin America than in Spain, the conditional is used for rumors or unsubstantiated reports. This construction is condemned by many grammarians and editors of El País, but the Academy now accepts it: Ese dinero. . . . . . . . . would be the result of a scheme This money would be the result of a scheme of bribery and embezzlement (La Jornada, Mexico) bribes and illicit payments The disappearance of etarra would be motivated by security reasons security problems the reason for the disappearance of ETA members (Abc, Sp.) (ETA: extinct Basque separatist movement) (2) For the use of deber de for assumptions, see (3) In questions, the perfect conditional can express surprise or anxiety. See 18.6b.

17.7.3  Future Past Conditional As in English, the conditional is used to express the future in the past, that is, as a close equivalent of iba a + infinitive: I knew father would be down at eleven o'clock I knew dad would be down at 11 hours I closed the door carefully; his wife was asleep He closed the door carefully; his wife   deeply. I would sleep until the sun, sleep peacefully. She would sleep until   haciera su primera presencia en la ventana   the sun first appeared in the window   (IA, Sp.) siesta  Sp. not in the previous three examples – the effect is literary: on April 30 of that year, Hitler would commit suicide in his bunker in '30. April of that year Hitler committed/would commit suicide in his bunker', andando el tiempo he would hold several ministerial portfolios (JC, Sp.) 'over time he would hold various ministerial posts'.

17.7.4  Conditional in rhetorical questions As in English, the conditional is often used for questions to which the speaker already knows the answer: ) para   stadium the auditorium to see the una chica   go to a stadium or concert hall to see a   singing virtual? (La Jornada, Mexico)   A 'virtual' girl sings?

222 Use of indicative (non-continuous) verb tenses

17.7.5 Replacing the more than perfect conditional with the more than perfect subjunctive The verb form of the more than perfect subjunctive (hubiera sido, hubieran vista, etc.) is often used as an alternative to the perfect conditional, habría sido, habría vista. This is only possible when the verb is really conditional in the past and not in the suppositional form (17.7.2) or future in the past (17.7.3). This use of the more than perfect subjunctive has a slightly more formal or bookish tone and, according to the Academy, is more common in Latin America than in Spain: Hubiera podido ser una buena novela de It could have been a good novel misterio   misterio . . . (CMG, Sp., dialogue) El mal lo mismo se hubiera colado por alguna Illness would only be insinuated   a crack in the castle stones   ditto for some crack in   (MP, Arg., dialogue)   the walls of the castle A lo mejor me hubiera hecho mucho bien Maybe it was good to continue the therapy Habría could be used for hubiera in all these examples. (1) The use of the conjunctive form -se instead of the -ra form of haber to form the pluperfect conditional is rejected by grammarians: El País Libro de Estilo 13.27 forbids it, and NGLE 23.15v and 24.2c disapprove of it. The -ra form is much more common, but the - form is still found, especially in Mexico and Spain: cualquiera hubiese creido que de verdad estaba excitada (ES, Mexico, for hubiera/habría creido) 'everyone would believe she was very excited ', Eva adores las fiestas; le hubiese charme to accompany him in the opera (RM, Spain) 'Eva [Perón] loved to have fun; she would have been delighted to accompany him to the opera', y hubiese been muy suspicious que yo me negase (MP, Arg., dialogue) 'and it would have been very suspicious if I had refused'.

17.7.6 Use of the imperfect subjunctive -ra for the conditional (a) With wish and duty, the imperfect subjunctive can be used instead of the subjunctive, as in I would/would like to do it 'I would like to do it', you should/should have done it' you should have done that'. The subjunctive form is more formal. With power, the use of the imperfect subjunctive is literary: in a country that could very well be Chile (CORPES, Cap.) 'in a country that could/could be Chile'. See Chapter 25 for a more detailed discussion of these modal verbs. (b) With other verbs, the use of the subjunctive imperfect for the conditional is now uncommon and archaic: April, without its clear presence, from winter's fallen splendor. . . . . . . . (Juan Ramón Jiménez, poetry; that is, it would be... to give a channel to a country like La Mancha (C JC, Sp.) 'the book would be small (literally 'it was small . . .' ) to make it just (literally 'to give a channel') to a country such as O Ponto' (1) The imperfect subjunctive used for conditional tense is found in the Latin American literary formula pareciera que . . . . . . . (because it looks like . .Ⅱ.) 'it looks like . . . .': you seem to know something about everything we talked about (MC, Mex., dialogue) 'it sounds like you know something about everything we mentioned' This use of the subjunctive -ra is much more common in spontaneous speech in Venezuela and Central America, where expressions such as in this case I would do it for . . . I would do 'in this case I would do' are heard.

17.8  A tense agreement


(2)  In Spanish before the 18th century, it was very common to use the -ra form of the conditional with all verbs: y si esta calamidades no me acontecieran, no me tuviera (modern Spanish tenría) yo por caballero andante ( Don Quixote) 'and yes had not these misfortunes befallen me, I would not have considered myself a knight errant'. Compare the Old English equivalent '. . . I didn't consider myself a knight errant'.

17.8  Tense agreement Tense agreement with the subjunctive is discussed fully in 20.8. In terms of indicative tenses, Spanish is stricter than English about agreeing past tense with past tense. In sentences like 'John said he is/was going', English seems to use both tenses in the subordinate clause. Spanish requires Juan dijo que venía. Phrases like ?Juan dijo que viene often sound sloppy or substandard. The present, however, is possible with the perfect tense when John's arrival is still expected: Juan ha dicho que viene 'Juan said he was coming'.

18 Use of indicative (non-continuous) complex tenses This chapter discusses the following topics: • • • • • • •

General observations on compound tenses (Section 18.1) Use of the perfect tense (I said, We went, etc.) (Section 18.2) Use of more than perfect tense (They spoke, They went, etc.) (Section 18.3) O - ra pluperfect (Section 18.3 .2) Past tense: over, etc. (Section 18.4) Pluperfect subjunctive (would speak, etc.) (Section 18.5) Future perfect and conditional perfect: I will do, will do, etc. (Section 18.6)

18.1 Complex tenses: general notes Complex tenses are tenses formed by adding the past participle. See 16.13 for the conjugation of the complex tenses of the typical verb. All tenses except the past tense can also appear in the continuous form: see Chapter 19: Perfect past perfect Future perfect Conditional Perfect Subjunctive Perfect subjunctive

I spoke, etc. I spoke, etc. I will speak, etc. would speak, etc. we spoke, etc. would/would speak, etc.

Govorio sam I have spoken I will have spoken I would have spoken No exact translation No exact translation

(1) Important: all complex tenses use the auxiliary haber or, much less often, except for the past tense, tener (see 18.1.3). French, Italian and German form compound tenses of certain verbs with 'to be' as an auxiliary: je suis allé/allée, sono andato/andata, ich bin gegangen. Verbs in modern Spanish form compound tenses only with haber. Llegar, ir and venir are very rare archaic or publicist exceptions, cf. el verano es ido 'The summer is gone', normally it is gone. (2) Unlike French and Italian, the past participle is unchanging in form. Compare the French je l'ai vue 'I saw her' and the Spanish la he seen. This does not apply if tener is used instead of haber: see 18.1.3.

18.1.1 Complex tenses: word order Important: no word should be inserted between haber and the past participle: compare the French j'ai toujours dit and siempre he dicho. He always said that you don't hear it in normal Spanish, but the rule is occasionally broken in the literary style with words like not even, yet, yet, now, never, never, more than, maybe(s), maybe: If maybe was forgotten The number more than doubled

You may have forgotten that the number has more than doubled

18.1  Complex tenses: general notes

. . . mainly because it has not yet been proposed   with full seriousness (SP, Mexico)


. . . mainly because he hadn't quite seriously proposed to him yet

(1)  Important: when haber is in the infinitive or gerund, personal pronouns are attached to it: . . . before the proposal. . . before proposing to him/her/you', habiendoslos en viado 'having sent us'. *I regret telling you this is not a Spanish expression for 'I regret telling you this', exactly, I regret telling you this. (2)  For the now obsolete building he bought a house and painted it because he bought a house and painted '(s) he bought a house and painted it', see 14.3.7 note 2.

18.1.2 Omission of the verb haber and the past participle in complex tenses The auxiliary verb haber can optionally be omitted before the second or following past participle to avoid repetition: I too have passed through hard times and I know that I have passed through hard times like doubt (LG , Sp., dialogue) a well-known doubt Not only did he touch the hand and eyes of the woman he loved to touch and looked into the eyes of the woman he loved to look at the most in the world. . . . . . . . (CF, Mexico) I liked to touch and see the world. . . . . . . . (1) The past participle can be deleted in English, but not in Spanish: 'Have you tried the sausages?' 'Yes I did' "Have you tried sausages yet?" "Yes or "Yes, I tried, but no *yes, I tried. However, the erasure occasionally occurs at a more than perfect moment: was he laughing? Yes, it was. But this time without sarcasm (MVLl, Fr., dialogue) 'Did I laugh? Yes, he had. But this time without sarcasm'.

18.1.3  I did, I bought, etc. Tener can be used as an auxiliary, like the English 'to have got', to denote the successful acquisition of an object or the completion of a task. Compare he hecho mis deberes 'I did my homework' and tengo hechos mis deberes 'I did my homework'. The participle must agree in number and gender with the object of the verb, and the verb must be transitive and have a direct object (*tengo sido for he sido 'I was', Portuguese I was, not Spanish): Ya tengo Compradas I already bought tickets Yo tenía concertada hora con el jefe I arranged a meeting with the boss Que persigan a los pillos que tienen Let them chase the bandits who occupied the streets (El Tiempo, Col.) occupy the streets thought Tenía cross a la orilla derecha I planned to cross to the right bank [from   ( JC, Arg., dialogue)   Seine] Los cuicos tenían surrounded the bus The police surrounded the car   (CF, Mex. Cuico is Mexican slang) (1) Llevar is also occasionally used in the same way: llevo took tres aspirinas, pero Todavía me duele la cabeza 'I took three aspirin but I still have a headache', . . . and they brought her to the cathedral of Lima (ABE, Pe., dialogue; Sp. and they brought her located . . .) 'I think they have already found three of their skulls in the cathedral of Lima' (referring to a famous saint), yo llevo sold cuatrocientos (Mexico City, overheard) 'I sold four hundred', llevo veintiún asesinatos explores. Una sola mujer (LS, Sp., dialogue) 'I investigated twenty-one murders. Only one [killer] was a woman.'

226 Use of indicative (non-continuous) complex tenses (2)  In Galicia, expressions like *no la tengo visa can sometimes be heard. This is not Castilian, but a borrowing from the Galician non a tenu visa. Must be visa free.

18.2  Španjolsko perfektno indikativno vrijeme razlikuje se od govornog francuskog, njemačkog i talijanskog i uvelike nalikuje engleskom, poštujući razliku između hablé 'govorio sam' i he hablado 'govorio sam'. Studenti jezika kod kojih je razlika neznatna ne bi trebali oponašati fraze poput je l'ai vu hier, ich habe ihn gestern gesehen, l'ho visa ieri 'vidio sam ga jučer' kako bi proizveli upitni španjolski poput *lo/le he visa ayer , ispravno lo/le vi ayer. Europski španjolski općenito koristi savršeno vrijeme gdje god koristi engleski, ali obrnuto nije točno: savršeno vrijeme europskog španjolskog često zahtijeva prijevod jednostavnim prošlim vremenom engleskog. Nadalje, u većini španjolskog govornog područja (Galicija, Asturija, Kanarski otoci i veći dio Latinske Amerike) prošlo vrijeme je zapravo češće od savršenog vremena, usp. ya llegó (Latinska Amerika) '(s)on je stigao' (neke su varijante američkog engleskog poput latinoameričkog španjolskog jer preferiraju jednostavnu prošlost u odnosu na složeni perfekt: '(s)on je stigao', britanski '(s) on već stigao'). U Španjolskoj kažu ya ha llegado. Čini se da je upotreba savršenog vremena razvijenija u Madridu i primjećuju je ljudi iz drugih regija. A. Moreira Rodríguez, jedan od autora ove knjige, sjeća se kako je osmogodišnja djevojčica iz Galicije grdila svoju malu rođakinju iz Madrida: ¡siempre dices “he corrido”, “he seen”, “he ido”. Loše govori. Hay que decir "trčao sam", "vidio sam", "otišao sam"! (1)  Važno: svršeno vrijeme u engleskom je višeznačno: 'Živio sam deset godina u Londonu' može značiti da više ne živite tamo ili da još uvijek tamo živite. Izvučeno iz konteksta, pretpostavka da je živio deset godina u Londonu znači da više ne živite tamo. Llevo ten años koji žive u Londonu jasno znači da još uvijek tamo živite. Ovo se pravilo može zamijeniti kontekstom ili riječima poput siempre, usp. aquí nací y aquí he vive siempre (EM, šp., dijalog) 'Ovdje sam rođen i oduvijek sam ovdje živio' (pogledajte sljedeći odjeljak za više detalja).

18.2.1  Perfect to denote events occurring in a period of time that includes the present The perfect is used for events that occurred in a period of time that is still current, eg today, this afternoon, this week, this month, this year , this century, always, already, never, yet, yet. In this respect, English – especially British English – and European Spanish match, and the construction is also very common in written Latin American Spanish: No he saw your mother this week I didn't see your mother this week Hemos ido dos puta this month We were twice this month In just two generations one desertified In just two generations 43% of   43% of the land surface (Abc, Sp.)   land surface has been turned into a desert Since 2000 has been asesinados Since 2000, 91 journalists have been   en Mexico 91 reporteros (La Jornada,   killed in Mexico   Mex., February 2016. Sp. 91 journalist . . .) Ya han llegado They have already arrived Siempre he thought that . . . I always thought so. . . Aún/Todavía no han llegado They haven't arrived yet He thought of you so many times I thought of you so many times

18.2  Perfect indicative tense


(1)  The past tense can be used to break the connection between an event and the present moment. Compare vi a tu suegra esta mañana and he visa a tu suegra esta mañana 'I saw / I saw your mother-in-law this morning'; there is a slight difference in meaning. The use of the past tense suggests that the statement was made after noon (the most likely explanation), or that the speaker feels that the event is more in the past, or that the speaker comes from a region that makes less use of the perfect tense. (2)  In all the examples given, Latin Americans may prefer the past tense: see 18.2.8. But the use of the perfect tense to describe a long-term life experience is more or less universal: gané la lotería, así que he vive bien 'I won the lottery, so I lived well'.

18.2.2  Perfect for events whose effects are still relevant in the present As in English, the perfect is used for recent past events that are relevant to or explain the present or whose effects continue into the present. This is also common in written Latin American Spanish: Alguien ha fudo un cigarrillo aquí. Huelo Someone smoked a cigarette here. el humo   I smell smoke ¿Quién ha roto esta ventana? Who broke/Who broke this window? Everyone is talking about so and so because ha Everyone is talking about so and so   he published another novel   because he published a new novel I am proud of what han hecho con I am proud of what they did with   this muchacho—, dijo — if he addressed   this boy', he said. 'He became a man'   en un hombre (DES, México, dialog) (1)  Latin American speech (outside the regions listed in 18.2.3 note 1) may use the past tense in such sentences. See 18.2.8 for discussion. (2)  The perfect tense is sometimes used in European Spanish together with a word or phrase referring to the past which does not continue in the present, for example 'yesterday', 'two months ago'. This can express the idea that the event is relevant or explain something in the present, as in está en muy mala edad para cambiar. Ha filled cincuenta años en junio (CMG, Sp., dialogue) 'really not the best years to change. He turned fifty last June." Seco (1998), 357, says that this shows that the action took place in what is for the speaker the 'psychological present', but many northern Spaniards and many Latin Americans insist on the past tense in these cases and in sentences like the following: : Pero el padre murió , y la madre ha muerto But the father died and the mother   hace unos años (ABV, Sp., dialogue:   died a few years ago   makes his death more immediate) ?Bueno, he ido a hacerme el análisis hace Anyway, I went and passed the test two   marmelo días (interviewed in Madrid.   a few weeks ago   Popular style) A mí todo lo que me ha ha ha Tudo lo que me ha ha todo lo que me   success ayer, anoche a más tardar happened yesterday, last night in   (JC , Arg., dialogue)    the latest (3)  De Mello (1994), 1, reports the same phenomenon in the speech of Lima and La Paz, but finds virtually no other Latin American examples. Bolivian Spanish often uses the perfect tense in these contexts, as does colloquial Madrid Spanish.

228 Use of indicative (non-continuous) complex tenses (4) NGLE (23.7g) notes that the expression Carlos Gardel was the best interpreter of tango 'Carlos Gardel was the best artist of tango' is correct because it is still true. in a gift. However, ?Einstein havisitor España en 1928 (para visitó) 'Einstein visited Spain in 1928.' it sounds strange because it no longer describes anything true in the present.

18.2.3  Perfect of recency In Spain, but rarely in Latin America outside of Bolivia and Peru, the perfect can optionally be used for any recent event, in practice any event that happened after midnight. Very recent events (for example, a few seconds ago) are almost always expressed in the perfect tense in European Spanish: Esta mañana me he gordo/me levanté a I got up at six this morning   las seis Han sonado hace poco dos tiros. ¿Los tem Two shots were heard a moment ago. heard? (ABV, Sp., dialogue)   Have you heard? —¿Quién ha dicho eso?— No he sido yo. 'Who said that (just now)?' 'Not   Ha foi él   me. That was him' La he saw her a little while ago I saw her a little while ago No he could do that I couldn't Sorry, I understood bien lo que ha said Sorry, I didn't really understand what   (CMG, Sp ., dialogue) you said (just) (1)  The perfect recency appears to be a fairly recent innovation in European Spanish, although Kany, 200, notes its colloquial use in Bolivia and Peru, cf. te he hecho daño because you didn't understand anything (ABE, Fr., dialogue) 'I hurt you because you didn't understand anything'. Other regions of Latin America prefer the past tense in these examples. Many people from northern Spain use the past tense in sentences like the ones shown above. (2)  European Spanish freely uses the past tense of recency with verbs such as Quero, Ser: no he Quero hacerlo 'I didn't want to do it', ¿quién ha foi el gracioso que se ha llevado las llaves? 'who was the clown who took the keys?' (3)  European Spanish differs from English in that the perfect is used for any recent event, completed or not. English allows 'have you heard the news?' for the news can still be heard, but not *'did you see the flash?' (assuming it won't happen again): ¿haveis visa el relámpago? 'Did you see the flash?' (4)  Despite the frequency of perfect recency, Spanish radio announcers usually end programs with comments like escucharon ustedes la novena sinfonía de Beethoven 'have you heard Beethoven's Ninth Symphony' (more generally, escucharon . . .) . Seco, p.357, disapproves of this use of the past tense.

18.2.4  Perfect Tense Phrases The perfect tense is often used in Spain—at least in the Madrid region—in negative tense sentences such as hace años que no te hevido (or no te veo; Latin America and Northern Spanish). West may not accept perfectly) 'I haven't seen you in years'. Positive sentences of this type usually require the present tense: hace años que lo/le veo todos los días 'I saw him every day for years'. See Chapter 36, especially 36.3.2, for more information on this topic.

18.2  Perfect indicative tense


18.2.5  Using the perfect perfect for familiar quotations Sometimes the perfect is used for familiar quotations, e.g. Aristotle said that. . . 'Aristotle said so. . .'. Present, past or imperfect tenses are also possible.

18.2.6  Perfect used for future certainties The perfect tense is occasionally used in familiar European Spanish, at least in Central Spain, for future actions described as certainties: cuando vuelvas ya ele triste 'I'll be finished when you come back'. Formal use requires the future perfect. . . ya lo habre finished. See 17.4.8 for the Latin American tendency to use the past tense (ya acabé) in similar sentences. (1)  An interesting feature of Ecuadorian colloquial Spanish is the use of the perfect for future certainty: el año que viene ha foi bisiesto 'next is a leap year' for . . . s/will be bisiesto. It seems to be unknown elsewhere.

18.2.7  Future Perfect in Conditional Sentences As in English, the perfect can refer to the future in the if clause of a conditional sentence: fair, let me know'.

18.2.8  The Perfect Tense in Latin America: Further Observations Generally speaking, in formal Spanish writing, the rules governing the use of the perfect tense appear to be the same on both continents. As for the spoken language, the rules for its use in central Spain also apply – with some minor differences – to the spoken language of Bolivia and Peru. However, in most of the rest of Latin America, as well as in Galicia and Asturias, completed actions are usually expressed in everyday language in the past tense. This solution is so preferred in informal styles in some parts of Latin America that the perfect tense is rarely heard: Ya nos llegó la modern solución (El Tiempo, now we have a modern answer!   Col., Sp. ha llegado) — You are organizing ? I asked. 'Did you organize it?' (ibid., Sp. Nunca Have you ever repaired/Haven't   you had a fijado)   have you ever noticed that? (1)  The perfect tense seems to be less popular in everyday speech in the city of Buenos Aires and is said there to sound "free": the past tense is preferred. (2) In the spoken language of Mexico and many other places, the perfect tense can express incomplete actions. Estudié mucho este mes means 'I studied a lot this month' (and now I've stopped), we can go. El maestro no vino 'podemos go. The teacher didn't come (and he won't now either). Mas ele estudiado mucho este mes 'Marko I studied this month (and still am)', les he Escolha = 'I wrote for them and I am still writing', el maestro no ha venido 'the teacher is not 'not coming yet' (but maybe it will come anyway).

230 Use of indicative (non-continuous) complex tenses For the Spanish, les he Escolha is a complete action: 'I wrote/I wrote for them'. The difference in Mexican Spanish is evident, as NGLE 23.7r notes, in the polite Mexican question ¿cómo has estado? which clearly means 'how are you?' (until now) and excludes the meaning 'how are you?', as the Spanish understand it. With words like aún, the Todavía event can still happen, so the perfect is used as in Spain: aún/todavía no ha llamado 'he hasn't called yet' (but maybe he will).

18.2.9  Perfect and Imperfect Subjunctive In general, the perfect subjunctive, haya dicho, hayamos answerados, etc., is used where Spanish grammar requires the perfect indicative verb to be put in the subjunctive: Acho que vi – no, acho que videli ste. But it often seems that the perfect and imperfect subjunctives can be used interchangeably: It is impossible that he did that/He did that. It is impossible that he made his wife open the door   abierto la puerta   for him/her

18.3  Pluperfect: in general The pluperfect is formed with the imperfect of haber plus the past participle: habías comido 'you ate', habian llegado 'they/you arrived'. The imperfect subjunctive -ra of verbs can also sometimes have an indicative meaning more than the perfect in literary Spanish: see 18.3.2.

18.3.1  Use of the pluperfect The use of the Spanish pluperfect corresponds closely to the use of the English pluperfect. It is used for events or conditions that preceded a past event and are considered relevant to it. I already turned on the lights when I arrived The lights were already on   when I arrived We knew the car was already sold We knew the car was already sold ., dialogue)   they reached an agreement Yo me had got up, showered and had breakfast I got up, showered se i   when I was sleeping on the phone (ABE, Pe.)   had breakfast when the phone rang (1) Colloquially, especially in Latin America, the pluperfect can be expressed in the past tense or, when talking about habitual actions, in the imperfect: lo encontré donde lo dejé (na . . . donde lo había dejado) (J. M. Lope Blanch, 1991, 152) 'I found where I left it/where I left it', he is missing his teeth and never puos (sp. se había puesto) diet ni fue (Sp. había ido/iba) al gimnasio (AM , Mex., dialogical) 'he was missing two teeth and I never went on a diet or went to the gym', when we finished (because we finished) we left home (usual) 'when we finished, we went home'. (2)  The pluperfect is occasionally used to ask polite questions: ¿usted me había requested otro té? 'Did you order another tea?'

18.3  Pitch Perfect: General


18.3.2  More than the perfect in -ra Subjunctive -ra imperfect of Spanish verbs – hablara, dijera, fuera, etc. The Spanish form -ra gradually acquired a subjunctive meaning and, for most purposes, is now identical in use to the imperfect subjunctive -se and replaces it : see 20.1.3 for details. But its former pluperfect indicative meaning survives in literature and journalism as a supposedly elegant alternative to the usual pluperfect with habia. This is a common construction in Latin America, but it is also found in Spain in the media and in writers who imagine themselves as fashion designers. Lorenzo (1980, 135) complains that he looks affected. When used in this way, the -ra form has no subjunctive meaning. However, this construction only appears in subordinate clauses, mostly relative clauses: el libro que había leído 'the book he read' can be reformulated in an 'elegant' style as el libro que leyera, but the expression había leído el libro '(s) he to read the book' cannot be transcribed *to read el libro. Examples: It was the only trace she left in what five o'clock was   the home of marriage (GGM, Col.,   her marital home five o'clock   for was) Personajes de televisión recuerdan the one who was TV personalities remember who was their favorite   are juguete especial (El Universo, Ec.)   toy China investigates what was their maximum China investigates the person who was their head of security   responsable de seguridad (La Jornada, Mexico)   security It seems that además que en el solar donde se It seems , moreover, if the palace already existed   the hotel was built before the palace   on the land where the hotel was built   (AG, Sp.) If it was built, it would have been equally correct in the earlier examples and for many desirable people. (1)  There are even examples of the imperfect subjunctive in -se being used as more than a perfect indicative in the same contexts as the -ra form described above: así había data with an able man, very knowledgeable in economic topics, who conociese en la Logia (AC , Cu., for había conocido or conociera) 'thus he came across a capable man, well versed in economic matters, whom he met in the (masonic) lodge'. But it is rare on both continents and is rather forced. (2)  The use of the pluperfect -ra in spoken Spanish is typical of Galicians, since the -ra form still has a pluperfect indicative meaning in Galician (and Portuguese).

18.3.3 -ra and -se verb forms after después (de) que, since, luego(de) que, etc. Rule for choosing the verb form after (de) que, since and then (de) que 'after', and some/two/five days after 'some/two/five days later' is: subjunctive for events that have not yet occurred - we will eat after the rest arrives 'we will eat after the rest arrives' - and indicative of completed events: we eat after the rest arrives 'we will eat after the rest arrives'. If the subject of the two verbs is the same after (de) which is replaced by after + infinitive: we left after doing everything 'we left after doing everything'. Other examples: . . . after the eldest daughter, . . . after the eldest daughters (had)   helped to bring some order to   they helped her to bring some order to   the destruction of marriage (GGM, Col.)   the destruction left by marriage

232 The use of complex indicative (non-continuous) tenses   after the death of Victoriano Huerta. . . after Victoriano Huerta killed Madero   Madero (AM, Mexico, dialogue) Since she got married, Octavia never came back From the moment she got married,  besarme (ABE, Fr. Or after . . .)   Octavia never kissed me again However, we find verb forms -ra or less often like -se often used even for past fulfilled events and even with subordinates such as 'from the moment when . . .', which usually shows fulfilled events. This is probably a survival of the more than perfect -ra discussed in 18.3.2: . . . after Nigeria made its . . . after Nigeria announced its decision to   the decision to sign the act (El País, Sp.)   sign the communique/minute Vargas Llosa, who has kept many friends in Vargas Llosa, who has kept many friends in   Barcelona since he stayed in Spain while lived in Spain  (Abc, Sp.) .)

18.4  Past Tense: I spoke, finished, etc. This tense, which has no equivalent in English, is formed with the past tense of haber plus the past participle and is used to indicate that an event finished shortly before another past event. It is usually confined to literature and is now extremely rare in speech: When they stopped laughing,   they examined my personal situation   they examined my personal situation   (A. Cancela, Cited Sketch, 3.18. 7) the same day, no bien se hay He wrote to her the same day, when she   marched (LG, Sp.)   just left . . . so after removing . . . therefore, as soon as I took off my blouse   blouse . . . (ES, Arg., dialogue) When he smoked the last of his cigars  cigarettes (MS, Mex.)   (or 'cigarettes') (1)  This tense is used after (of) that 'after', then that, then , then, no bien, immediately que, so que and mal, can all be translated as 'so that', and then when, and other phrases of similar meaning, to emphasize that the event ended just before the main event in the sentence. In the vernacular, it is expressed in the past tense: as soon as we arrived, we went to the dining room 'as soon as we arrived, we went to the dining room', but as soon as he entered, he changed his mind (JI. , Mex., dialogue) 'but he hardly entered when he changed his mind', as soon as we finished lunch Casals arrived (MP, Arg., dialogue) 'we had barely finished lunch when Casals arrived' . It can be replaced by more than perfect: as soon as the judge ordered the removal of the body to be taken to the court warehouse, the silence was broken by the screams of a woman (FGP, Sp.) 'The judge had barely ordered the removal of the body to the official morgue when the silence was broken screaming women' (or 'screaming woman'). (2) The past tense refers to a completed event. After the same time clauses, repeated events or common events are expressed by the common pluperfect: as soon as we finish work, we were going home' or, colloquially, by the imperfect: as soon as we finish work, we go home.

18.6  Future perfect in conditional perfect


(3)  The French equivalent of finished hubba is j'eus fini, or in popular French j'ai eu fini. This tense survives in French, but the past tense is almost obsolete in spoken Spanish and is not very common in written styles.

18.5  The pluperfect subjunctive Usually this form, eg would have spoken, would have spoken, is used when Spanish grammar requires that more than the perfect indicative form be put in the subjunctive. Compare I was convinced that Raúl did 'I was convinced that Raúl did' and I wasn't convinced that Raúl did 'I'm not convinced that Raúl did'. (1)  Important: Students should remember that forms like would be, we would answer could be alternative forms of the conditional perfect would be, we would answer. See 17.7.5.

18.6  Future perfect and conditional perfect The future perfect, habré hecho 'I would have done' and the conditional perfect habría hecho 'I would have done' are used in more or less the same way as their English equivalents. But the following points are worth noting: (a)  The future perfect is often used to express assumption or, in questions, mystification or confusion: se lo habrá dicho Miguel 'Miguel must have told him/her/you', ¿dónde lo habras puesto? 'where could you have put it?' Negation expresses an assumption or can make a statement rhetorical, i.e. it expects or anticipates the answer 'of course not': no ​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​at-apartments. . . "I guess they didn't do that" or "They couldn't do that, could they?" In questions, a negative word can give a temporary preposition: ¿no se habrá olvidado la reunión? (ES, Mexico, dialogue) “Don't you think he might have forgotten the meeting?” It can also become a rhetorical question, i.e. waiting or expecting a “no” answer: ¿no la habrás vuelto a llamar? 'you didn't call her again, did you?!' It can also simply suggest mystification: ¿por qué no se habrá casa? (EM, Mexico, dialogue) 'I wonder why he didn't get married'. (b)  more than the perfect conditional often appears in conditional sentences like 'if I had enough money, I would buy' si hubiera tenido enough dinero, lo habría/hubiera comprar'. The use of the subjunctive form -ra of haber in this tense is a common alternative, as explained in 17.7.5. The conditional pluperfect with habría etc., but not with the -ra form of haber, can also express a hunch or assumption about the past: se lo habría dicho Miguel 'Miguel must have told him'. In questions, he adds a note of confusion or anxiety: ¿no se lo habría dicho Miguel? 'It's not possible that Miguel told her, is it?', ¿la habría oído? (CMG, Sp., dialogue) 'Could I hear her? Would you lose? (ES, Mex. Saco = la chaqueta in Spain) 'neither [the watch] was in his jacket nor on the table. Could he have lost?' (1) As far as we know, the use of the future perfect tense (that is, in the sense of 'he will do something') is limited to colloquial language in Madrid and central Spain: para mañana ya lo he is over = . . . ya lo habré finished 'I will finish tomorrow'. See 17.4.8 for Latin American alternatives.

19 Continuous forms of verbs The main points discussed in this chapter are: • Estoy hablando, están cenando, etc., compared to English 'I am speaking', 'they are having dinner' (Section 19.1.2) • Word usage Spanish continuous forms (Section 19.2) • Past continuous (estuve hablando, etc.) (Section 19.2.3) • Restrictions on the use of the Spanish continuous (Section 19.3) • Continuous form of existence (Section 19.4) • Continuous forms in Latin American Spanish (Section 19.5)

19.1 Continuous: general 19.1.1 Continuous forms and equivalents The continuous forms of Spanish verbs are formed with the appropriate tense from estar 'to be' and a gerund: estoy hablando 'I speak', estaban comiendo 'they ate', we will be escribiendo 'we will write' ' etc. Gerund forms are discussed in 24.2. Spanish continuous forms can occur in any tense except the past tense (discussed in 18.4). Spanish, therefore, differs from French, which has no continuous verb forms, and from Italian, which uses the continuous only in the present and imperfect. The Spanish continuum is becoming more common, which may reflect the influence of English. Draft of the Academy. . ., 3.12.5, complains about the modern overuse of the continuous. Unnecessary anglicism is found in letters in expressions such as le we are abonando en su cuenta la candidad de dos mil pesos 'we are depositing the sum of 2000 pesos into your account' (para le abonamos...) or en este paquete te estoy sending books that you requested 'I am sending the books you requested in this package' (to send you... Examples NGLE 28.12s). (1) Important: the verb estar itself is never used in the continuous form: **esta estar is not Spanish. Está siendo is, however, possible: see 19.4.

19.1.2 Spanish Continuous and English Progressive Comparative English speakers tend to assume that the Spanish continuous forms, eg estoy leyendo, estaban estaba, etc., are equivalent to the progressive verb forms commonly used in English, such as. 'I'm reading', 'they were talking'. However, there are several important differences: (a) the present and imperfect continuous of Spanish refer to actions that are or have been in actual progress (ie, have already begun or have already begun) or are repeated or have been repeated, while the progressive of English is constantly used as a future tense, and sometimes to express habits: Estoy comeiendo Estabas hablando

I am (actually) eating (right now) You were (in the middle) talking

19.1  Continuum: general


Mas Llegamos mañana We will arrive tomorrow (future) Si te pones así, me voy If you stay like this, I will (future) Mi hijo va a un colegio mixto My son goes to a mixed (ie coeducational) school (usual ) I am sending this letter to I confirm that. . . I am sending this letter to say so. . . (really means 'I'm about to send') Se casan (se están casando suggests they're going to get married (ie they're   in the middle of the ceremony)   they're going to get married) Yo salía a la mañana siguiente para Paris I left the next morning   for Paris (the future in past) Today Barça is playing at home Today Barcelona is playing/is playing at home   (playing is possible if the match   has already started) See 19.5b for exceptions to this rule in Spanish spoken in some Latin American regions. (b)  The Spanish continuous is rarely used with the regular verbs ir, venir, volver (but see 19.5a for exceptions in parts of Latin America): ¿Adonde vas? Viene la policía I came back when I saw you Ya voy (see note 1)

Where are you going? The police are coming I was coming back when I saw you coming (see note 1)

(c)  The Spanish continuous adds nuance but does not always radically change the meaning of the non-continuous verb form, so that the two forms are sometimes practically interchangeable. This can confuse English speakers, who notice a clear difference between "she smokes" and "she smokes": ¡Que se queman/se están queando las Sausages up! sausages! Yo estaba hablando con Mario I was talking to Mario/I was talking   to Mario Yo estaba hablando con Mario I was talking to Mario (but not 'I used to . . .') —¿Qué haces? —I am reading this magazine (SV, Ch., 'What are you doing?' 'I am reading   a dialogue; or —¿Qué estas haciendo?   this magazine.'  —Estoy leyendo . . .) No te conocía, ¿qué te pasa ? Hablas rare I didn't recognize you. How is   (CMG, Sp., dialogue)   with you? You speak strangely, No sé que te pasa por la mente, Carlitos. I don't know what's going on in your mind, en qué piensas (MS, Mex., dialogue)  , Carlitos. I don't know what you're thinking El otro hombre está sitón en un sillón. Smoking Another man is sitting in an armchair   (El País, Sp.)   . He smokes As NGLE 28.12g points out, in spoken Spanish the continuous form is now preferred when the action is already in progress. So don't bother me, estoy trabajando is more common than . . . trabajo 'don't bother me. I'm working'. (d)  Several common Spanish verbs do not appear in the continuous form, while their English equivalents do. See 19.3 for discussion.

236 Verb forms (1)  Someone says voy or ya voy for 'I'm going' (as an answer to the question 'where are you?') because he is leaving the place where he is, not going towards it. English uses 'go' and 'come' freely, cf. 'Are you coming/are you going to Sally's party?' Spanish clearly distinguishes between venir 'to come' and ir 'to go'.

19.1.3 Other notes on the relationship between the present simple and the present continuous The present simple, scribe, hago, etc. is imprecise: it can denote present, future, ordinary events, eternal truths, or even past events (see 17.3 and 17.6.3). Present continuous forms are much more concretely present: the comparison púci '(he) smokes' or '(he) smokes' and está smoking '(he) he (really) smokes (now)'. An action must be perceived as having begun for a continuum to be possible. Spanish informants said that it was raining when they saw rain through the window and found that rain in this case sounded vaguely poetic or archaic. But most avoided the continuum in the phrases asómate a ver si llueve 'look and see if it's raining' and ¿llueve o no llueve? 'Is it raining or not?', apparently because the speaker neither saw nor heard rain falling (in this and several other cases Latin American informants were more willing to use the continuum). Similarly, when someone standing in a tree shouts in English 'I'm falling!', it literally means 'I'm going to fall', not 'I'm already in the air', so a Spanish speaker shouts ¡que me caigo!, not * I'm falling! (1)  With some verbs that refer to actions that are more or less prolonged events, eg leer 'to read', charlar 'to talk', dorme 'to sleep' or where the duration of the action is emphasized, the continuum makes Spanish better than the simple form. Most respondents think that está leyendo 'he is reading' is better than lee when answering the question ¿qué hace Miguel? 'What is Miguel doing?'. (2)  When the action is of very short duration, i.e. it cannot be extended, as is the case with verbs such as toser 'to cough', to break 'to break', to firm 'to sign', udrik 'to hit', etc., continuous can normally denote only a series of repeated actions, as in English: estaba tosiendo '(he) was tossindo'. See 19.2.4.

19.2  Use of continuous forms 19.2.1  Continuous Used to emphasize ongoing events The primary use of continuous forms is to emphasize that an event has begun or has begun and is continuing or is currently continuing: Now cannot be put - je Haciendo sus (S ) can't answer the phone now —  cuentas (no . . . hace sus accounts)   (s)he keeps his accounts I tipped the waiter I (just) tipped the boy   he was carrying a suitcase when   who had carried my bags when  the phone (LSP, Ch.)   the phone rang ¿It can't be, have you forgotten   am I talking? (CF, Mex., dialogue)   What am I talking about? But I'm listening to you!/I'm listening to you! But I listen to you! Maria's face was smiling. That is, Maria's face was no longer smiling. I mean, he smiled, but he was smiling   he wasn't smiling now, but he was   a tenth of a second ago (ES, Arg.)   he was smiling a tenth of a second ago

19.2  Use of continuous forms


(1)  In the case of the imperfect, continuous and intransitive are more or less interchangeable if they really refer to the past and if the action is not habitual; that is, penseba and estaba thinking both mean 'I/(s)he thought'/'you thought'. See 17.5.5 for discussion. (2)  For past continuous tense, slept/thought etc. See 19.2.3.

19.2.2  Continuum used to indicate temporary or surprising events Continuum can optionally be used to show that an action is temporary or in some way unusual or surprising: He lives in Paris, but lately he (S) lives in Paris, but na moment viviendo/vive en Madrid   (he) lives in Madrid What a dream I'm having! (CMG, Sp., Suddenly I feel so sleepy!  dialogue) You're telling me that a civilized man, You're telling me that a civilized  philosopher if things were worse, he'd rather become a  man, a philosopher at that, Soldier? (JV, Mexico, dialogue)   would you rather be a soldier?! —What we thought about you and me 'Could you explain to me what   when we gave birth to these creatures, I   thought when we conceived   you want to explain?—asks the mother of the father   of these creatures?' (CRG, Sp., dialogue; or what we thought)

19.2.3  Past continuous tense The past continuous tense, estuve hablando/comiendo 'I was talking/eating for a while' has no equivalent in English. It adds a nuance to the non-continuous past tense, namely that the action has been extended for some time, but is also considered completed. The non-continuous past tense simply says that an event happened. (For more on the use of the past tense for finite tenses, see 17.4.2): Estuve hablando dos hora con tu hermano I spent two hours talking to your brother Estuve andando until dawn (SP, Sp.) I walked/walked until dawn There is the book that made me lose my pie. . . Here's a book I stumbled across. . . No   I looked for it before in sé cuánto rat   I know how much time I spent looking for it   (CMG, Sp., dialogue) Acuérdense, el señor ese con el que Remember, that gentleman where we had   we carried snow zocalo de   ice cream with in the main square in  Atlixco (AM, Mexico, dialogue; nieves =   Atlixco . . .   helados in Spain) (1)  When the period is considered to be over, the action itself can still continue: estuve leyendo for three hours, y después continué leyendo do zore 'I read for three hours and then continued reading until morning'. (2)  The past tense is really possible only with verbs referring to naturally extended actions, eg 'think', 'speak', 'read', 'wait', 'eat' etc. time)' is not possible. Instantaneous actions can, however, be repeated over a period of time: estuvo pucanje al aire three minutes 'he/she spent three minutes shooting in the air'. This tense is not used with be: I was a police officer during ten years, I never **estuve siendo. . .

238 continuous forms of verbs

19.2.4  Continuous to express repeated events. Continual can emphasize the idea that an event keeps repeating itself or has kept repeating itself. In this case, the event may not actually be happening at the moment: He often goes to the cinema these days (S)he often goes to the cinema these days. In his diaries he always talks about family   (JC, Sp.) family He goes out for years, but   de irse   never comes back. It's been cold lately/The weather is   cold at the moment. But you take these herbs very often. But you take these herbs on   hierbas and pain follows (AM, Mex. long periods and cause harm   Dialogue See 35.3. 3 note 2 for this   when taken continuously   adverbial use of follows) (1)  In general, ir and venir are little used in the continuous form, except to indicate repetition: he came and went with trays of drinks and snacks all afternoon (GZ, Mex.) 'he came and went with trays of drinks and snacks all afternoon and night' (in Spanish trays = trays, drinks = drinks and snacks = pinchos). Continuous forms of arrival and departure are somewhat more common in Latin America. See 19.5. (2)  Tener is also found in the continuum referring to repeated events: I have problems with the neighbors. But the continuum is not used for individual events: it has a neighbor problem, not *has a neighbor problem'.

19.2.5  Future and conditional continuous The future continuous is used either (a) to describe an event that will already begin at a certain time in the future or (b) to speculate about what might actually happen right now: Tomorrow at this time we will fly Tomorrow at this time we'll be flying   over the Pacific   over the Pacific Try two   men's slippers? months, and the third you will curse   Try two months and until   your fate (TM, Sp., dialogue)   the third you will curse your fate! They will probably eat at this time of day. What will man do now on the Mir space station? (DES, Mexico,   The station is now doing  dialogue) But, are you going to wait for her all day? But are you going to keep waiting for her all day?! (1)  Future perfect continuous can also be used to express assumptions: no me habrá está čekam, ya te dije que no te concernaras (CMG, Sp., dialogue) 'I hope you are not waiting for me, I told you they did not worry'. (2)  The continuous conditional is used as its English counterpart would be . . . -ing': I know by that time they would be eating. It can also express guesses or assumptions about events that may have happened: — Why didn't you answer the question?

19.3  Limitations on Use of Continuous


phone? —I would sleep '"Why didn't he answer the phone?" "(S)he should be sleeping."

19.3  Restrictions on the use of the continuous (a)  Continuous forms are not usually used with certain verbs referring to internal mental activities, eg aborer 'to hate', amar 'to love', odiar 'to hate', saber 'to know': odio tener que quedarme en casa 'I hate having to stay at home'. In this respect, Spanish and English more or less match, but some verbs denoting internal states or "invisible" actions may appear in the Spanish continuous but not in English, for example, No estaba creyendo nada de lo que ella Ela nije believed a word she said   decía (AG, Sp., dialogue) Estoy viendo que vous a terminar mal I see that we will end badly Asegura que está deseando conocerte He insists that he wants to meet you   (ABV, Sp . dialogue) Just like that, all pain and all the effort is Despite all that, all the suffering and   deserved punishment (CORPES, Sp.)   all the effort is worth it. ) will be late The last two of these examples would be more often expressed in simple tenses: deserves . . ., time . . . (b)  The continuum is not used to describe states rather than actions. English usually allows a progressive form for states: Usually lleva corbata azul, pero hoy He usually wears a blue tie, but   lleva una corbata roja   today he wears a red tie Three spider lights colgaban del techo Three chandeliers hung from   the roof What's missing is . . . What is missing is. . . The moon shines high, with silver reflections The moon shone with silver rays high on   (GZ, Mexico)   in the sky She looks tired (see note 4) She looks tired ¡Qué bien huele la madreselva hoy! Honeysuckle doesn't smell today! (c)  The continuous is not used with estar (*estar wait is not Spanish), Poder, Haber, or generally, at least in European literary and standard Spanish, with ir, venir, regresar, volver, andar, except in the frequency sense discussed in 19.2 .4. For further comments on usage in Latin America, see 19.5: ¿Adónde vas? Where are you going? Viene ahora (S)he is going now When we were coming back from the cinema (me) I was going upstairs When we were coming back from the cinema   un momento a ver a la abuela   I was going upstairs to see grandma for a moment   You're being a pain today today (d) Important : verbs describing posture or physical position, eg se sienta '(he) sits down', se agachó '(he) bent down', can only refer to an action, not a state. English speakers often mistranslate expressions like 'he sits' to 'he sits' when they almost always mean 'he sits'. See 23.4 for details.

240 Continuous forms of verbs (1)  The use of the continuous with other 'mental' verbs is rare, but not impossible if the action is represented as changing or increasing, as in te estoy queriendo each time more 'I begin to love you more and more', estoy knowing more and more things about this mysterious friend of yours 'I am learning more and more about this mysterious friend of yours' (from GDLE (2)  Doler 'doer' can appear in any form, as in English: me duele/me está doliendo la belly 'my belly hurts/boli me'. La belly = 'belly' or 'guts'. Native English speakers who call their intestines "estomago" (el stomach) cause a lot of anatomical confusion. Los intestines, la tripa or la belly are not ugly words. (3) For the continuum tener 'to have', see 19.2.4. (4) The importer 'to seem' occasionally appears in the following: la situción me está pareciendo/it seems to me that it is getting uglier 'the situation is getting uglier to me'.

19.4  Continuous forms of being Some grammarians claim that forms such as está siendo '(he) he/it becomes' are borrowed from English, but they are not uncommon, especially in Latin America, and occur in both speech and writing, judging by the dialogue of some novels . It seems irrational to deny the Spanish nuance that distinguishes our 'he was good' from 'he was good'. The Academy (NGLE 28.12m) does not object: For a moment I think that somehow he is, For a moment he thought that he,   Martín, estaba de verdad siendo necesario   Martin, was really necessary   to that tormented being (ES , Arg . )    for that tormented creature La convocatoria a las distinct People who attend different   manifestations esta siendo variada   manifestations come from several   (La Vanguardia, Sp.)   sources (literally 'the call to   several manifestations is varied') Yo ne estoy siendo juzgado (CF, Mexico, do not judge me  dialog) Estás siendo muy bueno hoy You are very good today

19.5  Latin American Uses of the Continuum Written—or at least printed—Latin American Spanish seems to follow the same rules as European Spanish regarding the use of the continuum. However, there are numerous regional colloquial varieties, and it seems, in general, that the continuum is used more in Latin American speech than in Spain. (a)  In many places the continuation of ir, venir and other verbs of movement is heard: —We are yendo to Pato Huachana —I say 'Let's go to Pato Huachana', Lalita  Lalita (MVLl, Fr., dialogue)  Estaba yendo a take a café con leche en I was on my way to Brosa to drink  Brosa (ibid.)   white coffee ¿Cómo le va yendo? (Chile, quoted by Kany, How are things with you?   282; Sp. ¿Cómo le va?) Él está yendo a una de esas escuelas que He goes to one of those schools I sent   send her to build when gold abounds   built when was a lot of gold   (ET, Mex., dialogue. Sp. built)  approx

19.5  Use of the continuum in Latin America


In Spain we would use pode, iba, le va, va in these phrases, but forms like están viniendo 'they are coming' seem to be spreading among younger people. (b)  In the colloquial language of several places, including Chile, Bolivia, Peru, Ecuador and Colombia, the present continuous is used, as in English, to express a prearranged future: mañana estoy yendo a París 'I'm going para Paris tomorrow' ( = mañana voy a París), nos estoo viendo 'see you later'/'see you' This is not found in literary Latin American or European Spanish. (1)  Kany, 282ff., reports that in the Andean region, including Chile, verbs such as Poder, Tener, Haber also appear in the continuous form, especially in popular styles: Estás Pudiendo = Puedes 'You can', ¿Está Habiendo ? 'is there any?' (Spain ¿hay?). This usage is not heard in standard Spanish. However, the Peninsular colloquial form irse yendo is noteworthy: me voy a ir yendo (CMG, Sp., dialogue), 'I'm on my way/I'm off duty/I'm leaving here'. (2)  In Mexican colloquial speech, andar is often used instead of estar to form a continuum: ando trabajando 'I'm working', ¿qué andas haciendo? 'What are you doing?', you won't take tan temprano, ¿verdad? (EM, Mexico, dialogue, Sp. take = to drink [alcohol]) 'surely he doesn't drink this early, does he?' for ¿qué estás haciendo?, but andar + gerund usually means 'to go around and do something'; see 24.8.1 for discussion and examples.

20 The Subjunctive This chapter covers the following topics: • General notes on the Spanish subjunctive (Section 20.1) • Words that can activate the subjunctive in all types of sentences, including words meaning 'maybe' (Section 20.2) • The subjunctive in subordinate clauses introduced by the conjunction that (Section 20.3) • Subjunctive in sentences introduced by other subordinators (section 20.4) • Translation 'se . . . or', 'however', 'any', 'any', 'any', 'however. . . the most. . .', 'anywhere' (Section 20.5) • Subjunctive in relative clauses, see Chapter 39 • Use of subjunctives to form imperatives, see Chapter 21 • Tense agreement: subjunctive (Section 20.8) • Future subjunctive (Section 20.9) • Appendix to chapter Some topics that may interest advanced students are covered in the Appendix to this chapter: • The subjunctive and 'uncertainty', the advantages of the Spanish subjunctive, regional variations in subjunctive use, subjunctive 'contamination' (Sections 20.10–13)

20.1 General observations about the Spanish subjunctive 20.1.1 Difficulties presented by the Spanish subjunctive The subjunctive is used constantly in Spanish in all styles and countries, but it is a notorious problem for learners of English. The main reasons for this are: • English speakers often have no sense of the subjunctive now that it is almost obsolete in their language. Section 20.11 gives some examples of what English loses by not having a Spanish conjunctive equivalent. • Spanish textbooks repeatedly state that the subjunctive has a 'meaning' associated with 'doubt' or 'uncertainty'. This is so wrong it is confusing to say this. Section 20.10 discusses this problem further. • There is no single basic rule that explains the use of the Spanish subjunctive – or, if there is, it's too complicated to be useful. The best approach is to simply learn when to use the subjunctive without asking "why?" or 'what does that mean?' • The rules for using the Spanish subjunctive have arbitrary and confusing exceptions. Why, for example, do we say quizás lleguen mañana (subjunctive) but lo mejor llegan mañana (indicative) when both mean 'maybe they/you will arrive tomorrow'?

20.1.2 Forms of the subjunctive There are three simple, i.e. uncomplicated, tenses of the Spanish subjunctive: present, imperfect and future. Only the first two are in everyday use: the present, formed as explained in 16.7.5, and the imperfect, which has two forms, one in -ra and one in -se. The last two forms are explained in 16.7.6, and all forms are shown in 16.3. The relationship between -ra and

20.2  Words that can activate the subjunctive in all types of sentences


the forms themselves are discussed in the next section. The future subjunctive, referred to in 20.9, is almost obsolete. Complex subjunctive tenses, eg haya hablado, hubiera/hubiese hablado (also mentioned in 18.2.9 and 18.5), and conjunctive continuous forms, eg Esté hablando, estuviera/estuviese hablando, are also common.

20.1.3  Imperfect subjunctive forms -ra and -se compared The forms -ra and -se are interchangeable when used as subjunctives, and the two forms are shown side by side in the unassigned examples in this book. The form -ra is much more common everywhere, it is getting bigger, and in some parts of Latin America it has almost supplanted the form -se in speech, if not in writing. The -ra form also has some uses with an indicative meaning that it does not share with the -se form. They are discussed in 18.3.2 and 18.3.3. The -ra form is also used in some definite expressions: see 20.2.7.

20.1.4  Regional variations in the use of the subjunctive There are some variations, most of which are colloquial or popular, in the use of the subjunctive that students may encounter on both continents. They are discussed in the Appendix to this chapter, 20.12.

20.2 Words that can trigger the subjunctive in all types of sentences This section deals with words that often or always trigger the subjunctive, whether they appear in a main clause or a subordinate clause.

20.2.1  Maybe, and quiz(s) 'maybe', possibly, probably With all these words, when the event mentioned is happening in the present or happened in the past, the use of the subjunctive is optional. The subjunctive somewhat weakens the possibility of the event: Perhaps it was a genuine debate. Maybe it was a real fight. Maybe they   once played a comedy in my   they staged it in my   honor (interview, Madrid press; both   users   humor used) Maybe we are partly to blame   (SV, Ch., dialogue) Maybe we didn't even start the conversation Maybe we didn't even start the conversation a   (JM , Sp.)   conversation Maybe there were times when I could   be stricter (La Jornada, Mex., interview)   be stricter Maybe some of those responsible   were Protestants (ibid.)   there were Protestants. Maybe there was still some ethyl alcohol in our witty veins (GGM, Col.)   alcohol remained in our witty veins

244 Subjunctive You probably never left the room on you left the room. . . . . . . . (JC, Arg., dialogue) time Probably due to Ada. You can probably thank Ada for this (CRG, Sp., dialogue) If the event is still in the future, the present subjunctive or future indicative or conditional can be used, but not the present or past tense. English speakers constantly say *maybe it will come tomorrow for the correct one, maybe it will come tomorrow. Maybe you'll explain to me when it's Maybe you'll explain to me when (LS, Ch., dialogue) is the right moment for you Maybe Spain can play a role Maybe Spain can play a particularly active role. . . . . . . . (The Country, Sp.) a particularly active role. . . . . . . . Maybe that's the best solution. . . . . . . . . Maybe that was the best solution. Maybe this/might be the most luxurious minibus you've ever seen in your life (Excélsior, Mex.) can be used: maybe/perhaps they would come/viniesen/come the next day (not *they would come)' maybe they would come the next day', perhaps was it buen padre (ES, Mexico, dialogue ) 'maybe he would be a good father'. (1) Both quizá and quizás are acceptable, but the former is more common in formal writing in Spain according to Manuel Seco. It may seem preferable before words begin with a vowel, a practice recommended by The Country. Proverbs (proverbs written in Latin America) and quizzes are equally common on both continents. (2) The conditional after these words is common to make the statement more tentative: maybe these concepts should be revised (AG, Sp.) 'maybe these ideas need to be modified', maybe the president would extend his term and take extreme measures against leftists (JA, Mexico) 'maybe the president would extend his stay in office and take extreme measures against leftists'. (3) Important: the subjunctive can only be used if the word meaning 'maybe' comes before the verb it modifies: it can only be said that this may have been the effect of this policy. . . . . . . . . ' may have been the effect of that policy. . . . . .', but maybe that was/was/was the effect. . . . . . . . .

20.2.2 Case Case can mean 'perhaps' and follows the same rules as maybe(s), but is quite literary in this sense: case has now realized the error of relying on the Peron myth's ability to govern a complex society ( MSQ, Arg .) 'perhaps she has now realized the mistake of relying on the ability of the Perón myth to govern a complex society', . . . . . . . . a generation that is hardly happier outside of its portraits (GGM, Col.)'. . . . . . . . . a generation that might never again be happy outside of their portraits". It is most often found with the indicative in all styles in rhetorical, often sarcastic questions, i.e. those for which the speaker already knows the answer: Have you noticed that it doesn't rain in the summer? (implying 'from the rain in the summer? (literally 'of course you don't have..i.') Have you seen that it doesn't rain in the summer?') Doesn't he have someone to do his laundry at home? (GZ, Mexico, dialogue) Do you have someone at home to do your laundry?

20.2  Words that can activate the subjunctive in all types of sentences


Don't they all hate heathens. Don't all Indians (literally 'heathens') hate the Huambis? (MVLl, Fr., dialogue) Do you hate the Huambisa tribe? (1) In colloquial Mexican malo . . . . . . . . it could mean more or less the same thing: you hardly think they wouldn't notice? (MC, Mexico, dialogue) 'you really think they wouldn't notice?'

20.2.3 At best and suddenly This also means 'perhaps', but they do not take the subjunctive. (a) At best, it is very common on both continents and is more typical of spoken language or informal writing: At best, he stayed at home. Maybe/Maybe(s) stayed at home. He didn't even give her name. At best, he didn't even mention her. Maybe he forgot about her (MVLl, Fr., dialogue) he forgot her At best, he was the lunatic (EP, Mex.) Maybe he was the lunatic (b) Suddenly is widely used in informal Latin American speech to mean maybe' but it can also mean 'suddenly', which is its only meaning in Spain. It does not take the subjunctive: or because, suddenly, we are the authors of these anonymous . . . . . . . . . That's happened to him before, hasn't it? (MVLl, Fr., dialogue) 'or because, perhaps, we are the authors of those anonymous letters. . . . . . . . . That thought crossed your mind, didn't it?

20.2.4  Igual, lo mismo These are used to mean 'maybe' in familiar Spanish speech, but not in writing, and are followed by the indicative: yo no sé lo que me espera hoy. Igual llego tarde (CRG, Sp., dialogue) 'I don't know what awaits me today. I may be back late'; call to the door. He also gives you a bribe to knock on the door. Maybe he will tell you something'. These words are not used in Latin America to mean 'maybe', although the variant is equal to y. . .. occurs colloquially in Mexico: a veces kad se lazo se eestrecha de más (Sp. too much), instead of uniting, cut what was tied. Igual y eso fue (AM, Mexico, dialogue) 'Sometimes when a bond (ie between two people) becomes too tight, instead of uniting it, it cuts what held it together. Maybe that was it. Latin Americans can equally interpret it as 'anyway'/'nevertheless' as in también mi estámóga se mueve pero equal estoy contento (MB, Ed., dialogue) 'my stomach is spinning too, but I'm happy anyway'.

20.2.5  Words that express desire These are words like ojalá, ya, así, quién – the latter is a special use of a word that generally means 'who?' They require the subjunctive. We hope to win the lottery! I hope the rice will burn (AA, Cu. dialogue) . . . and I thought I was a writer. . . (ABE, Fr.) Now/then all women were/were like you, so my coldness sticks to you! (parody  gypsy curse)

Let's hope for a lottery win! I hope her rice burns. . . and I thought: if only I were a writer If only all women were like you. . . I hope I catch a cold!

246 Subjunctive (1)  Followed by the subjunctive is a very common way of expressing a wish: que te vaya bien 'let's hope everything goes well for you', que no vuelva a sucessor 'let's hope it won't happen again' , Don't go away! — he thought — if he hadn't flown! (AM, Mexico, dialogue) "Please don't let him out!" I thought, "don't let it fly away!"'. In fact, they are phrases in which a main clause is like I hope that 'I hope that' or I want that 'I want. . . ' is omitted. (2)  Quién, when used like this, can only refer to the speaker himself, quién fuera millonario can only mean 'if I were a millionaire'. It is followed by the imperfect or pluperfect subjunctive. (3)  In some specific sentences, only the subjunctive can express a wish: ¡viva el rey! 'long live the king!', ¡mueran los tiranos! 'death to tyrants!', Dios te bendiga 'God bless you'. For more on this, see Imperative of the third person, 21.6. (4)  Form ojalá y . . . heard in colloquial Mexican: ojalá y se te haga (JGRI, Mexico, dialogue, Spanish ojalá se te haga a ti/ojalá te lo hagan a ti) 'I hope he/she will do the same to you!'

20.2.6 Therefore It means 'therefore the fact that . . . . .' and usually takes the subjunctive, although the reason for this is not obvious: Therefore the pope even put pressure on the new government From, therefore, with each new attack they felt Hence the fact that with each new terrorist who regained his primitive attack power they felt that they were regaining their the original power (MSQ, Arg.) But indicatively possible: therefore it turned out that the costs of the future presidential residence, its apparent luxury, are hardly compatible with the savings that the head of the administration had to prove (Travel, Mexico) 'thus the fact that the price of what would be the presidential residence and its spectacular opulence would be incompatible with the austerity expected of the head of government'. (1) It is not clear why expressions meaning 'the fact that . . . . . .' they usually use the subjunctive when they clearly indicate a concrete fact; this point is discussed further on 3.20.19.

20.2.7  Subjunctive in some common sentences (a)  So that 'in other words':   He said he had to work, so (S) said he had to work, in other words   that he didn't want to come (s )didn't want to eat (b)  What . . . knows/that . . remember:   It's the first time I remember As far as I remember it's the first time   I saw him   I saw him   Nothing that I know (JMa, Sp., dialogue) Nothing that I know   As far as I know no one has done this before At least as much as anyone knows, no one has done it before (c)  In some other definite sentences:   ¡Acabáramos! another rooster will crow for us

So that's what it's all about!/I get it now! That would be another story. . .

20.3  Subjunctive in subordinate clauses introduced by the conjunction that

. . . not even that you were a millionaire, what nonsense! Come! (constantly heard in Spain)


. . . everyone would think you were a millionaire. How stupid! OK/Good/Good

20.3 Subjunctive in subordinate clauses introduced by the conjunction that 20.3.1  General This long section deals with phrases such as 'it's a shame it rained', 'I hope you feel better', 'it's possible we got paid tomorrow', 'I told them to do so', 'they didn't say they saw a UFO', where bold indicates the main clause and the rest is a subordinate clause. The use of the subjunctive in a subordinate clause depends on the meaning of the main clause, as shown by the translations (subjunctives in bold): es una pena que haya llovido, espera que te sientas mejor, es posible que nos pagan mañana, les dije que lo hicieran/ hiciesen, no dijeron que hubieran/ hubiesen seen an ovni. Note that this section does not deal with relative clauses, for example este/este es el cuadro que pintó Picasso 'this is a picture that Picasso painted' or we seek un hotel que tenga Piscina 'we seek a hotel that has a swimming pool'. They also require the subjunctive in certain circumstances and are discussed in 39.15.

20.3.2  Tense agreement and the subjunctive This is discussed in detail in 20.8. In most cases, the following scheme applies: Verb tense in the main clause

subjunctive verb tense

Present, Perfect, Future, Imperative


Conditional or any past tense


I say/I said/I will tell him to leave

I say/I said/I will tell him to leave

Le diría/decía/dije/había dicho que I would say/I was told/I told him   se fuera/fuese   to go (1)  The present subjunctive can refer to the present or the future. Espera que trabajes can mean either 'I hope you are working' (more likely . . . que estes trabajando) or 'I hope you are working', confio en que hagas un esfuerzo means 'I trust you are trying 'or'. . . he will try his best. (2)  Note that, for consistency, the perfect tense – he hablado, han hecho – is usually treated as a present tense: te he dicho que te largues (JM, Sp., dialogue) 'I told you to hit it / clean it' . See 20.8d for details.

20.3.3  Main clauses stating a fact or belief or consisting of a question The subjunctive is not used in a subordinate clause when: (a)  the main clause states that the event or fact is, was or will be true: es cierto que hubo una conspira ración 'it is true that there was a conspiracy', it was obvious que lo había hecho 'it was obvious that (he) had

248 The subjunctive has done it', predicts that habrar deficit 'a shortage is expected', she complains that she is tired' (complains that she is tired'; (b)  when the main clause states the subject's belief or opinion that something has happened, is happening or will happen: I thought there was a conspiracy 'I thought there was a conspiracy', I thought he was taller 'I thought he was taller' 'they say they will call us 'they say they will call us' , it seems that his the woman feels better'. There are occasional exceptions to (b) discussed in 3.20.21. (c)  When the main clause is a direct or indirect question: do you think it's true? 'do you think it's true', are you knew that Marco is Cuban? 'Did you know that Marco is Cuban?', do you think my life would sell? (ES, Mexico, dialogue) 'Do you think the story of my life would sell?'. For exceptions to the colloquial Latin American translations of this rules, see 20.12.1.(1) Important: If the main clause is negative, the subordinate clause usually requires a subjunctive See the next section. (2)  The expression the fact that 'the fact that . . .' and others that mean the same thing usually require the subjunctive. See 3.20.19. (3)  Regarding (b), Spanish differs from Italian and resembles French. Compare I think it is true/je crois que c'est vrai 'I think it is true' - both indicative verbs - and the Italian credo che sia vero, the second subjunctive of the verb.

20.3.4 Noun + main clauses that usually require a subjunctive in a subordinate clause. Important: if the main clause is negated, the verb in the subordinate clause is almost always in the subordinate clause: esto no significa que ya sepan todo el uno del otro ( La Reforma, Mexico) 'it doesn't mean they already know everything about each other'. See 3.20.15.

20.3.5 If the main clause means 'it is possible'/'it is likely that . . .', the subjunctive is obligatory This includes main clauses meaning 'it may happen that . . .', 'it is possible that . . .', 'the risk that . . .', 'the danger that . . .', 'it is inevitable that . . .', 'possibility/probability/probability that'. . ., etc.: Es posible que/Puede que haya to torment There might be a storm It was likely/foreseeable that it would happen/ It was likely/foreseeable that   it will happen so   it will happen so lo viese mais lo desesperaba ( ES , Arg.)   seeing him again filled him with despair. There is a risk that whoever wants to receive the money will be able to return the money. It is inevitable that bad authors . . . pierdan su It is inevitable that authors lose   creative ability (JM, Sp.)   their creative ability. It may also be that Santiago prefers It may also be that Santiago   has Graciela in a deteriorating relationship   prefers to be with (literally 'have' )   (MB, Ed., dialogue)   Graciela in an unstable relationship A storm is predicted to . . . dure al The storm is forecast to last at least   minus 36 hours (El Periódico, Sp.)   36 hours

20.3  Subjunctive in subordinate clauses introduced by the conjunction that


(1)  Pueda (to be) which is a common Latin American colloquial alternative to puede que/puede ser que 'maybe'/'maybe it': pueda que algo te den y te mejores (MP, Arg., dialog)' maybe you something they give it to make you feel better'. NGLE 24.11 prefers puede (be) que. (2)  See 20.12.4 for the Latin American colloquial use of the indicative in the subordinate clause in the sentences above. See also 20.12.4 for a Latin American colloquial that can say 'it is possible that . . .', is not used in Spain.

20.3.6 The main clause contains a verb or phrase meaning 'depends on'/'depends on' Main clauses + meaning 'depends on'. . .' require the subjunctive Yo dependo de que me devuelvan I depend on them giving me   el dinero a tiempo   money back in time De las mujeres depende que se coma It is women who ensure that people eat   en el mundo (AM, Mex. , dialogue )   in this the world (literally 'in which one eats     this world depends on women') Miguel contaba con que lo/le Miguel counted on being called that night  llamaran/llamasen aquella noche

20.3.7 Main clause means 'want', 'allow', 'forbid', 'permit', 'order' etc. + covering a wide range of sentences. If the basic meaning of the main clause is some expression that means to want, to order, to need, to cause, to allow, to advise, to persuade, to encourage, to ensure that . . . followed by que, the subjunctive is obligatory in a subordinate clause: yo quiero que Simón lo haga 'I want Simón to do it', aconsejaban que el comité lo rechazara/rechazase 'they advised the committee to reject it'. Examples: Organicé que all dressed like they I organized it so that we are all women   (AM, Mex., dialogue)   dressed like them Me salvé de puro milagro de que los ladrones. Miraculously I escaped being killed   me mataran/matasen   by thieves No puedes preten que cambien las cosas You can't expect things to change   (JA, Sp., dialogue) interés   was to make her notice his interest   (GGM, Col. , dialogue) Hay que prevent que ellos se enteren We must prevent them from finding out Es necesario/impescindible que lo reciban It is necessary/essential that they   for mañana to prime until tomorrow Make sure he was at mass before   ido a misa (EM, Mex. , dialogue)   see me Below are more examples of verbs that require the subjunctive (except in the circumstances described in Note 1): cause what to do to achieve what to succeed contribute to what to contribute

to worry about what to worry about what to give reason for what to give reason to decide what to send to someone (see note 3)

250 Subjunctive wants to want to prevent it to prevent effort because to make an effort to avoid/prevent it to avoid to demand to require to do/make necessary that it is necessary that it is necessary to insist/to stop and to insist on the necessity that it should be done in order to cause/give ​​grounds for objecting to being against requesting that request/request (but see 20.3.9)

Rather than prefer that suitor who craves/tends to seek than tries to want to beg than to seek that one to save that save/save from that it is necessary than to be necessary than to beg than to beg to try than to try to guarantee that avenger who guarantees the place to be to fight

(1) Important: when the subjects of the main and subordinate clauses refer to the same person or thing, the infinitive is used: Teresa quiere hacerlo 'Teresa wants to do', with the intention that hablar chino '(s)he claimed (s) spoke Chinese' . However, some verbs, especially permissive and prohibitive verbs, can optionally be used with the infinitive even when the subjects are different. This possibility is discussed in 20.3.8c. (2)  There are many alternative ways of expressing the ideas associated with these verbs, eg using adjectives, as in es necesario/deseable que . . . 'it is necessary/desirable that . . .' or nouns, as in la petition/obligación de que . . . 'request/obligation to . . .', la causa/el origen de que 'a causa de . . .'. These also require the subjunctive when followed by the conjunction that, e.g. are insistenciaen que contestaran/contestasen en after 'your insistence that they answer immediately', soy partitário de que lo publiquen 'I support them by publishing', el anhelo de que Deus existe 'the desire that God exists', the need for que las fuerzas Armadas se professionalizaran (JA, Mexico) 'the need for the armed forces to be professionalised'. See 37.4.2 for the use of de que after most of these noun phrases. (3)  Some verbs may or may not require a subjunctive according to their meaning. They use the subjunctive only when an order or wish is implied: dedeció que lo firmaran/firmasen 'he decided to sign it', dedeció que lo habian firmado 'he decided (ie 'it came to the conclusion') that they signed', he said that ended '(he said (ordered) to finish', said to finish '(he said (i.e. 'announced') that it was over', to establish that 'to establish that' (subjunctive)/'to establish the truth that' (indicative), intend to 'try'/'aim for'/'want to' (subjunctive)/'want to' assert that' (indicative), escribir 'write this' (indicative)/'write with instructions for this' ( subjunctive), insist en que 'insist on this', as in insisto en que es la verdad (indicative) 'I insist that it is true', but insisto en que usted me diz la verdad 'I insist that you tell me the truth', se me ocurrió que era él 'it occurred to me that it was him', se me ocurrió que me pagan /pagasen por ello 'it occurred to me that they should pay me for it' (desire). (4)  Notes in the previous note also refer to noun phrases meaning 'want', 'allow' etc. Compare la idea de que la tierra giraba alrededor del sol 'the idea that the earth revolves around the sun' actually: indicative) and la idea era que las chicas ayudasen/ayudaran a los chicos 'the idea was that the girls should help the boys' (intention or desire: subjunctive. Compare la idea era que las chicas ayudaban. . . 'the idea was for the girls to help. . .'; statement of fact). (5)  Statements of 'hope' are discussed on 3/20/23. (6)  For the subjunctive with ask 'to ask', see 20.3.9. (7)  Decir de + infinitive is not standard Spanish: *le dije de hacerlo should be le dije que lo hiciera/ hiciese 'I told him/her/you to do it', a fact that students of French should keep in mind ( cf. is lui ai dit de le faire). However, decir de + infinitive meaning 'to tell someone. . .' occurs in

20.3  Subjunctive in subordinate clauses introduced by the conjunction that


vernacular on both continents and is apparently spreading, although not yet accepted in careful styles.

20.3.8 The use of the infinitive in sentences meaning "I want", "I allow", "I forbid", "I oblige", etc. Some of the verbs listed in 20.3.7, and some other verbs not mentioned so far, can appear with the infinitive, thus avoiding the subjunctive (for ask and similar verbs of request, see 20.3.9). This happens: (a)  As noted in 20.3.7 note 1, when the subject of the main clause and the subject of the subordinate clause refer to the same person or thing: quiero hacerlo 'I want to do that' mas quiero que tú lo hagas 'I want to you do that.' Sólo así Avoidían Increase impuestos (JA, Mex.) 'only in that way they would avoid the tax increase' (the subject of avoidance and increase is 'they') (b)  In impersonal constructions (i.e. when there is no identifiable subject) : Hacía needs to get more gasoline It was necessary to get more gasoline/gas from the USA It was necessary to present the documents The documents should have been presented And this avoids thinking about what you left out This avoids someone having to think about   ( APR, Sp., dialogue) what you left out (c)  With certain verbs, even when they are not impersonal and have different subjects. These are verbs that can be constructed with an indirect object, as in te ayudaré a get/a que getes lo que quieres 'I will help you get what you want'. The most common of these verbs are: get used to get used to get used to animate encourage empower authorize help help condemn condemn lead come get contribute invite invite dejar leave/allow

to challenge to challenge to teach to teach to force to force for do (tj. uzrok) to prevent to impel to impel to incite to incite to hrabriti to induce to induce to persuade to urge to urge to invite to invite to invite to invite to

lead take send send do do send order send oblige oblige order allow permit/allow prohibit challenge challenge try to try

Primjeri I used to/encouraged/authorized/helped ja sam navikao/ohrabrio/dopustio/  to do it/to do it/to do it   pomogao mu/joj da to učini I condemned/challenged/taught/force/impulsé/ Condenei/desafiei/ensinei/ I induced/invited/mandé/obligué/ induced/invited/manded/thank you/   defiei/iskušan/da to učinim/ hiciese   izazvao/natjerao ga/nju da to učini /prisilio ga/je na to I commanded/allowed/forbade him to do it/that he (S)on je naredio/dopustio/zabranio  hiciera/haciese  on/ona je to učinio  Usp. učini to Let us men converse in peace Pusti nas ljude da razgovaramo u miru   (MVLl, Fr., dijalog)

252 Subjunctive Let's convince him that it cost us a lot of effort Let's convince him that it cost us a lot of effort   (ES, Mex., dialogue) Irala invited me to follow her (JLB, ​​​​​​​​​​​Arg. , Irala me invited me to follow her in her   dialogue; or follow her). . The older subjunctive construction is probably safer for foreigners, but the infinitive construction is often heard and seen in the written language: advise advise do hard prevent

ask ask (but see 20.3.9) proposer suggest

recommend recommend suggest suggest

I suggested we do it/we would do it. I admit that I suggested to you that we (ABE, Fr., dialogue) escape to Octavia, that I once suggested crossing to Otávia, to whom I once suggested the other side (ibid.) that she should cross to the other side Even radio stations consulted with Even radio stations who strongly insist that the capital's residents refrain from advising the capital's residents to leave (La Jornada, Mexico) avoid leaving (2) Some of the verbs listed in this section can appear without a direct object in their main clause, while English requires a dummy object like 'one' or 'people': a thin dress that prevented wearing anything underneath/. . . . . . . . . that nothing was worn under the 'thin dress that prevented anything being worn underneath', this suggests that . . . . . . . . . 'this allows you to think about it'. (3) When the object is not alive and the subject is human, the subjunctive must be used. You could say you made her laugh 'you made her laugh', but no *computer* can be made to solve that problem. . . . . . . . . have a computer to solve this problem 'someone can get a computer to solve this problem' (impersonal counts as a human subject); the technical expert can reduce the sound of the accompaniment 'the technical expert can make the background less loud' but not *. . . . . . . . . can make the accompaniment less audible. (4) When both subject and object are inanimate, either construction seems possible, although the safe option is the subjunctive: the reservoir allows the river water to reach the appropriate levels...) 'the dam allows the river to flow to achieve appropriate level', . . . . . . . . light wind that will lower temperatures (Radio Nacional de España)'. . . . . . . . . light wind that will cause temperatures to drop".

20.3.9 Use of the infinitive or subjunctive with ask and verbs of similar meaning Ask and other verbs of similar meaning, for example rogar 'to ask', seem to be in transitive state with respect to the use of the infinitive. They are used with the infinitive when the subjects are identical: pidió hablar con el director 'he asked to speak with the director', pidió verme a las seis 'he asked to see me at six o'clock'.

20.3  Subjunctive in subordinate clauses introduced by the conjunction that


They usually require que and the subjunctive when the subjects are different, just like other request verbs: asked/begged/begged them to answer/to be answered as soon as possible '(s) he asked/begged/asked them to answer what as soon as possible', asked the journalist to politely call his Mexican colleague (ES, Mex.) 'she asked the journalist [Sp. journalist] if you could call a Mexican colleague'. However, when the subject of the main verb is impersonal se, the infinitive is found in notices of the type asking residents not to bring towels to the pool 'residents are asked not to bring towels to the pool'. In other cases, the use of the infinitive when the subjects are different is usually not accepted in standard language in Spain, but is found in Latin America: I know he asked the boys not to open their mouths (DT, Mexico, dialogue)' I know he asked the boys not to they don't say a word', he asked her to leave him alone with the men (GGM, col.) 'he asked her to leave him alone with the men' (he usually asked her to leave him alone); he asked society to condemn anyone who makes such demands (The Journey, Mex.) 'he asked society to condemn anyone who makes such demands [for money]'. However, the infinitive construction is increasingly common in Spain in journalistic styles, especially headlines, for example. Amnesty International asks the Spanish government to put pressure on Chile (El País, Sp.) 'Amnesty International asks the Spanish government to put pressure on Chile'. Also, phrases like he asked me to go out with him 'he asked me to go out with him' (because he was going to go out/would go out), they asked us to go to the cinema with them 'they asked us to go to the cinema with them' ( poisemos /fuésemos) are already common in the speech of young Spaniards and seem to be spreading.

20.3.10  Main clauses expressing emotional reactions or value judgments require a subjunctive in the subordinate clause. In standard Spanish, the subjunctive is used in sentences according to the pattern emotional reaction or value judgment + que + subordinate verb. 'Emotional reaction' and 'value judgement' cover a wide range of possibilities, including regret, satisfaction, dislike, guilt, praise, criticism, surprise, understanding, tolerance, agreement, apology, rejection, justification, statements of sufficiency, inadequacy and importance, etc. Examples: It's natural that it's changed It's natural that she's upset It's not bad that she protects you It's not bad that they protect you   (ABV, Sp., dialogue) I can't stand you talking to me like that It's enough that you offer mucho dinero so that you just need to offer a lot   suddenly you don't know what it's for   money to suddenly realize that   you don't know what it's for. that we are always   siempre nosotras one we debamos recoger   women who have to clean the table   la mesa (CRG, Sp.) Andrés era el culpa de que me pasaran It was Andrés' fault that all these   all these things happened (AM, Mex., dialog ) things were happening I If the locomotive became emotional Lorenzo was excited about the locomotive   Lorenzo (EP, Mex.)   that started I felt mucho que penaras/pensases and I was really sorry that you thought that Están de acuerdo en que los militares They agree se that the troops should surrender delivered their weapons   their weapons (1)  Important: one must distinguish between value judgments and statements of fact such as es verdad que 'it is true that', es obvious/evident que 'it is obvious that', es indisputably that is 'outside

254 Spor subjunctive que', affirms/intends that . . . '(s)he claims that . . .'. The latter require the indicative when they are not negated, even if the difference is not always obvious to English speakers, especially when they realize that ser natural que 'to be natural que' takes the subjunctive, while quejarse de 'to complain that' usually takes the indicative. For negative statements like 'it is not true that . . .', which require the subjunctive, see 20.3.15. (2)  Some impersonal forms of verbs denoting value judgments or emotional reactions require an infinitive when its indirect object and the subject of the following verb are the same, as in ¿te importa hacer menor nouido? 'do you mind if there is less noise' or nos gusta comer mejillones 'we like to eat mussels'. Similar verbs are: afligir 'to comfort', agobiar 'to oppress/overload', to thank 'thank you for', to alarm 'to alarm', to bodre 'to raise', to appetecer as in me apetece hacerlo 'I want to do this', enough as u te just con decir gracias 'all you have to do is say thank you', conmover 'to move' (emotional), convenir as in me conviene hacerlo mañana 'it suits me to do it tomorrow', costar 'to be hard work', disgusting ' dissatisfaction', doler 'to hurt', fastidiar 'to disturb', interesar 'to be interesting'/'to be useful', worry 'to worry', sorprender 'to surprise', etc. (3)  Most other verbs use the infinitive when subjects refer to the same person or thing, as in (jo) odio hablar enpublic 'I hate public speaking'. Similar are: aceptar 'to accept', avenirse con 'to agree with', conformarse con 'to agree with/accept', consentir en 'to agree with', contentarse con 'to be satisfied with', deplorar 'to regret, regret 'to regret', resignarse a 'to resign', soportar/aguantar 'to endure' etc. (based on GDLE A more complete list of infinitive constructions appears in 22.2.2. (4)  Pay attention to the different meanings of feelings: I feel that if my hand fell asleep 'I feel that my hand fell asleep' (physical feeling), I feel that if I fell asleep my hand 'I'm sorry, your hand fell asleep' (emotional reaction ). (5)  The lesser evil of 'it is a good thing that', takes the indicative although it is clearly a value judgment: the lesser evil of this present la mujer de Maximino (RC, sp., dialogue) 'it is good that Maximino's wife was there', less mal que tú y yo estábamos ausumbradas a la niebla (SG, Mexico, dialogue) 'it's a good thing we're both used to the fog'. Qué bien que and qué bueno use the subjunctive in Spain: qué bien que haya venido Tito 'it's great/good news that Tito has arrived'. In Latin America they can appear with the indicative: qué bueno que está bien (EM., Mexico, dialogue) 'it's great that it's good'. (6)  Best form. . . ' would be better than. . .' is also followed by the indicative. This abbreviation of sería mejor which is very common in Latin America, but is also heard in colloquial language in Spain: mejor lo dejamos para más tarde 'we better leave it for later', ¿le cuento lo de los otros tres novios o mejor lo dejamos there? (ES, Mexico, dialogue) 'Should I tell you about the other three boys or would it be better if I left it alone?' Compare sería mejor que lo dejáramos/dejásemos para más tarde 'better leave it for later, (es) mejor que lo dejemos 'better leave it for later'. (7)  English speakers should beware of excessive use of si 'se' in sentences involving a value judgment: sería maravilloso que/si no hubiera/hubiese hambre en el mundo 'it would be wonderful if there was no hunger in the world' . (8)  Important: the subjunctive is still needed when the main clause is deleted: . . . but let him say it. . . (some sentence like es increíble que . . . which was deleted from the sentence) '. . . that he should say that!'/'. . . that you should have the courage to say that!'

20.3  Subjunctive in subordinate clauses introduced by the conjunction that


20.3.11 Some unexpected exceptions to the rules stated in the previous section In spontaneous language in Latin America and to a lesser extent in Spain, an emotional reaction or value judgment referring to a past, present or common event can take the indicative in subordinate clauses. Some speakers accept I'm glad/annoyed that you're here 'I'm happy/annoyed that you're here', other speakers require . . . this one. This tendency to use the indicative is strongest with verbs followed by de que: see 20.3.12. The indicative is sometimes seen in writing in Latin America, especially in Argentina. Examples: Joyce's undeniable genius was purely Joyce's undeniable genius was purely   verbal; it's a shame you wasted it on a soap opera   verbal; it's a shame he spent on a novel   (JLB, ​​​​​​​​Arg.) Es curious que uno no puede estar sin É strange que não se estar (lit.   cariñarse con algo (MP, Arg., dialogue)   'it can't be') I don't like something Me da lástima que terminó (ibid., dialogue) Sorry, it's over It seems rare to me that this hombre baja y dice It seems strange to me that this man   “Mire . . .” (Ven., quoted DeMello,   comes out and says 'Look . . .'   1996, (2), 367) (1)  DeMello's (1996, 2) study of recordings of Latin American capitals suggests that colloquial Spanish tends to distinguish value judgments accompanied by emotional reactions (subjunctive) and value judgments that simply inform the speaker about the fact (indicative). But he notes that while the indicative was found in 57% of Latin American judgments involving value judgments, in Spain it appeared in only 36% of judgments. Literary language strongly prefers the subjunctive after all +que value judgments.

20.3.12  Emotions and value judgments followed by de that We said in 20.3.10 that the subjunctive is used with expressions of emotions and value judgments + que. But when the verb is followed by de que, the indicative mood is sometimes heard in casual speech when the verb is in the present or past tense. Foreign students should probably not imitate this trend: Me alegré de que (pensaban)/pensaran I was happy that they intend to do this  pensasen hacerlo Se indignaba de que sus egregos (S)he was indignant that his   (creían) / creyeran/creyesen en la pena   the father-in-law believes in the death penalty   de muerte Se asombra de que todo el mundo tiene (S)he is surprised that everyone has a ticket   un ticket (cited DeMello, 1996 (2),   367. Madrid Speech) (1) As was mentioned earlier, quejarse de que 'claim that . . .' it seems to the foreign apprentices an emotional reaction, but the indicative follows: if you want Berta to stay asleep during the siesta (MP, Arg., dialogue) 'she complains that Berta made her sleep in the afternoon', he always said that he had to go to mass and confess (EM, Mexico, dialogue) 'always complained about having to go to mass and confess'.

256 subjunctive

20.3.13 Lament that, protest that, feel that and other verbs whose meaning changes when the next verb is in the subjunctive Lament that 'laments the fact that' takes the subjunctive. To complain about what to 'complain/complain about the fact that . . .' takes the subjunctive when it expresses an emotional reaction and the indicative when it merely makes a statement: compare regret that if there were molestias (JM, Sp., dialogue) 'I'm sorry that you bothered' and resigned on January 5, 1853, regretting that entre nosotros los male sociales son orgánicos (Historia general de México, México) 'resigned on January 5, 1853, deploring (the fact) that social ills are deeply rooted among us'. Protestar de que 'to protest against it' has any of the following forms: protestaba de que el gobierno había/hubiera/hubiese subido los impuestos '(s) he protested/complained about the fact that the government increased taxes'. To feel it, see 20.3.10 note 4. (1)  Other verbs with variable meaning are: to check which to denounce which to guarantee that to dream that to see that to confirm that

with the indicative to observe that to report (e.g. to the police) to guarantee that to dream (while sleeping) to see / to observe that to write down / to confirm that

with the subjunctive make sure that denounce the fact of

See 20.3.22 to understand this, understand this, explain this, accept this

20.3.14  Lo + emotional reactions + que If a value judgment is expressed by a sentence involving the 'neutral member' lo, the rule for using the subjunctive is as follows: (a)  It is logical that . . ./normal, regular . . ./the usual/current thing is that . . . they are followed by the subjunctive: Lo logical/lo normal/lo habitual es que It is logical/normal is   no venga   that he does not come . . . end up with worse problems than   complaining about some abuse, those   mayors of those for whom   end up with worse problems than   complaining (La Época, chap.)   those who complain about (b)  lo peor es que/lo mejor es que . . ./the bad thing is that . . ./ it is terrible that . . ./ the boring thing is this. . ., etc., can be problematic for English speakers. They are followed by the subjunctive when they clearly express an emotional reaction or a value judgment, especially about some future event: The worst thing will be/is if no one comes The most provocative thing about the   law is that it could cause   a violent reaction from Cuban governments (La Jornada, Mexico)

20.3  Subjunctive in subordinate clauses introduced by the conjunction that


But they take the indicative when referring to some past or present fact: The worst thing is that no one came The worst thing is that no one came What irritates me is that society still What angers me is that society   condemns love relationships between and condemns romances or love   a mature lady and a young man (CRG, Sp.)   affairs between a mature woman   and a young man What surprised me the most. . . is that . . . se I was most surprised that they   stopped and turned (JM, Sp.)   stopped and turned I miss it because I didn't notice What confuses me is that I didn't notice   (GZ, Mexico, dialogue ) (1)  English speakers usually cannot see the difference between indicative and subjunctive in the examples given above in (b). Compare the bad thing is that we have an exam at four 'the worst thing is that we have an exam at four' (factual state) and the bad thing is that we have an exam at four (expresses an emotional reaction and means something) like 'unfortunately we have an exam at four o'clock' or ' we have a test at four o'clock, bad luck'). (2)  Spanish speakers who do not accept sentences like ?es curious to say 'it's strange that you say that' (para digas) will often accept that it's interesting that you say that'.

3.20.15 When the main clause denies something, the subordinate verb is in the subjunctive Examples: I don't think it's possible I don't think it's possible Mayta denied that she participated in the   rapture (MVLl, Fr. , dialogue); ou habia   rapture I didn't say you were hysterical I didn't say you were hysterical   (CRG, Sp., dialogue) That doesn't mean you need   a radical change of attitude (JC , Arg.)   expect a radical change of attitude It doesn't happen that every day is an eclipse   of the day It's not about having to   days until nine in the evening   stay until nine in the evening. every day But this does not mean that there will be a crisis But this does not show that there will be  (Excélsior, Mex.)   a crisis Não es verdad que existen las hadas It is not true that there are fairies (1 )  Affirmations containing imperatives such as 'don't think this ', 'don't believe this' usually have an indicative: don't say it's true', don't think this is the only thing we do' don't 'don't think it's the only thing we do' (AM, Mexico, dialogue). (2)  The subjunctive is sometimes optional after negated verbs know or believe, depending on the degree of uncertainty involved. If someone knows for sure that X is a thief, say no confessía que había robado el dinero 'he didn't admit that he stole the money'. If X can be innocent, he is said not to have confessed to stealing/stole the money. For this reason, denied statements of visible truths, e.g. I didn't know the door was open 'I didn't know the door was open'

258 The subjunctive (era) is more likely to take the indicative, although estuviera/estuviese is also correct. Negative reviews, e.g. no creo que se muy utilisante 'I don't think it's very useful', almost certainly use the subjunctive. As NGLE 25.7g points out, this distinction is not strictly enforced. He quotes if you hold a vase of fresh water in your hand, after a while you do not notice that the water is fresh 'if you hold a glass of cold water in your hand, after a while you do not realize that the water is cold'. In this case, the water is obviously cold. This example is a reminder of how difficult it is to formulate binding rules about the Spanish subjunctive. (3)  The indicative is occasionally found after the negation of que and verbs of similar meaning, although this construction is uncommon, especially in Spain: niego que hubo bronca (Proceso, Mexico, usually hubiera, hubiese or haya habido bronca) 'I deny there it was a fight ', but they openly denied that they carried marijuana on that occasion (Granma, Cu.) 'but they stubbornly denied that they carried marijuana on this occasion', denies that Dios exists (de Navas Ruiz (1986), 69 , generally exists)' ( s) he denies that God exists'. Denial of denial is equivalent to affirming the truth, so it often takes the indicative: nadie podía nega que él siempre cumplía con su palabra (GM, Sp.) 'no one could deny that he always kept his word'. But the subjunctive is also common: they did not deny that the Cortes could be rewarded for the monarchy, always and when they limited themselves to representing the interests of the subjects (Historia general de México, Mex.) 'they did not deny that the Parliament could be useful to the monarchy as long as limited to the representation of citizens' interests. (4)  In being which and in that which is. . . are negations and are usually followed by the subjunctive: no es que yo say that it is a lie 'it's not that I'm saying that it's a lie', no es que se dijeran grande cosas (JM, Sp.) 'it's not that important things (lit. 'great') were said', it was not that in hubiese poor people throughout la ciudad (AM, Mexico) 'it was not that there were not poor people all over the city'. Unusual in a being followed by an indicative, in which case the negation is more certain and assertive: no era que toba posésioni del mundo (M. de Unamuno, Sp.) 'it is not that he was taking possession of the world'. On the being that takes the indicative in questions: see the next section. (5)  For the formula no sea que 'para que não'/'para que não . . .' see 20.4.3b. (6)  Well . . . You can also use the subjunctive in sentences like pocas personas creen que existan/existen los Fantas 'few people believe that ghosts exist', poca gente accept que mar/es innocent 'few people accept that he is innocent'. In these cases, there is little difference between the subjunctive and the indicative.

20.3.16  The main clause consists of a negative question or command. Negative questions and commands are not negations, so the indicative is used: ¿No es verdad que ha dicho eso? Isn't it true that he said that? Don't you feel your heart breaking? Don't you feel your heart grow bigger   watching this? (JI, Mexico, dialogue)   when do you see this? (1)  For Latin Americans, especially Mexico, the use of the subjunctive in positive questions, eg ¿crees que se se verdad?, Spain ¿crees que es verdad? see 20.12.1.

3.20.17  The main sentence contains the dubious statement Dudar that he 'doubts that . . .' takes the subjunctive, but after he did not doubt that 'don't doubt that . . .' the indicative is usually used when the meaning is 'to be sure that . . .':

20.3  Subjunctive in subordinate clauses introduced by the conjunction that


I doubt it's true I don't doubt what you say is true (temporary observation) I don't doubt what you say is true (temporary observation) I'm convinced') that   what you say is true let it go No doubt it's debatable. There is no doubt that [statement: la   (MVLl, Pe., Sp. there is no doubt that . . .)   statement] can be discussed only one suitable for that ( 1)  To doubt this , see 37.4.3 note 2.

20.3.18  Statements of fear + que Temer, tener miedo da se 'fear/to be afraid' and other statements of similar meaning can have a subjunctive or indicative, in the latter case more often a future form, or, if referring to In the past, to the future in the past : I'm afraid it might bother him/her  molestar/molestará/le vaya a molestar Tememos que le molestara/molestase/ We were afraid it would bother molestaría/Tememos que le iba/fuera on/she   mole Yo tenía miedo de que te hubieras ido I was afraid that you had gone   (GCI, Cu., dialogue) . . . not to see the sea through the hatch because . . . in order not to see the sea through the opening   we are afraid that he will enter (EP, mex.)   because we are afraid that he will enter The subjunctive is always used if the main verb is negated: no temía que me fuera/ fuese a pesca 'I was not afraid that he would he/she/it attacks'. (1)  A temer that can also be found with the indicative when talking about timeless or common actions: I fear that the true limit carries everyone within (CF, Mex., dialogue) 'I fear that each of us carries a real limit within us', began to paint that images of two worlds. . . pertenecían a dos caras de la misma moneda (JA, Sp.) 'I began to fear that the pictures are of two worlds . . . belonged to two sides of the same coin. (2)  Fear that it usually means little more than 'I'm sorry for saying this. . .' and then takes the indicative: I'm afraid I was very delicate 'I'm afraid I wasn't very discreet', I'm afraid I can't speak (LS, Ch., dialogue) 'I' I'm afraid I can't talk to you about to that'. But the subjunctive is also possible, in which case it tends to mean 'to fear that' rather than 'to suspect that': mucho no fearmos que se trate de los primeros (Earth, Ed.) 'we very much fear that the first are involved' .

20.3.19  The main clause means 'the fact that . . .' There are several common ways of translating 'the fact that': el hecho de que, el que e que; the last two items have several other meanings, for which see Table of Contents. (a)  In addition to all this, the subjunctive is generally used whenever a phrase means 'the fact that'. . .' appears at the beginning of a sentence:

260 Subjunctive El the fact that you are protected from Valdés me The fact that you are someone who protects   is not careful (EM, Mex., dialogue)   Valdés makes me cold (El) to say that nothing should affect the fact that they say that nothing would should   tu decision   affect your decision Often used when the main verb is a know or perceive verb (eg insert rarse from 'to discover', to perceive 'to perceive'). When a fact is preceded by a preposition, it almost always has an indicative: Se ha percebeu (del facto) de que tiene que (S)he haspercebeu(s)he has to work in   trabajar para vivir   to live. . . They start from the fact that many older people. . . they are based on the fact that many   have difficulty using properly   older people have difficulty with   los aparatos (El Mundo, Sp.)   using the device [computer] correctly I don't know if that would affect the fact that she is an average   Danish woman and she was obviously part of it   Danish and obviously part of her   studies there (LS, Sp., dialogue)   studies there would have some influence . . . which is supported by the fact that his . . . which is confirmed by the fact that his main   master discs continued to be reeditándose   records/discs continued to be released ​​  (JA, Mexico) (1)  El que 'the fact that' must be distinguished from el que 'the person who' (about in 40.1.4). Sometimes only the context makes the meaning clear: whoever said it doesn't know what they're saying 'who/who said it doesn't know what they're talking about', whoever said it doesn't matter 'the fact that he/she said it doesn't matter '. (2)  English speakers tend to exaggerate the fact that with the expression "the fact that". What. . . or what. . themselves are just as common, if not more so. (3)  For therefore 'hence the fact that . . .' see 20.2.6.

20.3.20  Subjunctive after noun phrases + de que When a noun phrase replaces a verb phrase, it is usually connected to the following subordinate clause by de que: compare espera que llueva 'we hope it rains' and la esperanza de que llueva 'we hope it rains' ': see 37.4.2 for a more detailed discussion of the use of de que after nouns. (1)  For the tendency to lower de in this construction, see 37.4.2 note 1.

20.3.21  Subjunctive after creer, seem, suponer and suspect + that We said in 20.3.3b that it expresses beliefs + that take the indicative – creo que Dios existe 'I believe that God exists', says that we suspect that everything is going to end very badly (MS , Mex.) 'he says he suspected it would end very badly' – unless they were rejected: no creo que Dios existe 'I don't believe God exists', no me seem que haya nada malo en eso (ES, Mexico, dialogue) 'I don't think there's anything wrong with that'. However, the subjunctive occasionally appears after a sound like . . . and - very rarely - after suspicion that . . . 'to suspect that . . .' even when they are not negative. The meaning is then more uncertain, or implies that what follows is not true; but the difference is hardly translatable into English:

20.3  Subjunctive in subordinate clauses introduced by the conjunction that


I suspect it is/is a lie As if History were a kind of As if History were a kind of locus grasshopper; and it feels as it is (AS, Sp.) and it feels as it is Why are you like that? Looks like you were Why are you like this? It looks like drowning (ABE, fr., dialogue) although you drowned. . . . . . . . one of those times. . . . . . . . . in this it seems that . . . . . . . . . one of those times when it looks like a bomb went off somewhere a bomb went off somewhere far, far away (MS, Mexico) far away In other words, it seems to tend to mean 'looks like' which implies 'and is', and it seems to be so it suggests 'it seems so', but it may not be. (1) The use of the subjunctive to make a question ironic (ie when the speaker already knows the answer, so do you really think that helps? 'Do you really think that helps?') is much more common in Latin America than in Latin America than in Spain. . . . See 20.12.1 in the Appendix to this chapter. (2) Not knowing whether . . . . . . . . often takes the subjunctive of Columbia in the north, including Mexico. See 20.12.1 note 1. (3) Opinion + subjunctive can sometimes mean 'look good' in questions in Spain, but less often in Latin America: Do you think we should go to a Chinese restaurant? 'how about we go / what if we go to a Chinese restaurant?', in general what do you think if we go . . . . . .?

20.3.22 Subjunctive after comprender/understand que, explain it, accept that All these verbs take the subjunctive when they are negated, for example, I don't understand that they are asking me about work now (interview in El País, Sp. ) 'I don't understand why now they ask about the written statement'. Understand that, understand that and accept that they often use the subjunctive when they mean 'sympathize': I understand that many people in the US   The African American community may not understand that   The African American community may not   (interview, La Jornada , Mex. )   I understand that he also accepted that the French parliament He also accepted that the French parliament   examine the pact (El País, Sp.)   should examine the agreement I accept that you don't want to go with us I accept that you don't want to go with us But I understand/understand/accept that the situation is like this 'I perceive/accept that this is the situation' take the indicative: I understand that this news is completely unimportant (interview, La Jornada, Mexico) 'I understand/accept that this news is completely unimportant'. (1)  Explain usually uses the indicative when it really means 'to state' or 'to say': Javier explained that he was ill 'Javier explained that he was ill'. But the subjunctive is used when the verb means 'gives why': this explains that changes in literature are closely related to technical innovation', this explains that we are in a good mood 'this explains why we are in a good mood'.

262 subjunctive

20.3.23  Subjunctive after esperar que Esperar 'wait' and the noun la esperanza de que . . . 'hope that', can be followed by the subjunctive, future tense, conditional or indicative ir a. The subjunctive is by far the most common form when the verb means "to wait". The use of the indicative in these tenses suggests the meaning of 'waiting': I hope you will convince me/you will convince me/you. . . with the hope that she will. . . with the hope that she would do the same  mismo (CF, Mex., dialog) los vivo (SP, Mex.)   populate the kingdom of the living I hope no se le ocurra metere por I hope he has no ideas about sailing   mitad del cano que hay entre las piedras   through the channel between the rocks   (APR, Sp., dialogue) I hope you will pay me I am waiting for you to pay me (1)  Wait what and wait what 'wait . . .’ take the subjunctive: yo estaba waiting/waiting a que lo hiciera/hiciese otra persona ‘I was waiting for someone to do it’. (2)  Esperar should be used with the infinitive when the two subjects are the same: yo esperaba hacerlo 'I expected to do that', but yo esperaba que él lo hiciera/hiciese 'I expected him to do that'. (3). The expected shape emphasizes the surprise.

20.4 Subjunctive in subordinate clauses introducing subordinate clauses except 20.4.1  Introduction The subjunctives discussed in section 20.4 are words like 'when', 'after', 'because', 'unless', which introduce subordinate clauses. The general rule governing the use of the subjunctive after such subordinates is: if the event to which the subordinate clause refers has already happened or has already happened, the subordinate verb is in the indicative. If the event has happened or hasn't happened yet, the verb is in the subjunctive. Example: Te lo di cuando llegaste Te lo daré cuando llegues Yo iba a dartelo cuando llegaras/llegases

I gave it to you when you arrived I gave it to you when you arrived I wanted to give it to you when you arrived

Timeless or habitual actions also assume the indicative: oscurece cuando se pone el sol 'it gets dark when the sun goes down', mi nieta siempre da me un beso en cuanto llega 'my granddaughter always kisses me as soon as she arrives' . It follows from this that some subjects, e.g. antes de que 'before', para que/a que 'in order to', a conditionio de que 'provided that' always take the subjunctive because they must refer to something that has happened or has not yet happened at the time of the main clause. But in most cases the use of the subjunctive depends on the rule given in the first paragraph of this section. Just like in English, a subordinate clause can precede or follow the main clause: después de que llegaron, empezamos a hablar/empezamos a hablar después de que llegaron 'after they came they promised to speak'/'we started talking after they arrived' .

20.4  Subjunctive in subordinate clauses introduced by subordinate clauses except that


(1) Important: The rules given here do not apply to interrogative words such as when, where, how, who, which, which are not subordinating conjunctions and should be considered as separate words. They are followed by a call sign: do you know when you arrive? 'do you know when he's coming?', do you remember where you left him? 'will you remember where you left this?', I doubt I can say 'I doubt he can say that'. Also compare and when are you getting married? 'and when are you getting married?' and when you get married, what will happen to your children? 'and when you get married what will happen to your children?'

20.4.2  Use of the infinitive after subordinate clauses The infinitive is used after certain subordinate verbs when both verbs have the same subject. Compare I entered without seeing her 'I entered without seeing her' (same subject: 'I') and I entered without seeing her/more 'I entered without seeing her' (different subjects). This occurs with the following subordinators: (a)  Those involving the word from, eg since 'provided that', before, 'before', after 'after', provided that 'provided that', with a view to/ in order to 'with the intention of', rather than 'in exchange for', instead of 'instead of', in spite of the fact that 'in spite of', in the case of 'in the case of', in spite of the fact that 'the fact that' etc. What is dropped before the infinitive: To do will do before/after I leave I will do before/after I leave Many people consulted him before   political decisions (JA, Mex.)   making political decisions He wrote with the aim of praising his own wrote with the intention that   colleagues   praise your colleagues Knowing four languages ​​helps me ( b)  Sin que 'without' , so da/a que 'in order of', no more 'as soon as', do 'until' What is dropped before the infinitive. Compare: I entered without noise 'I entered without noise', I entered without him/her seeing me 'I entered without he/she seeing me'; went to the dentist to extract a tooth 'went to the dentist to extract a tooth' and went to the supermarket to buy bread 'I went to the supermarket to buy bread'. In the case of other subordinates, e.g. when, while 'while', so that/once 'as soon as', the subordinate perfect verb cannot be replaced by an infinitive: I'll tell you when we see you', never * I'll tell you when we see you, that not and Spanish. (1)  Some of these subordinations which allow the construction of the infinitive are found with the infinitive in very informal speeches even when the subjects are not the same, as in ?comprame unas postales para mandarselas (yo) a mi madre for comprarme unas postales para que I send to my mother' buy some postcards so I can send them to my mother', see you before you go, right? (for . . . before you go) 'I'll see you before you go, won't I?' This type of construction is quite common in spontaneous informal speech, but is avoided in careful language. (2) Because when means 'in order to' (usually means 'because'), see 20.4.3 note 1.

20.4.3 Subjunctive of purpose: 'in order', 'so that', etc. (a) Phrases meaning 'in order to' such as in order to, for this/because, with the aim of this, with the aim of this, with for the purpose of this and for that (which also has other meanings, e.g. one that yes 'I bet that's true'), always follows the subjunctive because they obviously indicate an event that happened

264 The subjunctive or has not yet appeared at the time of the main clause. When the subjects of the verb are identical, the infinitive is used, eg I did it to make you angry 'I did it to make you angry'; see 20.4.2: Afuera, para que la solidaridad sita, Fora, para que people feel   there is a gathering of people   (a level of) solidarity that we need   (MB, Ur., dialog. Sp. Fuera . . . )   gather about a thousand people so that I wrote a circular so that everyone   enteren todos   knows We should try because/so that o We should try so that others   demas tenien menor trabajo   have less work m a little worried and a little impatient   impatient for the drink to pass   for this disturbance to pass. (b) A few sentences express negative intention or avoidance, i.e. 'lest', and always use the subjunctive. They are difficult to translate now that our word 'lest' is limited to formal styles. These sentences do not allow replacing the subjunctive with the infinitive: Trabaja más, no sea que te despida He works harder not to fire you regretting the call   he regretted/not to regret   (AM, Mex . , dialog)   call Don't run so much, don't go have a heart attack Don't rush (literally 'run') so much - you don't want     to have a heart attack No va para be that kidnappers We don't want the kidnappers   den cuenta (EM, Mex., dialogue)   to find out Devuélveles el dinero, no sucure que nos Give them back the money. We do not   demand   to be sued (1)  because in the meaning 'so that' it is less common than para que, but is often found after certain verbs, especially estrir estar pq/para que + subjunctive 'make an effort for. . .'. For the difference between por and para when both mean 'in order to', see 38.17.16.

20.4.4 Subjunctive with subordinates meaning 'therefore', 'to see this' etc. They do not allow replacing the finite verb with the infinitive. (a)  The following are followed by the indicative when they mean 'since' or 'because': pues because (see 37.5.3) ya que since/   vem que comoquiera que since puesto que since

because for the fact that it can be seen

(b)  As, when the meaning 'because' or 'future' (ie 'in view of the fact that . . .') also usually follows the indicative; is discussed in 37.5.2. When followed by the subjunctive como can mean 'if' and this is discussed in 29.8.2. For the use of como in sentences such as hazlo como quieras 'do as you wish', see 20.5.2. Como means 'like' in direct and indirect matters, and is better understood as another word: see 28.7.

20.4  Subjunctive in subordinate clauses introduced by subordinate clauses except that


Invítame ya que/since you have so much money/ Since you have so much money   Como tienes so much money you can invite me   you can pay for me   (in this sense, as it should look in   the head of the clause; see 37.5. 2) perros não lea indicative but requires the subjunctive when it means 'only because', and after not because 'not because'. Sometimes it can be preceded by solo/solo. I'm not doing it because you say so. I'm not doing it just because you say so. Nobody comes to us because they think they're going to get tokens  they think they're going to get special favors. . . not so much because it was important. . . not so much because his approval   his approval (ME, Mexico)   was absolutely necessary Not because I got lost and was late. Not   a delusion, but because I was going a little   because I have a bad sense of direction   sonade (CMG, Sp., dialogue)   but because I was a little high, Ali: I don't do it because you say I don't do it because you say I don't should work alone / just because you say I do, but not just because   you tell me not to date you alone / just because you have The fact that you have a Ferrari is no   Ferrari the only reason I'm dating you Spanish language so he can avoid the important the ambiguity that affects English sentences like 'he didn't react because he was tired'. See 20.11. (d)  The subjunctive is used after good because . . . Oh yeah . . already. . . / Yes why . . . or, it was because . . . out because it means 'if. . . or ': Well/Now because I had something to do or If he had something to do or   because he was tired, the case is that   if he was tired, the fact is that   he wasn't very nice to us   he wasn't very nice to us. . . If the government had to be supported, now. . . either support the government   attack it (Abc Boja, par.)   or attack it   no one will be too interested in her life. . . no one was too interested in life. . . (SP, Sp. . . . or because . . . or because it could   be used) I like it, or it's Pedro's idea, or someone else's I like it, whether it's Pedro's idea   or someone else's (e)  Because it usually lasts indicator: . . . since the results of the investigation compromised the truth of the case (AH, Mexico)'. . . since the results of the expert report threatened to [undermine] the truth of the case'. But it can mean 'the assumption that it is the case that . . .' and take the subjunctive: 'assuming what you say is true, have my approval and assistance'. (1) Because because in the meaning 'so that . . .' see 20.4.3.

266 Subjunctive

20.4.5 Subjunctive with subjunctives of result, purpose and manner, eg 'as a result' These are words that mean 'so'/'as a result' in sentences like 'it was snowing so we stayed inside'. They do not allow replacing the finite verb with the infinitive. (a)  When denoting the result of an action, the following assumes an indicative: así que so (= 'as a result') conque so (especially in questions, for example,   ¿conque lo has hecho tú? 'so it was   you who did it?' )

so that in such a way that / with such luck that in such a way that in such a way that in such a way

It's your fault, so it's your fault, so you can't complain   so you can't complain Las cataratas are not   under a layer of ice, so the falls   completely frozen (Excélsior, Mexico)   not completely frozen If they indicate a goal or purpose, they take the subjunctive: they were masked so that no one would recognize them/they were masked so that (ie 'with the intention of . . .') no one would recognize them'; . . . so that no one recognized them implies the result, i.e. that no one recognized them. This avoids another English ambiguity - see 20.11. Other examples that indicate purpose or intent: Behaving in such a way as to avoid suspicion of going out   the corridor so that our mother   cannot hear (SP, Sp.)   hear him. . . I'm trying to set up the camera that way. . . trying to position the camera so that my   trajectory gives my face. . . no estropeara   the face wouldn't spoil the photo   la foto (ES, Mex., dialog) (b)  As when the meaning 'as'/'however' requires the subjunctive when referring to an action that is or was in the future: Do as you wish I would that I said you can come whenever you want /   you want

Do what you want, I said you can come either way

When talking about a present or past action, the indicative is used: lo hacen como siempre lo han hecho sus madres 'they do as their mothers always did', lo hice como quise 'I did it as I wanted'. For como + subjunctive meaning 'if' see 29.8.2; for como meaning 'like' (ie 'see that'), see 37.5.2. (c)  Cual si (literary: see 28.3.1 note 3) and como si 'as if' always take the past subjunctive, but never the present subjunctive. For como si = 'as if'/'it's the same as when', see note 2: Me miró como si no me viera/viese (S) he looked at me as if (s)he can't/   no 't see me Las trató con gran familiaridad, como si las He treated them very familiarly, como   viera todos los días (CF, Mex.)   even though he saw them every day

20.4  Subjunctive in subordinate clauses introduced by subordinate clauses except that


(1)  Comme si takes over the indicative in French: comme si elle avait fifteen ans = as if he were fifteen years old. (2)  Hacer que 'to pretend that', hacer como si/que 'to act as if' and ser como si 'to be as if. . .' take the indicative when mean the same as when . . . '. . . same as when. . .': Martha pretends not to hear 'Marta pretends not to hear', they pretended not to hear (SP, Šp.) 'they pretended not to notice', they pretended not to understand '(s)he pretended not to understand', it's like when/like when you can't breathe and you're scared 'it's like when you can't breathe and you're scared', the child goes through everything, as if I took him to demonstrations for or against divorce squid sandwiches (MVM, Sp., dialogue) 'My son doesn't give a damn: he doesn't care if I take him to demonstrations for divorce or against squid sandwiches'. (3)  As if . . . is found colloquially in Spain with the indicative meaning 'even if': —I will not come before eight. As if you don't come, I don't care (Spain, colloquial) '"I don't come before eight o'clock." - Even if you don't come, it doesn't matter to me. (4)  Then . . . with what . . . 'such. . . like this. . .' takes the subjunctive: two heroes like us can't come back for trivial things like being eaten by a giant' (literally 'as a giant eats one'). (5)  Kao que, which can also mean 'as if', takes the indicative: lately I have noticed that he is worried, as if he wants to communicate something (JJA, mex., dialogue) 'lately I have noticed that he is worried , as if he wants to tell me something'.

20.4.6  Subjunctive with words meaning 'in case', 'assuming' minutes to give him time. Let's wait two minutes for you to do   get comfortable, in case you   get comfortable if you happen to   take a shower (ABE , Fr., dialogue )   shower that information, is that I will not allow them this   in case they ask me   information; just in case I'm asked   (GZ, Mexico, dialogue) But by itself usually, but not always, takes the indicative, although by itself it can take any mood, and the subjunctive makes that possibility less likely. Per si is not followed by the present subjunctive: She carries an umbrella for herself (home) Take an umbrella in case of rain  llueve/lloviera/lloviese mas (not *por si  llueva) She always did favors for people She always did favors for people accidentally al alguien ocurría   affection in case someone thinks  to return them (SP, Sp.)   to fight back He aims at the other pavement/   pavement in case of attack (JI, Mex., dialogue)   from the back Por si fuera jama . . . (certain sentence) As if that wasn't enough. . . It would be better if you were informed   you asked for an explanation (EM, Sp.)   (lit 'he was informed') in case someone     asks for an explanation

268 Subjunctive (1)  Suponiendo da when it means 'assuming that' requires the subjunctive: suponiendo que él venga, ¿lo/le vas a dejar entra? 'if he comes, will you let him in?' betrayed the person who was supposed to be her partner and best friend'.

20.4.7  Subjunctive with time subordinators This includes words and phrases such as the following: medo que/según/ después (de) que tarde dok (que) as  conforme as en cuanto/nada más/barely/so Pronto   long while, while ( see 20.4.9) antes (de) que antes   como/una vez que/nomás que (Lat. Am.) siempre que every time cuando when   como que from to to After temporal subordinates, the subordinate verb is in the subjunctive when its action is or is still in the future, as in the following examples: We arrived before it began to snow  to snow (for before see note 2) Be not hard on your maid, después Don't be hard on your maid after she has calmed down (SV, Ch ., dialogue   you calmed down   In Spain usually after . . .) You know my cousin. When he comes, I'll tell him. You know my cousin. When she comes   that's what she tells you (AA, Cu., dialogue)   I'll tell her to tell you she's arrived) Hand out pamphlets as MPs   enter   parliament enters as soon as the strike ends. . . after the strike ends. . . As soon as I can, I buy a watch As soon as I can, I buy a watch   (MB, Ed., dialogue) As soon as it gets dark, you follow the road As soon as it gets dark, you go down   (JI, Mexico, road  For nomás, see 27.6) So, if I can, I will call you (ME, Arg. As soon as I can, I will call you   discussed at length in 27.5.7. See also   note 2 ) He will not be satisfied until he becomes   he will be happy (see 27.2.4 for the use of   minister  not here ) I will remind you whenever/if I see you When the event is in the past or present, or is a common event, the indicative is used. . I realize, as Rosita types my notes, that I have collected about two hundred pages (CF, Mexico).

They welcome me when they arrive as soon as the strike ends. . . I realize, as Rosita types my notes,   that I've amassed almost 200 pages. He was not satisfied until he became a  minister

20.4  Subjunctive in subordinate clauses introduced by subordinate clauses except that


It is already night when . . oye los déble blows It is already night when he hears fainting   en la puerta (DT, Mexican historical present)   knocking on the door (1)  Important: students of French and Italian should not use the future tense after these subordinatives: compare lui donnerai is free when he arrives he will give his book when he arrives and I will give him his book when he arrives. (2)  Of these temporal subordinations, only before, after, until and nothing else (and in Latin America nomás) can have an infinitive construction when the subjects of both verbs are identical: I left after eating 'I left after I ate' ', do this before hávajó 'do this before going to bed', trabajó hasta no poder más 'he (worked) until he couldn't work anymore', I will call her as soon as I get home 'I will call her as soon as I get home'. If anything, the subjects need not be identical: I left as soon as she entered. It is hardly heard with the infinitive in very informal speeches when the subjects are identical, although it is stigmatized: ?I did it as soon as I got home (good Spanish, I did it as soon as I got home). The others allow only one finite verb, indicative or subjunctive according to the given rule. (3)  As we said, antes is always followed by the subjunctive because it must refer to an event that is still in the future. It is true both before and before, with the fact that the first is more common in Spain. Antes que also means 'instead of' and should not be confused with antes (de) que 'before': anything instead of a wedding. (4)  Después (de) que 'after' and similar phrases, eg a few days after that, 'a few days later', after that 'after', use the subjunctive when talking about an action that is still in the future. If they refer to a past action, it is logical that they must take the indicative - and in Latin America they often do. But in Spain the forms -ra and -se are common after these words and after because: see 18.3.3. After that for after that is quite common in Latin America and is spreading in Spain. Since 'from the time that . . .' rarely refers to the future, but cf. I'll keep an eye on her until she arrives until she leaves 'I'll keep an eye on her until she arrives until she leaves'. (5)  Nada más follows the indicative when it means solo: solo/solo/nada más voy a momento a buying un periodical 'I'm just going to buy a newspaper for a moment'.

20.4.8  Subjunctive with conditional and subordinators of exception These are words meaning 'provided that', 'unless', 'unless' etc. 2) Those involving the word de, for example con tal de. . ., are used with the infinitive when the subject of both verbs is identical, as explained in 20.4. Me llevaré el libro a conditionio de no tener que leerlo 'I will take the book on the condition that I do not have to read it'. (a)  Condition: the following means 'provided that', 'provided that': con tal (de) que siempre que (also   'always'. See 20.4.7) siempre y cuando (emphasized)

with the condition that under (the) condition that while while. See 4.20.9

in exchange for (also 'in exchange for')

The Government is ready to negotiate whenever the Government is ready  que/siempre y cuando/contal (de)   to negotiate as long as they are  que/as long as they are reasonable   reasonable

270 Conjunctive. . . as long as my son is studying in another school. . . as long as my son is educated   environment I am capable of everything   in a different environment I am   (ES, Mexico, dialogue)   capable of everything . . . provided his death was caused by the causes. . . provided that his death was due to  naturales (LS, ch., dialogue)   natural causes We sign in return that it shall not be   until next week   public until next week (b)  Exception (occasionally followed by the indicative in the cases discussed in note 1 ): except except if not (if) unless otherwise (less common)   (in advice: see 29.8 .2b) unless unless/unless   unless it's not that unless instead I'll marry you unless/unless I marry you unless you're has changed that/how not that/unless hayas   you change your mind   you change your mind This door is not to be used except in This door is not to be used except in   an emergency   it's an emergency like no fuera que yo   August unless I was very busy   estuary / estuviese muy occupied (MS, Mex., dialogue)   godson Instead of being alone here, why don't we   all go to the cinema? are we all going to the cinema? (1)  Except for the fact that and con la salva de followed by the indicative when they mean 'except for the fact that': I don't really know much about him, except that he seems to like to put his name on things (interview, La Jornada, Mex.) 'I don't really know much about him, except that he likes to put his name on things', it is difficult to make predictions about this summit, except that their quotas will not be reduced (El Economista, Mexico)' it is difficult to make predictions about this summit, except that will not reduce their quotas'.

20.4.9  While (que) While can mean 'while', 'while' or 'from'. (a)  In the first meaning, it often simply refers to something that happens at the same time, in which case the indicative is used: siempre tengo la televisión está está durán éte, 'I always keep the television off while we eat' , he smiled as if across the parking lot in front of the Natural Sciences- of the Faculty of Mathematics (EP, Mex.) 'smiled while crossing the parking lot in front of the Faculty of Science'. But if it refers to the future, the subjunctive is possible, although the indicative is more common: tomorrow you can cook while I clean the house. (b)  If a contrast is implied - i.e. whether it means 'on the other hand' or 'while' - until is preferred: my father would never leave the capital while my mother would find a peaceful, soldier's widow in Tetouan (MDu, Sp .) 'my father should never move from the capital, while my mother would meet a peaceful military widow in Tetouan'.

20.4  Subjunctive in subordinate clauses introduced by subordinate clauses except that


(c)  If it means 'of that' or 'of that' it requires the subjunctive: mientras el Gobierno no tome sus measures, no habrá paz para la gente honora (EM, dialog, Sp.) 'since the government does not take measures, there will not be peace for honest people', mientras no hagan ruido da me equal quiénes sean mis vecinos 'as long as they don't make noise, I don't care who my neighbors are', mientras nosotros no nos hiciéramos visibles no, we had a problem with you (MS, Mex . , dialogue) 'until we made ourselves visible, we had no problem with you'.

20.4.10 Subjunctive subjunctive (words meaning 'although') There are several ways to say 'although', of which aunque is the most common: aunque así

even when

yes good and what

Words meaning 'despite the fact that' have a similar meaning: despite the fact that

although (literary)

despite the fact that (literary)

With the exception of si bien que and y eso que, which are always used with the indicative (see 37.6. ' and aunque llueva 'even if it rains'); also aunque llovía 'even though it was raining' and aunque lloviera/lloviese 'even if it was raining' (it hadn't started raining yet). Así always requires the subjunctive when it means 'although'. Those containing the word de can be formed with the infinitive in the circumstances described in 20.4.2: Es un valiente, no hablará así/aunque He is a brave man, he will not speak even   lo/le amenacen   if he is threatened Ne lo confesó aunque le ofrecieron dinero (S)he did not confess even if they offered him money. . tienen que complir, así caminen bajo la They must fulfill their mission, even if   the rain (La Jornada, Mex.)   walk in the rain Vendieron la finca, in spite of that el They sold the property, in spite of the fact   abuelo was against that grandfather was against Despite are your priests against? Even if your parents   (ABV, Sp., dialogue)   are against it? Despite the fact that he does not have an aura of mystery   misterio de los primeros años (JV, Mex.)   the first years (1)  The subjunctive can optionally be used with aunque to refer to past events. or usual. In this case, it strengthens the concession, making it equivalent to 'even if': jamás culparé a Octavia, aunque lo haya intentado alguna vez (ABE, Fr., dialogue) 'I will never blame Octavia, although I may have tried from time to time ', él was an important businessman, although his father lo hubiera was sometimes underestimated (GZ, Mexico, dialogue) 'he was an important businessman, although his father sometimes despised him'. (2) When siquiera is used to mean 'although' (literary style), it requires the subjunctive: . . . independent sources. . . which will be alluded to, although only vaguely (El País style book, Sp.)'. . .two independent sources, which will be mentioned, albeit in vague terms'.

272 subjunctive

20.5 Translating 'if . . . or', 'however', 'whatever', 'who', 'whatever' and 'how much more . . . the most. . .' The sentences discussed in this section are often translated in the reduplicated form, that is, constructions in which the subjunctive of the verb is repeated, as in pase lo que pase 'whatever happens', no hay salida para ti, hagas lo que hagas, vayas a donde vayas (CF, Mexico, dialogue) 'there is no way out for you, whatever you do, wherever you go'.

20.5.1  'If . . . or' The duplicative form is used, as in: Escuchaba las conversations with sus I listened to conversations   friends, repairara o no repairara en mí   with your friends, whether they   (SP, Sp.)   noticed me or not The second verb is sometimes replaced by hacer or, in negative expressions, omitted altogether: . . . work online or do it from a computer. . . whether you work online or   at home. . . from a computer at home. . . Whether he was sick or not,   he didn't come to work   the fact is that he didn't come to work Mexico is changing, whether someone likes it or not Mexico is changing, whether he likes it or not (El Economista, Mex. ) yes or no

20.5.2 'For more/less . . . . .', etc. With a lot + an adjective or a noun, the subjunctive is obligatory: how did I allow that horrible man, no matter how good a friend he was a few years ago, to spend so much time with my mother? (SP, Sp.) 'how could he allow that horrible man - despite being such a good friend of his a few years ago - to spend so much time with my mother?', less convincing than his explanation would be 'however unconvincing that is / '.your explanation could have been. . . . . .'. For much than/for more than + verb, for many + noun + verb, for (very) + adjective + verb. The use of the subjunctive follows the usual rule: if the event mentioned is or was a reality, you can use the indicative: no matter how much/how much you were told, you didn't do '(s) no 'don' t do no matter what he asks'; but the subjunctive is necessary if the event is or is still in the future, and also for emphasis (see note 1): Because of the heat it causes, it will not open the window The window however freer than it always is o No matter how free it is, it will always he likes a man to open the door once, like a man who opens the car door to one of the cars (ES, Mex., dialogue). dead dead bulls (MP, Arg., dialogue) the bulls will not come back to life No matter how much she runs and hides, he will eventually find her (RM, Sp.) he will eventually find her (1 ) Use the subjunctive for events or states that are reality strengthens the concession: no matter how much he/she tells you, (he didn't', no matter how brilliant he was in theoretical physics, he had no astronomical training (EP, Mexico) 'no matter how brilliant he was in theoretical physics, he had no astronomical training '.

20.5  Translation of 'if . . . or', 'however', 'whatever', 'who', 'whatever' and 'how much more . . . 273

(2) To translate 'however', 'however it was', etc., the reduplicated form is used or as you wish + subjunctive, eg . . . . . . . . . . . . but anyway, i bought it. . . . . . . . . at least half a dozen (J JA, Mex., dialogue) 'but whatever/but still I bought at least half a dozen', or . . . . . . . . . whatever it is. . . . . . . .

20.5.3  ‘The more . . . the more', the 'less. . . at least' Cuanto/a/os/as más . . . more and how much less. . . There are less standard formulas. The general rule applies: if the event is a reality (that is, it happened or is happening), the indicative is used, otherwise the subjunctive is mandatory: The more you eat, the more you want The more you eat, the more I wanted I knew the more I drank/drank that I got more drunk. The more salt you add, the worse it tastes. The less you say, the less they will care

The more you eat, the more you will want. The more you eat, the more you want. I knew that the more I drank, the drunker I got. The more salt you add, the worse the taste. The less you say, the less I'll worry about

For the use of mientras instead of cuanto in this construction and, in parts of Latin America, entre instead of cuanto, see 6.11.

20.5.4  'Whatever' The duplicative form is commonly used: say what they say/do what they do what they say/whatever they do Give what they give, we always go for whatever is on (lit. 'what they give')   Metropolitan ( EP, Mex., dialog. Sp.   we always go to the Metropolitan cinema   boot what to put . . .) Hablara de lo que hablara, se estaba What she was talking about,   drive a mí (SP, Sp.)   she was addressing se meni Buy whatever 'Buy whatever you want' or 'buy   regardless of the price' mar e comoquiera que fue/fuese could be used in the last two examples, but they are less common. Como quiera is an alternative spelling that is not recommended by the Academy (NGLE25.13q). Lo que + subjunctive can also be used in some contexts: Aquella novela or whatever This novel, or whatever it was, was   hardly publishable (JM, Sp.)   very unlikely to be publishable. . . out of fear, laziness or whatever. . . . . . out of fear, laziness, whatever   (SP, Šp.). (1) The English 'whatever' can mean 'whatever', in which case it is better to translate it with the appropriate tense of whatever. . .. This duplicative form is preferred in written and spoken language over the rather formal cualquiera que and comoquiera que: las camelias, cualquiera que/se cual

274 Subjunctive be their color, they are beautiful 'the camellias are beautiful regardless of their color' (for a general discussion of cualquier, see 10.8), fuera/fuese cual fuera/fuese la razon . . . ' regardless of the reason. . .'. (2)  When 'whatever' means 'everything', it will usually be translated with todo lo que or cuanto: trae todo lo que puedas 'bring whatever/everything you can', Aprendire todo que/cuanto pueda 'I will learn for what / all that I can'.

20.5.5  'Whatever' When this word means 'which', 'anyone' or 'the one who', it is usually translated por que or el que + subjunctive, eg Escoge la maceta que más te guste Escolha o vasa que vous most likes —¿Qué sombrero me llevo? —El que 'Which hat should I get?' 'Any (um)   usted quiera   you want' For details see the subjunctive in relative clauses, 39.15.

20.5.6 'Whenever' is translated by when with the subjunctive when the event referred to is still or was in the future, and indicative in all other cases: They come when they want (usual) They come when they want They come when they want They come when they want. as (The Economist, Mexico) want" (1) Siempre que, in addition to meaning 'since' (see 20.4.8), can also mean 'always'; every time Can mean the same thing: I greeted her whenever/always that himself saw 'I greeted her whenever I saw her'. When used with the subjunctive always, it usually means 'from.' reference) 'don't forget to greet her whenever you see her'.(2) Always means old-fashioned for a while, but forever used as an occasional literary variant: . . . . . . . . when he wants tempers to be sharpened in Spanish life (R. Perez de Ayala, Sp., quoted by Seco) 'whenever the passions in Spanish life are stirred'.

20.5.7  'Anyone who . . .', 'WHO . . .' For whom, see 39.15.2.

20.5.8  ‘Wherever’ Dondequiera que or duplicative form. They use the subjunctive if they refer to an as yet unidentified place:

20.8  Tense agreement with the subjunctive in all subordinate clauses


Wherever I go, I will find him   I will find him Wherever I go, I met him   I found him (or went out . . .) Wherever you are, look for a payphone   (LS, Ch., dialogue) father   (EM, Mex . dialogue) (1) That which is sometimes omitted, for example wherever found, but Seco (1998), 170, disapproves. (2)  Wherever may be used when the meaning is 'wherever'. . . to': wherever they go (to)' or wherever they go. But wherever they go it is also common.

20.6  Subjunctive in subordinate relative clauses E.g. busco una persona que sepa doce 'I'm looking for a person who knows Swedish' compared to conozco a una persona que saber Swedish 'I know a person who knows Swedish'. This important topic is discussed on 39.15.

20.7  Use of the subjunctive to form imperatives All matters relating to the imperative are dealt with in Chapter 21. As a reminder, it should be noted that (a)  The subjunctive is used to form all negative imperatives: no me hables 'don't talk to me' , no se vayan ustedes 'don't leave'. (b) The subjunctive is used for all imperatives with the pronouns usted and ustedes: guarden (ustedes) silencio 'be quiet', váyase (usted) 'go away'. (c)  The subjunctive is used to form the first person plural and all third person imperatives, eg sentémonos 'let's sit down', que entren 'let them in'/'tell them to come in'.

20.8 Tense agreement with the subjunctive in all subordinate clauses Despite the claims of some traditional grammars, there are no strict rules for the tense agreement between the main and subordinate clauses, but the following are the most common combinations: (a)  Main clause in the present tense of the indicative • Present subjunctive: me gusta que hable 'I like what she/he is saying', lo más probable is that la deje ir (EM, Mexico, dialogue) 'it is more likely that he/she will let her go' . • The perfect subjunctive: me charme que hayas venido 'I'm so glad you came'. • Imperfect subjunctive (see note 1): es muy extraño que no me vieras llegar (MS, Mexico, dialogue) 'it's very strange that you didn't see me coming' no creo que fuera/fuese detective 'I don't know I believe it was detective'.

276 Subjunctive (b)  Main clause in future tense • Present subjunctive: we will be happy with terminan para finales del mes 'we will be happy if they finish by the end of the month', ¡jamás supportaré that my niece is marrying a guy who travels the world dressed as a teacher on vacation! (ABE, Fr., dialogue) 'I will never tolerate my niece marrying a guy who goes around dressed as a teacher on vacation!' or, possibly '. . . a guy who goes on vacation dressed as a professor!' end of the month', you would prefer it to be painted black 'I would prefer it to be painted black'. (d)  Main clause in perfect tense (see note 2) • Present subjunctive: le he dicho que se siente (AG, Sp., dialogue; recent perfect European Spanish) 'I told you to sit down'. • Perfect subjunctive: ha been un milagro que no te hayan renoção 'it was a wonder they didn't recognize you'. • Imperfect subjunctive: ha foi un milagro que no te reconocieran/reconociesen 'it's a wonder they didn't recognize you'. (e)  Main clause in imperfect, past or perfect tense (see notes 3 and 4) • Imperfect subjunctive: la idea era que cobraais/cobraseis los viernes 'The idea was that you would be paid on Fridays', me dio miedo que me quitaran al niño (CF, Mexico, dialogue) 'I was afraid that they would take my son away', yo te had ask me to lend/prestase cien dollars 'I asked you to lend me 100 dollars'. • More than the perfect subjunctive: me sorprendía que hubiera/hubiese protestado 'I was surprised that (he) protested'. • Present subjunctive. This is common, especially in the media, when the main sentence refers to the past and refers to an action that has not yet happened: The Secretary of Naciones Unidas asked the United States not to act unilaterally against Iraq (El País, Sp.) 'The Secretary of the UN yesterday he called on the US not to act unilaterally against Iraq'. It is also common in the popular speech of Latin America, where the standard language requires the past subjunctive. See note 4. (1)  The combination of present subjunctive + imperfect or perfect occurs when a comment is made about a past event. There seems to be little difference between the perfect and imperfect subjunctive in this case, and occasionally the present subjunctive can be used: algunos niegan que Cristóbal Colón fuera/fuese/haya sido/sea el primer descubridor de América 'some deny that Cristóvão Colón was the first the discoverer of America'. (2)  The perfect (ha dicho, ha ordained, etc.) is strictly classified as present for purposes of agreement, but the subjunctive imperfect is occasionally used with it when the event in the subordinate clause is also in the past tense. Compare ha dada ordenes de que nos rindamos '(he) ordered them to surrender' and el klima que está creada ha llevado a que se hablara/ hablase de intervention del Ejército (or hable) 'the climate being created required a discussion of the intervention army'. (3)  The combination past indicative + present subjunctive is optionally possible when the subordinate clause refers to a timeless or permanent event: Dios decretó que las serpientes no tengan/tuvieran/ tuviesen paws 'God decreed that snakes have no legs' (las piernas is used for human legs). (4)  The use of the present tense when both verbs refer to the past tense is common in Latin American popular speech and informal writing, but is unacceptable to many peninsular speakers: el inspector aduanero

20.10  Subjunctive and 'uncertainty'


asked the girl to show him her coat (The Press, Fr., Spain would show/show. In Spain, la casaca = 'the coat') 'the customs inspector asked the girl to show her coat,' Maduro asked on Tuesday Monday went to National Assembly to approve decree (The Economist, Mexico) 'Last Tuesday, Maduro asked the National Assembly to approve the decree'. This construction seems to be spreading through the media in Spain and is not unknown there in spontaneous discourse. (5) After as if 'as if', kaos si/sto kas da 'same as if', the verb is always in the imperfect or more than the perfect subjunctive: I will speak to him as if he does not know. how to speak spanish well 'I will talk to him as if he doesn't know how to speak spanish well', as if he didn't see me 'as if he didn't see me'. See also 20.4.5c for how if.

20.9 Future subjunctive The future subjunctive (see 16.7.7 for its forms) is now obsolete in everyday Spanish, except in a few literary expressions such as 'whatever', whatever (general whatever)' whatever'; the present or imperfect subjunctive is used instead. However, it is still used in legal jargon and in official documents, eg in the Criminal Code and other sets of laws: BET: A bilateral contract in which the one who makes the prediction agrees that the one who does or is right in the dispute will get exactly predict or get from the loser what he bargained for (law dictionary) argument will get the agreed amount from the loser It occasionally appears in flowery language to indicate a very remote possibility: . . . . . . . . which offers numerous advantages in . . . . . . . . . which offers very wide advantages in engine disassembly or repairs, in engine disassembly or if any (advertisement, Sp., repairs - if that would be more normal). will never appear It can also be found in solemn language in Latin American newspapers: Only the implementation of a plan of strict measures, even when these/these measures become measures, even if they prove unpopular, will allow us to get out of the present since it is unpopular, made possible would like us to take the situation (La Nación, Arg.) of the current situation. . . . . . . . to provide them with translators, if necessary. . . . . . . . . providing them, if necessary, with other effective means (La Jornada, Mexico), translators or other effective means

APPENDIX TO CHAPTER 20 This appendix contains some miscellaneous points about the subjunctive which may be of interest to advanced students.

20.10  Subjunctive and 'uncertainty' Many grammarians argue that the subjunctive has a meaning related to 'uncertainty' or 'doubt'. This is true in some cases - es posible que llueva 'it is possible that it will rain' - but there are many cases where the subjunctive expresses certainty:

278 Subjunctive Eu acostaré cuando puesta el sol I go to bed when the sun goes down It is not true that the Earth is flat It is not true that the Earth is flat The tragedy is that there is poverty I am very happy that you have passed the exam   The fact that the moon exists explains The fact that the moon exists   many things . . . explains a lot of things Lost even good playing Also, the subjunctive is not always required after some common words expressing uncertainty, eg it might rain tonight 'it might rain tonight', maybe Manuel stayed at home 'perhaps Manuel stayed at home '. A more subtle argument is presented by some linguists, for example, that the subjunctive is an unrealistic mood, that is, it does not refer directly to what is necessarily real. This indeed explains phrases like I go to bed when the sun goes down 'I go to bed when the sun goes down' which, although certain, is still in the future and not yet 'real', or I want to buy a car that has four doors 'I want to buy a car that it has four doors' where a four-door car has not yet been identified and is therefore 'unrealistic'. But it doesn't explain phrases like it's too bad Mars barely has an atmosphere 'it's too bad Mars barely has an atmosphere' or I'm sorry you broke your ankle, both of which refer to something real. Probably the best approach is to abandon the idea that the subjunctive has a definable 'meaning' or that there is a single underlying rule that creates it. Instead, one should simply learn when to use it without asking too much why. NGLE 25.1j agrees with the objection that the subjunctive does not necessarily express 'uncertainty'.

20.11  In honor of the Spanish subjunctive, English has almost completely lost the subjunctive. Apart from established expressions like 'if I were you' (for 'if I were you'), it appears only in formal literary styles in expressions like 'if it is true', 'it is important that this problem be received (for ' should get' or 'get') immediate attention', or 'so as not to try to escape again' to 'so as not to try to escape again'. The price English pays for this loss is a series of ambiguities that Spanish clarifies and that English speakers are generally unaware of. The following examples reflect British English; American English seems to use subjunctive forms a little more: • 'We insist that the children are treated well'. Are they treated well or not? If they are, then the call signs in Spanish: insistemos en que tratra bien a los niños. If necessary, then subjunctive: se trate bien a. . .). American English seems to require "must be". . .' for another meaning. • 'We decided to eat when they arrive'. Does it mean 'when they arrived, we decided to eat' (indicative: chat cenar cuando llegaron) or 'we decided to postpone the meal until they arrived' (subjunctive: . . . cuando llegaran/llegasen)? • ‘I will move to a country where it never snows’. Does it mean 'I discovered a land where it never snows and I'm going there' (indicative: me voy a cambio a unpaísdonde never nieva) or are you still looking for a land (subjunctive: . . . where it never snows)?

20.12  Regional variations in the use of the subjunctive


• 'He didn't go because he was angry'. If it means 'he left, but not because he was angry', then subjunctive: no se fue que estuviese/estuviera enfádo. If it means 'he stayed because he was angry' then it is indicative: no se fue que estaba enfando. • 'When we receive the signal, we will return to base'. Is this 'when we get a signal we return to the base', constant commands, so indicative: when we get a signal we return to the base), or are we waiting for a signal. . . when we get a signal, will we return to base? • 'He wore a mask so no one could recognize him'. This means that 'his intention or hope was that no one would identify him'. . . he wore a mask in such a way that no one could identify him/leidentify/identify him or no one identified him – . . . the way nadie identified him? North Americans obviously insist on 'would' for the intentional form, so they need to know when to use the Spanish subjunctive. • 'I didn't know she was so smart'. Does that mean 'she's smart but I didn't know'? – I didn't know she was that smart – or 'I didn't know she was that smart and I'm not saying she is' – I didn't know she was/is she smart?

20.12  Regional variations in the use of the subjunctive In general, there is little variation in the use of the subjunctive in polite usage in the Spanish-speaking world. However, students may encounter some of the following variations.

12.20.1  Use of the subjunctive in questions. In Latin America, and especially in Mexico, but not in Spain, the subjunctive can be used in direct and indirect questions, as in Do you think someone knows when they are going to die? (JRG, Mexico, dialogue, Spain . . . it's known) 'do you believe you know when you're going to die?', but with the plane delay and with this weather I don't know what time I'll arrive (ES, Mex., dialogue; Sp. . . . a qué hora llega/llarrá) 'but with the plans being delayed and this time I don't know what time she will arrive', do you think this helps? (MP, Arg. Dialogue, Sp. . . . helps) 'do you really think it helps?' (1) Not knowing whether . . . often uses the subjunctive in Mexico, Central America, Chile and the Andes: no sé si quieras venir 'I don't know if you want to come', . . . if you want to come to Spain and the Río de la Plata region. The same applies to not knowing when: I don't know when the best time will be 'I don't know when the best time will be', Sp. . . (KUT 25.5p), . . . because who knows when you will return (ES, Mexico, dialogue; Spanish vas a regresar) 'because who knows when you will return'.

12.20.2  The use of the conditional for the subjunctive In some regions, especially in northern Spain and the southern cone, in the Andes and Colombia, there is a tendency in popular discourse to use the conditional instead of the subjunctive imperfect, for example, ? si tendría dinero, lo would buy for si tuviera/tuvise dinero would buy 'If I had money, I would buy'. NGLE 23.15d and 23.15g says to avoid this in polite speech and writing.

20.12.3  Use of the indicative after tense subordinates In some parts of Latin America there is a tendency to use the indicative after tense subordinates indicating the future, for example, ?se lo diré cuando vienen or cuando vendrán for se lo diré cuando vengan 'I will tell her/ to him/you/them when they come'. This is avoided by careful speech and writing.

280 subjunctive

20.12.4 Use of the future indicative or conditional after sentences in the meaning 'it is possible that . . Popular Latin American speech sometimes uses indicative tenses after expressions such as es/era posible que 'it is/was possible that': la posibilidad de que no podran (Spain puedan) moler factories que no cuenten con caña tarde (Granma, Cu . )'. . . the possibility that mills that do not have enough sugar cane will not be able to grind it". This is avoided in careful styling. These sentences require the subjunctive in Standard Spanish, and the use of the subjunctive is the norm everywhere: see 20.3.5. The use of the capable que para 'possible', often but not always, with the indicative, is typical of familiar Latin American speech: podez que la conoció cuando fue a Los Ángeles (EM, Mexico, dialogue) 'maybe he met when he went to Los Angeles ', maybe she's sick 'maybe she's sick'. Capaz just means 'capable' in standard European Spanish.

20.12.5  Subjunctive in Argentina In Argentina, where voseo is normal (see 12.3.1), careful speakers use the standard forms of the Spanish subjunctive with vos because the expected forms of vos with a stressed final vowel are very popular with many people. NGLE 4.7e notes that this prejudice applies more to positive forms than to negative forms such as sayas, in hags which are more widespread. In the following examples, the speakers address each other with vos: tengo miedo que no vengas. . . que aflojes (JA, arg. dialogue; Spain . . . miedo de que) ‘I'm afraid you won't come . . . that you will lose the idea', don't say anything but dad went to kill the chicken. . . (MP, Arg., dialogue) 'He doesn't say anything, but his father went to kill the chicken. . .'. But the following example uses very familiar language: me extraña que defendás la hipocresía (caricature of Mafalda, Arg., 'standard' style . . . que defiendas) 'I am surprised that you defend hypocrisy'. In Uruguay, the popular forms of the vos subjunctive are more stigmatized.

20.13  Subjunctive "contamination" Students will come across examples of subjunctives that seem to contradict the explanations given in this chapter. A common case is what might be called "conjunctive contamination," that is, the tendency to unnecessarily use the subjunctive later in a sentence that begins with the subjunctive. An example is no es posible suponer que esta/ésta sea la razón por la que el accused se llevara/ llevase el coach 'it is not possible to conclude that this is the reason why the accused took the car'. Llevó would be correct, but the combined effect of posible and suponer que . . ., which here invokes the subjunctive, 'contaminates' the phrase la razón por la que . . . which does not really require a subjunctive.

21 Imperative The main points discussed in this chapter are: • • • • • • • • • •

Imperative forms tú, vos, vosotros/as and usted(es) (Section 21.2) The imperative estar (Section 21.2.6) How to form negative imperatives (no lo hagas, etc.) (Section 21.3) The position of the object pronoun with the imperative (Section 21.4 ) First-person plural imperative (vámonos 'let's go', sentémonos 'let's sit' etc.) (Section 21.5) Third-person imperative (que entre 'let her/him in' , que hablen 'let them speak' etc.) (Section 21.6 ) Impersonal imperatives (véase, scribasis, etc.) (Section 21.8) Use of the infinitive as an imperative (push, take, etc.) (Section 21.9) Present tense used as an imperative (Section 21.10) Softening of the imperative (Section 21.11)

21.1 General observations The imperative is used to issue commands or requests. As in English, a simple imperative, eg hazlo 'does', can sound abrupt, so intonation and attitude are important. In Spanish, the friendly manner counts for much more than the constant repetition of por favor or haga el favor 'por favor', which, like gracias, are constantly overused by English speakers. In Spain, a request is expressly required when requesting service, and since baristas, waiters, or vendors are simply doing their jobs, please is not necessary. However, please is heard more often today than before, especially in Mexico, where the everyday language is very polite. Other points to note are: (a) all negative imperatives (eg 'don't do', 'don't say') are formed with the subjunctive: vete 'goes', no te vayas 'doesn't go' - but therefore knowledge of subjunctives is essential form of the verb; (b) for Latin Americans there is no imperative vosotros/vosotras: usted and ustedes + present subjunctive are used both for strangers and friends, and even for children and animals. (1) Important: English allows passive imperatives, usually only in the negative: 'don't be fooled by him', 'don't be stung by a bee'. A different solution is found in Spanish: no te dejes engañar por lo que dice 'don't be fooled by what he says', que no te pique una abeja 'don't let the bee sting you'/'don't be stung'. . ', no dejes que te hagan cantor a la fuerza 'don't be intimidated to sing', no dejes que te mangoneen/no dejes mangonear 'don't be pushed'.

21.2 Forms of the positive imperative For negative imperatives ('don't', 'don't say', etc.) see 21.3.

21.2.1 Pronouns and the imperative As in English, adding a subject pronoun to an imperative can make the command emphatic and clear:

282 Imperativ You get off there!/Ostavi You bastards! (lat. am. of šuti)

You get out of there! Shut up!

However, usted can be added after the imperative to increase politeness: venga usted a las ocho 'come at eight o'clock'. (1)  Spoken Mexican Spanish often emphasizes imperatives by adding -le: aváncenle 'go on!', pásenle 'come in!', ándale 'wow!'/'movement!', ¡córrele! 'Harry up!'.

21.2.2 Imperative tú The well-known imperative singular (form tú) is formed, with eight exceptions, by removing -s from the second person singular of the present tense: llamas > llama, lees > lee. Exceptions are: decir say: di hacer do/do: haz ir ir: ve (vete = 'leave')

poner put: pon salir leave/abandon: sal be be: sé

to have ter: dez to come for vir: to come

Come, be nice and leave Come, be nice and leave (JMa, Sp., dialogue) Come and drink coffee whenever you want Come and drink coffee whenever you want Carefully Carefully. Get out, before he could 'Get out,' she told him. 'Leave before I collect the money you owe me' (AM, Mex., dialog) Click on/Click on icon Click on icon (1) Imperative to have is theoretically that, but never used. As Dry (1998, 243) points out, a somewhat coy literary expression these days is here, “there it is. . . . . .'/'what follows is . . . . . .' (French voici . . .) is not imperative to have: here is a carefully hidden result (The Country, Ed.) 'this is a carefully hidden result'. (2) The imperative tú of compound verbs formed by putting and having has an accent: propose 'suggest', stop 'arrest' Accent is not needed when the pronoun is suffixed: propose 'suggest', stop them 'arrest'; but I suggest 'suggest her/him/them'.

21.2.3 Imperative vos An imperative corresponding to vos (Argentina, Uruguay and also much of Central America, see 12.3.1) can usually be found by removing the -r from the infinitive; The final vowel is therefore accented: ter > had, count > counted, say > said, defend > defended. Pronoun verbs take the pronoun te, so the imperative to wash is to wash (the standard form is to wash). Other examples, all from Argentina (where you go is normal in all styles); the form there is in parentheses. Stressed vowels are shown in bold letters: Decile que pase (say pass) Subscribe and defend your rights (subscribe, defend) Come when you can ) Listen to me, Pozzi (MP , Arg., óyeme) Show me (show me)

Tell him to come Login/Register and stand up for your rights Come when you can Stand up Listen to me, Pozzi Show me

21.2  Positive imperative forms


(1) The imperative vos de ir is andá or andate, and the form ve is avoided in speech in the voseo regions. The intended form i is avoided, but is apparently heard in some rural areas of Argentina.

21.2.4 The imperative vosotros The European Spanish imperative vosotros/vosotras (used for friends, relatives, children, animals) is formed by replacing -r in the infinitive with -d. No exceptions: ser ser: sed tener ter: tened sing sing: cantad ir ir: id venir vir: venid -d is dropped in the pronominal ('reflexive') form: dad + os = daos as in daos la mano 'to press hands' , lavad + os = lavaos: lavaos el pelo 'wash hair'. There is an exception: id + os= idos 'leave!' from irsa, although in casual everyday speech iros is common today: see note 2. (1)  Latin American Spanish uses ustedes while European Spanish uses vosotros/as, so these forms are almost unknown in the Americas. (2)  In informal speech in Spain, this imperative is often expressed with the infinitive: venid = venir, id = go, daos = daros, veníos = veniros, lavaos las manos 'wash your hands' = wash your hands, etc. obviously has a long history, some people they consider this construction sloppy. Example: tener (for tened) beware of Socorro who has already loaded tres matrimonios (EA, Sp., dialog) 'be careful with Socorro - she has already destroyed three marriages'. Students should use the -d forms or, in the case of pronominal verbs, -aos, -eos, ‑íos. For further comments on the use of the infinitive as an imperative, see 21.9.

21.2.5 Imperative you/us The pronouns you and you do not have independent imperative forms: they use the subjunctive endings of the present in the third person singular or plural, that is: say 'tell me', have 'take'/ 'have', start start', help me (you), 'help me (plural)' etc. Their forms are used for both polite and informal address in Latin America: Vaya a Rest. Come here at 11. Go rest. Be here at 11 o'clock (MVM, Sp., dialogue) Help me, doctor! (MVLl, Fr.) Help, doctor! Forgive me if I sound cheeky (LO, Sp.) Forgive me if I seem cheeky Don't attack me with that poetic barking Don't try to tell me it's poetic for the moon (EM, Mex., dialogue) barking for moon About the position of pronouns and the popular Latin American form ?feel(n)sense, see 12.3.2 for more on the use of você/você.

21.2.6  Imperative of estar The affirmative imperative of estar 'to be' usually, but not exclusively, uses the pronominal (i.e. 'reflexive') form: state quieto 'be still'/'stop moving' , estense listos para las ocho 'be ready by eight'. This is more common with the imperative tú because the non-pronominal form is easily confused with the third person singular present está:

284 Imperative Las habrá threatened with something. Secure Estate He must have threatened them with   (JM, Sp., dialogue)   something. You can be sure (literally 'be sure') —No se mueva. Please this silence Don't move. Please stay calm   (CF, Mex. dialogue) —Esté tranquil —le dijo . . . si se mueve le 'Stay calm,' he told her. . . 'if you  make a mistake, así que estase calm    move, it will go wrong for you, so stay calm'   (GGM, Col., dialogue) (1)  NGLE 42.5b disapproves of the non-pronominal form of the tú imperative and the following example would be an expressed list of properties in Spain: paso a cambiarme como a las ocho. Please specify (CF, Mexico, dialog) 'I'll be home around eight to change. Please be ready'. However, the unambiguous forms esté, estén are considered correct. (2)  Property should be written, not estate, and estesis/estense, not estesis/esténse. Accented forms are often seen in print, but the accent is unnecessary: ​​one does not write *deténlo for detenlo 'arrest him', even if the non-pronominal form is detén. (3)  There is a very colloquial form of the possessive—tate—heard in several Latin American countries and occasionally in Spain.

21.3  Forms of the negative imperative To express the negative imperative, the present subjunctive must be used: Affirmative imperative Negative imperative sing no cantes don't sing vete go away no te vayas don't go get up no se Levante don't get up (usted) get up sit don't sit don't sit (vosotros) sit give him / no if you don't give him / (ustedes) dénselo  nje/njem  her/them (1 )  Argentine forms follow the same rules, and foreign students must use standard conjunctive forms with them for the reasons explained in 20.12. But te levantés is too popular a tone for many Argentinians and is considered "low class" in Uruguay.

21.4  Position of object pronouns with the imperative When the imperative is used with the object pronoun, the following rules apply: (a)  If the imperative is affirmative, the pronouns join the verb in the order shown in 14.2.4): ( Tú) dame la mano Hold me by the hand ( Tú) ponte la chaqueta (Arg., vos ponete el saco) Put on your coat (Usted) démelo Da-me (Vosotros/as) Dádmelo Da-me (Vosotros) alarm clocks ( colloquial awakenos ; to wake up   version 21.2.

21.5  First person plural imperative


(b)  If the imperative is negative, the pronouns precede it in the order shown in 14.2.4: No me des la lata (tú) Stop bothering me Don't put on the jacket (tú) Don't put on the jacket No me lo dé ( usted) Don't give it to me No os quejéis (vosotros) No reclame No se lo enseñen (ustedes) Don't show it to him/her/them É uma girl que trabaja conmigo no te vayas She is the girl who works with me –   creator (CMG, sp., dialogue)   don't understand wrong (1)  When a pronoun ending in a vowel joins the affirmative ustedes imperative, there is a widespread tendency in Latin American speech to redo the plural -n at the end of the word or to move it to the end of the word: ?levántensen or ?levántesen (in levantense) 'raise', ?discuss that the most terrible thing will happen here in our country (reader's letter, Foros Latinos, Ven., Sp. Densa cuenta de) 'be aware that the most terrible thing is being prepared here in our country' etc. is heard even in spontaneous polite speech, but only in non-standard speech or dialect in Spain, and are not used in Latin American writing styles or careful speech. (2)  In popular Spanish, pronouns are sometimes placed before affirmative imperative verbs, and a redundant pronoun is used even for the direct object (this construction should not be confused with imperatives preceded by que, discussed in 21.6): ? ¡le dé el juguete al niño! (para dele el juguete al niño!) 'give the child a toy!', ?las riegue las plantas (para riegue lasplantas) 'water the plants'. This construction is highly stigmatized and should not be imitated. (3)  Uncertainty about the correct spelling of the usted imperative dar (dé) when a pronoun is attached: dele or déle for 'give him/her'? Since the accent only distinguishes dé 'gift' from 'de', it is not necessary in forms like his, them, denos. The Academy does not use it, and El País, Sp. it turned out.

21.5  First-person plural imperative The present subjunctive can be used to form a first-person plural imperative, eg 'let's go!', 'let's start'. If the verb is pronominal - wash, turn, etc. –, the final -s is removed before adding the ‑nos. If the imperative is negative, pronouns precede the verb: Empecemos Let's start Assegurémonos primero de la verdad de Assiguremos primero de   los hechos (não *assegueremosnos)   the truth of the facts Generemos environment en donde all this We create an environment in which   struggles hay que continualas   all these struggles must continue (interview, Mexico) No nos enfademos (Lat. Am. no nos enojemos) Let's not get angry (1)  Important: ir/irse usually irregularly forms the first person plural imperative: Vamos,vámonos 'we go'. The expected forms, vayamos, vayámonos, are also used – vayamos a rescatar a la sargento y cenemos kao personas, intentémoslo (LS, Sp., dialog) 'let's save the sergeant (feminine) and have a nice dinner, or try' ('literally 'lunch as people/human beings'). Vayamos is found in certain sentences, for example vayamos al grano 'let's get down to business'.

286 Imperative (2)  With the exception of vámonos 'let's go', informal spoken language may avoid imperatives in the first person plural, usually using ir a, or sometimes simply a and the infinitive, e.g.,vamosasentarnos 'let's sit down', bueno , jelo 'OK, let's go eat', let's see that/a see 'let's look'/'let's see'. Thus, no nos enfademos 'we will not get angry' can be expressed as no nos vais boring, no vais a boring. However, none of us are bored is perfectly acceptable in spoken language. (3) Important: as we said earlier, the ending of the first person plural imperative is dropped if -nos is added: Vamos –vámonos, sentémonos 'let's sit down', quedémonos aquí 'let's stay here'. The s is not dropped before other pronouns (but see the next note): dijeimosles 'let's tell them', celebrémoslo 'let's celebrate'. (4) Important: double s is not found in Spanish, so the s is dropped in cases such as the following: digamoselo 'let's tell him/her/them' (not *digemosselo), démoselos 'let's give him/her/them'. (5)  Important: the double n must be retained and pronounced as a diphthong: denos = 'give us' (singular usted form), dennos = 'give us' (plural ustedes form), (ustedes) digannos 'tell us' .

21.6  Third-person imperative Forms of the third-person imperative consisting of que + subjunctive are common. They can usually be translated with a formula like 'let him/her/they'. . .', 'tell him/her/them that . . .': —What kind of laman is looking for her husband—. ‘He has a phone call for your husband.’   Pues que lo/le llamen a la Oficina   ‘Then tell them to call him at his office’ ¡Que trabaje tu PC! (Computer Hoy, Sp.) Make your computer work! Que ella los bañara, los vistiera, oyera sus Let them bathe, dress, listen to   questions, teach them to pray and believe   in their questions, teach them to pray   in something (AM, Mex., dialogue)   and believe in something Que te sea leva I hope that it's not too hard/Slowly. In this construction, pronouns always precede the verb. See 37.4 for further comments on the use of the conjunction que. (1) Imperative in the third person without which it is found in complex sentences: ¡Dios nos coja confesados! (archaic or witty) 'Good God!'/'Heavens above!' (lit. 'May God accept us after we have confessed!'), God save us! 'God forbid!'. ¡savese quien pueda! 'every man for himself!' (or woman: the Spanish version is not sexist), ¡viva/muera el Presidente! 'live/death to the president!', ¡vivan los novios! ‘a toast to the bride and groom!’ (2)  This construction should not be confused with que + subjunctive meaning ‘that’ or ‘the fact that’: ¡que me dite usted eso at this point! 'that you should tell me that at this stage of the business/now we've come this far!'; see 20.3.19.

21.7  Second-person imperative preceded by que The imperative can be formed from the second-person subjunctive preceded by que. This makes the request clearer or presents it as a reminder: Have a nice weekend! Don't waste your money! Have fun!

Have a nice weekend. Don't waste your money! Have a nice time! (interpretation)

21.9  Infinitive used as an imperative


21.8  Impersonal imperatives (if imperatives are passive) It is possible to form an imperative with passive se or passive reflex, and the resulting construction has no exact equivalent in English. It is used in formal written Spanish to give instructions without directly addressing the reader: Rellénese en mayúsculas Fill in capital letters (lit. 'let it be   filled . . .') permítansenos aquí algunas However, let us say   palabras (C. Sánchez López in GDLE )   a few words here Cuézanse las patatas for 15 minutes, Cook the potatoes for 15 minutes,   córtense en rodajitas, déjense enfriar y   cut them into slices, let   cúbranse con mayonesa   cool and cover with mayonnaise (1) Important: as the last three examples show, the verb agrees in number with the subject of the verb (in these cases with phrases, words and patatas). There is a modern tendency to prefer the infinitive over this impersonal imperative. See the next section.

21.9 The infinitive used as an imperative The infinitive can be used as an imperative: (a) In spoken European Spanish as a familiar alternative to the affirmative form vosotros imperative ending in -d: decirme la verdad = decidme la verdad 'tell me the truth'. Not all speakers accept this, but it is heard all the time. See 21.2.4 note 2 for discussion. (b) Everywhere, as a short, impersonal alternative to your imperative, useful for public notices or instructions, eg in technical manuals or cookbooks Push (door notice, sometimes Push push or, in Spain, push) Put the (meat) medallions on the plate , soak them, Put the (meat) medallions on a plate and mix them with potato balls, season them and serve with carrots and a sprig of broccoli potato balls, carrots and a little flower (La Reforma, Mexico. Potatoes = potatoes in broccoli Spain; salsear = season , broccoli = broccoli) Peel and wait. You will hear a signal. Pick up the phone and wait. You will hear continuous, even acoustics. Don't delay a continuous even tone. Do not delay dialing (telephone directory, Sp., dial = dial dial in many parts of Latin Am.) (1) This use of the infinitive instead of the you(s) form is controversial. Some grammarians reject it for affirmative commands and allow only negative forms such as don't smoke 'don't smoke', don't touch 'don't touch', don't put signs 'don't stick notes', don't lean out of the window 'don't lean from the window'; but affirmative forms are now seen everywhere. In speech, using the infinitive for an imperative when addressing someone directly can sound non-standard. Maria Moliner says it's not acceptable to shut everyone up for 'everybody shut up', but it's very common in informal speech everywhere.

288 Imperative (2)  Haber mais past participle is often used to make a sarcastic and wise suggestion after an event: —Me arrepiento de haberla llamado—. Bueno, no haberlo hecho. . . "I'm sorry I called her." "Well, you shouldn't have done that, right?", —¡Vaya mojadura!— Haber traído el paraguas '"Que enenchamento!" "You should have brought your umbrella, shouldn't you?" This construction is called the retrospective imperative in Spanish. (3)  With the preposition a, the infinitive can be used to give commands in informal styles: —Todavía está sucio—. Bueno a lavalo otra 'It's still dirty' 'Well, wash it again.' embroidery (sounds colloquial without a) —¡No tengo novio Todavía! —Las ganas no te 'I still don't have a boyfriend!' 'Tá   missing. I'm looking for it! (AA, Cu., dialogue)   Pretty insightful. Look for one!' Everyone is calling! Quiet everyone! Go to sleep now! Go to sleep now! This type of imperative can involve the speaker: bueno, ahora a trabajar 'OK, now let's go to work'. (4)  In Spain today, the infinitive is often used to introduce the last point in radio or TV news. This is certainly not an imperative, but an abbreviation of a phrase like solo/sólo nos cair. . . or ground/missing only . . . 'all that's left is . . .': and at the end, add (to add 'to add'?) that this is/is not the first time that the author has received an important literary award 'and at the end we must add that this is not the first time that the author has received an important literary award'. The Academy does not approve of this construction.

21.10 The present tense used as an imperative The present tense is often used as an imperative in spoken Spanish, as well as in English; cf. 'now you will get up and go to school'. In both languages ​​this tends to be a meaningless imperative and, depending on intonation, can be open to the point of being impolite: If you have money, give it to me If you have money, give it to me Agreed. I'm not saving the page for OK. Tomorrow I won't leave you room, but tomorrow you make me two pages, but the next day you make me two (CRG, Sp., dialogue; editor to reporter) pages Only when it gets dark, go down the road and as soon as it gets dark, you go down and throw the girl's body off the road into a ravine and throw the body of a girl who died (JI, Mex., dialogue. of a girl who died in a ravine In Spain nomás que = como ou nada mais and a ravine is a ravine)

21.11  Ways to Soften the Imperative There are numerous ways to make a request sound friendly, although in any language a politely worded request can come across as rude if the intonation is abrupt or irritable. Some ways to make a request sound more pleasant are: (a)  Use the conditional or imperfect of strength: ¿Podrían/Podían hacer less noise (please)? Would you make less noise?/     Could you make less noise? Can you please not smoke? Would you mind not smoking?

21.12  Miscellaneous Mandatory Constructions


(b) Use unnecessary. The conditional makes the imperative even milder: ¿Quieres decirme la verdad? Will you tell me the truth? Would you pass a message   message to Pedro? Peter? (c)  Use the expression a see 'let's see . . .': See if you will come to me more often Try to come more often See if you will return the money you gave me Maybe you could return     the money I lent you (d)  Turn a request into a question: ¿Would you give me water (please)? Add water, please ¿Me pone con el 261-84-50 (por favor)? (See Can you call me on 261 8450   11.17 for speaking phone numbers)   please? (e)  In Spain, use tú instead of usted, even for foreigners: ponme un tinto de verano 'I'm going to drink 'summer red wine' (red wine diluted with sparkling water or lemonade). This is widespread in Spain and appropriate among young people (say under forty) even when they are foreigners, but it can sound very familiar when said to older foreigners and should not be used for people in authority. In Latin America, tú is generally used less frequently between foreigners. (f)  Add a diminutive suffix to the direct object noun: This is a common way to make a request friendly. Compare deme una barra de pan 'give me a piece of bread' and deme una barrita de pan 'I will bring a piece of bread, please'. Diminutive does not necessarily mean smallness in this construction; it simply makes the tone friendlier, as in fuimos a take unas copitas 'we went and had a few drinks' (see 43.2.2 for more details). (g)  Add some mark like ¿eh?, ¿puedes?: Vamos al cine, ¿quieres?/¿vale? Open the door, can you? No chill, huh?

Let's go to the cinema, shall we? Open the door, can you stop screaming

21.12 Various imperative constructions Hear/Hear (you) (please) (lit. 'listen!')

Excuse me! (attract someone's attention)

Don't do it again Don't do it again Look at what I bought Look at what I bought Look at what happened to me Look at what happened to me Imagine the displeasure Imagine how upset I was (literally 'imagine the displeasure') Tenémelo / Ténamelo prepared It's ready for me Don't don't even think about doing it Don't even think about doing it Don't forget to call me Don't forget to call me God only knows / God knows why

290 Imperative Don't tell me (disbelieving tone) Come in

Don't speak! start entering

(1)  In Spain, the word venga has become a constantly used catchphrase, roughly meaning 'OK', 'alright': venga, Dáselo a papa 'come on, give it to papa', venga, vámonos 'OK, let's go' , venga, te llamo mañana 'OK, I'll call you tomorrow'. Latin Americans noted the constant use of vale for 'good'/'OK' as typical of Spanish in Spain, where the word OK is not used much.

22 Infinitive The main points discussed in this chapter are: • • • • • • • • • •

Verb + infinitive, for example I want to go, say I know, I tried to pass, etc. (Section 22.2) I saw her come in, heard them speak, etc. (Section 22.2.4) Infinitive after prepositions and subordinators (Section 22.3) Before is done compared to before it is done (Section 22.3.2) We eat when we arrive, when we notice . . ., etc. (Section 22.3.3) Infinitive used instead of finite forms (eg —Qué hacemos? —Esperar; anything but marry, etc.) (Section 22.4) Possible passive meaning of Spanish infinitive (Section 22.5) Infinitive as noun and definite article with infinitive (Sections 22.6–7) Hard to do compared to is difficult to do (Section 22.10) Total pay, point to remember (Section 22.13)

22.1 Summary The Spanish infinitive ends in -ar, -er or -ir, eg talk, eat, live. Some infinitives, eg freír, reír, sonreír, have an accent on i. These are listed in 16.6.6. The infinitive can act as a verb or a noun. In the latter case, it is masculine and generally singular: fumar es malo para la salud 'smoking harms health'. The gerund should not be used to translate this type of sentence into English: *fumando es malo para la salud is not Spanish. The Spanish infinitive can sometimes have a passive meaning as in three unfinished letters 'three unfinished letters'. See 22.5. The Spanish infinitive usually takes suffixed personal pronouns, for example, antes de hacerlo 'before you do it', sin habérnoslo dada 'without giving it to us'. When the infinitive is governed by a perfective verb, the position of the pronouns is usually optional, as in quiero verlo and lo quiero ver 'I want to see this/him': see 14.3.4–5 and below in 22.2.2. For the use of the infinitive as an imperative, see 21.9. Para de + infinitive means 'if'. . .' as in de haberlos visa los habremos saludado 'if we had seen them, we would have greeted them' see 29.8.3.

22.2 Verb-governed infinitive This section refers to constructions such as saber nadar '(he) knows how to swim', te desafío a hacerlo 'I challenge you to do it', te oí decirlo 'I heard you say that', etc. . there are many parallels in English, but there are also some surprises.

22.2.1 Replacing finite subordinate verbs with the infinitive Some verbs, especially verbs meaning 'to say', 'to confirm', allow an infinitive or que + a finite verb when the subjects are the same, e.g. Juan dice conocerla or Juan dice que la conoce 'Juan says that he knows' (where Juan and 'he' are the same person). In these cases, the use of the infinitive makes the sentence unambiguous in the third person, while Juan dices que la conoce

292 The infinitive is ambiguous, i.e. can also mean 'Juan says he/she/you know her'. Match these pairs: They denied launching   launched the rocket   the rocket (ie themselves or someone else) They denied launching the rocket They denied launching the rocket He claimed to be French (either himself or someone else) claimed to be French Other examples: He said his name was Simon. . . He said his name is Simón, he is 42 years old,   married, Mexican and lives in   married, Mexican and lives in Salto   Salto de la Tuxpana (JI, Mex. Imita   de la Tuxpana   language of police reports) loco, he thought en He imagined went crazy,  killed himself (MVLl, Fr.)  thought of killing himself Information . . . it turned out to be fake. The information turned out to be false   (CF, Mex., dialogue) Admitted/admitted that he had done it (S)admitted that he had done it and in the same way admits 'confession', memory/awakening in 'remember that', hide 'hide ' to forget 'to forget'. (1)  Some verbs always have an infinitive because they can have only one subject: se obstinada en hacerlo 'he insisted on it', tend to abster 'they tend to refrain'. (2)  In written language, the infinitive can appear in relative clauses when the subjects refer to different things and the sentence includes the verb say or believe. This avoids the use of two questions: the three girls, whom he believed to be Don Mateo's daughters (rather than he believed them to be . . .). (3)  The past infinitive equivalent is made with haber + past participle: he says he bought it a few months ago '(s) he says he bought it a few months ago'. (4)  Despite the clarity of the infinitive construction, it tries to limit itself to formal styles and ambiguous construction with which it is more common in everyday language. They are more likely to say they know than to say they know.

22.2.2  Verbs followed by an infinitive The following list shows some common verbs followed by an infinitive. French equivalents are given in some cases to remind students of that language to avoid very common mistakes like *intentar de hacer algo for intentar hacer algo (French ensaidor de faire quelquechose) 'to try to do something'. Where no preposition is shown, only the infinitive follows the verb, as in anhelaban hacerlo 'they wanted/wanted to do it'. Some verbs can be used with the infinitive or with the subjunctive, as explained in 20.3. Choosing verbs followed by an infinitive Verbs preceded by § can be followed by an infinitive even when the subject of the infinitive is not the subject of the finite verb, as in yo le aconsejé a Roberto no hacerlo 'I advised Roberto not to do that'. See 20.3.8c for details.

22.2  Infinitive subordinate to the verb


Verbs marked with an asterisk allow pronoun change: see note 1. This list has given us many headaches, the problem being that some transposed forms are often heard but may be popular or colloquial and objectionable to careful speakers. For example, what to do is normal, but to shift the shape, what to do is popular, although widespread. We have not marked all such suspicious cases with an asterisk. refrain from refrain from ending from*: i.e. acabo de verla ou   la acabo de ver 'Acabei de ver  she/it/you' term por* finish cercarse a/para approach  (Fr. s'approcher de) accept strike a* get  get §advise * advise (Fr. conseiller de ) wake up wake up wake up wake up remember  (cf. remember. See note 4) get used to* be   used to §accusing accusing ​​aim to do what is possible affirm asserting/declaring achieving a* achieving: lo   reaching that I see 'I succeeded ver' menace (con) menace  (Fr. menacer de): amenazó   matalo /le ou con matarlo/le anhelar ansiar a §animate a §courage aspire anxio to appear to appear learn learn* to learn: form   dislocated is colloquial hasten hurry regret lament/repent risk assure assure dare dare (cf. fr.   oser faire) §authorize to/to authorize  avegonzarse be ashamed  help help a bajar a come down a: bajé a  verla 'I went down to see- there'

toast offer seek seek (fr. chercher à) get tired get tired ceñirse limit yourself stop stop start start begin commit commit yourself approve approve approve §condemn condemn §lead lead to admit succeed in agree agree with (fr.   consent to) consist to contribute to agree to be suitable to agree to agree to §invite invite believe believe take care of take care of §to blame blame someone  due to duty* must. See 25.3 to decide to decide (French décider  de) decides a to decide   um to decide decir to tell (ie to order; fr. dire de)   also 'to say'. See 20.3.7 to declare to declare to devote oneself to dedicate oneself  a §dejar* to abandon/allow: le dejó hacerlo ou se lo dejó hacer   '(he/she) let it be done'; dejar de* put aside/give up  up demosmorar demonstrate   (more generally with que +   finite verb) §challenge to challenge (Fr.   défier de) desear* wish/desire. Lo deseo ver is colloquial.

desperate desperate to get rid of yourself because you did your best to deign (a) to deign to be ready to prepare §dissuadir de dissuadir de diverte en amuse-se   por (generally with gerund; Fr.   s'amuser à) dudar en hesitar (fr  hésiter à) decide choose empeñarse en insist on empecinarse en insist on empezar a* begin empezar por begin take care of enseñar show how/  ensinar § send send to esforzarse por/ en strive for  (Fr. s'efforcerer de) wait wait/ wait/wait avoid avoid (Fr. éviter de) pretend pretend §forzar force refrain from be careful ne gustar love de (but  generally le gusta to smoke, etc.) haber que 'to be necessary'. See 25.4.2 note 1 to get used to get used to §hacer do (la hizo callar,  etc.) get tired of imagining imagine §prevent* prevent   . . . (Fr. défendre de) impose oblige §make urge to §encourage urge to §inclinate §induce induce/   persuade insist en insist on  (fr. insister pour)

294 Infinitive §instar a instar a intentar* to try (fr. ensaier  de): lo intentaron hacer is   more colloquial than   intentaron hacerlo interesarse en (or por)   to be interested in (fr.   s'intresser à) §invitar a inviting para ir a * ir para (esto va a hacerse  spreman 'it will be done  soon') boast of boast swore to swear to regret regret limit-yourself a llegar a* go as far as . . . (unchanged form   is much more common) llevar a undertake achieve* succeed in fight to fight §send* order  (Fr. ordonner de) §send order (to do something) manifest declare/order proclaim   (generally with which . . .) be amazed to be amazed deserve deserve pute start molestarse en bother necesitar* need: lo  necessitamos hacer is colloquial deny deny (deny refuse  to) §obligar compel  (fr . obliger de) obstinately en insist   obstinately in (fr.   s'obstiner à)

offer offer (usually with   que . . .) oír* listen. See 22.2.4 forget forget; olvidarse de, olvidársele; forget. See 30.7.26 opt (generally opt for)   decide to §order to order  (Fr. ordonner de) to stop stop to appear to pass by to pass from disinterested to §ask for to seek (Fr. demander à,   demander de ). See 20.3.9 pense* pienso hacerlo 'I plan   to do' think en think of (Fr.   penser à) §allow* allow  (Fr. permettre de) persist en persist in  (Fr. persister à) pode * Poder ponerse a start a hurry prepare rather than prepare assume boast intend to demand / try to continue to seek strive §forbid prohibit de  (Fr. défendre de) promise promise promise a (Fr.   promettre de) quedar en agree in desire* wanting §recommending recommend  to

reconocer recognize   (more often with what) remember remember (see   note 4) rehuir avoid/avoid rehusar refuse (fr.   refuse) resign resign §reproach censure resign resign resign resistse resist lead to be solver solution (Fr.   résoleur de) saber* saber saber/I'm sorry soler*: solía hacerlo '(s) he   usually did so' (see 25.6) ask to apply for soñar con to dream about (fr .   rêver de) tardar en to be late/be   long in (Fr. tarder à) to be afraid to be afraid to strive* to strive: sometimes   colloquially misplaced tener que* to have to §try to try finish de finish try * try; mas lo trató de  do is colloquial to hesitate and hesitate about coming from coming from . . . see * see. See 22.2.4 ver de to try to return to (hacer)* to (do) again. See 36.6 vote for vote for

(1)  Verbs that allow pronoun change are marked with an asterisk: you can say acabo de hacerlo or lo acabo de hacer 'I've just done it', pienso Mudrame mañana or me pienso Mudra mañana 'I'm thinking of moving tomorrow'. Pronoun change is discussed in detail in 14.3.4–5. (2)  Verbs of motion, e.g. salir, bajar, ir, volver, enter, approximation(se), always take a before the infinitive: bajó a verla 'he went down to see her', entraon a saludar al profesor 'they came in to say hello je o teacher' etc. When the subjects are not identical, que or para que + subjunctive is needed: bajó a/para que la vieran/viesen 'she came down to be seen'. (3)  For the use of the infinitive as a noun, eg es bueno jugar al tenis 'it is good to play tennis'/'it is good to play tennis', see 22.6-7.

22.2  Infinitive subordinate to the verb


(4)  The construction is me acuerdo de haberlo visa or recuerdo haberlo visa 'I remember seeing him/her'. Rememberarse can only mean 'to remember myself', as in me recuerdo como un niño muy stid 'I remember myself as a very shy child'. Rememberarse to 'remember' is heard in familiar Latin American speech, but is avoided in careful styles and is considered incorrect in Spain.

22.2.3 Verbs of permission and prohibition and other verbs constructed with an indirect object Most, but not all, verbs that can be constructed with an indirect object, for example, les permití hacerlo/les permití que lo hicieran 'I allow them to do that', allow conjunctive or infinitive construction. They are discussed in 20.3.8c. (1) It is worth repeating here that when used with the infinitive, the verbs oblige, prohibit and permit can appear without an object pronoun in Spanish, but not in English: esto prohíbe pense que. . . 'this forbids anyone to think that . . .'. See 20.3.8 note 2.

22.2.4  The infinitive after verbs of perception such as 'see', 'hear', 'remember' The infinitive is used after verbs such as see, hear, remember to denote a completed action; an incomplete action is marked with a gerund. English makes the same distinction: compare lo/le vi fumar un puro 'I saw him smoking a cigar' (and finish) and lo/le vi fumar un puro 'I saw him smoking a cigar'. See 24.6-7 for more examples. The word order with the intransitive infinitive is as follows: vi enter a Marta 'I saw Marta entering', where Marta is the direct object of seeing and the subject of entry. I saw Marta enter is also found, but more often in literary styles. But with transitive infinitives, the order is Subject-InfinitiveNoun, that is, we saw Robert buy flowers 'we saw Robert buy flowers': I saw you enter I saw you enter I saw you sign I saw you sign Notábamos enter a varias personas Noticed we are several suspicious-looking people   suspicious-looking   entering Millones and they came to manzana caer, but only Millones saw/had seen the apple fall, but   Newton se pregunto por qué (Only Newton asked why   Economist, Mex.) I saw Beatriz Noguera is begging at the door. I saw Beatriz Noguera begging in Muriel's house   de Muriel (JM, Sp.)   door I never heard a wolf howl, but I never heard a wolf howl, but I know it was a wolf ( JLB,​ ​Arg ., dialogue) he was a wolf Marés felt that he was disintegrating day by day su Marés felt that his personality was disintegrating day   personality (JMs, Sp.)   day If lo oí decir heard she/he/you (usted/es) /eles direm Quiero escuchárselo decir (RB, Ch., dialog box) I want to hear you (usted) say it (1)  Important: the key 'rule of two l' explained in 14.9 means that if the third person pronoun is optionally shifted to the left in this construction, the first pronoun, if it starts with l, becomes: la vi firmarlo 'I saw her sign' > se lo vi firmer, lo/le oí confessarlo > 'I heard him confess' > se lo oí confess, los vi hacerlo > se lo you hacer (2)  Important: the Spanish infinitive can have an active or passive meaning, so the passive might be needed in the English translation: Nunca la oí nombrar 'I've never heard it mentioned', vio

296 Infinitive detener a varios protestors '(s)he saw several protesters arrested'. See 22.5. This occasionally causes ambiguity. Vi matar a dos leones could, out of context, mean 'I saw two lions killed' or 'I saw two lions killing', the former being the more likely meaning.

22.3  Infinitive after prepositions and subordinators 22.3.1  Infinitive after prepositions Important: the infinitive is used after prepositions and prepositional phrases: fue la primera en enterarse 'she found out first', estoy harto de decírtelo 'I'm tired of talking to you', reprende a la banca por arriesgarse (El País, Sp.) 'he condemns banks for taking risks', un Liquido para quitar las mantas 'stain removal liquid', un Abrigo sin estrenar 'an unused coat', etc. Prepositions are never used before Spanish gerund: **estoy harto de diciéndotelo is not Spanish (for an archaic exception to this rule, see 24.5).

22.3.2  Choose between infinitive and que + finite verb An infinitive construction is possible after the subordinators listed in section 20.4.2, e.g. hasta 'to', para 'in order to', sin 'without', nothing else 'so that', and those consisting of sentences requiring the word de que before the finite verb, e.g., antes de (que) 'antes', después de (que) 'after', el hecho de (que) 'the fact', etc. of the following verb the same is as the main verb, as in lo hice antes de salir 'I did it before I left/before I left'. If the subjects are different, the subjunctive or indicative must be used (although the rule applies freely with before and after), the choice being determined according to the rules stated in 20.4.1. Compare lo haré nada más termina esto 'I will do it as soon as I finish this' and lo haré nada mais que finish esto 'I will do it as soon as I finish'. The last sentence can, however, also mean 'as soon as I'm done with it' or 'as soon as he's done/you're done. . .'. Other examples: Lo haré después de comer Lo haré después de que hayas comido Entré sin verte Entré sin que tú me vieras/vieses Se fue antes de contestar Se fue antes de que yo contestase/contestara Enfermó (lat. Am. se enfermó) por . there is no angle

I'll go after I have lunch. he got sick because he didn't eat

(1)  Spontaneous language often uses the infinitive construction with these subordinators, even when the subjects are not identical. Because. 'He arrived three days after you left' is correct, but vino a los tres días de irte tú (ABV, Spanish, dialogue) is heard over and over again. GDLE 27.2.1 describes that it is not proper to leave without saying goodbye as 'careless', because it is not right to leave without saying goodbye'. Other examples: ?He watched him without noticing (JMs, Sp., He watched him without him  dialogue: without him noticing/noticing)  performance ?I'll see you before you leave? (Spanish. Shall we see you before you go?   informant ie . . . before you go) Can you buy me postcards to send? Can you buy me some postcards   (Argentine informant, ie to que yo las   to send?  send; Spanish puedes for podés)

22.4  Replacing perfect forms of verbs with the infinitive


(2)  If an infinitive construction is used, the best order is preposition + infinitive + subject, as in me fui antes de llegar tú 'I left before you arrived'. You hear the order preposition + subject + infinitive in very informal speech, as in ?para él hablar así, tenía que estar borracho 'he must have been drinking to speak like that' (from GDLE 36.3.4), ?es decir que había kupio marfil para usted to sell (VdC, Cu. for . . . so usted lo vendiera/vendiese) 'in other words, he bought the ivory for you to sell'. NGLE 26.7i says that this last command is common in Caribbean Spanish, but is often heard elsewhere, cf. Spain ¡para él decir eso! 'Imagine him saying that!' (3)  Note that, looking back in the past, the present perfect or the perfect infinitive can be used after the preposition: después de haber been/de being declared invin 'after he was/was declared innocent', luego de haber installed/ installed the program, my computer got stuck 'after installing the program my computer crashed'.

22.3.3  Al + infinitive This means the same as English 'he' + -ing form of the verb: I noticed the perfume on entering', i.e. 'when I entered'. The Spanish construction is very common on both continents: He was happy to discover (I) he was happy when (s) discovered some kind of ecstasy. to the organization traitos olvidadas del conserje   again the forgotten characteristics of guardians   (CF, Mex.) (1)  This construction can also mean 'because': since they are not moral, animals should not behave according to certain values ​​(La Nación , Arg. ) 'since they are not moral beings, animals do not have to behave in accordance with certain values', a technology that does not pose a danger to the population and the environment, because it does not produce waste (Granma, Cu.)' a technology that does not pose a risk to the population or the environment, because it does not produce waste'. (2)  In theory, al + infinitive should only be used when the subjects are the same, as in al goodbye dije a uno de los dos. . . 'while saying goodbye, I said to one of the two. . .', but phrases like when one of the two said goodbye to me (JLB, ​​​​​​Arg., dialogue, various subjects) 'as I left one of them told me', when the mother superior arrived at the main door he was already waiting for him. (MS, Mex.) 'when he arrived at the main gate, the chieftain was already waiting for him', are very common in relaxed styles. (3)  The conditional meaning of this construction is, according to NGLE 26.13j, limited to Mexico, Central America and the Andean region: if I won the lottery, I would move to the capital 'if I won the lottery, I would move to the capital '( because if I won/conquered . . .). In Spain this conditional use is avoided.

22.4  Substitution of finite forms of verbs for the infinitive The infinitive can be used instead of a finite verb in the following circumstances: (a)  To give an abrupt answer to a question, as it seems when the answer is obvious: —¿Qué shall we now? —Wait —¿Pero se puede saber que está usted

'What are we going to do now?' 'Wait' 'But can you say what you are

298 Infinitive  doing? "Get my wife out of here!" (EA, Sp., dialogue)

are they doing?' 'Taking away my wife!'

(b) After more than, less than, except: I always doubted there was something after I always doubted there was  death. More than a doubt,   something after death. More than   I knew, almost certainly (JJM, Pan.,   suspected, I knew, almost as a certain  dialogue) . . . eyes that defy more than looking (EA, Sp.) . . . eyes that more than look, provoke More than protecting nature, the Zapatistas identify with nature   The Zapatistas manifest their identity with it   than by protecting it   (JV, Mex.) . . . all but/except rewrite. . . anything but copying (c)  To name or list actions, as in: . . . and that's what the peasants do: . . . and this is what the peasants do: plow   plow, plant, prune, water   /US plow, plant, prune, water ? Work at home? Work (d)  on outrageous or sarcastic statements and questions such as, why serve meat to a vegetarian? 'What is the point of serving meat to a vegetarian?' See 22.9.

22.5  Infinitive: passive or active? The Spanish infinitive can have a passive meaning, especially after sin, por, a and para. This has no English equivalent: This is still to be seen This is still to be seen unopened beer unopened beer Time passed without feeling (CMG, Sp.) Time passed unnoticed four meio  medio hacer (AM, Mexico, dialogue; . . business to be done by the student . . . the work to be done (literally 'to do') the student (1)  After adjective phrases such as valuable 'valuable', impossible, difficult, easy o the infinitive can appear with or without 'if passive' : o the design of the front panel is noteworthy 'the design of the front panel is noteworthy', this type of tumor is difficult to observe under a microscope ', it is something impossible to imagine ( se) ' it is something impossible to imagine' You can also use the passive with ser : ... worth considering ... difficult to observe.

22.6  The infinitive as a noun The infinitive can function as a noun, in which case it is sometimes rendered with the -ing form in English. Used as a noun, the infinitive is always masculine and usually singular:

22.7  The definite article before the infinitive

Tomorrow I have to wash the car that changes color (CMG, Sp.) I better not do that. I hate looking for reckless back and forth. This car costs only 20,000 pesos to build  (Excélsior, Mexico. This car in Spain. Most of the Spanish-speaking world   20,000 is written 20,000)


Tomorrow it's my turn to wash the car, that fickle flow of colors. . . You better not do that. I hate sharing/arranging crazy arrivals and departures. This car costs only 20,000 pesos to build

22.7  The definite article before the infinitive The definite article is used before the infinitive: (a)  in the usual construction al + infinitive: tómese una pastilla al acostarse 'take a pill when you go to bed'. See 22.3.3 for discussion. (b)  When the infinitive is qualified by an adjective or noun phrase joined to the infinitive, often with the preposition de: Oyó el agitated gira de una cucharilla contra He heard an excited squeak   un vaso (LG, Sp.) a spoonful of tea by the glass Cristina listened to the percussion drops la Cristina heard the drumming of   the shower over the tiles (LO, Cu.)   the drops of the shower on the floor tiles of the years as the years passed. . . why he just fell in love with Josefa. . . just because he was in love   con mirarla (AM, Mexico)   for Josefa because he was looking at her (c)  In other cases, when the infinitive is used as a noun, the definite article seems to be optional, although it is less common in informal styles, e.g. .eating is like taking. En exceso hace daño (EP Mexico, dialogue. Take here = drink alcohol in Spain) 'eating is like drinking. Excess is bad', vivir con un hombre is equivalent to working 7 extra hours (Excélsior, Mexico) 'living with a man is equivalent to working seven extra hours'. However, the article is often retained when the infinitive is the subject of the verb. In all the following examples, el before the infinitive can be omitted, although it is used in the examples. Omitting the article el would make the style a little less literary: Paula couldn't avoid (el) reírse (JJP, Sp.) Paula couldn't suppress her laughter (El) estar sin móvil, para mí, va a suponer Being without a cell phone / cell phone goes   something terrible (interview, La Sexta, Sp.)   means something terrible to me Kao si . . . estimaran prudente (el) estar As if they thought it wise to be ready   ready salir a la calle afrontando   go out into the street and face the cold   cold (RB, Ch.) G. I could never forgive Heisenberg (el) in G. he could never forgive Heisenberg   haber hecho lo enough to save them   because he didn't do enough to save them   (JV, Mex.) The article is obligatory when the infinitive is followed by de when the subject of the sentence is a verb: crujir de los dientes is a symptom. . .'teeth grinding is a symptom of . . .', el trinar de los pájaros le confortaba 'the chirping of the birds comforted him'. In other cases, the use of de indicates that the infinitive is being used as a noun rather than a verb. Compare oía crujir las ramas 'he heard the branches creaking' (verb) and oía el crujir de las ramas 'he heard the branches creaking' (noun). In both cases, a noun could be used, for example el trino and el crujido.

300 Infinitive (d)  The article is obligatory in some constructions that include: Fashion in dress affects fashion   del maquillaje   in make-up Some Spaniards are a little emphatic Some Spaniards are quite deliberate   in speaking their way of speaking Lo/le conocí en el walk I recognized him by the way he walked (i)  The indefinite article un is also found before the infinitive: in the blink of an eye in the blink of an eye After two years of restless progress after two years of restless progress  through freedom. . . on the way to freedom. . . . . . silhouettes, groups, in unhurried arrival and departure. . . silhouettes, groups, slowly come   (MVLl, fr.)   and leave

22.8 Infinitive as an imperative About the use of the infinitive as an imperative form, as in heat the oil in the pan, fry the beans, then the potatoes 'heat the oil in the pan, fry the beans and then the potatoes', it is said in

22.9  The 'rhetorical' infinitive The infinitive can be used in rhetorical questions or to express disbelief, exasperation or sarcasm: Pay me a hundred thousand for that! I paid 100,000 for this! I'm falling in love with my age! I fell in love at my age! But how to open it without a key? But how to open it without a key? But it doesn't make sense, if it's in Hebrew why? But that doesn't make sense. If you use Greek characters in Hebrew  ? (MC, Mexico, dialogue)   why use Greek letters? Why condemn the stellar project of the entire presidential administration? (Vertex, ES)   the entire presidential initiative? and also after words like where? and ¿por qué?: (a) where to go? 'where are we going?', why insist? 'why insist?' (1) NGLE 26.14j mentions the Mexican expression ni modo de: ni modo de askirle plata (i.e. dinero) 'there is no point in asking him for money'. Not to mention elsewhere. . . means the same. (2)  In Spain, venga a + infinitive expresses the idea of ​​tedious repetition: y él come to me ask me to marry him 'and he keeps asking me to marry him'.

22.10  Adjective + de + infinitive Es hard to learn español 'it's hard to learn Spanish' is different from el español es hard to learn 'Spanish is hard to learn'. In the first sentence, the subject es is to learn, and de is not used when the infinitive is the subject': no ​​​​​​​​​​​es facil creerlo 'it is not easy to believe', it seems difficult to solve such a problem 'it seems difficult to solve such a problem', result impossible to prove that . . . 'That is impossible to prove. . .'.

22.13  Problem to be resolved, argument to be considered, etc.


But when the infinitive is not the subject, you have to use de (the subject is in bold but can be implied in the Spanish verb): (eso) it's hard to find out 'this is hard to check/confirm', so Father's Day surprises Dad with a delicious menu that's easy and quick preparation (La Reforma, Mexico) 'for today, Father's Day, surprise dad with a delicious menu that is easy and quick to prepare', hard to define 'it's hard to define' certain movements (that were/are) hard to imitate'.

22.11  Infinitive preceded by que The following constructions should be observed, especially with students of French: cf. j'ai beaucoup à faire, il n'y a rien à manger, etc.: I have a lot of things to do/say I will buy something for/read Give me something to/do That has given us enough you still have a lot to do see in this world. That has little to do with this problem

I've got a lot to do/say I'll buy something to read Give me something to do That's given us enough to do You've got a lot more to see in this world That has little to do with this problem

But this construction cannot be used with the verbs need, demand, ask: I need something to eat I need something to eat I want something to drink I want something to drink Pidió something to (or with) soothe your pain (S)he asked for something to relieve   from muel his toothache I am looking for something for . . . I'm looking for something for. . .

22.12 I have nothing to eat, I didn't know where to go, etc. This construction is similar to English: They had nothing to eat. There was a place to dance (JA, Mex.) They couldn't find a place to exchange dollars (ibid.)

They had nothing to eat. They had places to dance. He couldn't find where to exchange the dollars

(1)  In the first example, the emphasis in qué is decisive: cf. no tiená que comer 'they shouldn't/should have eaten'. In the third example, donde can be omitted. Mas yo no sabía dónde pasar la noche 'I didn't know where to spend the night' is obviously an indirect question, so dónde requires emphasis. See Chapter 28 for more details.

22.13  A problem to be solved, an argument to be considered, etc. This combination of noun + a + infinitive in sentences like el problema a resolver 'the problem to be solved' is controversial. El País, Libro de Estilo 2014, 13.8, condemns it, but Seco (1998),5, praises its brevity and points out that it is not identical to por + infinitive: cosas por hacer = 'things yet to be done', cosas a hacer = ' things to do'. Draft of the Academy. . ., 3.11.5 tolerates certain defined terms used in commerce and finance, eg total payable 'total payable', amounts to be deducted 'deductible amounts', matters to be resolved 'business in progress'/'agenda', but notes that the Academies

302 The infinitive of all Spanish-speaking countries condemns sentences like tengo terraes for sale 'I have lands for sale' (for this/to sell), people to call 'people to call/summon' (for this to call), etc. NGLE 26.6 l, says of this construction that "despite its length, it has no prestige in today's Spanish." However, it is important to note that 'it is a matter to bear in mind' appears in the Academy's GDLE, p.1785. Building with more is accepted in Latin America; cf. uniforms recently submitted a new text for consideration (Abc Boja, par.) 'the army recently submitted a new text for consideration'.

23 Participles The main points discussed in this chapter are: • • • • • •

Main uses of past participle – hablado, vived, hecho etc. (Section 23.1) Forms of regular and irregular past participles (Section 23.2) Past participles as adjectives (Section 23.3) crouched' etc. disturbing 'worrying' convincing 'convincing', belonging 'belonging to' (section 23.6)

23.1 Past participles: general Past participles – hablado, vive, dicho, hecho, etc. – have several uses: (a) they are used with haber to form complex verb tenses: ha hablado '(s)ele spoke', yo la había seen 'I saw her'. See Chapter 18. (b) They are occasionally used with tener or llevar to emphasize the idea of ​​acquiring or accumulating things or stocks, as in tengo purchasing las entries 'I bought the tickets', llevo taken tres somníferos 'I' I took three pills for sleeping'. See 18.1.3 for discussion. (c) They are used to form the passive: fue impreso/a 'it was printed', fueron observadas/observadas 'they were observed'. The passive voice is discussed in chapter 32. (d) They can function as adjectives: see 23.3.

23.2 Past participle: forms 23.2.1 Regular and irregular past participle The past participle is formed in most cases by replacing -ar infinitive with -ado, and -er and -ir with -ido: hablar/habado, tener /tenido, construct/ construct (no accent!), go/se went, be/be etc. There are some common irregular forms: abre: abierto (and semi-open) absolve (and all verbs ending in -solver): absolvedo cubier (and all verbs ending in -cubrir): cubierto *decir (and all verbs ending in -decir * ): said to write (and all verbs ending in -scribir): written satisfy and other verbs ending in -facer: satisfied *See the following list for curse.

fry: fry (see note 2) do: done (also undo, counteract, etc.) print: print (see note 2) die: dead (see note 1) put (and all verbs ending in -put): put break : broken see (and compounds as prediction): seen return (and all verbs ending in -volver): returned

304 Participles Some verbs have separate adjective and verb participles, cf. he is awake because I woke him up 'he is awake because I woke him up', now that they have released the animals they are free 'now they have released the animals to roam freely', water that has a blessed medicine is called holy water 'water that he blessed the priest is called holy water'. In the following list, the verbal participle is shown first: absorb: absorbed/absorbed absorbed bless: blessed/blessed blessed admit: admitted/admitted admitted confused: confused/confused confused awaken: awake agreed choose: chosen/chosen chosen

curse: cursed / accursed bind: bound / captive. See note 3 deliver: delivered/delivered fall equipped: dismissed/loosely dismissed suspend: suspended/suspended fail (eg  exams)/hang

(1) Morto is often used in literary styles as the passive past participle of mata 'to kill' when applied to human beings: in time he will be killed by the Gestapo (ES, Arg., interview; in common language, he will be killed I o bih killed) 'later he will be killed by the Gestapo' but some bandits killed his father 'some bandits killed his father'. (2) Fry and print are still heard as verb participles fry 'to fry' and print 'to print' Fried, printed are common today and the Academy accepts both. (3) Binding has multiple meanings, eg 'catch/stop', 'fix', 'light' and, in Latin America, 'turn on' lights, etc., Spanish encender.

23.2.2  Irregular past participles in Latin America Several irregular adjectival participles are widely used in Latin America. These forms are either obsolete in Spain or are only used in complex sentences, for example elpresidente electo 'the president-elect', but are used in Latin America - especially in Argentina - not only as adjectives, but also to form passives, for example result to choose a presidential candidate (AM, Mex.) 'he was chosen as a presidential candidate', Spain salió elected. In the following list, the standard form appears first: convince: alluring/convict convinced corrupt: corrupt/corrupted corrupt describir: described/descripto described

to share: to divide/divide share to register/to register/to register registered/to register to prescribe: prescribed/prescribed prescribed.

It occurs in the described Antarctic regions. Occurs in Antarctic regions   with extraordinary vigor. . . The shooter is enrolled in The shooter is enrolled in the course (La Jornada, Mex. Sp. enrolled in . . .)   in the course . . . Writers who were conservative. . . writers who were convinced conservatives   convictos (MVLl, Pe., Sp. Convincidos.   Convicto = 'convicted' in Spain) (1)  Latin Americans may object to the use of regular participles in such sentences, but the usual forms are common everywhere, especially in the past to the time: "she did not elect the head of the army", politicians are not convinced of this "deep truth" (ibid.) "politicians are not convinced of this "deep truth". (2)  In Spain, one hears both corrupt society and corrupt society. Corruption is common in Latin America.

23.4  'She was sitting on the sofa', etc.


23.2.3  Object pronouns and participles For the now obsolete building he bought a house and painted it, because he bought a house and painted it, see 14.3.7 note 2.

23.3  Past participles as adjectives 23.3.1  Past participles When used as adjectives, past participles agree in number and gender like any adjective: una exaggerated reacción 'exaggerated reaction', la gestación subrogada 'surrogate pregnancy', huevos revueltos 'scrambled eggs', etc. These adjectival past participles can sometimes be turned into nouns by using a determiner (see Glossary): un muerto 'a dead person', ese herido 'that injured person', ¿qué dirán por su parte los censorados? 'what will the censored have to say?', varios convicts 'several convicts'. Such forms give perfect translations of relative clauses in English: Never forget those who have left, ¿donde están los recién llegados? 'where are those who have just arrived?'

23.3.2 Unexpected meaning of some past participles and some adjectives ending in -do Some adjectives and participles ending in -do confuse foreign students because they seem to have two meanings, first an adjective and second a verb participle. Reducido is notorious: una candidad reducidad is 'a small quantity', not a 'reduced' quantity, but la candidad ha been reducidad is 'a quantity has been reduced'. Other examples are accused 'clearly visible' or 'accused', adapted 'narrowly' or 'narrowly', extended 'long' or 'elongated', mutilated 'distant' or 'distanced', aprovechado 'opportunistic' or 'exploited', care 'attentive'/'observant' or 'observant', raised 'high' (eg number/amount) or 'elevated', honorable 'honest' or 'honorable', acknowledged 'shy' or 'tough', aloof 'distant' ' or 'in retirement'/'in retirement'. (1)  NGLE 27.10g records regional survivals of older participle forms on both continents, e.g. pago 'paid', calm 'calm(a), canso 'tired', nublo 'cloudy', pinto 'painted', quito 'removed', now replaced by pagodo, appeased, tired, cloudy, colored, given up. These forms are found in literature before the eighteenth century.

23.4  'She sat on the sofa' etc. Important: English speakers often mistranslate these sentences using the Spanish gerund when a participle is needed: estaba seated en el sofa 'she sat (ie 'sat') on the sofa', los jóvenes satantes en posición de flor loto (ES, Mexico, dialogue) 'young people sitting in the lotus position', estoy arrodillado, no arrodillado 'I am standing, not kneeling', estaba apoyado contra la pared 'he/I was leaning against the wall', el gato estabahid debajo de la mesa 'the cat was hiding under the table', la abuela está acostada por le duele la cabeza 'Grandma is lying down because her head hurts', estábamos agachados 'we were squatting'. The use of the gerund in these sentences creates a completely different meaning: la abuela se está acossonto means 'grandmother is going to bed', i.e. she is getting ready to sleep. In other words, the participle describes the position or posture that someone or something is in, and the gerund describes an ongoing action.

306 participate

23.5  Participial clauses Participial clauses (see Glossary) are common. They usually have exact equivalents in English, but there are slight differences between the two languages ​​(see also 35.3.4 for expressions like aceptió irritada 'she accepted irritably'): I went away, convinced that he knew nothing José González, born March 23 José González, born March 23   his father, died in 1956. . . his father, who died in 1956. . . . . asked what he liked about her, . . . when asked what he likes about her, he   responds with a grunt (GGM, Col.)   responds with a grunt Spanish allows certain participial clauses, most often in the written language, that do not have exact equivalents in English: . . . refugees and migrants arriving in Europe. . . refugees and immigrants who arrived   since last year (La Jornada, Mexico)   in Europe since last year . . finally, after seven years of . . . However, seven years have passed since the  publication of his first novel. . . publication of his first novel. . . After the conference we left When the lecture ended, we left After the house was sold, we After the house was sold, we repented   repentance (de Seco, 1998, 334) Devastated the garden, defiled the chalices and Having demolished the garden and altars, the Huns on on horseback they entered the   defiled chalices and altars, and   la the monastic library (JLB, ​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​,: Very   The Huns rode into the monastery library  literally) (1)  Llegar seems to be the only unaltered verb of motion that allows this construction . One cannot say *entrada en el agua se pone a nadar 'entering the water she began to swim': when they entered the water, she began to swim, or *bajados del tren para when they got off the train'. But some other verbs allow this if they are modified by an adverb: Recently got off the train 'having just got off the train', the day has already arrived. . . 'when the day begins', until late at night. . . 'well after dark. . .'.

23.6  Participles ending in -ante, -iente or -ente These are adjectival present participles. They can be formed from many verbs, but not all, and function like English adjective forms ending in -ing: 'Sleeping Beauty' = La Bella Durmiente. New coins appear all the time, many of them inspired by English adjectives ending in -ing. They are formed as follows: • -ar conjugation: replace the infinitive -ar with -ante: alarmar > alarmante 'alarming' alarming > alarming 'worrying'; • -er and -ir conjugations: replace the -er or –ir of the infinitive with -iente or -ente, the choice is unpredictable.

23.6  Participles ending in -ante, -iente or -ente


Examples: hallucinate: hallucinate terrifying/unbelievable preoccupation: related to direction: lead to agreement suitable adequate grow: growing growing depress: depressed depressed enter: arrive enter exist: existing flow existing: flowing flowing happening: witty witty

belong: belong continue: continue continue produce: produce produce  (also counterproductive counterproductive) arrive: comes from comes from takes away: remainder: remainder leaves: exit exit surprise: surprisingly surprising strive: strive (to) strive (ka) connection : connection connection

There are some slightly irregular forms: convince: persuasive persuasive sleep: sleep sleeping herir: burning wounding

laugh: laugh laugh follow: follow follow smile: smile smile

These participle forms should be studied separately from the vocabulary, especially with regard to the note in note 2. They are used quite often, especially in the media: changing/stressful situation outgoing/incoming minister incoming minister mandatory conditions conditions mandatory results pending remaining 1.5 million remaining 1.5 million 157,000 people, belonging to different 157,000 people, belonging to different   social classes and coming from   social classes and coming from   very different places of birth. . . (El País, Sp.)   very different birthplaces The great influence they have had on the international scene is The great influence they have had on the international scene is   disturbing,   the international scene is disturbing,   encouraging and exciting (La Jornada, Mexico) encouraging and exciting ( 1 )  Important: The gerund in -ando or -iendo cannot be used instead of the -nte form in any of these examples. See 24.3 for discussion. (2)  Important: it is not possible to predict which verbs have this type of participle and foreign students often invent non-existent words like *moviente for 'moving': moving parts = 'moving parts', moving show = 'moving play' . Also note the folding table, drinking water, confidence, crawling, satisfying results, fact finding, boring book 'boring book', he is tired 'he is tired' and many others. (3)  Many forms in -nte are not strictly speaking participles, but ordinary adjectives, e.g. bright, current, apparent, recent, etc. (4) These participles they usually do not have a separate form for the feminine: lapresidente saliente 'outgoing president (female)'. There are some colloquial or popular exceptions, eg dominant 'mandana' (female, usually dominant), familiar European Spanish currante-curranta for 'worker'; currant can also be used for females. Atorrante-torranta (lat. Am.) 'lazy'/'lazy' is also heard. However, some nouns in -nte form their feminine gender with -nta. See 1.2.5.

24 Gerund The main points discussed in this chapter are: • • • • • •

Forms of gerunds (Section 24.2) Translation of 'a box of books', 'a girl who speaks French' (Section 24.3) Main uses of gerunds (Section 24.4) 'I imagined her dancing', 'I heard them talking' etc. (Sections 24.6 –7) Gerund with andar, ir, llevar, quedarse, salir, venir, estar, finish (Section 24.8) Translation of the English form –ing (Section 24.9)

A gerund is a verbal form ending in -ando or -(i)endo: walking, answering, speaking, laughing, etc. To use the gerund to form the continuous aspect of a verb, eg estoy hablando 'I am speaking', estaba escribiendo '(he) wrote ' etc. See Chapter 19.

24.1 General The gerund has an invariable form, but sometimes pronouns are added to it. This can be obligatory, as in contestó riéndose 'he answered (with) a smile', or optional as in estaban esperándolos or los estaban espera 'they were waiting for them'. Object pronouns never appear directly before a gerund: **los Esperando is not possible for esperándolos 'waiting for them'. See 14.3.6 for details on the use and position of gerund pronouns. The Spanish gerund is quite different from the English -ing form ('walking', 'answering', 'saying', etc.), which can function as a gerund, present participle, noun or adjective. It also differs from the French form ending in -ant, which takes on the functions of the Spanish gerund, and from the adjectival form ending in -ante, -(i)ente discussed in 23.6. The Spanish gerund is a type of adverb and therefore theoretically should not modify nouns. See 24.3 for discussion. NGLE 27.7q notes the increasing use of gerunds on both continents, especially in book and film titles, eg Bailando con lobos 'Dances with Wolves', Cantando under the rain 'Singin' in the Rain'. See 19.1.1 for more information on this issue. Important: except in the archaic construction described in 24.5, the Spanish gerund is never preceded by a preposition, so *estoy harto de diciéndolo is not Spanish for estoy harto de decirlo 'I'm tired of what I'm saying'. The gerund also cannot be used as a noun: *fumando daña los pulmones is absolutely wrong for (el) fumar daña los pulmones 'smoking damages the lungs'.

24.2 Gerund forms (a) All verbs of the -ar conjugation, including stem-change verbs: replace the infinitive -ar with -ando: hablar 'to speak' hablando, dar 'to give' giving. (b) Verbs of the -er and -ir conjugation: replace the infinitive ending with -iendo: temer 'temer' temiendo, vivir 'to live' viviendo, producir 'to produce' produciendo.

24.3  'A box of books' ' a girl speaks French', etc.


Irregular verbs form the gerund in the same way: ser – to be, tener – teneido. Exceptions – not all are truly 'irregular': say and its compounds: say sleep, die: sleep, die go: go (correct, despite appearances) listen and its compounds: listen (correct) verbs like ask, choose: ask, choose fight se , get hurt, get up

power: powerful verbs love laugh: laugh, smile verbs love feel: feel, cook,  lie vir and its compounds: vir

(1)  Verbs whose infinitive ends in -uir, -eer, -aer or -oer follow the spelling rule stated in 16.11.13, pr. build - build, escape - escape, own - own, believe - believe, bring - bring, fall - fall, bite - bite, etc. (2)  Verbs whose infinitive ends in -ñer, -ñir or -llir follow the orthographic rule stated in 16.4.10, eg toñer – toll, cingir – cingir (conjugated as to ask), to bullir – to intimidate, etc.

24.3  'A box of books' 'a girl who speaks French' etc. English and French can avoid relative clauses by using the -ing or -ant form of the verb: We need a girl who speaks French We need a girl who speaks French He had a box full of books He had a box full book Vous cherchez un médecin qui parle votre Vous cherchez un médecin parlant votre   langue? ('Are you looking for a doctor   langue?   who speaks your language?') As the Spanish gerund can, strictly speaking, only modify verbs and not nouns, such sentences generally have to be translated with a relative clause: Necesitamos una chica que hable francés We need a girl who speaks French (not *hablando francés) Tenían una caja que contenía varios libros They had a box with several books   (not *contaniendo varios libros) ¿Busca usted un Médico que skill su lengua? Looking for a doctor who speaks your language? In careful Spanish, a gerund is usually only possible if there is a verb in the main clause to which it can refer, eg me escribió pidiéndome que fuera/fuese a verla 'he wrote a letter asking me to visit her' . But this rule is broken: (a)  In photo descriptions: Dos cazas siendo préparado para el despegue El Avante publicó mi foto quitándome los   aretes (AM, Mexico, dialogue. Aretes =   los pendientes in Spanish)

Two fighter jets prepare to take off Avante posted a photo of me taking off my earrings

(b)  After nouns which are objects of verbs meaning 'hear', 'imagine', 'see', 'find', usually to show that an action is actually in progress. See 24:6–7 for more details; (c)  in exceptional cases the adjectives ardiendo 'burning' and hirviendo 'boiling'. See 5.3 for discussion; (d)  with the preposition con: volvoí en sí con el brazo sangrando 'he came with a bloody hand', salimos del bar con la cabeza dar vueltas 'we left the bar dizzy';

310 Gerund (e)  in official and administrative documents: una ley decretando . . . (= una ley por la que se enact 'the law that enacts . . .'). This construction, sometimes called curial gerund or 'lawyer gerund', is rooted in certain documents, for example, the Boletín Oficial del Estado (where the Spanish Laws are published), but Seco (1998, 228) condemns it, as do NGLE 27.7a and the El País style manual; (f)  occasionally writers whose style is presumably impeccable, as in el probo de Probo, el hombre solo afrontando a la multitud, no se pudo realiza (Seco, 1998, xvii) 'it was not possible to realize the goal of Prob, a man who faces the crowd alone', despite his condemnation of this very construction (ibid., p. 228). (g)  constantly in spontaneous speech and informal writing: . . . luego ya en mi habitación, recién limpia y . . . so back to my room, (which was)   oliendo flower freshener (CMG, Sp. )   freshly cleaned and fragrant like   flower freshener Tenía mi edad y un hijo living con su mamá She was my age and had a son who lived   (AM , Mexico, dialogue)   with his mother a body that moved secretly   con sigil (LS, Ch.). . . con la luna ahi colgando para nosotros. . . with the moon hanging for us   (ABE, Fr.) One thousand 803 packages were secured with 1803 packages containing green, dry   vegetable green and dry but apparently   vegetable matter, apparently   marijuana (La Jornada, Mex. Marijuana   marijuana, was found in other countries ) Men working 400m Men working 400m   (Mexican sign) (1)  Foreign students should probably only emulate the options listed in (a), (b), (c) and (d). However, the grammarians' complaints about (e), (f) and (g) seem exaggerated, since these constructions are sometimes clearly acceptable to attentive native speakers. (2)  NGLE 27.7l notes that the misuse of conteniendo in phrases like una caja conteniendo libros is widespread, but disapproves of it. (3)  The participle form ending in -nte can sometimes be used as the -ing form of English: una tumba más magnifica perteneciente a Nefertiti (La Jornada, Mexico) 'the greater tomb belonging to Nefertiti'. This construction, typical of newspapers, is only possible with a limited number of verbs. It is discussed on 23.6. (4)  For the use of the gerund after hay, see 24.6d. (5)  French allows the -ant form to refer to a subject other than that of the main clause: la pluie tombant à verso, le voyageur s’arrêta sous un hangar. The gerund cannot be used here: ya que llovía a Cántaros, el viajero se detuvo bajo un granero, 'since it was raining heavily, the traveler stopped under the barn' (not *lloviendo a Cántaros . . .).

24.4  Main uses of gerunds to modify the main verb of a sentence 24.4.1  A gerund used to denote simultaneous actions A gerund is used to denote an action that occurs at the same time – or almost at the same time – as the action of the Main Verb:

24.4  The main use of gerunds to modify the main verb of a sentence


He left screaming (He left screaming) He received us in the shower She received us while we were showering I got off my horse wanting juice I got off my horse because I wanted   de naranja (AM, Mexico)   (lit. ' wanting' ) orange juice One day, while walking on the beach, an idea came to him. One day, walking along the beach,  (s) came an idea —Aqui tiene mi tarjeta, Félix said 'Here's my card,' Felix said , handing it  handing it to the driver (CF, Mex.,   driver'   in Spanish chofer = chauffeur) (1 )  Important: the actions of the gerund and the main verb must be simultaneous or almost simultaneous. ?The thief ran away, returned hours later 'the thief ran away, returned hours later' should be the thief ran away and returned hours later. ?Open the door, he entered the house (open the door and enter the house) is less acceptable in Spanish than 'open the door, he entered the house': the Academy's NGLE 27.4g considers it incorrect. However - and somewhat arbitrarily - they left the house by slamming the door "they left the house by slamming the door" is acceptable because it is considered almost simultaneous. (2) Important: The Spanish gerund should also not be used to describe an action that is the result of a previous action: The building is said to have sunk and killed several people, right? . . . sank killing several people 'the building collapsed killing several people', although this rule is constantly being broken in the media. (3)  With the verbs ser and estar, the gerund can translate 'when' or 'while', which is a strange construction for English speakers: since I was in Paris, I found out that Rafael got married 'while I was in Paris, I found out that Rafael got married', I met him as a fireman 'I met him when I was a fireman', I will tell you, but this lady is not there 'I will tell you, but not while this lady is here', and even less when there were two are alone'. Note the position of the personal pronoun with the gerund: I am willing to talk about it, but you are not present 'I am willing to talk about it, but not in your (plural) presence'.

24.4.2 Gerund used to indicate method A gerund can indicate the method by which an action is performed. English usually requires the preposition 'por': They got rich (por) by buying stocks at the right time You divinely had no children You are doing absolutely the right thing (AG, Sp., dialogue ) by not having children You are forced to write another novel. No, you are being asked to write another novel. I did you a favor by not posting this (MVM, Sp., dialogue) . . . . . . . . as if I knew the truth but didn't want to. . . . . . . . . as if she knew the truth and did not want to offend him by telling him (CF, Mex.) to offend him by telling him (1) This construction often expresses a state: squeeze/if you squeeze like that you will break 'I will break if I squeeze/squeeze like that', stand up/if you stand up like that with me you won't get anything 'you won't get anywhere if you stay like that with me'. (2) NGLE 27.1i notes that the gerund can alternate with the infinitive after manner, form, way and similar words: it states the only way to open it by exchanging this drill for another 'the only way to open that' is to change this drill for another'.

312 Gerund

24.4.3  Gerund used to express purpose (= para + infinitive) This construction occurs with communicative verbs: He wrote to me saying/ to tell me to go/ (S)he wrote saying for me to come and   he went to see him to see him in he called asking/asking for help (S)he called us asking/asking for help I got a call. . . telling me that I received a call that he was at the   he was at the toll booth   toll booth on the highway/  (AH, Mexico)  turnpike

24.4.4 Gerund used to indicate cause (= of . . ., of . . . + finite verb) As a student you are entitled to As a student you are entitled to   a scholarship   a scholarship To be governor of the state of Mexico, from /While he was governor of the state   was is one of the two main clients   Mexico was one of the main clients   Centro Fox (AH, Mex.)   Fox Center mais Since it's you , it's not enough to say Not wanting to disturb me , I left Not wanting to disturb me, I left. One day, having nothing to do, he went to see her. One day, having nothing to do,     he went to see her

24.4.5  Gerund used to express concession (= although + finite verb) The Spanish gerund occasionally means 'although', often combined with aun 'even': Being smart as he is, he sometimes seems stupid Although he is smart, sometimes is sometimes looks   stupid Late and all, he helped us a lot Although (s)he arrived late, (s)he helped us a lot if   in his province or even if there is ('even   haya anuncio (Yellow Pages, Sp.)   there is ' ) has not been announced. . . including those who, as soldiers, . . . including those who, although they   surrender without fighting against our forces   against enemy soldiers, surrender to our forces   (JV, Mex.)   without fighting

24.4.6  The gerund is preceded by an equivalent as if he looked at me calculating my age She looked at me as if   (SP, Sp., = as if calculating)   calculating my age If the dog has a problem, he can't If the dog has a problem he can't solve becomes  solver, he begins to see man as   looking at man as looking   looking for cooperation or help   cooperation or help  (Excélsior, Mex. Voltear = return to Spain)

24.5  En + gerund In older languages ​​and in some dialects, especially in Latin America, this is equivalent to al + infinitive: en llegando al grove = al llegar al grove 'on reaching the forest' (cf. French en

24.7  Gerund after verbs of perception ('see', 'hear', etc.)


arrival in). This construction has died out in the modern Spanish standard. Al + infinitive is discussed in 22.3.3. The use of en + gerund to indicate state, as in en sabiendo que están bien y contentos, ya tengo rather 'as long as I know they are well and happy, that's good enough for me' is mentioned in GDLE 10.8.5, but also seems almost extinct in modern Spanish.

24.6  Gerund used to qualify the object of a verb Like the English -ing form, the Spanish gerund can also denote an action performed by the direct object of certain types of verbs: (a)  With perceptual verbs like 'see', 'hear', 'respect': see 24.7 for details. (b)  With verbs such as coger, pilar 'to take', arrest 'to take', dejar 'to leave', descubrir 'to discover', find/hallar 'to find', sorprender 'to surprise', pescar 'to surprise': Lo/Le cogí/pillé robando I caught him stealing I was surprised, repeating through gritted teeth. . . I found myself repeating between my teeth  (CMG, Sp.) . . . (ie 'mumbling') We let Andrés sleep We let Andrés sleep   (AM, Mex., dialogue) (c)  With representational verbs like 'paint', 'draw', 'photograph', 'show', 'describe ', ' to imagine', 'to imagine', etc.: Pinté plays the clavicémbalo I painted her playing the harpsichord This photo shows the king leaving the plane This photo shows the king leaving the plane     Los imaginaba caminando por la playa He imagined them walking by his side beach   loaded with weapons (EM, Mexico)   loaded with weapons Descriptions in photographs or other images fall into this category. See above 24.3a. (d)  With haber: había más de cien personas haciendo cola 'there were more than a hundred people in line/standing in line' no hay nadie waiting 'there is no one waiting'. Note that, unlike English, this construction does not allow the definite article. One can say mira, hay un niño jugando 'look, the child is playing', but not *mira, hay el niño jugando 'look, the child is playing': mira, ahí está el niño jugando.

24.7  Gerund after verbs of perception ('see', 'hear', etc.) Usually after ver 'see', and occasionally after oír 'hear', remember 'remember', olvidar 'forget' and feel 'feel'/ ' listen', the gerund can be used to qualify the object of the main verb, as in abrimos el periodico y vem a niños muriéndose de hambre (El País, Sp.) 'we open the newspaper and see children dying of hunger'. Usually, the infinitive is also possible in this construction, with the difference that the infinitive indicates a completed action, and the gerund indicates an action that is or is still in progress. Compare la vi fumondo un cigarrillo 'I saw her (while she was) smoking a cigarette' and la vi fumar un cigarrillo 'I saw her smoking a cigarette' (see 22.2.4 for the infinitive). There is usually a colloquial alternative to the gerund that uses que + finite verb: la vi que fumarba un cigarrillo 'I saw him smoking a cigarette'. Other examples:

314 Gerund No se me olvida mi hijo bailando con ella I can't forget my son dancing with her I'd like to hear the rain hitting   hazel trees in the garden (CMG, Sp.)   hazel trees in the garden When Felix notices the doctor reading a political magazine When Felix spotted the doctor. . . (CF, Mexico)   reading a political magazine. . . That's why I always remember them   (ABE, Fr., dialogue)   drink (1) With ir e venir the gerund is not common: 'I saw him coming towards me' je lo/le vi venir hacia mí or I saw him/her coming towards me, but not *I saw him/her coming towards me. (2)  Listen 'hear' can take a gerund, as in did we hear the child playing in his room 'from there we could hear the child playing in his room', but more often occurs with an infinitive or que and a finite verb: oí enter al alguien/oí que alguien entraba 'I heard that someone entered'; see 22.2.4 for examples. The infinitive is safer for foreigners because the gerund can be used to indicate the subject of the main verb, for example ?la vi entrandando can mean 'I saw her as I entered'. However, the gerund is common when its subject is inanimate: when the sergeant hears the trumpet retreating', . . . the voice of the commander waving through the speaker system (MT, Sp.)'. . . the commander's own voice greeting us over the loudspeaker'. (3)  Nouns that mean the same as this type of verb can also be followed by a gerund, for example the sound of rain falling on dry leaves 'the sound of rain falling on dry leaves', the echo of a voice shouting 'the echo of a screaming voice', the description of a giraffe that sit'.

24.8  Other uses of gerunds 24.8.1  Gerund with walk This translates into English 'to go about doing something' often with the same implication of meaningless activity or suggests frequent activity, eg 'keep working. . .'. Go can often replace walking in this building, but walking tends to imply intermittent activity: Siempre walk/go in search of the camorro (S)he always walks looking for trouble He was a geography teacher, and he was always a geography teacher and he was always   andu's search transfer seeking transfer (to other schools)   (CMG,  Sp.) Anduve maldiciendo todo el jueves All Thursday I went out cursing   (AM, Mexico, dialogue) He wrote a novel (S)he wrote a novel intermittently (from NGLE 28.14a ) (1)  Colloquial, but not formal, Mexican usually uses walk to stand to form a continuum: ¿andas trabajando? (para ¿estás trabajando?) 'do you work?', a lo mejor se andaba despidiendo (EM, Mexico, dialogue) 'maybe he went on leave' (fire 'for farewell'), see 19.5. (2)  The idea of ​​a repetitive activity is sometimes colloquially expressed by vivir + gerund in colloquial Latin American Spanish: mi wife me vive repitiendo que no me ama (forum, Mexico) 'my wife keeps telling me she doesn't love me', me vivía says ' te amo' y ahora no la voy a escuchar Nunca más (interview, Diario La Provincia, Arg. Sp. vivía says) 'she kept telling me 'I love you' and now I don't want to hear her anymore'.

24.8  Other uses of gerunds


24.8.2  Gerund with ir (a)  Expresses a slow, meticulous or gradual action: We (gradually) grow wiser We (gradually) grow wiser She gradually bent down until she fell   to the ground . . . books I later read (SG, Mexico). . . books I read later Gano lo necesario para ir tirando I earn enough to survive (1)  Spoken Mexican Spanish also uses this construction to express an action that is just ending (examples from J.M. Lope Blanch, 1991, 16): Wait a moment; I'm finishing now (sp. I'm finishing now/I'm about to finish) 'wait a minute, I'm finishing', I'm coming now (sp. I've just arrived) 'I've just arrived'. See also 24.8.6 note 1 for a similar construction with arrival. NGLE 28.13f notes that in Mexico and Central America this construction can also be almost equivalent to casi/por poco: me vaba dejando el avión = casi me deja el avión 'the plane almost left me'. This is unheard of in Spain. (b)  To express the idea of ​​'getting on with' something: Ya es hora de ir finishing this It's time to finish this Ya puedes ir I'm preparing everything for You can start preparing things for when   when they arrive   they arrive Go writing Write everything down as I dictate

24.8.3  Gerund with llevar This provides an elegant translation for 'for' a certain period of time as in llevo dos months painting this house 'I painted this house for two months'. In Latin America, llevar in this construction can be replaced with tener if desired. For details see 36.3.1.

8.24.4  Gerund with stay Translates the idea 'to keep doing something': I spent some time helping them. I meditated on it for a few moments (JV, Mex., dialogue) I looked at him. . . (JH, Mexico, dialogue)

I stayed for a while to help them. I spent a few minutes thinking about it. I stayed/I stayed looking at him

24.8.5  Gerund with follow and continue Follow and continue with the gerund translates 'to continue. . . -ing', 'continue with . . .', as in Ruso 'come back to life' en la morgue y corre a continue drinking vodka (Excélsior, Mexico) 'A Russian "comes back to life" in the morgue and runs away to continue drinking vodka". See 36.8 for additional comments.

24.8.6  Gerund with venir To express an action that accumulates or increases over time. Sometimes it conveys growing resentment:

316 Gerund He has been saying the same thing for years (S)he has been saying the same thing for years programs that initiate the program(s) that were implemented   in the field of pediatric cardiology   (until now) into the field of pediatric cardiology (Granma, Cu .) An invasion plan has been developed An invasion plan has been in preparation   since 1967   since 1967 to be something that without   is now becoming something that   undoubtedly has high profitability   is undoubtedly very profitable  ( El Universal, Mexico ) ( 1)  In Mexico and Central America the following is heard construction: ¿Qué, no lo viste? Oh sure: you've just arrived (sp. you've just arrived) 'What? You didn't see it? Oh, of course, you just arrived' (from J.M. Lope Blanch, 1991, 17), I was arriving, I heard and ran to see my sleeping daughter (interview, El Universal, Mex.) 'I' just arrived, Chula I ran to see my sleeping daughter'. (2)  Ser venir has the colloquial meaning 'it happened that', as in venir ser amigo do bishop 'she was the bishop's friend'. This is also used in Spain.

24.8.7 Gerund with to finish, to finish These verbs with a gerund mean 'to finish with': He always ends up laughing (S)he always ends laughing At this rate you'll end up destroying him (ES, Mex., dialog ) At the end you'll do what she says In the end you'll do what she says. . . . . . . . . because eventually we would finish. . . . . . . . . because in time we would not end up never seeing each other (ABE, Fr., dialogue) we would see each other at all (1) The + infinitive ending is equivalent and is more common in negative sentences: you will end up never leaving home ' you'll never leave home'

24.9  Translating the English -ing form The following examples consist mainly of cases where the English -ing form cannot be translated by the Spanish gerund.

24.9.1  When the -ing form is the subject of a verb This is usually translated with an infinitive or a proper noun: Eating too much butter is bad for the heart Don't smoke Skiing is expensive Salmon fishing is an art

Too much butter is bad for the heart No smoking Skiing is hard Salmon fishing is an art

24.9.2  When the -ing form is the verb object In this case there are two possibilities:

24.9  Translation of the -ing form into English


(a)  When the same subject performs both actions, use an infinitive or a noun: (S)he is afraid to start He is afraid to start I like to swim ​​Me gusta nadar/Me gusta la nadación (S)he has given up the game / He is out of the game Try calling him Try calling him/her There's nothing I like a work noun. The subjunctive should be used when required by the rules stated in Chapter 20: I can't stand Pedro's singing I didn't mind him/her living here I recommended promoting her Recommend su ascendiente/que la ascendiesen/    ascendieran Wake up early, I mean it's good to wake up early Some verbs allow a gerund. See 24.6-7.

24.9.3  The -ing form used in the passive sense Caution is needed when the English -ing form replaces the passive infinitive, cf. 'your hair needs to be cut' (= 'your hair needs to be cut'). In the Spanish translation, an infinitive or a clause should be used: Your hair needs to be cut This needs to be cared for It's not worth listening to This wants/needs polishing

You have to cut your hair You have to take care of it/You have to take care of it It's not worth listening to You have to/You have to polish it

24.9.4  The -ing form preceded by prepositions Unless the preposition is 'by' (see 24.4.2), an infinitive or clause must be used: I'm glad to see you I want to see you I'd rather swim than run I'd rather swim run He was punished for delays Lo/Le punished for being late This is a good opportunity for this life without    trabajo/sin trabajo He was furious that he was mistaken for

24.9.5  -ing form before nouns (a)  If the -ing form is a noun, the translation is usually an infinitive or a noun: US driver's license/driver's license dancing shoes fishing rod

Driver's license Dancing shoes Fishing rod

318 Gerund (b)  If the -ing form is a participle (adjective), then a relative clause can be used, unless there is no participle in -ante or -(i)ente (see 23.6): the ringing of bells bells that tañen /tañían (*tañente does not exist) troubling problem troubling problem flying object flying/flying object convincing answer convincing answer But often in both cases an idiomatic solution must be sought: boiling point room change conditioning cream dining room drinking water airplane flying flying saucer riding boots sleeping bag steering wheel pivot boots for hiking

boiling point locker room water softener dining room drinking water airplanes in flight flying saucer riding boots sleeping bag steering wheel turning point/turning point tides hiking boots

For the exceptional use of hiviendo 'fervendo' and ardiendo 'queimando' as adjectives, see 5.3.

25 Auxiliary verbs The main points discussed in this chapter are: • • • • • • •

Can and knows (Section 25.2) Should, should and should (Section 25.3) Should/could or should/could? (Section 25.3.5) Haber, haber de, haber que (Section 25.4) Querer (Section 25.5) Soler e acustomar (Section 25.6) Translation of 'would', 'should', 'will' 'should' and 'had to' (Section 25.7)

25.1 General auxiliary verbs are verbs such as poder, saber, deber, haber que, tener que, soler or 'would', 'could', 'could', 'could', 'should', 'should', 'must' , which express different shades of meaning, usually in combination with the infinitive, as in podría llover 'it may/may rain', derión hacerlo 'we should do it', tengo que trabajar 'I have to work' .

25.2 Power and knowledge 'to be able'/'to know how' 25.2.1 Power and knowledge in contrast Both verbs often translate 'to be able' or 'could', but their meanings are slightly different: to know as well as 'to know' means 'to know how to do something' and power means 'to be able to do something'/'to have permission to do something'. Sometimes the meanings overlap: can you swim? Can you swim today? She could never go out with her friends, I'm single. I can do whatever I want The importance of knowing how to eat is great (La Jornada, Mex.) Júlia knows how to win/knows how to win everyone's sympathy The only thing she knew how to do was work honestly (CORPES, CR ) I could never understand / I can never understand

Can you swim? (do you know?) Can you swim today? (can you/could you?) She was never/never allowed to hang out with her friends I'm free. I can do whatever I want Knowing how to eat is very important Júlia knows how to win everyone's favor The only thing he knew how to do was honest work

(1) In power (por) less than means the same as in power to avoid + infinitive: in power (por) less than decirse it 'I won't be able to stop myself from telling him/her'. The Latin American equivalent is nothing less than.

320 Auxiliary verbs (2)  Expressions with strength: no puedo más, estoy harto 'I can't go on, I've had enough', at least en ese terra la vida no ha podido conmigo (CMG, Sp.) 'at least in that area, life mi was not better', con esa estatura no hay quien pueda con él (MS, Mexico, dialogue) 'with such a height (meaning he is so tall . . .) you can't outdo him about that'. (4) Saber means to know a fact or a skill: sé la respuesta 'I know the answer', sabías dónde estaban 'did you know where they were', sé ruso 'I know Russian', sé cocinar 'I know how to cook'. To know means 'to be familiar', p. conozco a tu primo 'I know your cousin', yo no conocía Buenos Aires 'I didn't know Buenos Aires'; its other meanings should be looked up in a good dictionary.

25.2.2  Past tense of Poder e Saber The past tense of Poder often means 'to get' (but see note 2), and the past tense of Saber usually means 'to find out' as opposed to 'know', although it can mean 'could enter'. The imperfect of power means 'was able', but does not give us more information. The imperfect of saber means 'knew': Ne pudo bejeći if (S)he couldn't escape (. . . he couldn't) Nema podia bejeći if (S)he couldn't escape (no information about    if (s)he eventually did) I couldn't see why you were busy (S)he couldn't see me because I was busy ya sabía la verdad I already knew the truth Cuando supe la noticia de tu éxito . . . When I heard the news of your success. . . Esa noche también traía mis copas I was also very drunk that night and   y Nunca supe bien qué pasó (ES, Mexico,    I never found out what happened    dialogue. Sp. . . . llevaba unas copas   encima y. . .) Me miró s with a sober and serious expression on his face He looked at me with a sober, serious expression    that I cannot decipher (JM, Sp.)    an expression that I could not decipher (1) In areas where the present perfect is used, p. Spain, Bolivia, Peru, haber saber can also mean 'to perceive', 'to discover': he did not know that the champion until the last lap (racing driver in El Periódic, Sp.) was the champion until the last lap'. (2)  Oddly enough, the past affirmative form of could also mean the opposite of 'figure out', i.e. 'I could have done it, but I didn't'. See 25.2.3c. (3)  ‘Can you see the stars?’, ‘I can see them’, etc., are usually expressed —¿ves las estrellas? —Las velo. But lo/le puedo ver can mean 'I can't stand it' as well as 'I can't see'. . .'.

25.2.3  Power Expressing Possibility and Preposition Power is usually translated as 'could' or 'could'. Both the imperfect and the conditional can be used: (a) Possibility/suggestions What we could/could do is to throw this What we could do is to tear down this   partition wall be a valuable exit    for all valuable (JV, Mex., dialog )    [problems ] for all Pode/Podria/Podía haber le sucedor algo Something could have happened to him

25.2 Power and knowledge ' power/'knowing how to do'


Pudiera can also be used for could, but is less common in the spoken language. (b) Polite requests The conditional is more common than the imperfect in polite requests, but both are heard: Could you open the window? Can you open the window? "Can we talk to her?" —le 'Can we talk to her?' I asked him I asked (JV, Mexico, dialogue) Can you/Can you tell the boss that I'm sick? Can you tell the boss I'm sick? (c) The indicative form of the past affirmative can often express something that could have happened but did not: The day when the third world war could have broken out. . . . . . . . . thinking about what could have been and wasn't. . . . . . . . . thinking about what could have been was (JM, Sp.) and was not The man who could have been president (Excélsior, Mex.) But it can, paradoxically, also mean 'could and did', as in managed to open the door ' he(s) managed to open the door', Felix greeted him and only managed to keep the impression (CF, Mex.) 'Felix greeted him and only managed to keep the (transient) impression'. . . . . The negative past tense means 'I couldn't and I couldn't': we couldn't. (d) The imperfect indicative (not the conditional) can also be used to complain about something that someone did not do in the past. The past tense can also be used: You could/could have told me You could have told me that you could have put up the Christmas decorations (CRG, Sp., dialogue) (2) It could have been, it could have been, it could have been are equivalent to 'could have been', 'could have been'; could is less common in the spoken language: even if our former teacher died, which might as well be. . . . . . . . . (CMG, Sp.) 'even if our former teacher had died, what could have happened'. In the answers, it can be shortened to can: - Are you going fishing tomorrow? — can/maybe yes '"Are you going fishing tomorrow?" "Maybe..."'. (2) For the use of power other than the subjunctive, see 20.3.5.

25.2.4  Power used in conjecture As in English, power can be used to conjecture about something: someone called. Who can/could/could/could have been? "Someone called. Who could it have been?', could have been/could have been/could have been your aunt 'could have been/could have been your aunt'.

322 auxiliary words

25.3  Deber and deber de 25.3.1  Deber to express obligation Deber + infinitive translates 'must' in the sense of 'thanks', 'should': Your child must work harder if he wants to pass Your child must work harder if   el Exam (in America Latin pasar un    he wants to pass the exam   exam is common and heard in Spain) There was a summer when your husband    had to be away more often than usual   profesionales (JM, Sp.)    for professional reasons Who should manage the household finances, Who should manage the household finances man or woman? (La Jornada, Mexico)   man or woman? (1)  Important: deber de must not be used to express an obligation. ?You must do this now sounds bad because you must do this now. This error is not uncommon in the vernacular of both continents, and even in writing, cf. If you want to make any corrections in the voter list, you must prove it with documentation (an official Peruvian document) 'if you want to make any changes in the voter list, you must provide documentation'. This use of duty is common in colloquial speech everywhere. See the next section for using the default rate. (2) Tener that can be used instead of strengthening the obligation, i.e. you have to work 'you have to work', they had to intervene 'they had to intervene'. See 25.3.4. (3)  The degree of obligation is reduced by the form of conditional obligation or, more rarely, the-ra. Since the imperfect is often used colloquially as a conditional (see 17.5. 4b), you must do, you must do and you must do this can therefore mean 'you should do that', although should is more literary.

25.3.2  Deber (de) to express probability or assumption Deber de can only express probability or assumption, although only deber is now constant and increasingly used with this meaning: Debiste (de) llegar tarde You must have arrived late Debe (de ) it must have been very beautiful She must have been very beautiful Deben (de) it was five It must have been five o'clock Your dress tore in the back, yes, yes, You must have caught yourself on a nail   you must have caught yourself on nail (RC, Sp.) They left their base They must have left their base earlier   before the attack began (AH, Mexico)    the attack began (1) As noted above, the modern tendency is to use duty under both obligation and assumption as in debió ser vergua (JMa, sp.) 'it must have been a shame', he has scratches on his left hand, which must have been done when he fell (MS, Mex., dialogue) 'he has scratches on his left hand that he must have when has fallen'. This use of duty without de for presuppositions is now so widespread that NGLE 28.6k accepts it but prefers deber de for presuppositions.

25.3  Duty and Duty


(2)  Mexican Spanish constantly uses haber de to express assumptions. See 25.4.1b. (3)  Like 'must' in English, a tener that can also indicate a strong assumption. See 25.3.4.

25.3.3  Past Tense, Conditional and Imperfect of deber The past tense expresses something that should have been done; negative something that should not have been done. The conditional and the imperfect express something that must be done. Debió said it before (Should have told you before) Debía/should have told you before (Should have told you before) No debiste hacerlo You shouldn't have done it En ese momento debírtelo Trust, At that moment I should have but not lo hice (JI, Mex., dialogue. Sp.    suspicious, but I was not   debí suspicious) He returned to a place where he never should   (EA , Sp., dialogue)   they left Debieron llamarla PDUSA, not PDVSA They should to call [i.e. Venezuela   (Rebelión, Ven.)    Oil Inc.] PDUSA, not PDVSA(1)  But when used to express assumptions, the past tense of deber can also indicate an assumption or an assumption so strong that it is a virtual certainty: what she told them it must have convinced them, since the next day they gave her $100,000'.

25.3.4  Must Must express an obligation or assumption that is stronger than duty. This is very common on both continents: You need to format the hard drive. Like it or not, you have to fix that car (ES, Mexico, dialogue) Why did you have to tell them everything? It must have been, Marta, you must be crazy.

You need to format the hard drive. Like it or not, you have to fix that car. Why did you have to tell them everything? Marta must have done it (assumption) You must be crazy (assumption)

(1)  The past tense indicates an obligation that has been effectively fulfilled: tuvenon que comprar un televisiâ nuevo 'they had to buy a new television' tells us that they bought it; tenien which does not tell us if they are or not. (2)  No tener más remedio which is a variation of the word tener often used in everyday language to express a very strong obligation: no tengo más remedio que dismissarlo/le 'I have no choice but to dismiss him'.

25.3.5 Deber, Poder and Tener Que: alternative construction with complex tenses Deber and Poder allow different constructions in complex tenses, viz. tenses based on haber and participle. The pronoun change option (discussed in 14.3.4-5) multiplies the number of possibilities:

324 Pomoćni glagoli Should have done/Should have done Must have done/Must have done

(S)hould have done it

Could have done/Could have done Could have done/Could have done

(S)he could do it

They could do it / They could do it They could do it / They could do it /

They could have done it (before)

I should have done that / I should have done that / I should have done that / I should have done that (I should have can be used for   should here)

(S)he should have done it

He had to do it / he must have done it   he did it / he must have done it

He must have done it

and also could do that, could do that, etc. '(he) could/could do that'.

25.4  Haber Haber is for forming compound tenses, eg he visa 'I saw', habian vuelto 'they returned'. This is discussed in 18.1. (1) Haber with a special form of hay in the present tense, is not an auxiliary verb. It is used to translate 'there is', 'there is', 'it was', etc., as in hay cincuenta 'there are fifty', hubo una explosion 'there was an explosion'. This is discussed in 34.2.

25.4.1  Haber de In Spain, haber de is now somewhat archaic, at least outside Catalonia. It has the following uses: (a)  Expresses an obligation or future certainty: I must do it as soon as possible I must do it as soon as possible. If your company has databases that must be accessed from several locations. . . (Computer magazine, Sp.) I had to repeat the experiment (JM, Sp.) (S) had to repeat the experiment with two tendencies, centralist and federalist, two tendencies, centralist and    that should mark the history of federalist   , which would leave a mark   Colombia ( Promocomercio, Col.)    in Colombian history (b)  Can express probability or assumptions: Ha de haberle dicho todo (in general debe (de)   haberle dicho . . .)

He must have told her everything

This construction is quite literary in Spain, but is very common in Mexico and Central America, for example. After all, the captain must have complained about his loneliness. Serafina must have felt sorry for him (JI, Mex.) 'finally, the captain must have complained about his loneliness. Serafina must have pitied him'; Spain should (not) complain, should (de)complain to him.

25.5  I want


(c) In the conditional or imperfect, it translates an exasperated or mystified 'should'. . . . .'. This usage is normal in spoken and written style: Why would he/she be offended if I didn't say anything? (or, more colloquially, didn't say anything? That would offend me) Why would I accuse Samuel? Why should I accuse Samuel? (1) Catalans sometimes use haber de in Castilian to express an obligation, as their language uses ter de to mean "must" or "should".

25.4.2  Haber que (hay que) Haber meaning 'to be needed for . . .'. In this construction, the verb is used only in the third person singular. The present tense form is hay que: Hay que darles tiempo It is necessary to give them time/It is necessary to give them time No hay que hacer autopsia (GGM, Col.) No hacer hacer autopsy Hubo que llamar a los bomberos It was necessary to call the fire department    (implying 'and we are') Hay que estar loco travel at night You must be crazy to travel by bus   en camión (MS, Mex., dialogue. In Spain    at night   'autobus' is el autobús e el camión means   'truck'/'truck') ( 1)  The object pronoun must not be placed before haber que, that is, one says hay que hacerlo, but not ?lo hay que hacer. This last construction, criticized in NGLE 28.6s, is heard in the vernacular in certain areas. (2)  Haber is only used in the third person, which is why the following reflexive pronoun must also be in the third person: hay quearse 'we have to get up', hay que lavase las manos 'we have to wash our hands'. The mixture of people, eg ?hay que levarnos 'we have to get up', ?había que decidnos 'we had to decide' should be avoided, although it occurs in popular Mexican Spanish (NGLE 16.4j).

25.5  Querer 25.5.1  Querer means 'to want' and 'to love' Querer means two things, 'to want' and 'to love'. In the latter meaning, it can only refer to humans or pets. You can just say me enchante nadar 'I like swimming', me enchante/adoro el helado de vanilla 'I like vanilla ice cream'. Cf. quiero a mis hijas 'I love my daughters'. Amar indicates a very deep love, for example love towards God or between lovers: hay que amar a Dios 'God must be loved', te amo 'I adore you', yo amaba todo (Espronceda, 19th century poet) 'Everything I loved'.

25.5.2  Querer for 'want' In the present tense, this verb should cause few problems for English speakers: quiero ir a Paraguay, 'I want to go to Paraguay', no quiero que vayan solos 'I don't' don 'I don't want them to /you go alone'. To wish requires a subjunctive regardless of tense.

326 Auxiliary verbs (a)  The imperfect of quer simply means 'wanted' and does not tell us the outcome: quería hablar con José 'I wanted to talk to José' (and I could, and maybe I didn't). (b)  The past tense of will is unusual because it is ambiguous out of context. It can mean 'I wanted to and couldn't': quise hablar con José 'I wanted/tried to talk to José (but couldn't)'. But in other contexts, and less often, it can mean 'I wanted to and I did', especially when the speaker is very assertive: lo hice por quise 'I did it because I wanted to (and that's it!)', me casé con Federico por que quise (JRIG, Mex., dialogue) 'I married Federico because I wanted to'. (c)  The neuter form of the past tense usually means 'to refuse'. Compare no quiso hacerlo '(s)he didn't want to do it' and didn't, and no quiso hacerlo '(s)he didn't want to do it' - ((s)he may or may not have done it). It can also mean 'I didn't mean' when something happened unintentionally: no quise offenderte 'I didn't want to offend you'. (d)  The imperfect form of the subjunctive -ra can be used for the conditional: no querría/quisiera volver a nacer 'I would not like to be born again'. The imperfect can also be used instead of these two tenses in polite questions or requests: querría/quisiera/quería hablar con el director 'I would like to speak to the manager'.

25.6 Soler and accustomed Soler translates the idea 'in general', 'to be accustomed' It is used only in the present and the imperfect. High heels are usually uncomfortable He used to talk to himself He used to talk to himself They usually fire one or several shots into the air They usually fire one or several shots into the (MS, Mex., dialogue) air (1) Can usually be used for tanning when it comes to habits or customs, so not "he got used to loving in April because it usually rains in April", which is not a custom or habit. See I usually don't/I usually don't go out at night 'I don't usually go out at night'. Get used to (not) get used to get used to common in Spain and still used in Latin America: to go to a tenant ranch, where you get used to stay overnight (MVLl, Pe., Sp. rancho = hut, shack) 'he makes for a local's hut inhabitants, where he usually spends the night', the receptions he organized (JV, Mexico) 'the receptions he organized'. (2) In some spoken varieties of Latin American Spanish, especially in the southern cone, saber is used for soler: he knows how to get up at eight because he usually gets up at eight '(s) he usually gets up at eight' . No translations available.

25.7 Translation of several English modal verbs: 'would', 'shall', 'will', 'got to' (a) 'Would'. This can form a conditional: 'it would be better' sería mejor. Important: in English narrative or storytelling, 'would' often means 'used to' and should therefore be translated in the imperfect tense: 'every morning he would leave/he went/he used to leave at seven' seven. This use of the English 'would' should not be translated by the Spanish conditional verb.

25.7  Translation of several English modal verbs: 'would', 'shall', 'will', 'got to'


(b)  'should'. This usually means 'should', in which case the conditional of deber translates to: 'this should work now' debiera work ahora. In older English it can mean the same as the conditional 'would' 'I should/I would be very angry if you did that' me enfadaría mucho si lo hicieras. (c)  'should'. The conditional or imperfect for deber is a likely equivalent: 'you should eat less fat' debieras/debieras/debías comer less fat. When talking about the past tense, the past tense of deber is the usual translation: debiste hacerlo antes 'you should have done this before'. (d)  'I have to'. It can imply a strong obligation: 'you have to work harder' tienes que trabajar más. In both American English and colloquial British English it can also express a strong assumption: 'it must/must be a lie' debe (de) ser mente/tiene que ser mente.

26 Personal a The main points discussed in this chapter are: • • • • • • • •

Use of the personal before direct objects referring to living things (Section 26.2) Me trató como a una reina, etc. (Section 26.3) Persons before pronouns (Section 26.4) to want (Section 26.6) Persons before collective nouns (Section 26.9) Persons before inanimate direct objects (Section 26.10) Use of the preposition a with various verbs (Section 26.11)

26.1 Personal a: in general The use of the preposition a before certain types of direct objects is so important in Spanish that it deserves a separate chapter. The basic rule is to precede identified or specific human direct objects and most other animals, eg vi a tu hermana 'I saw your sister', conozco al secretario 'I know the secretary'. Compare vi tu coche 'I saw your car', comiste una naranja 'you ate an orange' (not a man). However, 'personal' is an imprecise term, since it also and sometimes occurs with inanimate direct objects, especially, but not only, whenever there is doubt as to which is the subject and which is the direct object in a sentence.

26.2 Personal before direct objects denoting human beings or animals Personal a is required before a direct object denoting a known or identified human being or animal, such as a pet or some other known creature. Before a direct object that is a name or a personal title - Alberto, el jefe, mamá - the personal a is never omitted: conozco a tu madre 'I know your mother', via a Mario y a Elena 'I saw Mario and Elena', non aguantan al nuevo jefe 'they can't stand the new boss'. *You Mario and Elena are not Spanish. In animals, the use of the personal a depends on the degree of humanization of the creature. Said animal, such as a pet, is likely to understand personally, but in other cases the use of a depends on factors of emotion or context: the more familiar the language, the more likely it is to use a. In a zoo, one might say vem a by choice ver a los monos 'let's see the monkeys', but more likely, vai a ver los insectos 'let's see the insects', monkeys are cuter than cockroaches. Clinical or scientific language would, of course, employ a much more parsimonious personal usage. In the following examples, the personal is mandatory, except where indicated: No conozco a Feliciano Llevó a las niñas al zoo Jamás volvieron a ver a Amado ni Trini (DES, Mex. Sp. . . . ni a Trini)

I don't know Feliciano (S) took the girls to the zoo. They never saw Amado or Trini again

26.3 Personal a with nouns connected by similar


I don't care if you find   killers (LS, Ch., dialogue)   killer or killers They really admire the cameraman  camera 'they admire the camera') Will you walk the dog? Do you want to take your dog for a walk? Stop torturing the cat Stop torturing the cat Compare the following sentences in which the verb object is not individualized: I'm looking for a husband to help me around the house I'm looking for a husband to help me around the house I don't know a single pharmacist in   Brussels (ABE, Fr., dialogue)   all of Brussels I saw a boy how to play in silence (ES, Arg.) I saw a child playing in silence University students chose a queen University students chose   de belleza (IA, Ch.)   beauty queen Killing journalists does not kill  (Excélsior, Mexico)  truth. They used an Alsatian/German Shepherd   experimental   for the experiment (1) Important: For brevity, this chapter 'direct human object' includes pets and other familiar animals. (2)  Students will find many inconsistencies affecting the rule that unidentified direct objects do not lead to personal ones, eg they used a bloodhound. . ., kill journalists. . ., I saw a boy . . . Such variations seem to depend on the degree to which the speaker identifies the objects. GDLE chapter 28 notes that with some personal verbs a is used quite systematically with unidentified persons: they arrested a drug dealer, not *arrested a . . .. Similarly insult 'to insult', cure 'to treat', rubber 'to get drunk', bribe 'to bribe', hit 'to beat', hate 'to hate', hacer + infinitive 'to do . . .'. (3)  A proper noun can refer to someone's work, in which case the usual use is a: I am rereading Shakespeare, tonight they play Beethoven. However, a noun can refer to an inanimate thing, in which case the personal a is not used: they go to the auction with Turner (picture)', try to catch the queen 'try to take the queen' (in chess), who ate the knight? (APR, Sp., dialogue) 'who got the horse?' (in chess: literally 'who ate the horse?'). (4)  Murder is a special case: they killed a bystander 'they killed a bystander' implies accidentally without a, intentionally with it (based on GDLE 28.2.1, although not all speakers recognize the distinction.

26.3 Personal with nouns associated with as When a noun is associated with as with a preceding noun that has a personal a or with a pronoun representing such a noun, it usually also has a personal a, although it is sometimes colloquially omitted if there is no ambiguity: You had to raise my sister as if   without a burden   she is a bundle You don't consider me an equal You don't consider me an equal

330 Guys His reaction was one of the first things His reaction was one of the first things   to condemn Adrian Gómez as   to expose Adrian Gómez as   a dangerous being (JD, Ch.)   a dangerous person Treat me like una reina ( AM , Mexico , dialogue ) He used to treat me like a queen (1)  ?Tuve que recoger a mi sister like a burden sounds like ? 'I had to pick my sister up like a slob. But the rule is not always followed in everyday language: que te trate como una reina (ES, Mexico, dialogue) 'let him treat you like a queen'/'make him treat you like a queen'.

26.4 Personal a before pronouns 26.4.1  Before pronouns that are not relative pronouns When a pronoun refers to a known human being or animal, it has a personal. These pronouns include someone, some, one, both, any, anybody, nobody, other, no one, this, that, that, who/whom, everyone, he, she, you, and other personal pronouns except I, and, if , nos, os, le, la, lo, les, los e las. See the next section for a discussion of the use of the personal a in relative clauses: I know her but not him I know her but not him Although I don't know anyone between   who comes here . . . (CMG, Sp.)   people who come here. . . He was capable of insulting anyone (S) he was capable of insulting anyone Who did you see? Who did you see? ¿A ese/ése es al que mención, no a ti He is the one(s) he mentioned, not you (1)  Pronouns such as someone, nobody, anyone are therefore unusual because they take a personal a, although they do not relate to specific individuals. (2)  When who means 'anyone' or 'nobody' is not personal: who did you call? 'Who did you call?' but no tiene quien le ayudara/ayudase 'he had no one to help him/her'.

26.4.2 Personal a before relative pronouns Personal a can appear before a direct object relative pronoun referring to a human being, in which case the form of the relative pronoun will be quien, al que or al cual (see 39.4 for discussion). A relative pronoun used when the sentence is clearly restrictive (as defined in 39.1.2), cf. I saw a few students I didn't know 'I saw a few students I didn't know' (restrictive); which does not take personally unless preceded by el/la/los/las. But if not restrictive, the personal a is used, although the distinction is occasionally elusive. Informants from Spain generally insisted on a in the following examples: Tengo un professor al que/a quien han I have a teacher who is   nombrado miembro de la Academia   named a member of the Academy La persona a quien yo más echaba de menor A persona que eu mais I missed you He said you told me that you are the first person You told me that I am the first person   the one you loved (ES, arg. dialogue)   you loved Pluto, the husband of Proserpine, the one who/a Pluto is the husband of Proserpine , quien/a la cual robot   whom he (ie . Prosérpine) kidnapped la list of people we persecuted list of people we bothered   (CREA, Sp.)

26.6  Staff after having, wanting


(1). the authors who always criticize" or "these are the authors who always criticize". Los que or quienes would clearly mean "whom they always criticize". (2) The personal a rarely precedes relative pronouns referring to non-human objects, but is occasionally found: he knows that we are not like those trees that are shaken so that the fruits fall (SL, Sp., CREA) 'he knows that, we are not like those trees that we shake so that the fruits fall'.

26.5 Personal a before personified nouns A personified noun usually requires a personal. The decision whether a noun is personified or not depends, however, on complex contextual factors: A lo que yo temo es a la maldita casualidad What I fear is chance   (ABV, Sp., dialogue)   opportunity Se iba happy to his house da he follows us He went home happy just like   a challenging opportunity (GGM, Col.),   not to continue to tempt fate Los cazas llevan walking sticks to confuse Hunters carry rockets to confuse   a guided missile   a guided missile Bien Sabes cuánto temo a los huracanes Well you know how se bojem   (PJG, Cu., dialog)   of a hurricane (1)  The last three examples show how certain verbs, for example, admire 'to admire', to confuse 'to confuse', to criticize 'to criticize', to insult 'to insult', to hate ' hate', satirize 'satirize', survive 'survive', fear 'fear', etc., tend to personify their object with their meaning because they suggest a reaction similar to a human one. Therefore, they sometimes appear with a person even before inanimate things, which explains - but does not justify - phrases like ?criticaba a las novelas de so-and-so '(and) he criticized the novels of so-and-so' (correctly without the a) .

26.6 Personal a after tener, to wish These verbs can change meaning when used with personal a: I have a son and a daughter We have a Greek maid

I have a son and a daughter. We have a Greek maid

mas Así has ​​her husband and children, on the basis of This is how she keeps her husband   snacks, canned and frozen   and children - in sandwiches,   canned and frozen food I have an uncle as a guarantor I have an uncle as a guarantor I want a child I want a child/son wants un hijo to love a child/ sina (1)  Tengo un hijo/boyfriend 'I have a son/boyfriend' does not make the direct object specific or identified, while Gracias a Dios I had an older sister, whom I still love very much (ES, Mexico, dialogue) 'thank God I had my older sister whom I love very much' refers to an identified person. If possession is not implied, the tener usually takes it before human objects 'phenomenon astounded astronomers', has his girlfriend

332 People for the jealous mediocre 'his girlfriend is a little crazy with jealousy', there was no one. . . . . . . . . someone to talk to in Spanish (DES, Mex.) 'had no one to talk to in Spanish', let's go out. A girl is waiting for me with a car (LS, Sp., dialogue) 'Let's go out. The girl is waiting for me with the car'.

26.7  Omission of the personal before numbers Nouns preceded by a number can be indefinite or unidentified, and the personal a is sometimes omitted before them: They recruited (a) two hundred young people They recruited 200 young people Bayardo San Román . . . vio las dos mujeres Bayardo San Román saw two   dressed in black (GGM, Col.)   women dressed in black from an ambush   un hombre is also possible) (1)  A clearly defined or identified personal noun will, however, have a personal character: yo knows his three daughters in person 'I have met his three daughters in person', actually he hates them both (ES, Mexico, dialogue) 'actually he hates them both'.

26.8 Personal a combined with dative a Ambiguity can arise when two as appear in the same sentence, for example ?presenté a mi muž a mi jefe 'I met my husband with my boss' or '. . . my boss to my husband'. A common solution was to omit the personal a and place the direct object before the indirect object: I introduce my husband to my boss

I met my husband with my boss I reported a thief to the police I sent a patient to a specialist I prefer Dickens to Balzac

But NGLE 34.10r notes that the trend these days is to use two as well as say I introduced my husband to my boss, I sent the patient to a specialist, I prefer Dickens to Balzac. Ignacio introduced Adriana to Luis (JV, Mex. Personal a is required before the personal name Luis) 'Ignacio introduced Luis to Adrian', but before going into details. . . I would like to introduce you to our guests (ES, Mexico, dialogue) 'But before we get into the details. . . I would like to introduce you to our guests' (the file indicates that you are an indirect object).

26.9 Personal a before collective nouns Personal a is usual before collective nouns when referring to human beings: I don't know the rest of the group . . . a step that could put United . . . a step that could put the United States in a delicate position. States in a delicate position. EP, Mex.) shakes Mexican society

26.10 Personnel in front of inanimate direct objects


(1)  A is normal in all the examples above, but in the following sentences Iran does not refer to people, but to a place: In September of the following year, Iraq attacked Iran (CREA, Mexico) 'in September of the following year, Iraq attacked Iran' . But, as is often the case with the personal, usage is inconsistent: Communist North Korea invaded South Korea in June 1950 (CREA, Pan.) 'Communist North Korea invaded South Korea in June 1950.' . (2)  Before words such as country, nation, party, movement, when these words refer to people, a seems to be optional: critió duremente al/el movimiento anarquista '(he) severely criticized the anarchist movement', Luis García Meza, who ruled the country between July 1980 and August 1981. (El País, Sp., al possible) 'Luis García Meza, who ruled the country between July 1980 and August 1981'. (3) Seeing, visiting, going out, portraying or painting a place does not require a personal a: we look forward to seeing Lima 'we look forward to seeing Lima', this/this is the second time I visit Germany ( JH ,Mex. , dialogue) 'this is the second trip to visit Germany', I wanted to paint Toledo '(he) wanted to paint Toledo', they left Madrid 'they left Madrid'. The Academy held that a was necessary in such sentences, but now considers the omission of a to be correct.

26.10 Personal a before inanimate direct objects Personal a cannot appear before a noun denoting an inanimate direct object in direct sentences of the following type: Mándales un texto Escribe poesía Tus palabras delataban tu derrotismo

Text im (S)he writes poetry. His words betrayed his defeatism

But despite its name, personal a is sometimes used in front of inanimate objects. This can happen: (a)  when there is likely to be uncertainty about what is the subject and what is the direct object of the verb. This usually - but not only - happens in relative clauses, where the verb often precedes the subject. The organization that protects your car can only mean 'the organization that protects your car', but the organization that protects your car can mean '. . . which your car protects': This product is the best waterproof This product is the best   al algodón   waterproof cotton It is difficult to know to what extent this has affected it It is difficult to know to what extent   the Cuban economy (MVLl, Pe.) this has affected Cuban economy How Volkswagen [emissions]   de Volkswagen? (Excélsior, Mex.)   Does the problem affect your health? A tres Autos y un Comercio quemaron Three cars and a burnt shop (literally 'they are burnt'   (Latin American title, odd for   three cars and a shop')   European Spanish speakers) (b)  sometimes before inanimate direct objects when both subject and object are inanimate , although there is obviously no danger of ambiguity. This seems to happen only in those sentences where the subject is also the actual doer of the action. In a sentence like la piedra rompió un cristal, 'the stone broke the window' or la novela causó una sensación 'the novel caused a sensation', one could argue that the real actors in the action are the person who threw the stone or wrote the soap opera: the piedra and the soap opera are simply instruments and that is why it is not used personally. However, if the inanimate subject is actually performing the action, the personal a can optionally appear before the direct object:

334 Personal a Both believed that the stars ruled Both believed that the stars ruled the passions   pasiones (OP, Mex.) . . . one liter of mixed solutions dampened in . . . one litre/liter of mixed solution wrapped in   black bags to protect the poison   black bags to protect the poison from   de la luz (JH, Mexico)   light Girl's suicide . . . Animated suicide girl. . . agitated public opinion   public opinion (MVLl, Pe.) This phenomenon is characteristic of northern Scotland This phenomenon is characteristic of   northern Scotland A could be omitted in all the examples in (b). (c)  Often after an impersonal if, to show that if is really an impersonal if, and not some other kind of if, such as a reflexive if or a passive if (see Chapter 32 for the use of if). . . . platform, as platforms are called. . . 'platform', as they call andén   in England (JM, Sp.)   (railway stations) in England In Spain they called money   de los cohechos y bribernos “unto de México”   bribes and bribery 'Mexican fat'   (OP, Mexico, cf. la plata se  llamada   'the money was called . . .') Investment is essential if one wants to  switch to the railway system in   transform the railway system into   a sector attractive to investors   a sector attractive to investors  (La Hora, Ec.) (1)  Omitting a in these sentences can cause ambiguity or strange sentence. . . . si se quiere convertar el sistema railroad can be read as 'if the railway system is to be converted into . . .'

26.11  A obligatory or preferred with certain verbs Some verbs always have a preposition a, eg adhere to 'stick to', join 'associate with', follow 'follow', succeed 'follow', replace 'replace', renounce ' resignations', help 'help', as in 'please', etc. However, this a is usually not a personal a, but some other use of the preposition a: He thinks the wiser option is   to phase out nuclear power   phase out nuclear power  (El País , Sp. ) National leaders gave up his positions   positions in the union (JA, Mex.)   in the union This obeys certain norms of behavior This obeys certain norms of behavior He liked everything about him He liked everything that his wife liked, but no   mujer, pero no what are mujer gustara   the fact that men love their women so much   both men (MVM, Sp.) This new product helps hair   regain its natural shine   restore its natural shine to', asentir to 'agree with', asistir to 'be present in', respond to 'respond to', contribute 'contribute', respond 'respond'/'repay', equivalent 'be equivalent', succumb 'submit', overcome 'overcome', replace 'replace'.

27 Negation Spanish negative words and phrases discussed in this chapter are: • • • • • • • • • • • • • •

is not (Section 27.2) 'It is not superfluous' (Section 27.2.4) Single and double negatives (Section 27.3) 'anyone', 'anything', 'always' etc. (Section 27.4)* nothing and nobody (Section 27.5 1–3) nor (Section 27.5.4) nobody (Section 27.5.5) never and never (Section 27.5.6) hardly (Section 27.5.7) in life, etc. (Section 27.5.8) not at all (Section 27.5 .9) at all (section 27.5.10) only (section 27.6)

* i.e. in phrases such as 'greater than ever', 'it is impossible to see anything', 'why blame anyone?', where the bold words are translated by never, nothing and nadie.

27.1 General Questions that cause problems for English speakers are: the use or non-use of the double negative, eg no lo he vista vem/nunca lo he viso 'I have never seen that/he' (see 27.3), sentences like ¿quién ha dicho Nunca eso ? 'who ever said that?' (see 27.4), and the use of 'superfluous' does not mean, eg How many times have I not told you! 'How many times have I told you?!' (see 27.2.4).

27.2 Not 27.2.1 Use and position Not means 'not' as much as 'not': this chapter deals with the latter meaning. It usually does not precede a negative word, but the object pronouns (me, te, se, lo, la, nos, os, les, los, las) are never separated from the verb: no dije eso 'I didn't say that', but I never said 'I never said', never **I never said: Mario was not here. Let's not waste time Not everyone can play the piano They claim — and not without reason — that . . . You weren't trying to see her, you were trying not to see her

Mário was not there. We don't waste time. Not everyone is capable of playing the piano They claim - and not without reason - that . . . You didn't try to see her. You tried not to see her

(1) If the verb is deleted, it does not retain its position: he drinks beer, but he doesn't drink wine - he drinks beer, but he doesn't drink wine 'he drinks beer, but he doesn't drink wine', —Do you know how to swim? —I know, but he doesn't ""Can you swim?" "I can, but he can't"'. But emphatic negations can be followed by a noun or a pronoun: no nuclear bases! 'no nuclear bases!', oh no, not that ... 'oh no, not that...', anyone can enter here

336 Negação quiera, pero borrachos no (or pero no borrachos) 'anyone can enter here, but not drunk'. (2)  Important: Complex tenses do not allow deletion of Spanish participles. In other words, the answer to ¿lohas seen? 'have you seen him?' it's you or you, I saw, or I didn't or I didn't, I didn't see, but I didn't, I didn't. . . (compare English 'no, I don't have . . .'). — Was it you? —No, no he foi yo '"Was that you?" "No, it's not"', —¿Se lo has dado? —No, no se lo he dada '"Did you give it to him/her/them?" "No I did not"'. This rule is occasionally broken by the pluperfect: see 18.1.2 note 1 for an example. (3)  The exclusion of the gerund or the infinitive is, however, possible: —¿Estabas comiendo? — No, it wasn't ""Did you eat?" "No, I didn't"", —¿Quieres venir?—No, no quiero '"Do you want to come?" "No, not me". (4)  If it means 'no-' or 'not-', it does not precede a noun or an adjective: yo estoy por la no violencia 'I support non-violence', la politica de la no intervención 'the policy of no- -intervention' , it is the only unreal image in the whole book (JM, Sp.) 'it is the only unreal/unreal image in the whole book'.

27.2.2  'No' and no contrast The English word 'no' can require translation in several different ways: Look, no hands! Look, no hands! "What's the problem?" "No money". -What's the problem? —I don't have/  we have/we have/they have (etc.) money without gas/USA without gas There is no gas in the hay/We get gas without smoking no smoking/no smoking at all! No way! / Nothing about that! are you kidding me?! seriously? No need for arguments

27.2.3  No as a question mark ¿No? at the end of the statement implies that the person asking the question already knows or guesses the answer: Usted habla inglés, ¿no? You speak English, right? Better late than never, right? Better late than never, right? You know it's good to lie sometimes. you're a journalist for something, aren't you? You're not a journalist for nothing, are you? (ES, Mexico, dialogue)

27.2.4 No 'redundant' The seemingly redundant no is inserted in certain types of sentences, more often in Spain than in Latin America: (a)  In informal language, non-redundant is sometimes used in comparisons, especially before infinitives or to avoid two questions one with another: Más vale que vengas conmigo que (no)que Better come with me than stay here alone   te quedes solo aquí (or . . . a que te quedes solo) Mejor spend five thousand ahora que (no) tener Better spend five thousand now   than to buy a new car for the summer    than to have to buy a new car in the summer

27.2  Br


R.'s work is more useful for knowing   la derecha que no para conocer la República   the right than knowing the Republic. . . with the brightest, saddest eyes. . . with the most brilliant, saddest and   and most thankful that I have never seen him. . . the most grateful eyes she had ever  (GM, Colonel)  seen in him. . . (b)  Optional in exclamations involving cuánto or qué from 'quantum', 'quantos' and also after cuál in exclamations. How often had he dreamed of this of late! End times! (LG, Sp.) How many times have I risked for him! How many times have I risked my life   (ES, Mexico, dialogue)   for him! What a torment he will (not) go through! They must have had a hard time! Imagine my surprise when two months later   two months . . . I meet him at the exit   I run into him [historical present] at   del Sarape (ES, Mexico, dialogue)   exit from the Sarape club Does not make it clear that the sentence is an exclamation, not a question: cf. How many times have I told you? 'how many times have I told you?' (c)  Optional, but very common, even after 'to' when indicating a future event or future in the past, and also in negative sentences: . . . his ban on leaving the country until. . . your ban on leaving the country   notice not signed   until court order confirmed  (La Jornada, Mexico)  innocent until proven guilty   lo contrario (LS, Sp., dialogo) dialogue)   until you eat a sandwich Take this boy's camera. . . y no se Take this boy's camera away from him and   give it back until you learn to do it   don't give it back to him until he learns   buen uso de ella (LR, Col., dialogue box)   how to use it properly (d ) Occasionally in literary language behind expressions of fear. The does not change the meaning. Note that it is used if it is not removed: Temo no ha Sucesso/Temo que le haya I was afraid he/she could have suffered   success some shame   some misfortune He was afraid not (or was afraid that) he/she He was afraid that he see   viener/viesen from above   from above (1)  Not used if the sentence after hasta refers to certainty or something that happened: he insisted on staying at the airport until the plane was out of sight (EM, Mexico) ' he insisted on staying at the airport until the (light) plane is out of sight', I will stay here until the sun goes down'. (2)  Hasta can also have a negative meaning in Spanish in Mexico, Central America, Colombia, and some other places: perdona que te llama hasta ahora means perdona que no te haya llamado hasta ahora. 'I'm sorry I didn't call you until now'. See 38.14 note 1.

338 Denial

27.3  Double negative You can say nadie vino or no vino nadie 'no one came'. As the second example shows, if the negative n follows the verb, the negative must also precede the verb. Also, if the word is negated, all the following words in the sentence should be negated, if possible: pero una no debe espera Nunca nada de un hombre sino malas noticias (CRG, Sp.) 'but one (a woman) should never expect nothing from the man but bad news', never hay nada nuevo en ninguna parte (CS, Mexico, dialogue) 'never and nowhere there is nothing new'. The difference between a double negative and a single negative, eg between Nunca Viena and No Viena Nunca, is sometimes only stylistic. References in individual clauses (27.5.1-10) provide guidance on this point, but in general it can be said that (a) the simple negative is more typical in written language when the negative is the object of the verb, as in nada promised da después traicionen (L. Cernuda, Poetry, Sp.) 'they [i.e. violets] don't promise anything they later betray' (nada is the direct object), Spanish spoken to the promised nada que . . .; (b) the single negative is not used to answer questions (NGLE 48.3k): —¿Qué dijo? —No dijo nada (no nada dijo) '"What did he (s) say?" “(S)he didn't say anything?”': Double negatives No data nothing (S)he doesn't say anything Nadie didn't say anything Nobody said anything Nadie didn't see anything; nadie knew nothing Nobody saw anything, nobody   (HR, Mex.)   knew nothing He just doesn't eat anything (S)he hardly eats anything Nor does anyone come He never brings anyone (S)he never brings anyone Pero no había ningún otro síntoma (EL, Arg.) But there were no other symptoms He doesn't know Latin or French (S)he doesn't know Latin or French He didn't come Just talk (S)he hardly speaks Nadie Sabe cuánto se lava (Excélsior, Mex.) No one knows how much [money] is washed a ver (S)he would never see it again (1)  Double negative can be ambiguous, although intonation or context usually makes the meaning clear: lo que dice no es nada 'what he says is not nothing' (i.e. worthless) or 'what he says is nothing' (i.e. it is something); no cries por nada '(s) does not cry in vain'/'(s) does not cry in vain'; cf. cries for nothing '(s)he cries for nothing'. But the llora sinmotiva unequivocally expresses the first idea. (2) Important: only one preceding negative is allowed in Spanish: compare French personne ne savait la vérité i nadie sabía la verdad 'no one knew the truth', never *nadie no sabía la verdad; de ninguna manerapensaban hacerlo 'they never meant to do that', never *de ninguna manera nopensaban, no lo dije I never said that', never *never lo dije. Exception: double negative precedent Never nadie/nadie must never be used: Nunca nadie ha dicho eso 'nobody said that', never nadie supo decirle el porqué de ese Ynés con i griega (JMs, Sp.) 'nobody Nunca to him could tell the reason for that "Ynés" with "Y"', nadie never saw

27.4  Nothing, nobody, never, never, nothing in affirmative sentences in form or meaning


Abraham (MC, Mexico, dialogue) 'No one has ever seen Abraham'. The same idea can be expressed by nobody ever said that, or nobody ever said that, or nobody ever said that. A combination is also never possible. See 27.5.6. (3) A neuter compound before y connected with y is also possible, at least in literary styles, as in 'he never and nowhere saw an elephant' '/'(s) he never saw an elephant fly anywhere '.

27.4 Nada, nadie, Nunca, jamás, ninguno in sentences that are affirmative in form or meaning Even if listed as negative words, these words can mean 'anything', 'ever', 'anyone', 'anything ' in the following contexts. In some cases they or their affirmative equivalent can be used without significant change in meaning: (a) After comparison: More than anything he is active More than anything he is cunning I was more irritated by this than by anything I was more irritated by that than for anything else. Perhaps the greatest orb ever carved Perhaps the greatest orb ever carved by human hands (The Newspaper, Sp.) human hands They came out sooner than ever They left sooner than ever before (AM , Mexico, dialogue; never). . . . . . . . . and there the foreman, the best of all. . . . . . . . . and the foreman there - the best hubiera (MP, Arg., dialogue) ever. This book is more complicated than any other I have read. It is more detailed than any other. She is smarter than everyone else. The dumbest thing anyone ever did done said the dumbest thing anyone ever said (b) In sentences involving expressions of doubt, denial, withholding, impossibility, etc.: It is doubtful that anyone can pass It is doubtful that anyone can pass as a native in more than three languages ​​as a native speaker of more than three languages ​​It's been a while since anyone brought me flowers (MC, Mexico, dialogue) me flowers . . . . . . . . with nothing and no one in the world. . . . . . . . . with nothing and no one in the world He even refused to talk to someone on the radio (GCI, Cu.) It's very difficult for anyone to understand It's impossible to see anything that's going on Few books would say anything like that Few books would say something similar He can't stand being contradicted (EM, Mex.) He can't stand being contradicted It's scary to tell someone all this I don't know where is what in this house

340 Negation (c)  In questions or exclamations that expect a negative answer: When were you asked about something/anything? When someone asked you something? Who has seen anyone who works harder than him? more than him? Why say goodbye to anything or anyone? Why should I say goodbye to anyone or  (AG, Sp.)  anything? Who can think of anything when surrounded by idiots? (CS, Mexico, dialogue)   surrounded by idiots? Who would have thought that he never/never/at some point thought he would marry Julia? married Julia? (d) After before, before that and sin On venida sin nada I came with nothing sin nadie que lo/le to take care/take care without anyone to take care of him It was his fault that he arrived before everyone. It's his fault to arrive before   (CF, Mex.)   anyone else This must be done before anything else begins This must be done before anything else begins (1)  Emotion statements include subtlety: I would be surprised if no one called me/if no one called me 'I would be surprised if no one called me', I would be surprised if someone called me'; I would feel if no one saw me like this / if no one saw me / saw me like this 'I would be sorry if someone saw me (I look) like this' I would be sorry if no one saw me (I look) like this' . (2)  In sentences where English allows 'algo' after 'without', Spanish allows algo: . . . and that no one can do anything to avoid it (LS, Mexico, do everything possible)'. . . and that no one could do anything/something to prevent it', but she couldn't fall asleep without something waking her up'.

27.5  Additional notes on single negative words 27.5.1  Nada, nadie (a) When nada or nadie is the direct object or predicate or follows a preposition, they usually appear in a double negative construction in ordinary language: I don't know anything I don't know Never mind Nothing on to which I replied that I don't know anyone (NC, Mex.) There is nothing/nobody I wouldn't do it for anything/nobody

I don't know anything/I don't know anything I don't know anything She answered that she doesn't know anyone There is nothing/nobody I wouldn't do it for anything/nobody

But in literary or emotional styles they can precede the verb: For some time no one   that the sun emits ultraviolet rays   ignores the fact that the sun   (grandmother, donkey)   emits ultraviolet rays I do not know anyone who is more suitable for this   literary   task I would not miss him for anything in   ( a phrase defined in everyday use)   of the world.

27.5  Additional comments on individual negative words


He could not ask for an explanation  Maldonado (CF, Mex.)   from anyone but Félix Maldonado. In all these cases, a double negative would be a simpler style, eg Nobody is unknown, I don't know anyone. . ., I wouldn't want to miss this for anything. . ., etc. (b) When nada or nadie is the subject of a verb, it usually precedes it (simple negative): Nothing seems right at all. he ruled, as if no one lived in him. Nothing in the world will be able to separate us nothing in the world will be able   (AA, Cu., dialogue)    to separate us Hope in the play is historical (MVLl, Nothing in the play is historical Pe. Sp. nada en la obra . . .) In case someone attacks him, no one  defenderlo (MS, Mexico)   would come forward to defend him No one else believes that No one else believes that (1)  The double negative construction is common in questions: no one came? 'no one came?', does it ever rain here? 'it never rains here?'/'it never rains here?', when you left, you didn't see anyone? (EN, Sp., dialogue) 'When you left, you didn't see anyone?' But a negative message is also possible: why didn't anyone pay attention to the scientists from New Mexico? (MC, Mexico, dialogue) 'Why didn't anyone listen to the scientists in New Mexico?'

27.5.2  Hope as an intensifier Hope can be used as an adverb meaning 'not at all': Manuel doesn't work at all Manuel doesn't work at all We didn't sleep at all We didn't sleep at all Her husband's break wasn't The breakup with her husband wasn't   not dramatic (SP, Sp.) it wasn't dramatic at all I didn't really like what you just said   (ABE, Fr., dialogue) The meeting didn't start well (MS, Mexico, the meeting didn't start very well  Sp. la reunion no empieza . . .) (1)  In spoken in the language of many Latin American countries, hope is used intensively as an adverb: here in Chihuahua it doesn't rain at all, we are dying from the heat 'here in Chihuahua it doesn't rain a drop, we are dying from the heat', help me they didn't give me anything 'they didn't help me at all ',

27.5.3  No one: additional comments No one takes it personally if it is the object of the verb: I hardly know anyone No one was seen on the beach Say I don't want to see anyone today   (DT, Mexico, dialogue)

I hardly know anyone There was no one on the beach Saying that I don't want to see anyone today

(1)  Nadie de must not be followed by a plural noun or pronoun: nadie de mi familia 'no one in my family' but nadie de las alumnas 'none of the students'; none of us went 'no

342 Our denial remained', none of the passengers commented (MVLl, Fr.) 'none of the passengers commented', none of his agents went to the airport as requested (MS, Mex., dialogue) 'none of his agent/employee did not go to the airport as requested'.

27.5.4 'Neither', 'neither' As with other negative words, if neither follows a verb, the verb itself must be negated: compare neither you nor I do not know 'neither you nor I know (that)' and you do not know either I don't even know that. Constructions like *neither you nor I know are considered archaic or incorrect. Unlike 'nem', none is usually repeated before each member of the list: if (ni) Antonio, Pilar, Ana, Marta came 'neither Antonio, Pilar, Ana nor Marta arrived' (first nor is optional). Examples of using ni: You live in the last century. . . . . . . . you are not. You live in the last century. . . . . . . . you don't have a computer, cell phone, fax, car answering machine In Spain computer = computer, cell phone = cell phone, car = car, secretary = answering machine) There is nothing that connects me to him or you (CF , Mex. , dialogue) I don't smoke and I don't drink I don't smoke and I don't drink There wasn't even time to call an ambulance (CMG, Sp.) I can't communicate with her, with anyone, I can't communicate with her or with (MP, Arg., dialogue) anyone ( 1) It is not usually translated 'not even': and you don't even know her. Or yes?' . . . . . . . . and you don't even know her. Or you?” (WL, Mexico, dialogue). there's no way I can fry you an egg' you're not good, you can't even fry yourself' (2) Before a noun or you can make a strong negative: — Do you know who he is? "I have no idea"', — How much did you earn? "Not (not even) a penny '"What did you earn?" "Not a penny"'. (3) It is also not required after without: he lived without money or the desire to have it '(s)he lived without money or the desire to have it', without a wife or children 'without a wife or children', climatic rarities happened bez ton je son (Excelsior, Mex.) 'strange weather conditions followed one another chaotically'. (4) Next Latin American phrase, if you don't like it long you don't even need it (AM, Mex. , dialogue) 'if you don't like it, leave, because you don't need it' would be expressed in Spain until . . . . . .. which you don't need.

27.5.5  Ninguno 'No', 'no one', 'nobody' (cf. French aucun, German kein). The double negative rule applies: if ninguno follows a verb, the verb must be negated: ninguno de ellos lo saber/no lo saber ninguno de ellos 'none of them know that', never buys ninguno '(s) he never buys a single one '. In certain types of sentences it can be equivalent to 'any': see 27.4 for examples.

27.5  Additional comments on individual negative words


Neither can be an adjective or a pronoun. As an adjective, it loses the final -o before masculine nouns or noun phrases: I never thought about it. . . 'never once did I think that. . .', people think that mathematicians are out of touch with the world, but that is not true. . . (JV, mex., dialogue) 'people think that we mathematicians have no contact with the world, but that's not true'; but we will not accept any partial (or 'biased') solution. (a)  Pronoun forms None of those who speak the language None of those who speak the language   libre de dudas (Manuel Seco, Sp.)   is exempt from suspicion O se lleva todos, o ninguno all, or none I call my sisters, but no one doesn't answer I call/phone my sisters, but none of them   (EM, Mex., dialog. Sp. ninguna answera)   doesn't answer If I was dishonest with any of them If I was dishonest with any of   vosotros, decídmelo (none not literary)   you, tell me (b)  Adjective forms Otra vez el Oscar no inclue a no actor Once again there is no black actor on the Oscar list  black (Excélsior, Mexico)   We didn't get any answer / We didn't nor will I get an answer — If you it bothers me, I can wait. "If it's a nuisance, I can wait." 'No   Molestia ninguna/Ninguna molesta   bothers' 1) Important: ningun is common in speech before feminine nouns beginning with the tonic a- or ha-, but must be written in full, for example. no nuclear weapons. Seco (1998, 307) rejects written forms such as 'without weapons'. (2)  Important: any, placed after a noun, can be used as an emphatic alternative to none: no reason = no reason. See 10.4.1 note 1 for details. (3)  The plural ningunas/ningunas is rare, because it is usually not necessary to mention more than one of something that does not exist. But this happens with nouns that are always plural: no holiday in Catalonia is complete without a trip to the Pyrenees. (4) When no one is the subject of the verb, person and number agreement appears to be optional when a pronoun appears: none of us women have/has a husband, none of us brought/brought a book 'none of you brought a book'. If the pronoun is omitted, the ending of the verb should clarify the meaning: none of us said 'none of us said that', weren't you salist (lat. am. salien) last night? 'none of you girls/women went out last night?' Compare, no one went out last night? 'Didn't any of the girls/women go out last night?' (5) If nobody is the direct or indirect object and comes before the verb, the redundant pronoun (explained in 14.10) agrees with the accompanying noun or pronoun: none of them do I know, and to be honest, none of us thought it was right that you were a woman (SG, Mexico, dialogue) 'and to be honest with you, none of us approved of you being a woman'.

344 Denial

27.5.6  Never and never Both mean 'never' or, in certain expressions, 'always'. Never a bit stronger and rarer than ever. It is usually identical in meaning with never, but see note 1. The combination never is very emphatic: I never saw him hear “La Internacional” (DES Mex., dialogue) 'I never saw him hear The Internationale'. Both require a double negative construction when they follow the verb phrase they refer to: Nunca viene = no viene Nunca '(he) never comes', never viene nadie 'no one ever comes'. When they are placed before the verb, they have a stronger meaning: I have never heard anything like that 'I have never heard anything like that', you never know why or why things happen (LS, Šp.) 'you never really know why things happen happen se and for what purpose': Yo Nunca/jamas conocí a extranjero que never met a stranger who spoke   hablase/hablase tan bien (el) español   Spanish so well She never imagined that her son could fall into captivity She never imagined that her son could be  ( EP , Mex.)  preso after más que or menor que: ahora más que Nunca 'now more than ever', trabaja less than never '(works) less than ever'. Jamá usually appears before the verb: and so he never had problems getting accepted in Madrid (JM, Sp.) 'so he never had problems getting accepted in Madrid'. (2)  In rhetorical questions calling for the answer 'no' never/never means 'never': has such a thing ever/never been seen? 'has anything like this ever been seen?', have you ever heard of a man biting a dog? 'who ever heard (literally 'ever heard') of a man biting a dog?' Compare the non-rhetorical question: have you been to Madrid? "Have you been to Madrid before?"

27.5.7 Ajust and other words meaning 'barely', 'barely', 'as soon as' Just can be a tense subordination or an adverb. In the following examples it is about subordination: As soon as we arrived/we arrived/we will die We had barely arrived when   it arrived/when it started to rain   it started to rain , who told us (LS, Sp., dialogue)   assuming that , tell them that he informs us about it he was gripped by terror In the following examples it is an adverb: No te conoce asamente/Apenas (si) te conoce I hardly know you Just six years ago Just six years ago Your pension is barely enough to cover the expenses Your pension is barely enough to cover (APR , Sp., dialogue)   spend barely restrained enthusiasm barely suppressed enthusiasm   university professors (RB, Ch.)   university professors (1)  For subjunctive with evil, as in I must be ready to open the door to them as soon as they arrive (EP, Mex. , dialogue) 'I must be ready to open the door for them as soon as they arrive'; see 20.4.7.

27.5  Additional comments on individual negative words


(2)  When used as an adverb before a verb, the variant just si is often used to mean 'only' and 'barely': Seco (1998, 51), says that this is particularly common in literary styles. In a week just si cambió dos palabras con su tío (JMs, Sp.) 'During the week she barely exchanged two words with her uncle', yo just si spent mis zapatos (EP, Mex., dialogue) 'I hardly /almost /almost not wearing my shoes'. Just si is not used when just is a subordination as in just llegué 'I've barely arrived' or when it just follows the verb, i.e. hace just six años 'only six years ago', not *hace just si seis años. (3) When it is only subordinate to time, no bien (or often ni bien in Latin America, especially in the southern cone) is an alternative: no bien algo gives me endless sadness, I become a man izquierda (ABE , Fr.) 'as soon as something in me produces endless sadness, I am becoming a man of the left' (that is, political), he was delighted to help me no bien llegara to his country (JN, Sp .)', he declared that he would be happy to help me as soon as he returned to his country', nibienterminó de involving los regalos (CP, Arg.) 'she has barely finished wrapping the gifts. . .' (4)  Nada más is a colloquial alternative as a time subordinator used in time declarations in Spain, but less so in Latin America, where nomás is often used: nada más llegar, pasé por su despacho 'as soon as I arrived, I drop in my office' , lo haré nada mais llegues 'I will do it as soon as you arrive', de no haber achieved to leave the country nothing more produced a coup (JM, Sp.) 'he failed to leave the country as soon as the coup happened', but the colonel will come forgive nomás termina de cenar (MS, Mexico, dialogue) 'the colonel will come to say goodbye as soon as he finishes dinner'. See 27.6 for nomás.

27.5.8  En mi vida, en Toda la noche The phrases en mi vida/en la vida, 'in my life', en Toda la noche 'throughout the night' can be used as negatives: en mi vida lo/le he I seen (or never seen him in my life) 'never seen him in my life', managed to sleep all night 'couldn't sleep all night', why do you want ID there in the mountains? In his life he had (EM, Mex.) 'What did he need and ID up there in the mountains? He never had it in his life' (this does not mean 'he had it in his life'). The insertion of no does not change the meaning: I have never seen anything so unusual in my life 'I have never seen anything so unusual in my life'. (1)  En Toda la Noche without an accompanying negative word is quite old-fashioned: I couldn't sleep all night is more normal.

5.27.9  Hope Important: you should pay attention to the negative meaning of the word hope: — Does it bother you? — No way "Do you mind?" "Absolutely not/nothing"', getting closer was even more difficult than if we didn't know each other (JV, Mexico) "getting closer was even more difficult than if we didn't know each other at all".

27.5.10  Tamboco 'No . . . want', 'neither', 'neither' (cf. French non plus): it is the opposite of también 'also'. As with other negative particles, it requires a double negative construction if it follows a verb phrase: tampoco creo en los ovnis = no creo en los ovnis tampoco 'I don't even believe in UFOs'/'I don't believe in UFOs at all'. Tamboco is common on both continents:

346 Negation —¿Tienes la llave? -Not-. Hey too. . . "Do you have a key?" "Not." "Neither I" Tampoco means decide what I will devote to Mexico)   or (1)  Neither or y can precede tampoco: yo no soy un rebel sin causa, ni tampoco un unrestrained (JA, Mex., dialogue) 'I am not a rebel without reason, nor crazy/out of control'. As this example shows, ni can only be combined with tampoco if it is preceded by a negative statement. (2)  Tampoco is often used colloquially, especially in Spain, to reduce the importance of an earlier, generally negative remark: —Estoy furioso—. Man, tampoco es para que te pongas así/ tamboco es para so much ‘“I'm furious.” "Come on, you don't have to stay like that/it's not a big deal", —Me han dicho que no paban sus imuestos—. Sí, tampoco es gran cosa '"They told me they didn't pay the tax." "Yes, but it's not a big deal".

27.6  Nomás (occasionally spelled más) Throughout Latin America, this word has various colloquial meanings. Not used in Spain: —Where is the hospital? —In the "Where's the hospital?" corner, etc.) Come in, please just come in. . . (eng. as soon as he comes) as soon as he arrives. . . The old gringo died in Mexico. Only the old gringo died in Mexico. por cruzó la frontera (CF, Mex.,   Just because he crossed  Sp. solo/sólo por . . .)   the border Invitation only from the president You do not refuse the invitation   ne rechaza (idem, dialogue)   from The I am the president (1 )  On both continents , no. . . more than "only" means and must be distinguished from no. . . more than 'not more than'; see 6.5.

28 Questions and Exclamations This chapter discusses the following words: • • • • • • • •

who? which what? (section 28.3) what? That? (section 28.4) who? WHO? (section 28.5) how much and how much? how much how much (Section 28.6) How? as? (section 28.7) when? when? (section 28.8) where? where? (Section 28.9) For what? is that why? why?/for what? (Section 28.10)

Mistakes often made by foreigners when asking questions or exclamations are: confusion between qué and cuál, not writing accents in question words, omission or wrong position of inverted question mark and exclamation point, mistakes in choosing between qué and lo que in indirect questions (see Glossary for 'indirect Question'). For the use of the Spanish characters ¿ and ¡ see 44.4.5. (1) Important: foreign students sometimes wonder why the subjunctive is not used after question words such as qué, cómo, cuándo, for example. why don't you say *me preguntaron cuándo 'llegues' 'they asked me when you are coming' correctly. . . when will you arrive? These stressed forms are not subordinating conjunctions, so the subjunctive is not used after them: it is said in sé cuándo lloverá 'I don't know when it will rain', not *llueva. For the subjunctive after unstressed words que, cuando, como, etc., see 20.3 and 20.4.7. An exception to this is the colloquial Spanish of Northern Colombia, which tends to use the subjunctive in indirect questions, for example in sé cuándo lleguen (Standard Spanish... cuándo llegan) 'I don't know when they arrive', ¿quién saber qué opinen other readers? (ES, Mexico, dialogue) 'who knows what other readers think?' See 20.12.1. (2) ¿Cúyo? for whom? 'from who?' is obsolete in modern Spanish, but the cuyo form is used in relative clauses such as los alumnos cuyo apellido empieza con 'B' 'the students whose last name starts with 'B'. See 39.7.

28.1 Spelling Question words in Spanish are written with stress: ahora hay más muertos y ni siquiera hay acuerdo en vindo a cuántos son y cómo murieron (La Reforma, Mexico) 'now there are more dead and there is still no agreement on how many there are and how they died', we know neither quién es usted nor cuál es su juego (LS, chap., dialogue) 'we do not know who you are or what your game is'. Stress indicates that these words are stressed in speech, and this can radically change the meaning of the sentence. Compare yo sé que piensan 'I know what they think' and yo sé qué piensan 'I know what they think' or the French quien saber. . . 'a person who knows French. . .' and ¿Who knows French? 'Who knows French?' Accented words should be considered distinct from unaccented words such as cual, cuanto, cuando, quien, which should be looked up in the Index.

348 Interrogatives and exclamations (1) Important: emphasis is also used in exclamations: ¡qué smart eres! 'you're not smart!', ¡cuánta nieve! 'what a snow!', ¡como trabajan! 'the way they work!'

28.2  Word order in questions and exclamations When a sentence or clause begins with one of the words listed above, verb-subject order is used (subject in bold): What did you do? What is your sister's name? How do decent people have dinner? (MS, Mexico, dialogue) What is the question about? (GGM, Kol.  dialogue) Since when has your husband not smoked? How smart squirrels are!

What did you do? What is your sister's name? How do decent people have dinner? What is the purpose of the question? Since when does your husband not smoke? Squirrels are not smart!

Word order in interrogative sentences is discussed in more detail in 42.3. (1)  In the Caribbean, especially Cuba, Spanish constructions such as ¿qué usted hizo? what did you use it for? are common. See 42.3.4.

28.3  Kval and kval 28.3.1  Basic use of kval This word is a pronoun whose basic meaning is 'which?' set of things: What do you prefer? Which do you prefer? Which do you prefer? Which of (people) do you like more? Which of the three are you thinking of? Which of the three are you thinking of? Tell me which one to choose Tell me which (one) to choose Now he understood the real intention   bias of my possible indiscretion (JM, Sp.)   of my possible indiscretion It would be difficult to say which It would be difficult to say which of the three   present las tres mujeres (MS, Mexico)   the women present were best dressed (1)  When people are named, who is given priority: some were third, but I don't know who (instead of which)' some of the third year (students) came, but I don't know which /who'. (2)  Cual (unaccented) is an archaic alternative for like 'I like', sporadically revived on both continents for literary effect: se mante a su lado cual guardespaldas (EP, Mex.) 'he stands beside her like a guard - back ', he looked at me like a ringing Jehovah's witness (APR, Sp.) 'he looked at me like a ringing Jehovah's witness'. (3)  Cual si é archaic para como si: arrimada a laswalls qual si la atosigara el miedo (ET, Sp.) 'holding on to the walls, as if she was tormented by fear', waiting for that sight as if it were a miracle ( MB , Ed.) 'one expects that spectacle as if it were a miracle'. As if it could be used in these examples. Both expressions require the subjunctive.

28.3  Which and which


(4) The unstressed cual appears most often in the relative pronoun el cual, which is discussed in 39.3-5. Also found in the expression tal or tal 'this or that' or 'such and such', as in and he insisted that such and such a problem had another solution (EP, Mex.) 'and he insisted that such and such a problem had another solution'.

28.3.2  Translation of 'what is/were/were?', etc. Common translations of the phrase 'what is that?' é ¿cuál es?: quá es/was there a reason/difference? 'what was/was the reason/difference' (cf. what was the reason/difference/was? 'what was the reason/difference/was there?'). What is it? literally means 'what?' or 'what kind of thing?', and is used to ask for a definition of the nature of something, such as democracy/black hole? 'what is (something) democracy/black hole?' Compare: What is life? What time is it? who is your sister

What is life? What time is it? Who is his sister? (ie what is she doing?)

and what is the problem? What's the problem? What is your impression of the events? What is your impression of the events? We already know what answer any writer   writer would give to a letter   give to a letter from a lady   señora (JC, Sp.) What wouldn't be my surprise? Imagine my surprise. . . But since you ask me what my plans are   plans for the future (ES, Mex., dialogue)   for the future. . . (1)  One says, what date are we? / How many are there? for "what is today's date?" or ¿qué fecha es hoy? Compare what is the date of the battle of waterloo? 'what is the date of the battle of waterloo?'

28.3.3  What: dialectal differences In Spain and some parts of Latin America, it is almost never used as an adjective (ie immediately before a noun): ¿qué chicas viene esta noche? 'which girls are coming tonight?', not which girls are coming tonight? However, phrases like this are common in many parts of Latin America, from Colombia all the way north, and NGLE 22.14a says it may be spreading in the Americas: ¿Gatos? What cats? (CF, Mex., dialogue. Cats? What kind of cats?  Sp. ¿qué gato?) — Did you get my letter? - What ticket? "Did you get my letter?" - What lie? (LR, Col.,   driving her crazy.' can occasionally be heard in Spain, but those learning European Spanish should say which hat do you prefer?, which hat do you prefer? or simply which do you prefer?)

350 questions and exclamations

28.4  Qué For the conjunction que as in dice que viene '(he) says (o)he is coming' see 37.4. For the relative pronoun que (as in el libro que estoy leyendo 'the book I am reading'), see Chapter 39.

28.4.1  Basic use of what What? means 'what?', 'what kind?', but not in expressions like ¿cuál es el problema? 'what's the problem?', for which see 28.3.2. It is also used in exclamations like how he is smart! 'he's not smart!' See 28.4.4. (a)  Qué as a pronoun I don't know what to tell you They were arguing about what to say to them I don't remember what happened to Antonio Who said what? Is that . . .? I'll Never Have to Pay You (AM, Mexico, Dialogue)

I don't know what to tell you They were arguing about what to tell them I don't remember what happened with Antonio Who said what? AND? I'll never have enough to pay you

(b)  Qué as an adjective (see 28.3.3 for the Latin American use of cuál in this context): ¿A qué para arte referen? What passage are you referring to? What animals do you like to photograph the most? What animals do they/do you prefer to photograph? Understanding what kind of house the buyer wants to buy Understanding what kind of house the buyer wants   saves time and misunderstandings (CP, Arg.)   buying saves time and misunderstandings I didn't know the meaning that survival  survival (SP, Sp .)   can have (c) Adverbial to strengthen adjectives or adverbs: How generous it is! How late it has become! How well they sing! Boston, what a beautiful city with red walls! (EP, Mexico, dialogue. Partitions = bricks   in Spain)

He is not generous! Look how late it is! / Whoa, it's late! They sing really well! Boston, what a beautiful red brick city!

(1)  The verb phrase qué can optionally be preceded by que in conversational language: qué guapa (que) es tu hermana! 'Your sister is not beautiful!', how well they did it! 'they did it very well!' (2)  The use of como before adjectives is found in Latin America, but is archaic in Spain: how miserable we women are! (sp. how unhappy we women are!) 'how unhappy we women are!', how difficult it is to live! (= ¡qué difficult es vivir!) 'how difficult it is to live!'; (Kany's Argentine and Uruguayan examples, 342-3), how undisciplined some people are 'how undisciplined some people are' (AM, Mexico, dialogue). JM Lope Blanch (1991), 13, notes its use by all social classes in Mexico. Alternative buildings, found on both continents, are equally rebellious. . . and how rebellious he is. . .

28.4  What


(3)  What? is a well-known alternative to the more decent ¿cómo?/¿cómo dice? when repetition is required: —María es muy responderna—. That? (polite ¿cómo?, Mexican mande) ‘“María is very responsive.” "What?/Excuse me?" (ie "what did you say?"). (4)  Important: qué 'what?' not to be confused with the conjunction found in sentences like ¡que me llamen a las cinco! 'let them call me at five o'clock!'/'tell them to call me at five!', dijiste que te ibas 'you said you were leaving', ¡pero que no nos hayas dicho nada! 'but the fact that you didn't tell us anything!' See 20.3.19.

28.4.2  Qué and what in indirect questions And qué and what is possible in indirect questions (see Glossary), except immediately before the infinitive, when qué is necessary and can sound without an instruction: Sé de lo que te hablo (CF , Mex . , dialogue; I know what I'm talking about with you  or qué hablo) dialogue)   Neither do I know what I'm thinking, nor does God know what we've gotten ourselves into! God knows what we're getting into! I don't know what I'm going to do I don't know what I'm going to do I don't know what I'm going to do

28.4.3  What: some idiomatic uses How are you? (= how are you?) How are you? How is it? What is he like as a teacher? What is he like as a teacher? What do you think? What do you think? Why are you doing that? Why the hell are you doing this? What for me? / And? What do I care?/So what? What is this purchase about? (JA, Sp., dialogue) What is the purpose of this purchase?/   What is the purpose of buying this? What's the problem? What is it? What about homeless families? What about homeless families? (1)  Which has no accent in the following construction: —A que llueve esta tarde! - Oh no! "I bet it's going to rain this afternoon!" "I bet not!"

28.4.4  Translating 'Que . . .!' Qué is used before noun phrases without un/una to translate 'que . . .!' in exclamations: What a life! What a life! What a beautiful/what a beautiful day! What a beautiful day! What a face! (Spain, known, qué morro!) What a face! Large cups of white coffee, Large cups of white coffee: wonderful! how wonderful! (EP, Mexico) What/such an interesting book! What an interesting book! What a dumb/stupid refrigerator this is! Wow, this fridge is stupid!! Ronie went straight to the bar. "How strange, Ronie went straight to the bar. 'This is   early' (CP, Arg., dialogue)   strange, [drinking] so early'

352 Questions and exclamations (1)  Colloquial as . . . what is common is being on both continents: how beautiful you are! 'you don't look attractive!', but how fat he is! 'wow, he's not fat!' (2)  What about . . . a rather old-fashioned alternative to cuánto in exclamations is: ¡qué de cosas/cuántas cosas tengo que contate! (famous ¡la de cosas que tiego que contate!) 'how many things I have to tell you!' (3)  For the Latin American phrase qué tan . . . see 10.16 note 6.

28.5  Quién Quién/quiénes translates 'who?'/'who?' in direct and indirect questions: Who was it? Who was? Who knew he was a doctor? Who knew he was a doctor? Do you know who I mean right now? Do you know who (m) I mean now? Who did you invite? Who did you invite? He doesn't know who he loves more, his father or   la mamá (ES, Mexico, dialogue)   mother (1)  For whom as relative pronoun as in friends he had salido 'friend(s) he dated' see chapter 39. For quien as a nominalizer (as in quien dice eso . . . 'the people who say that . . .'/'the person who says that . . . ') see chapter 40. (2)  Who else is the imperfect subjunctive translates 'if only. . .': that he was a millionaire. . . 'If I were a millionaire'. See 20.2.5. (3)  The following construction is common: I am not the one to advise (ABV, Sp., dialog), 'I am not the right person to give advice', you are not the one who should criticize 'you are not to criticize'/'you have no right to criticize ', I'm not one of those who make value judgments (interview in El Independiente, Mexico) 'I'm not one of those who make value judgments'. There is some uncertainty about who should have the accent in this construction: it usually does. (4) NGLE 22.13b records the use of quién to mean 'no one' in Mexico and Central America: her husband's death left her with no one in the world', in Spain with no one in the world. . ..

28.6  Cuánto e cuán 28.6.1  Cuánto Cuánto can act as a pronoun, adjective or adverb. In the first two cases, it agrees in number and gender with the noun; in the latter case, it is immutable. (a)  'How much?', 'how much?' How much does this cost? How much butter is left? How much butter is left? I don't know how many were sold I don't know how many were sold — How long does it take to arrive? 'How long will it take you to get there?' he   — A maximum of fifteen days (DT, Mexico,   question. 'A maximum of fifteen days.'   dialogue. Sp. . . . days at most)

28.6  How much and how


(b)  In exclamations, 'how much!', 'how much!' How many times have I (not) told you! How many times have I told you! Look how much snow! Look at all that snow! How many drastic and unnecessary measures, 'How many drastic and unnecessary measures   sighed the director general! (CF, Mex.)   Measures!', sighed the general director How much more tragic! How much more tragic! How much better it would be for you! How much better it would be for you! (1)  In comparative sentences more/less . . . more/less 'the more . . . the more'' the less. . . less', when it is not used exclamatively, it is not emphasized and there is no emphasis. See 6.11 for further discussion of this construct. (2)  Cuánto (unstressed) can be used as a relative pronoun equivalent to todo lo que: tengo cuanto necesito (ABV, Sp., dialogue) = tengo todo lo que necesito 'I have everything I need', [room] Era undoubtedly the most luxurious of all the rooms he stayed in (ES, Mex. Room = room in Spain) 'without doubt, the room was the most luxurious of all the rooms he occupied'. (3) The exclamation Cuánto can optionally follow que before the verb: ¡cuánto (que) te he extrañado! 'I miss you!' (example from GDLE 31.3.12).

28.6.2  Cuán In exclamations and indirect questions, cuánto is shortened to cuán and cuán to cuán before adverbs or adjectives that are not bad, less, mayor, smaller, mejor, peor. However, although not yet completely extinct in polite speech, as today it is generally found only in flowery styles, and what, either lo + adjective or adverb (the latter discussed in 8.2. 2) are more common. Cuán is apparently more common in Latin America than in Spain: she herself was surprised at how far she was from her life (GGM, Col. or   far was from her life   . . . than how far she was from her life) They only have have succeeded in exposing how rude they are, They have only succeeded in exposing how   cuánte ineptos y cuán interesados ​​​​​​​​​​​​​son   rude, incompetent and selfish our   our political leaders   political leaders   (La Jornada, Mexico.) floor natural After that he lay down casually full length on   as wide as it was (JM, Sp.)   floor Does not support sleep and fatigue. He's tucked in. He can't stand sleepiness and fatigue. el suelo cuán largo es (CREA, Mexico)   He lies/US lies with his whole body on   the floor (1)  Cuán in questions like, how do you feel with the support of your family? 'How much support do you feel/to what extent do you feel supported by your family?' it is heard in Latin America outside the Rio de la Plata region, but is archaic elsewhere. It usually says to what extent do you feel supported? (2)  In Spain and the Southern Cone, phrases like 'como' + adjective + 'é/era?' are translated as ¿cómo es de . . .? how big is the hotel 'how big is the hotel?', how deep is the water? 'how deep is the water?', how high was it? 'how tall is he?' For Latin Americans, qué tan como en ¿qué tan grande es? "How big is it?" see 28.7 note 4.

354 Questions and exclamations

28.7  Like 'I like' in direct and indirect questions and in exclamation points. Sometimes it means 'why?', in which case it is more formal than the English 'how come?' (for como = 'like', 'since', see 37.5.2; for como + subjunctive = 'if' see 29.8.2): What's your name? What's your name? How do you want me to style my hair? How do you want me to do my hair? I don't know how I don't know how It's raining! Look how it's raining! How/why didn't you call me yesterday? Why didn't you call me yesterday? But how are you going to sell candies/candies in the cinema? (EP, Mex., dialogue, Spanish caramels)   in the cinema? How smart is your brother-in-law? How smart is your brother-in-law? (Mex., Col. How smart is . . .?) (1)  How? or how do you say (you)? (Mexicans say mandas) are polite ways of asking to repeat something you misheard or misunderstood (more polite than ¿qué? 'what?'). (2)  What's up? is common on both continents as a way of saying 'how?' or 'which is more or less?': how are you? 'how are you?', what is he like as a doctor? 'how is he as a doctor?' (3)  As no is often used in Latin America and occasionally in Spain to mean 'of course (no)' in answer to questions, as in —Do you mind if I leave early? - How yes No! "Do you mind if I leave early?" "Of course not." (4)  Qué tan is widely used in Latin America outside the Southern Cone, and especially in Mexico, in writing and speech, in phrases such as the following: le pregunta . . . how good was he at shooting a gun (MBD, Col.) 'he asked if he was good at shooting a gun', how fast can rats reproduce? (Excélsior, Mex.) 'how fast can mice reproduce?', knowing how good he really was (LR, Col., dialogue) 'who knows how good he (ie 'the world') really was'.

28.8  Cuándo 'when' Little needs to be said about this word in direct questions, eg when was that? 'when was that?', ¿since when do you taste tequila? 'Since when do you like tequila?', and in indirect questions: no sé cuándo llegarán 'I don't know when it will arrive'. When it is not a question word, cuando (unstressed) can introduce relative clauses (see 39.12); or it can be a subordinator, often requiring a subjunctive (see 20.4.7). For 'always' see 20.5.6. To use when in cleft sentences, eg then there was cuando. . . »It was then. . .' see 41.3. (1)  Occasionally it can also be used as a preposition meaning 'at the time': nos casamos cuando el potres 'we got married at the time of the earthquake'.

28.9  Dónde 'where' This word behaves predictably in direct questions, for example Where do you live? 'where do they live?' and in indirect questions: no sé dónde viven 'I don't know where they live', no saber por dónde empezar (AC, Mexico) 'she doesn't know where to start'.

28.10  Why, why


Where should be distinguished from where?, which means 'where?' and it is optionally used with verbs of movement: where/where are you going? 'Where are you going?' Just where? can be used when there is no movement: where are we?, not *where are we? (1) When it is not a question word, where (without stress) can introduce relative clauses (see 39.10), where the difference between where, before and where is discussed. For 'wherever' see 20.5.8. To where in broken sentences, for example was there where. . . . . . . . . 'it was there that . . . . . .' see 41.3. (2) Where it can also mean 'in the house' in some countries, especially in Chile, Peru, Ecuador and Central America: voy donde Olga = I'm going to Olga's house – this construction is also heard in colloquial speech in Spain. Lo de can also mean 'house' in the Rio de la Plata region: Isabel stayed a few days in Farías' house (MSQ, Arg.) 'Isabel spent a few days in Farías' house'

28.10  Por qué, para qué Por qué 'por que' (which is stressed) must be distinguished in spelling and pronunciation from pq 'because'. Why? 'That . . . for?' must be distinguished from so that 'for'. In questions why emphasizes intention, why emphasizes cause, and the difference is the same as 'why?' and 'why?': why (or why) will we change if everything is fine? 'what are we going to change if everything is fine?', one of the many commissions created at the time, without anyone really knowing what they were for (JV, Mex., dialogue; not why) 'one of the many official commissions created at the time without them no one really knows what they are for'. Statistically, why is much more common and can often be used instead of why, but obviously not in sentences like why did the house burn down? 'why did the house catch fire?' (not para qué 'for what?').

29 Conditional sentences This chapter is about • • • • • • •

Different types of conditional sentences (sections 29.1–7) Use of the imperfect indicative for conditional tense (section 29.5) Use of si (= 'se') (section 29.8) As + subjunctive instead of si (section 29.8. 2 ) De + infinitive instead of si (section 29.8.3) Other ways of expressing conditions (section 29.9) Translation 'if I were you . . .' (Section 29.10)

29.1 Conditional sentences with si 'if' For more on the word si 'if', see 29.8.1. The most common types of conditional sentences they use are: (a) Open conditionals (section 29.2) If he comes, I'll stay/I'll ​​stay If they come, I'll stay He's been in bed for five weeks. If this is not serious, you will tell me that the television worked, they would buy it (see 29.2 note 1)

If he comes, I'll stay If they come, I'll stay (S) He's been in bed for five weeks. If it's not serious, tell me what it is. If the television worked, we'd buy it

(b) Distant conditions (Section 29.3) If I had $100, I would buy If I had $100, I would buy If I were a millionaire, I would buy a yacht If I were a millionaire, I would buy you a yacht (c ) Conditions not met (Section 29.4) If I had/had a hundred thousand dollars, I would buy it

If I had $100,000 I would buy it

(d) Conditions fulfilled (Article 29.7) If he didn't go out, it was because he preferred to stay at home, if he arrived earlier, we ate at noon

If you didn't go out, it was because you preferred to stay at home. If you arrived early, we had lunch at noon

(1) Important: si, in the sense of 'se', does not follow the present subjunctive. See 29.8.1 for details and exceptions. (2) Important: the -ra form and the -se form of the imperfect subjunctive are interchangeable in conditional sentences, with the -ra form being more common. See 20.1.3.

29.2  Open Terms


29.2  Open conditions So called because fulfillment ('fulfilment' in the US) or non-fulfilment of the condition is equally possible. The subjunctive is not used in open conditions, and the tense patterns are the same as in English: (a)  Si + present + present If we have to pay so much, it is not worth it Si (elitism) means that it chooses its   members based on their ability, all   universities in to the world they are elitist   (MVLl, Fr.)

If we have to pay so much, it's not worth it If elitism means that they choose their members   according to their abilities, then all   universities in the world are elitist

(b) If + present + future, or present with future meaning If the contract is not in London tomorrow, If the contract is not in London by then, there will be no work tomorrow, there will be no work If it rains, I will stay/ will stay at home If it rains , I will stay at home If I see you on the street, I will recognize you (RC, Sp., dialogue) If I hear that your father is dying (AM, Mex. dialogue) If your father hears you, he will die (c) If + past tense + present, future or conditional, is usually only possible when the subject of the verb in the main clause is still unsure about the facts described in the if clause. If they have already answered, I will not write to them. He warned that the strike would be legal, but if he warned that the strike would be legal, they would encounter obstacles, then "it would be, but if they encounter obstacles, it would be revolutionary'" (JA, Mex. ) revolutionary' If they are not, we are sure (d) If + present + imperative If you want to see the parade go out to the balcony If you want to see the parade go out to (Lat. Am. if you want ... go out ...) to the balcony If you buy it on DVD, check is it a Blu-ray If you buy it on DVD, make sure it's a Blu-Ray (DVD is pronounced [ dew-be-ðé]) (e) Past tense + conditional or past indicative (see note 1) They would operate her if she had a broken bone (I said this) I would stay at home if it rained ( I said) if it rained I would stay at home (1) Important: open conditionals in the past are typical of a reported statement: he told me that will pay me if I finish (s) he told me that he will pay me if I finish'. This says the actual words pay if you finish 'I will pay if you finish'. He replied in the same way that it would never be finished if they read all the box logs (JA, Mex). In this context, in Spain, atas = papers and boxes = ballot boxes) 'he replied that they would never finish if they decided to read all the ballots in the ballot boxes'. This construction is very common when the text reports on someone's spoken or unspoken thoughts: If the police had arrested her, she would have been afraid If the police had arrested her, that (MVM, Sp., unspoken thoughts) would have taught her to be smart

358 Conditional sentences If it wasn't ready, Gianni would finish. If she didn't act immediately, Gianni would   por resquebrajarse (SP, Mex.)   eventually stop ¿En qué convertiría su vida si estallaba What would happen to your life if you   el escándalo? (MVLl, Fr.)   leaked scandal? I thought that if I made myself available   you'll get tired (MP, Arg., dialogue)   you'll get tired (of me) This construction often prompts students to think that the form si + imperfect indicative + conditional is a common way of creating distant conditionals in Spanish, as in French and English, for example 'if I had money, I would buy a car'/si j'avais de l'argent j'achèterais une voiture. The next section should correct this assumption.

29.3  Distant conditionals There are two types, corresponding to the English expressions 'if you left now, I would arrive earlier' and 'if I were rich, I would buy you a house'. The first type is theoretically feasible and is only a less reliable variant of the open balance: there is little difference between pagaras/pagases ahora costaría minus 'if you paid now, it would cost less' and si pagas ahora costará minus 'if you pay now it will cost less'. In the second type, the condition contradicts the fact and the only possible construction is the subjunctive: si yo fuera/fuese rico, te buying una casa, 'if I were rich, I would buy you a house (but I'm not)'. In 'outside' conditions, the verb in the if clause is in the imperfect subjunctive (-ra or -se form). The verb in the second sentence is usually in the conditional. I've spent my life making fun of them I've spent my life making fun of psychoanalysts   psychoanalysts and their phantasmagorias   and their pseudoscientific fantasies, but   pseudoscientific, but I'd be lying if you said   I'd be lying if I said those sessions   those sessions on the server did   nothing at all (JC , Sp .) Si supieras hacer el nudo como todos los If you know how to tie a knot like all   chicos de tu edad, te tenirías quejar   boys your age, you wouldn't (IA, Sp., dialogo)   I have to complain Si no fuera por los embotellamientos de If not there were traffic jams, I would be   tránsito would be la más Feliz de las mujeres   the happiest woman   (ES, Mex., dialogue) I wanted to know qu haría si fuese el She wanted to know what he would do if   the president of la atribulada red   he is the president of the troubled Twittera   social Twitter (La Jornada, Mexico)   social network (1)  In these four examples, the subjunctive se or -ra could have been used in the if clause. (2)  As mentioned in Note 1 29.2, learners of English and French should avoid the use of the imperfect indicative in the if clause of remote conditions (cf. si j'étais riche . . .). (3)  The use of the conditional in the if clause is regional or non-standard, but is common in Navarre, the Basque provinces, parts of neighboring Spain and in popular Argentine speech, eg ?if he hadn't been arrested, he wouldn't have been released' 'if he hadn't been arrested he wouldn't have been released ' (MP, Arg., dialogue; for estuviera/estuviese). This is not to be imitated.

29.5  Imperfect conditional tense indicative


29.4  Conditions not fulfilled Indicate a condition in the past that was not fulfilled as in itself me haberan/hubiesen invitado habría ido 'if they had invited me, I would have gone' (but they didn't). The verb in the if clause is in the more than perfect subjunctive (would have/would have spoken, etc.) would have/would have money, If (s) had (s) money (s) had had   habría/huiera saldado la cuenta   paid the bill If it weren't for stomach contractions   stomach, he would have felt very bien   spasms, he would have felt good   (JC, Arg., dialogue) if dad no deba gustar   had not told her that father was certainly not   (ES, Mexico, dialogue)   love (1)  A few simpler ways of fulfilling unsatisfied conditions are heard in spontaneous speech, but they are rare in written form and are probably too informal for most foreign students: if only they paid me more of course I would work harder', if I knew, I would call you 'If I knew I would call you', if you stay longer, I swear I will come in and charge you something. . . (CMG, Sp., dialogue) 'If you had stayed there longer, I swear I would have gone in and charged them. . .', if I know you are sick, I don't come 'if I knew you were sick, I wouldn't have come', I tripped and if I neglected, I fell 'I slipped and almost fell', if I left at that moment, I would have been ungrateful (ES, Mexico, dialogue) 'if I had left at that moment I would have been ungrateful', if you hadn't married me, 'I became a nun (the present tense for I would have been from . . . ) 'if you hadn't married me, I would have become a nun'. (2)  Si + imperfect + imperfect is widespread, but is defined by GDLE 57.2 as 'below standard'. I would kill you with my knife'. In Argentina you also hear si + imperfect + conditional: if I had seen (for habla/hubiese) someone with it on the beach a few years ago, I would have thought: this guy is crazy (caricature Mafalda, Arg., Sp. está loco)' da I saw someone wearing this on the beach a few years ago, I would have thought the guy was crazy'. (3)  Two types of unfulfilled conditions should be noted: if you had worked more during the year, you would not have had to go to class now' (refers to the present) and if you had worked more during the year, you would not have had to go to class this summer 'if you had worked more during the year, he wouldn't have to go to class this summer' (refers to the past tense).

29.5  Imperfect indicative for conditionals The imperfect indicative is often used in conditional sentences instead of conditionals in spontaneous speech on both sides of the Atlantic (this is discussed in more detail in 17.5.4). This is acceptable in casual Spanish, but avoided in formal styles: Desde luego, si yo fuera hombre, no me casaba Of course, if I were a man, no one   (LG, Sp., dialogue)   would marry me. . . Si no fuera por vosotros iba yo aguantar a If it weren't for you, I would have put   vuestro padre . . . (CRG, Sp.)   with father?

360 Conditional sentences Ni loca me casaba con un español I wouldn't marry a Spanish woman even if I   (ES, Mex., dialogue)   were crazy

29.6  -ra form instead of conditional See 17.5.7 for the use of the subjunctive form -ra more than perfect of haber (but not, at least in careful language, the -se form) as an alternative to the past conditional habría, from the former con él or sin él, habría/ hubiera be equal to 'with or without him, it would be the same'.

29.7  Satisfied conditions These aren't really conditions, just a fancy way of saying 'reason why'/'just because'/'when'/'since'. The main verbs of if clauses and apodoses (clauses that indicate the consequence of conditions) are in the indicative form: If I counted all those it is inevitable  pensaba realizalos (FU, Sp.)   intended to realize them Si he tenido suerte, la culpa no es mía I'm not guilty if I was lucky If we had money, we went to the theater If (ie 'always') we had some money   we went to the theater If I brought you to the beach it's so that you   Alvarito y no para que te pusieras a leer   could take care of little Alvaro, you are not so   (SV, Ch., dialogue: i.e. 'the reason   could start reading   why I brought you . . . ') Si en el siglo XX la Guerra fue por el If (i.e. 'given ') war in the 20th century was   oil, en el actual will be el   over oil, in the current century it will be   water (La Jornada, Mexico) over water

29.8  Si 'se' 29.8.1  Si: generally Si does not follow the present subjunctive, except occasionally after sabre: no sé si sea cierto 'I don't know if it's true' for no sé si es cierto. This last construction is very common in many Latin American republics, especially in Mexico: no sé si en este esta estado pueda continuar (LRS, PR, dialog) 'I don't know if I can continue in this state', a estass ya no sé si eso sea posible (DT, Mexico, dialogue) 'to get this far, I don't know if this is possible anymore'. See 20.12.1 note 1 for details. (1) Important: ser cannot be excluded after si: si es urgency 'if it is urgent', ven antes si es posible 'come sooner if possible'. Cf. also French si nécessaire 'if necessary', si es/fuera/fuese necesario. (2)  Important: si cannot follow the future tense, except in the context described in note 3: *si vendrás mañana is incorrect for si vienes mañana 'if you come tomorrow'. (3)  Si often means 'if': no ​​​​​​sé si vienen/vendrán o no 'I don't know if/whether they come or not'. In this case, it is possible to use the future tense behind it. (4) Si sometimes has only an emphatic meaning: pero ¡si tiene más de setenta años! 'but there are more than seventy!': see 35.4.8.

29,8  I''me''


(5)  In the sentence mal se não tem the function: mal (si) knew her 'I/he/she/you barely knew her'. See 27.5.7 note 2. (6)  A construction which . . . indicates tedious repetition: I don't know why Andrés didn't come. What if he doesn't know what time it is, if he wasn't invited, if his wife is sick. . . »I don't know why Andrés didn't eat. "He didn't know" what time it was, "he wasn't invited", his wife was "sick". . .”’ (ie you don’t believe his various excuses).

29.8.2  Como = si 'se' In informal language in type 1 (open) conditions, as with the present or imperfect subjunctive it can be used instead of si. This is usually limited to threats and warnings and is found on both continents, as the Cuban example shows; but Lope Blanch (1991, 146), says that the construction is unknown in Mexican Spanish: ¡Como se me vuelva a colgar la tableta la If my tablet breaks again, I will throw it   tiro por la ventana! from the window! Me disse que como no se lo pagara/pagase, se (S)he told me that if I don't pay   lo llevaba/llevaría   to her/him, for that, (s)ele will take away —¿Está enfermo su hijo ? —Sick me 'Is your son sick?' 'He will make me sick   putrá a mí como lo deje (AA, Cu., dialogo)   if I let him' (1)  As with the indicative, it means 'from' (ie 'because') and is discussed in 37.5. 2, from ex. como no me lo has pagado, me lo llevo 'since you didn't pay me for it, I'm taking it off'. (2)  As with the subjunctive, it can also mean 'unless' or 'unless': no ​​​​​​tenemos nada to decir, como no mar que senti mucho lo de mi ahijada (MS, Mex., dialogue) 'we don't have what can we say except that we are very sorry for what happened to my godson', he never knew what the tener dos was for in the sea to wash one hand in each at the same time (LR, Col., dialogue) 'I never knew the point of having two [toilets] unless it is a question of simultaneous hand washing in each of them'.

29.8.3 De + infinitive = si + finite verb De plus infinitive can be used for si and a finite verb in an if clause. This construction is best limited to sentences in which the verb in the if clause and the verb in the subordinate clause are in the same person. You can say about llover, it will rain a lot 'if it rains, it will rain a lot' (both in the third person), but not *de llover, I stay at home 'if it rains, I stay at home' ( if it rains I fall / stay I'll be at home). This rule is not always applied, but foreigners should probably follow it: It occurred to me that if the woman was alive it occurred to me that if she were alive, she would look older and more dignified, the woman would look ( AM, Sp ., dialogue) older and more valuable for me Experiment . . . . . . . . which, if confirmed, Experience which, if confirmed, would mean the discovery of the most sought-after energy source (Granma, Cu.) scientists If I were the only child of the best if I If I were an only child I might Really become a spoiled girl (EN, Mexico, dialogue) (1) When used like this, de must have an unrealized or future meaning. It can be said about llover, it will rain a lot 'if it rains, it will rain a lot', or if we knew that, we would have . . . . . . . . . 'If we had known, we would have

362 conditional sentences have . . .' (incomplete), but not *de ser guapa, es mi novia 'if she is beautiful, she is my girlfriend' (timeless expression: si es guapa . . .). Therefore, De cannot be used in conditional sentences of type 4 (fulfilled) (29.7).

29.9 Other ways of expressing conditions (a) The gerund can sometimes have a conditional meaning: by saying that you will get nowhere 'You will get nowhere by saying that' is the same as telling yourself that . . . . . . . . 'if you say so'. See 24.4.2 for more examples. (b) The negative if clause may be introduced by some phrase meaning 'unless', eg unless, unless (see 20.4.8b), unless (see 29.8.2 note 2): must (be) at home, unless / unless / unless he went to the bar with his friends '(s) must be at home, unless he went to the bar with his friends. The subjunctive is mandatory after these expressions. (c) 'If' can be expressed by a phrase meaning 'provided that', eg with such (de) that, provided (see 20.4.8a): I will buy an avocado, provided (de) that it is fresh ' I buy avocados that have been delivered/if they are fresh'. (Avocado is used in Spain and northern Ecuador; palm is used in southern Ecuador) These expressions require the subjunctive. (d) Al + infinitive correctly means 'in'. . . . .-ing', but is sometimes seen with a conditional meaning: ?when this statement becomes true, everything will have to be rethought 'if this statement is true, everything will have to be rethought'. See 22.3.3. This is not to be imitated. (e) A + infinitive can have a conditional meaning in some cases: He was also nervous, judging by He was too nervous to judge by the way he licked his mustache (ES, Mex., dialog box) To tell you the truth, no I don't like him/her/you (= if I'm telling the truth) (f) Because . . . . . . . . conditional forms of the type translated with 'case . . . . . .' or something like that: I looked out the window to see if he was coming We bought another bottle just in case We bought another bottle just in case Just in case that wasn't enough, I was too As if that wasn't enough, they put a ticket they gave me a ticket too! I'd rather you send protection to my wife and guarantee my son's funeral in case something untoward happens (MS, Mex., dialogue) son's funeral arrives in case something untoward comes up (g) Whence it can sometimes mean a nervous 'what if' . . . . .?' in Mexico and probably other parts of northern Latin America. In this context, European Spanish uses anda que si + indicative or anda que como + subjunctive: do not say, I am very afraid, where the poor creature tears off this man's nose (AM, Mex., dialogue; Sp. anda que como sai ... ) 'Don't even mention it, I'm really scared. And if the poor guy gets that man's nose?!', where my mother sees me in my skin, she dies of disgust (ES, mex., dialogue) 'if my mother sees me naked [i.e. on television] they will die of fear', I don't know how they will get married. Where they are equally ignorant of all the others (ibid. Sp. go what they are . . ., go what if they are . . .) 'I don't know how they will get married. What if they are so clueless about everything else?!'

29.10  I translate 'if I were you. . .'


29.10  I translate 'if I were you. . .' Yo que usted/Si yo fuera tú, me callaría If I were you, I would be silent. If I were you, I would look for a lawyer (MS, Mexico, dialogue )   lawyer if you were me I would buy a new one (refers to   (ES, Mexico, dialogue)   Máquina de escribir – typewriter) (1)  Yo que tú/ usted is used on both continents. Yo de ti/usted is a Catalan that is now quite widespread in Spain and is heard in some parts of Central America and the Caribbean, but is censored by good usage manuals (eg Santamaría et al. 1989, 309): yo of you I left 'if I were in your place I would', I wouldn't do it Ana 'if I were in Ana's place I wouldn't do it'.

30 Pronoun verbs The main points discussed in this chapter are: • The terms 'reciprocal' and the verb 'pronoun' (Section 30.1.1) • The reflexive meaning of pronominal verbs (eg lavase, matarse) (Section 30.2) • The meaning of reciprocity of pronouns of verbs ('they love each other', etc.) (Section 30.3) • Intransitive meaning of pronouns (eg the difference between enamorar and enamorarse) (Section 30.4) • Se de matización (ie if used for add a nuance of meaning) (Section 30.5–8) • Se ate una pizza, me bebí un liter de vino (Section 30.9) • Possible meanings of sentences such as se abrió la puerta (Section 30.10) • Obligatory use of uno onde dva if they appeared side by side (Section 30.11)

30.1 Pronominal verbs: general 30.1.1 'Pronominal' verbs or 'reflexive' verbs? Important: 'pronoun' refers to the form of these verbs, not their meaning. A very large number of Spanish verbs can be made 'pronominal', even intransitive verbs like 'ser' (estarse) and 'cair' (caerse). It is very wrong to call these verbs "reflexive". 'Reverse' refers to only one of the meanings that a pronominal verb can have, namely that the subject performs the action on himself or herself, as in me afeito 'I shave (myself)', se lavan' they wash (themselves)' etc. 'I'm leaving', nos acostamos 'we're going to bed', te tired 'you'll get tired', me lavo 'I'm washing', se quieren mucho 'they love each other very much', (él ) se ha dormido 'he went to sleep'. Common object pronouns are used with these verbs, except in the third person (usted, ustedes included), which uses the pronoun if in both the singular and the plural. The usual forms of a typical pronominal verb are: Infinitive sit 'to sit'

seated gerund

Imperative you sit, you sit, you sit, you sit. The voseo form is to sit. See 21.2 for details on these imperative forms. present

eu sento you feel you feel ele/ela/you feel

we/we sit down you/you sit down they/they/you sit down

30.2  Reflexive meaning of pronominal verbs


30.1.2  Possible uses of Spanish pronominal verbs Here are the different possible uses of Spanish pronominal verbs: Name


Singular or plural verb?

verbal person

Is the subject of the section alive or not?

1. Reflektivni






2. reciprocal

we love each other, you talk to each other





3. Intransitive

I'm glad the glass broke


some, if alive, otherwise 3



4. Be nuanced

he left, he died, or you ran away, I hoped, he believes, etc.

some, if alive, otherwise 3



5. 'Unusual consumption'

drank a liter of wine





6. Passiv ako

the bridge was built


only the third

inanimate (usually)

Chapter 32

7. 'Special construction'

two people were arrested


only the third

um, with a few exceptions

Chapter 32

8. Impersonal seriousness

life is good in Spain


only the third


Chapter 32

(1) Important: It should be remembered that pronominal verbs often have several possible meanings. If criticize can mean 'they criticize each other', 'they criticize each other' or 'they are criticized' (if passive: Chapter 32). The context or meaning of the verb usually makes the meaning clear. (2) The term 'pronominal' verb may be criticised, but the Academy has now adopted it: NGLE41.13a. Avoiding a "reflexive" noun for this type of verb can prevent students from imagining that phrases like se construyó el puente mean "the bridge built itself" rather than "the bridge was built."

30.2  Reflexive meaning of pronominal verbs 30.2.1  Basic reflexive meaning of pronominal verbs The reflexive meaning of a pronominal verb almost always indicates that the subject is performing an action towards himself or herself: if he takes a shower '(s) he takes a shower', ustedes se alaban mucho 'you compliment each other a lot ' (or 'you compliment each other a lot'; see 30.3), me voy a buy otro kostim 'I will buy (for myself) another suit'. This meaning is quite common, but not the most commonly encountered, although it is usually studied first, probably because it was the basic meaning of pronominal verbs in classical Latin. Four important features of this reflexive meaning are: (a)  The subject must be alive or have some kind of artificial intelligence, because doors or stones usually do not do things by themselves. (b)  A pronoun can represent a direct or an indirect object: se está afeitor 'he shaves' (se= direct object), me estoy quitando la Camisa 'I take off my shirt' (I am the indirect object; la Camisa is the direct object), ponte la gorra 'put on a hat' etc.

366 Pronoun verbs (c)  The action can be intentional or accidental: me estoy Pintura las uñas ‘I am painting my nails’, me he roto una uña ‘I broke my nail’. In some cases, someone else may actually do this: see 30.2.3, especially note 3. (d)  The source verb is always transitive—that is, it must be capable of taking a direct object. If the original verb is intransitive, then the pronominal form cannot have a reflexive meaning, cf. ir 'to go' (intransitive), se va '(he) goes' (if from matización, not 'reflective'). Examples of reflexive meaning of pronominal verbs: Se está maquillando (S)ele esta makeup-se Me corté con una lata I cut myself on the sheet ¡Qué bien se peina! He/she does not fix his/her own hair(s) very well!/   . . . do his hair well! Careful, you'll get splashed! Careful, you'll get wet! The former president of Honduras pleads guilty The former president of Honduras pleads guilty (literally   culpable (La Jornada, Mexico)   'he pleads guilty') Lávate las manos Wash your hands Esto me lo pido, esto me lo pido . . . I am asking this. . . that's it . . . (heard by children in a toy shop   before Epiphany. See note 4) Se mató en un accident (see note 2) (S)he died in an accident Se daban crema para el sol They were putting on sun cream (or   reciprocally ' they were putting on sun cream sunning each other') (1)  Spanish reflexive pronouns must be of the same person and number as the subject of the verb. Unlike informal English, Spanish drops *nos compré un coche nuevo for compré un coche nuevo para nosotros 'I'm buying us a new car'/'I'm buying a new car for us'. In the same way, you should say hay que estar 'it's time to get up', not *hay que levarnos (because hay is third person). The last construction is heard, but condemned by NGLE 16.4j. (2)  Se mató can mean accidental death or suicide. If the death was accidental, it means that the subject was performing the action that killed him. Se mató en un accidenta de car 'she died in a car accident' implies that he was driving. But you cannot say *se mató en una pelea *'(s)he killed himself in a fight': lo/le/la mataron en una pelea because someone else is responsible. (3)  In colloquial language in Spain, the reflexive meaning of some verbs can imply that the action concerns or makes sense to the subject and no one else: tú sabrás lo que te dices 'I think you know what you're talking about ( i.e. no)', se lo digo yo, y yo sé lo que me digo (RM, Sp., dialogue) 'I'm talking to you and I know what I'm saying', yo me entiendo 'I know what I mean' /'I know what I'm talking about', yo sé lo que me hago 'I know what I'm doing' (even if you don't). As far as we know, this construction is rare in Latin America, but cf. —¿Cuál ensalmo?—asked Corzas. Uno que yo me sé —contestó Isabel (AM, Mexico, dialogue. Spain and the Southern Cone ¿Qué ensalmo?) ‘ “What magic spell?” Corzas asked. "I know one," Isabel answered. (4)  In Spanish-speaking countries, gifts are traditionally given on Dia de Reyes or Reis, or Epiphany, on January 6. To the dismay of parents of young children, word has spread in recent years that Santa Claus (Papá Noel) also distributes gifts on December 24 or 25.

30.2.2  Subject emphasis and reflexive meaning The subject can be emphasized through the use of subject pronouns, sometimes reinforced by the corresponding form solo 'alone' or mismo. This construction also makes it clear that the meaning

30.3  Mutual meaning of pronominal verbs


reflective: first she dressed the girl and then she dressed 'first she dressed the child and then she dressed', ya no te aguantas ni a ti mismo (EP, Mex.) 'you can't even stand yourself', get harmed 'you harmed yourself '. (1)  If a preposition (including personal) is used, emphasis is given using the appropriate prepositional form of the personal pronoun (mí/ti/sí/nosotros/vosotros/sí) plus correct number and gender mismo: if she told herself she had to do it ' she told herself she had to', we often lied to ourselves 'we often lied to ourselves', she promised herself long before marriage (SG, Mexico) 'she promised herself long before marriage'. (2)  Verbs expressing hurt have a prepositional or prepositional form: he hurt himself/he hurt himself, he hurt himself/he hurt himself (masc.) he hurt himself'.

30.2.3 Use of the reflexive meaning to mean 'to do something for oneself' With some common verbs, and especially in Spain, the reflexive meaning can also include 'to get or do something for oneself': Ana se va a hacer un shelter rojo 'Ana will make a red coat'/'Ana will have a red coat made', if the han built a cottage 'they built a house for themselves or according to their measure)', I will cut the fur 'I will cut my hair', me peino en una peluqueríafam "I'm getting my hair done at a famous hairdresser." Ambiguity can be removed by appropriate use of the personal pronoun followed by mismo or solo, for example me voy a corte yo mismo el s 'I'm going to cut my hair' (alone). (1)  This construction is not used throughout Latin America, especially in the northern regions, in which case mandar or hacer are used, e.g. mandó constru un palacio ou hizo constru un palacio '(he) ordered the palace to be built'. Both constructions are also used in Spain. (2)  In some cases, it is very unlikely that the subject actually performs the action himself: inyectarse contra el cólera 'to inject myself against cholera', me voy a opera de cataratas 'I will operate on a cataract', it is evident that she was operated on, not just a bell varies veces (BE, Mexico) 'it is obvious that she has been operated not once, but several times', Nunca me voy a operar la cara (interview, Capital, Fr .) 'I will never have facial surgery', si te duele esa muela , debias sacártela 'if that tooth hurts you should take it out' (less likely, 'you should take it out') , no me gusta nada ese corte que tienes en la mano . Debes ir a vértelo (colloquial, Spain) 'I really don't like that cut on your arm. You should go and check'.

30.3 Reciprocal meaning of pronominal verbs Pronoun verbs in the plural with human or animal subjects can have a reciprocal meaning, that is, they can show that the action is performed towards or for another. El uno otro/los unos a los otros can be added to clarify that this meaning is: We write to each other regularly They haven't spoken in years They haven't spoken in years sin que nos It's been a long time since we saw each other   viésemos/viseras The lovers pretended that hate each other, but the bride and groom pretended to hate each other   en el fondo se querán (ES, Mex., dialogue)  other, but deep down they loved each other

368 Pronoun verbs Los Guardianes seem to be watching los unos The guards seem to be watching   a los otros (GGM, Col.)   each other. They always find fault with each other (1)  Important: if both female and male subjects are involved, male pronouns are used: boys and girls help each other 'boys and girls help each other', Pablo and Marta love each other very much 'Pablo and Marta they love a lot'. Each other can eliminate the idea of ​​reciprocity, that is, suggest that he loved her, but not the other way around. However, reciprocal forms similar to each other are occasionally seen in literary styles; see NGLE16.5i.

30.4  Pronominal verbs and intransitive 30.4.1  Common intransitive pronominal verbs An important and frequently encountered use of the pronominal form is to show that a verb is intransitive—that is, it cannot have a direct object. English does not always distinguish between transitive and intransitive verbs: cf. 'Dinner is ready'/'Dinner is ready', 'I cooked'/'it was cooked', 'we are planting carrots here'/'carrots are growing here'. But with a few important exceptions, Spanish marks the intransitive meaning of a transitive verb by making it pronominal: Compare: Transitive


open to opening (but see 30.7.1)

open open (intransitive)

from end to end (transitive and non-transitive)

cut to the end (intransitive)

put someone to bed

lie down go to bed

use it to get the most out of it

take advantage of

From user to benefit

beneficiary (of) benefit from

marry marry someone (also intransitive in archaic or regional styles)

get wet get wet

close close

near date (intransitive)

hang hang something

hang on 'hang' (computers)

wake up wake someone up (also intransitive)

wake up remember (intransitive)

scrolling slide

move move

divorce divorce (someone)

get divorced get divorced

sleep put someone to sleep (also 'sleep')

fall asleep go to sleep

fall in love make someone fall in love

fall in love with fall in love

wreck spoil something

to break spoil/break

include include

get involved / wrap up

meter to put


lose lose

get lost get lost (but see 30.7.31)

to take care of someone's care


manager for meeting people

appear appear unexpectedly

finish (see end)

to the end (see to the end)

take throw/pull

take off jump/dive

30.4  Pronoun verbs and intransitiveness


30.4.2  Pronominalization can radically change the meaning of the verb Sometimes the pronominal form of the verb differs radically in meaning: cambiar change se cambiarse de change clothes/home run run run run shy/'change around', 'come' (Sp., sexually: vulgar) develop unwind develop be good at/skillful in something dismiss see someone go/dismiss/say goodbye dismiss/say   dismiss someone   goodbye empeñar pledge/promise empeñarse pt insist on doing something spend spend to wear out to take/use to take with a/steal to deny deny refuse to do something oponer contrast two views oponerse opor valer valer valerse de make use of (1)  Some pronominal verbs are replaced by a form without a pronoun, eg entrenar para entrenarse 'to train', which is now quite widespread (training mañana en el gimnasio 'Tomorrow I'm going to train at the gym'), or face for face up con 'to face (a problem)': Arco 93 deals with facing the art market crisis (El País, Spain) 'Arco 93 tries to face with the economic crisis in the art market', the ideal medium to face our problems (interview, La Jornada, Mexico) 'the ideal method of approaching our problems'. (2)  Estrenar 'to present or show for the first time' is transitive: niña estrena protesis de mano hecha con impresión 3D (La Jornada, Mexico) 'a girl exhibits for the first time an artificial one made by hand using a 3D printer', estrenar zapatos nuevos 'put on new shoes first time'. But in the Southern Cone the non-pronominal form can be intransitive: "El Marginal" awarded before opening 'El Marginal [the film] wins an award before it is released' (La Nación, Arg.), Sp. debut.

30.4.3  Pronominal verbs that have no transitive counterpart Some intransitive pronominal verbs have no nonpronominal counterpart, at least in normal language. These are some of the most common: refrain refrain refrain crouch crouch repent repent mitigate limit yourself contradict yourself dare to behave behave yourself dignify dignify dignify

ensimismarse become  introspective run away run away disturb disturb brag brag ridicule stubbornly insist on

complain argue rebel rebel rejoice be delighted be angry feel the effects of honesty be honest commit suicide commit suicide brag garbar

30.4.4  Some intransitive verbs can be intransitive or transitive There are so many pronominal intransitive verbs in Spanish that beginners sometimes assume that all intransitive counterparts of transitive verbs must be pronominal. But a few non-pronominal verbs have both transitive and intransitive meanings. We can say lo/le suspen dieron en francés 'they failed him in French' and suspendió en francés '(he) failed in French', su cabeza asomaba por la ventana (or se asomaba) 'his head was sticking out of the window' e asomaba la cabeza por la ventana '(she) stuck her head out the window', he disconnected her

370 Pronoun verbs radio '(he) turned off the radio' and en clase siempre desconecta 'in the class(es) it is always turned off' (i.e. 'dreamers'), lo empezó '(he/you started)' and empezó ' (he/she/you started', tenemos que hablar (intransitive) 'we have to talk', lo tenemos que hablar 'we have to talk about it' (transitive). The following are common examples of verbs that can be transitive or intransitive without changing form ( verbs marked with an asterisk can optionally become pronominal when used intransitively. A good dictionary should provide more detail): termina* finish (see 30.7. 2) aclarar* brighten/enlighten/   eg after a storm thin* thin/lose  weight loosen* loosen* grant pass/pass   (examination) increase* grow/make more progress* progress/move  progress lower* descend/raise   descend (see 30.6.1) begin

to connect* to connect ​​to grow (to grow)   see 30.7.10) to wake up* to wake up   (see 30.7.15) to decrease* to decrease/  to decrease to worsen* to worsen to encourage* to decrease to get sick/get sick   (enfermarse in lat. am .) enflaquer* lose weight enfriar* cool get fat* get fat go crazy* go crazy

hervir cook *begin (can be intransitive   in Mexico) 'begin' mejorar* improve (see  30.7.23) darken* darken break* burst/break resurrect resurrect back to life,   resurrect bleed* bleed/ hyphen   (to text) dry* dry up * get up/get up finish* finish get dressed* get dressed (see 30.7.37)

30.5. Se de matización: in general The term se de matización is taken from Moreira and Butt (1996). However, it is imprecise in the sense that such verbs appear with pronouns other than se, eg Me voy, te duermes, nos trajimos, os creéis, etc. Se de matización (literally 'if it adds a shadow of meaning') refers to the use of a pronominal form to modify the meaning of the original verb in some way. Compare bajó del árbol e se bajó del árbol '(s)he came down from the tree' (the difference between the two is poorly translatable), or salió del cine '(s)he left the cinema' and se salió del cine' (s ) left the cinema'. Several things must be noted about this construction: (a)  It is restricted to a limited and apparently closed set of common transitive and intransitive verbs. The fact, for example, that volver 'to return' has a pronominal counterpart volverse 'to return prematurely'/'to return' (not to be confused with volverza 'to become' or 'to turn') does not mean that regresor 'to return' also has a pronominal counterpart regress (but the latter form is used in Latin America); nor does the descender 'descer' have the form *descenderse, despite the fact that bajar has the form bajarse. This is why these verbs must be learned separately. The most common verbs that are taken from matización are: aber ending aguantar appear bajar caer callar cambiar cerrar

catch know run grow believe decide stop breakfast wake up

come back* get worse find get sick* get old* run away expect to be

figure save imagine go read arrive load march improve

deserves to ride to die to forget the darkness to stop to appear to pass for a walk

think lose try stay come back * laugh slip resist steal *

get out jump feel smile go up assume fear bring come

see the return of the dress

30.6  Verbs of movement and shadowing


*The pronominal form of the verb with an asterisk is used in Latin America, but not in Spain. Only their selection is discussed in detail below. The rest should be looked up in a good dictionary. (b)  Some of the pronominal forms described below are more characteristic of spoken language, and the non-pronominal form is used in formal styles. Therefore, only morir 'to die' is used in formal Spanish, while morir and morirse are heard in everyday speech, often with little difference in meaning. (c)  For specifically Latin American examples se de matización, see 30.8. (d)  The nuance added by pronominalization is sometimes very subtle. The ability to correctly distinguish forms such as llegar/llegarse 'come'/'approach' or traer/traerse 'bring' is the mark of a true master of idiomatic Spanish. (e)  The possibility of se de matización does not mean that the same verb is not pronominalized for one of the reasons discussed elsewhere in this chapter. Taken out of context, a form such as sencharon can mean 'they met by chance', 'they met by chance' (se de matización), 'they met' (reflexive), 'they met' (reciprocally) or 'were are found' (if passive). The context often clarifies the meaning. Pronominalized verbs of motion tend to share features of common meaning, so they are discussed separately in 30.6. Other examples of se de matización are discussed in 30.7.

30.6  Verbs of motion and se de matización Many common verbs of motion take on an additional nuance in the pronominal form. The pronominal form can: (a)  call attention to the starting point as opposed to, or also to, the destination, cf. ir 'I'm going somewhere', irse 'I'm going somewhere': voy a España 'I'm going to Spain', me voy 'I'm leaving'/'I'm going', me voy a España 'I'm going to/go 'to Spain'. (b) suggests that the action is inappropriate, accidental or unplanned, eg caer 'to fall', caerse 'to fall'; salir 'to leave'/'to leave', salirse 'to leave'/'to leak' (liquids, gases). Sometimes both shades are combined.

30.6.1  Bajar/bajarse 'to come down'; subirse 'up' As for 'leave/abandon' and 'enter/enter' some kind of vehicle, the forms are generally interchangeable, although the informal language prefers the pronoun form. Compare in Cuajimalpa they went out to eat quesadillas 'they got off [the bus] in Cuajimalpa to eat quesadillas' and when the taxi driver got out of the car to calculate the extent of the massive traffic jam 'when the taxi driver reached calculate the duration of the huge traffic jam' (both examples from ES, Mexico). More examples: He came towards them smiling, as soon as he came towards them, smiling, as they   got out of the car (MD, Sp.)   as they got out of the car After 10 minutes he got out of the car with 10 minutes later he got out of the car   cara sonrietti , (GR, Mex. carro = coche   smiling   in Spain