¡Hola y buenas tardes! Hace tiempo que no pongo una lección gramatical en el blog, y les pido disculpas. He tenido problemas técnicos con mis computadoras, y tuve que comprar una máquina nueva y software adicional para ponerlo todo en órden. Ahora parece que el sistema está corriendo bien, y espero tener un poco de paz para poderme enfocar de nuevo en el contenido del sitio.
Recientemente he recibido preguntas de varias personas con respecto a la posición de los adjetivos en el español, así que he decidido dedicar las próximas lecciones a ese tema.
A descriptive adjective in Spanish modifies a noun in two ways – first as a predicate modifier that is linked to the subject, and second as a modifier that appears either immediately before or after the noun. In this article, I shall discuss the former situation – that of the predicate-adjective construction.
A predicate adjective is a descriptive adjective that is connected to the subject of the sentence by a “linking verb,” and in Spanish that adjective must agree in gender and number with the subject. This simple construction is more difficult to execute than to understand. The more distant the adjective is from the subject, the more likely it is that the learner will ignore the gender and number agreement.
The concept of a “linking verb” in Spanish is similar to that of English. The verb serves as a sort of equals sign, which requires agreement between the subject and the predicate adjective. It obviously includes the verbs for “to be” (ser and estar), but it also takes in other verbs, like to feel, to taste, to look, to smell, to appear, to remain, to turn, to sound, to become, and others.
For the beginner, however, it’s probably best to focus on a few of the more obvious linking verbs and to memorize some simple sentences in order to get a feel for the agreement in gender and number between the subject and the predicate adjective.
El clima es magnífico. (x = y)
The climate is magnificent.
Don’t forget that in Spanish the word order of a sentence is far less fixed than in English. Often, you can change the word order without affecting the meaning. Since this is true, you will not always see a perfectly symmetrical “x = y” construction.
Es magnífico el clima. (= y x)
The climate is magnificent.
El trabajador está cansado. (x = y)
The worker is tired.
Está cansado el trabajador. (= y x)
La mujer me parece culta. (x = y)
The woman seems cultured to me.
Me parece culta la mujer. (= y x)
La comida huele rica. (x = y)
The food smells great.
Huele rica la comida. (= y x)
El hombre se quedó pasmado con la noticia. (x = y)
The man was stunned by the news.
Se quedó el hombre pasmado con la noticia. (= x y)
Se quedó pasmado el hombre con la noticia. (= y x)
In more poetic language, like that found in José Zorrilla’s Don Juan Tenorio, this last example might well appear as:
Con tal noticia pasmado se quedó el hombre. (y = x)
The man was stunned by such news.