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Rule of Adjectives

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Why do some adjectives go in front of the verb. For example "el otro tipo" vs. "el tipo alto"

7497 views
updated DIC 3, 2009
posted by ravensty

14 Answers

3
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Why... can be a difficult thing to answer in depth. I can give you a list of typical adjectives that always appear before nouns, and others that only appear afterwards. For the rest, the general rule says that adjectives after the noun restrict its meaning, and before the noun simply add a comment. Let's see some examples:

Example 1.

Los niños simpáticos fueron a la fiesta.
Los simpáticos niños fueron a la fiesta.

In the first sentence, we are restricting the group chosen for the party: only the nice/pleasant ones went there. We assume that the nasty ones never went. In the second sentence we are not making any restrictions: when we say "los niños", we refer to all the kids considered (all of them went). However, we are adding a comment about all the kids: they were nice/pleasant.

Example 2.

El pato pequeño se comió el pan.
El pequeño pato se comió el pan.

In the first sentence we are making a restriction: we are not talking about any duck, but "the small one" among all the ducks present. Only this small one ate up all the bread. In the second sentence, since there are no restrictions, we assume that there is only one duck to consider, that duck is small, and it ate up all the bread.

There are clear differences, as you can see.

updated MAY 15, 2012
posted by lazarus1907
Hi, Lazarus. - nila45, DIC 3, 2009
1
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Most grammar rules deal with "how" and "what". The reasons for "why" usually come from a historical knowledge of how the language has evolved over time from the original parent language(s). For instance, do the other Romantic languages also follow this practice?

Off-topic comment: If you wish to post another question within the thread unless it is specifically related to the original topic you should post a separate question. The question of why some adjectives follow the noun (descriptive or restrictive adjectives) had already been addressed in a different context. If you wish to post a different context, then open another thread. (Why are descriptive or restrictive adjectives placed after the noun rather than in front of it like non-restrictive and quantifying adjectives?). This tells us that you know the usage, but want to know why it was adopted. A totally different thread.

updated MAY 15, 2012
edited by 0074b507
posted by 0074b507
1
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  1. Is the 'se? mandatory or is it only used in situations were you want to express that you ate the entire meal. For example, if your mother asks Did you eat (all) the rice? would you purposely reply Si, (yo) me comí el arroz.In some situations it seems like the amount that you ate doesn't matter. For example if someone asks What did you eat yesterday couldn't you just say (Yo)comí el arroz - I ate (some) rice.

Ok, it is not mandatory... in theory, but for many native speakers all over the world, it sounds so strange, that they'll correct you, and ask you to add "me". If you want to say "I eat (some) rice", you are not specifying how much, so you can't use "el". In this case you have to say "Comí (algo de) arroz", and here you cannot use "me" at all.

updated MAY 15, 2012
posted by lazarus1907
1
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  1. Is this se exclusive to 'consumption? verbs? For example (Yo) hice la tarea vs. (Yo) me hice la tarea

It is restricted mainly to transitive verbs that refer to activities that can be delimited, like consumption verbs. In any case, the pronoun has to agree with the subject (yo - me). Now, because "hice la tarea" already implies that it was completely done -it is already delimited-, the pronoun seems to be rather redundant in this case. The only situation where it would make sense is when you want to strongly emphasize how well or quick you completed it. E.g.

Me hice la tarea en 10 minutos.

This "me" is very colloquial, though. You wouldn't use it in formal Spanish.

  1. How do you personally insert 'tilded? letters like í for example. I usually have to type them in Microsoft Word (via a key shortcut) and paste them into my replies

There is another long thread discussing this. Check it first. I personally change the keyboard using the task bar at the bottom of the screen.

updated MAY 15, 2012
posted by lazarus1907
1
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I've answered that question about that "SE" in "comer" a couple of times this week (and God knows how many times before). Please do a search first.

updated MAY 15, 2012
posted by lazarus1907
1
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Why do some adjectives go in front of the verb. For example "el otro tipo" vs. "el tipo alto"

you might want to look up adjectives in the reference section.

descriptive adjectives usually follow the noun/pronoun that they modify.

quantifying adjectives usually proceed the noun/pronoun that they modify.

What's a quantifying adjective? One that tells your about the amount of the noun/pronoun.
examples:
the definite articles el libro (one book)
the indefinite articles un libro (one)
ordinal/ cardinal numbers dos libros el tercer libro (there must be at least 3)
cada, ninguno, otro(whether definite or not), algunos, tantos, muchos, pocos, varios
even demonstrative adjectives esta, estas, esos, aquellos quantify and procede the nouns

I'm sure that there are other reasons for putting the adjective in front of the noun/pronoun but quantifiers cover a large group of them.

updated MAY 15, 2012
posted by 0074b507
0
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Los niños simpáticos fueron a la fiesta.

Los simpáticos niños fueron a la fiesta.

In the first sentence, you are saying:

"the children who are nice are the only ones who went to the party". You have to add: the children (that are nice)..." The adjective has a predicative function.

In the second sentence, you are saying:

"The nice children went to the party".

updated DIC 3, 2009
posted by nila45
I think that the grammar has been explained. I don't think that is what they are asking. I think they are asking why don't all adjective go in front of nouns like in languages like English. (German based). English would put you nice in front of the - 0074b507, DIC 3, 2009
noun and meaning from context. I think the question is more why did Germanic languages go one way and Romantic another? - - 0074b507, DIC 3, 2009
Of course, I might be interpreting the question entirely in the wrong context. (but I believe it sould have been put in a new thread) - 0074b507, DIC 3, 2009
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Why seems to be an awkward question when applied to languages.

updated DIC 3, 2009
posted by nizhoni1
0
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why does the Spanish language use post nominal adjectives?

updated DIC 3, 2009
posted by debdacus
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Thank you for your patience Lazarus I don't mean to be a bother.However, I must warn you the questions I have are limitless and I wont't stop 'til each of them are answered. Ha! LOL smirk

updated JUN 5, 2009
posted by ravensty
0
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Can someone answer my first question above lazarus's post.

updated JUN 5, 2009
posted by ravensty
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I'll look

updated JUN 5, 2009
posted by ravensty
0
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I found a post were you are describing how se is used to emphasize that the meal has been completed however I still have some questions:
1. Is the 'se? mandatory or is it only used in situations were you want to express that you ate the entire meal. For example, if your mother asks Did you eat (all) the rice? would you purposely reply Si, (yo) se comí el arroz.In some situations it seems like the amount that you ate doesn't matter. For example if someone asks What did you eat yesterday couldn't you just say (Yo)comí el arroz - I ate (some) rice.
2. Is this se exclusive to 'consumption? verbs? For example (Yo) hice la tarea vs. (Yo) se hice la tarea
3. How do you personally insert 'tilded? letters like í for example. I usually have to type them in Microsoft Word (via a key shortcut) and paste them into my replies

updated JUN 5, 2009
posted by ravensty
0
votes

Great examples. Does this work with all descriptive adjectives? Or at least most if not all.

El pato pequeño se comió el pan.

El pequeño pato se comió el pan.

I understand El barco hundió vs. El barco se hundió. The "se" lets the audience know the ship itself sunk rather than the ship sunk something. But why did you put the se before comió in your example.

updated JUN 5, 2009
posted by ravensty
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