Two singular nouns and a plural adjective

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Two questions about this sentence:
Los estudiantes visten una gorra y una toga especiales, y se les otorga un diploma.

I just want to confirm that it is a rule that when an adjective refers to each of two singular nouns, the adjective takes the plural form, as above. That is, that this is just a way of shortening "una gorra especial y una toga especial."

Also, the above sentence was translated as "The students wear a special cap and gown and are presented a diploma," but is the verb "to present" really appropriate for ortogar here? I think ortogar here means that the students earned (were granted) their intangible diplomas, but the English refers to the act of handing the paper diplomas to the students as they walk across the stage during the graduation ceremony. Or can ortogar also mean hand over (entregar)'

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updated DIC 1, 2008
posted by 00bacfba

3 Answers

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The name of the cap for graduates is "bonete", by the way.

Yes, in English the correct name for this is mortarboard, but in normal speech we often just call it a cap, and especially when used as a pair in "cap and gown," which always refers to the graduation uniform. I assumed that gorra was used similarly in Spanish. Is that not correct?

I see now that you have edited your post (as is your modus operandi) and answered by other question. So, it sounds to me like you agree that present and ortogar are not really the proper translation pair in this context. I don't know whether the English or the Spanish came first (this was a phrase of the day), but I think the second one was poorly translated.

updated DIC 1, 2008
posted by 00bacfba
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Thanks for the confirmation, Lazarus. Any thoughts on my question about ortogar/present'

updated DIC 1, 2008
posted by 00bacfba
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Generally speaking, several coordinated nouns require a plural adjective when this refers to each one of them. However, if these nouns are seen as a whole unit, rather than individual unrelated items, the adjective can agree with the last item of the list:

La lengua y la literatura española.

In your examples I'd definitely say "especiales".

The name of the cap for graduates is "bonete", by the way. "Otorgar" could be "to give", but I'd say that only if done by whoever has the authority to make the decision. The degree is "otorgado" by the principal (or whoever), but that does not mean that he is going to be the one who hands over the diploma.

updated DIC 1, 2008
posted by lazarus1907