'Ella descansa tranquila...' 'tranquila' as an adverb?

'Ella descansa tranquila...' 'tranquila' as an adverb?


Can anyone tell me why this sentence is...

Ella descansa tranquila en su cunita.

Why is is not 'descansa tranquilamente'?

It acts as an adverb here, rather than an adjective ¿no?

Or is this okay in Spanish?

¡Muchas gracias!


updated ENE 13, 2010
edited by kirstenalexander
posted by kirstenalexander
Okay - I needed to know whether it was an adverb or adjective for my linguistics class but it turns out that this is something called a 'complemento predicativo'. - kirstenalexander, ENE 13, 2010
El complemento predicativo es la función que realiza en la oración. Adverbio y adjetivo indican el tipo de palabra. No lo confundas - Blanca_Gonzalez, ENE 13, 2010
Let me clarify - I had to know if i was an adjective or adverb so I could then work out what kind of 'complemento' it was. I didn't understand why it wasn't 'tranquilamente' until I realised that there was such a thing as a 'complemento predicativo'! - kirstenalexander, ENE 13, 2010
Good question Kirsten! :-) - chaparrito, ENE 13, 2010

5 Answers


Both sentences are correct in Spanish.

¨Ella descansa tranquila¨shows a function of the adjective called ¨complemento predicativo del sujeto¨ or ´atributo adverbial´, where the adjective modifies both noun and verb. It occurs with words that can function as adjectives or adverbs.

updated MAY 10, 2010
edited by mediterrunio
posted by mediterrunio
I had no idea. Fascinating! Is this a grammar rule in Spanish only, or is there an equivalent in English that we know by another term? - chaparrito, ENE 13, 2010
I have been wondering that too! - kirstenalexander, ENE 13, 2010
I think it´s a Spanish function and maybe some other Latin languages such as Italian:. ¨Lei resta tranquilla nel suo letto¨ - mediterrunio, ENE 13, 2010
¨Lei resta tranquillamente nel suo letto¨. I like chaparrito´s fascination :O - mediterrunio, ENE 13, 2010
:-D That's why I'm here! ;-) - chaparrito, ENE 13, 2010

It's possible to do pretty much the same thing in English. "He/she rests tranquil in his/her bed." Traditional grammatical analysis would suggest that "tranquil" is an adjective in this case. This sort of construction would usually be termed "literary"/"poetic" (and, for some, would mean that "real" people don't speak this way).

As with Spanish, one can also use the (obviously) adverbial form "tranquilly") to mean very much the same thing.

updated ENE 13, 2010
posted by samdie

Excellent question!

I see what you are asking. I suppose it's one of those language nuances; in this sentence the speaker is emphasizing that she is calm (adjective) and she is resting. Clearly, if it were "tranquilamente", the "calmly" would describe how she was resting.

I really suspect that, for most normal people, this would be hair-splitting, but fo those of us who are fascinated with language, this is an excellent question!

I love it!

updated ENE 13, 2010
posted by mountaingirl123

Ella está tranquila descansandose en su cuna. Adjective

Ella se descansa tranquilamente en su cuna. Adverb

updated ENE 13, 2010
posted by 005faa61
descansar no lleva el ´se´ reflexivo. - mediterrunio, ENE 13, 2010

To check if a word is an adjective or an adverb, try changing gender: "Él descansa tranquilo". The sentence means the little girl is calm, resting in her little cot. If you want to use an adverb, then it should be "Ella descansa tranquilamente en su cunita". Change gender: "Él descansa tranquilamente en su cunita".

So, if the word changes, that means it's an adjective. If it doesn't change, it's an adverb.

updated ENE 13, 2010
posted by Blanca_Gonzalez
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