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Order of adjectives

 

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  #11  
Old June 02, 2009, 06:44 AM
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The "Rules", if *I* were forced to explain their existence, would be there to standardize the language, to facilitate the learning and understanding of it between different speakers.

Can you imagine how confusing a language would be if there weren't any rules?

But the unique thing about grammar is that those rules are fluid, and change with use over time. Thus, your second description (Way to classify language), in my opinion, is an apt description. The thing is, you cannot use the "language changes" as an excuse to ignore the rules.
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  #12  
Old June 02, 2009, 06:55 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tomisimo View Post
So I think there is more flexibility in this respect in Spanish. But in some of your examples, you used "viejo y oxidado" in that order. Would you ever say "oxidado y viejo"?
it's a matter of use. The people say often "viejo y oxidado" as "oxidado y viejo", so at the end sounds more natural.
Other examples:
blanco y resplandeciente
valiente y fiero
noche de rayos y truenos (you can say "noche de truenos y rayos", but ...)


back to the topic
An interesting 1 little 2 old 3 black 5 American 6 woman
Una interesante viejecita americana.
good rule!
I suppose it's the most importatnt the closer. But as irmamar says, usually we chose other words/conjunctions in order to say too much adjectives.
I usually say colors/nacionalities later: un establo rojo, un vestido verde, un cielo azul. Un velero chino, una pirámide egipcia.
but it's the only one I can remember

saludos
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Last edited by sosia; June 02, 2009 at 06:57 AM.
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  #13  
Old June 02, 2009, 10:02 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sosia View Post
it's a matter of use. The people say often "viejo y oxidado" as "oxidado y viejo", so at the end sounds more natural.
Other examples:
blanco y resplandeciente
valiente y fiero
noche de rayos y truenos (you can say "noche de truenos y rayos", but ...)


back to the topic
An interesting 1 little 2 old 3 black 5 American 6 woman
Una interesante viejecita americana.
good rule!
I suppose it's the most importatnt the closer. But as irmamar says, usually we chose other words/conjunctions in order to say too much adjectives.
I usually say colors/nacionalities later: un establo rojo, un vestido verde, un cielo azul. Un velero chino, una pirámide egipcia.
but it's the only one I can remember

saludos
I didn't notice I repeated "viejo y oxidado", I suppose it's because phonetically it sounds better. But as Sosia said, you can say "oxidado y viejo" as well.

By the other side, maybe we don't put together so much adjectives as in English, because we can make a noun with several adjectives, like in this case old + woman + little = viejecita.
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  #14  
Old June 02, 2009, 03:23 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by irmamar View Post
By the other side, maybe we don't put together so much adjectives as in English, because we can make a noun with several adjectives ...
Unas correccioncitas:
On the other hand, maybe we don't put so many adjectives together because we can make a noun out of several adjectives.
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  #15  
Old June 03, 2009, 06:47 AM
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It should be noted that in Spanish the meaning of the adjective sometimes changes depending on where the adjective is placed.
Example: la dichosa canción= the stupid song
la canción dichosa=the joyful song.

For those of you who are beginners in Spanish studies, a good rule to know is that, unlike English, the adjective generally follows the noun.

You should also bear in mind, that this is not a solid rule. By this I mean
that as you become more familiar with speaking in your new language,
you can vary your speech and subtly change meanings by placing the
adjective prior to the noun.
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Last edited by poli; June 03, 2009 at 06:50 AM.
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  #16  
Old June 03, 2009, 09:45 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rusty View Post
Unas correccioncitas:
On the other hand, maybe we don't put so many adjectives together because we can make a noun out of several adjectives.
Of course! Thanks
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  #17  
Old June 22, 2009, 01:07 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by brute View Post

In English there is a "rule" of syntax that few native English speakers have ever been taught. Foreign students, however, need to learn it.
This concerns the order of adjectives attached to a single noun in a sentence. [...]
[...]
Do Spanish adjectives follow a similar sequence?

I'm late for replying to this topic, but I've been meditating on what determines the place of adjectives in Spanish. As it's been said, there is no rule; order and place of adjectives rather respond to euphonic and rhetorical criteria.

—> El perro hambriento, flaco y pulgoso
—> Un juego adictivo y peligroso
—> Un estado obeso, ineficiente y despilfarrador
—> Un gobierno depurado, eficaz y optimizador
—> El jardín enorme, soleado, colorido/El enorme jardín soleado y colorido/El colorido jardín, soleado, enorme
—> El soltero más guapo, rico y codiciado
—> Un amigo honesto, leal y generoso
—> Un feo departamento oscuro, húmedo y lúgubre/Un departamento feo, húmedo, oscuro y lúgubre/Un departamento lúgubre, oscuro, húmedo y feo
—> La mesa roja, grande pesada y apolillada/La gran mesa roja, pesada y apolillada/La mesa grande, roja, pesada y apolillada.
—> Un poderoso dictador sanguinario, arbitrario y corrupto

—> Un pájaro con un plumaje negro azulado tornasol brillante.
(No commas here, because "azulado", "tornasol" and "brillante" modify another adjective, so they work together like one.)


Just a couple of notes:

● Many times, a rhetoric progression or escalation determines the order of adjectives:

—> Una enfermedad incurable, progresiva y mortal (It wouldn't make much sense "progresiva" or "incurable" after "mortal")
—> Un anciano débil, enfermo, indefenso ("débil" and "enfermo" pave the way to "indefenso")


● There are some adjectives that usually sound better when placed right beside the noun, like those that express personal appreciation ("bonito", "feo", "nuevo", etc.), size ("grande", "chico", "enorme", etc.), colour ("rojo", "azul", "amarillo", etc.):

—> Un viejo baúl herrumbroso/Un baúl viejo y herrumbroso
—> Una gruesa carpeta roja/Una carpeta roja gruesa
(Btw, colours tend to be placed right beside the noun)


● Adjectives on which depends an essential characteristic of the noun aren't separated from it:

—> Un disco flexible azul
—> Las serpientes venenosas tropicales
—> Un cuadro renacentista restaurado
("Cuadro renacentista", "serpientes venenosas" and "disco flexible" should stay together, because both adjective and noun are like a noun only)


● When there are several adjectives in one sentence, we tend to place at least one of them before the noun, to avoid a long chain of adjectives afterwards.

—> "La célebre conferencista ciega" is preferred to "la conferencista ciega célebre"
—> "El talentoso actor venezolano" is preferred to "el actor venezolano talentoso"

(Also, the adjective placed before a noun emphasizes one quality over the others; in this case, "célebre" and "talentoso". If one says "la ciega conferencista célebre", one would be stressing that she's blind rather than her fame.)


● Sometimes, a substantive placed before an adjective charges the sentence with an ironic sense, but the context will provide the meaning:

—> "El famoso doctor no ha llegado" could either mean that a non-famous doctor has kept us waiting or that we're expecting a really famous one to arrive (to a conference, perhaps).


● Nationalities are always placed immediately after the noun:

—> El genial artista africano
—> Una nueva montaña rusa enorme
—> La implacable policía soviética/la policía soviética, implacable
—> El fino casimir inglés
—> El desorientado turista alemán/el turista alemán, desorientado
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Last edited by AngelicaDeAlquezar; April 23, 2018 at 07:38 PM. Reason: Corrected vocabulary
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  #18  
Old June 22, 2009, 05:05 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AngelicaDeAlquezar View Post
I'm late for replying to this topic, but I've been meditating on what determines the place of adjectives in Spanish. As it's been said, there is no rule; order and place of adjectives rather respond to euphonic and rhetorical criteria.

—> El perro hambriento, flaco y pulgoso
—> Un juego adictivo y peligroso
—> Un estado obeso, ineficiente y despilfarrador
—> Un gobierno depurado, eficaz y optimizador
—> El jardín enorme, soleado, colorido/El enorme jardín soleado y colorido/El colorido jardín, soleado, enorme
—> El soltero más guapo, rico y codiciado
—> Un amigo honesto, leal y generoso
—> Un feo departamento oscuro, húmedo y lúgubre/Un departamento feo, húmedo, oscuro y lúgubre/Un departamento lúgubre, oscuro, húmedo y feo
—> La mesa roja, grande pesada y apolillada/La gran mesa roja, pesada y apolillada/La mesa grande, roja, pesada y apolillada.
—> Un poderoso dictador sanguinario, arbitrario y corrupto

—> Un pájaro con un plumaje negro azulado tornasol brillante.
(No commas here, because "azulado", "tornasol" and "brillante" modify another adjective, so they work together like one.)


Just a couple of notes:

● Many times, a rhetoric progression or escalation determines the order of adjectives:

—> Una enfermedad incurable, progresiva y mortal (It wouldn't make much sense "progresiva" or "incurable" after "mortal")
—> Un anciano débil, enfermo, indefenso ("débil" and "enfermo" pave the way to "indefenso")


● There are some adjectives that usually sound better when placed right beside the substantive, like those that express personal appreciation ("bonito", "feo", "nuevo", etc.), size ("grande", "chico", "enorme", etc.), colour ("rojo", "azul", "amarillo", etc.):

—> Un viejo baúl herrumbroso/Un baúl viejo y herrumbroso
—> Una gruesa carpeta roja/Una carpeta roja gruesa
(Btw, colours tend to be placed right beside the substantive)


● Adjectives of which depends an essential characteristic of the substantive aren't separated from it:

—> Un disco flexible azul
—> Las serpientes venenosas tropicales
—> Un cuadro renacentista restaurado
("Cuadro renacentista", "serpientes venenosas" and "disco flexible" should stay together, because both adjective and substantive are like a substantive only)


● When there are several adjectives in one sentence, we tend to place at least one of them before the substantive, to avoid a long chain of adjectives afterwards.

—> "La célebre conferencista ciega" is preferred to "la conferencista ciega célebre"
—> "El talentoso actor venezolano" is preferred to "el actor venezolano talentoso"

(Also, the adjective placed before a substantive emphasizes one quality over the others; in this case, "célebre" and "talentoso". If one says "la ciega conferencista célebre", one would be stressing that she's blind rather than her fame.)


● Sometimes, a substantive placed before an adjective charges the sentence with an ironic sense, but the context will provide the meaning:

—> "El famoso doctor no ha llegado" could either mean that a non-famous doctor has kept us waiting or that we're expecting a really famous one to arrive (to a conference, perhaps).


● Nationalities are always placed immediately after the substantive:

—> El genial artista africano
—> Una nueva montaña rusa enorme
—> La implacable policía soviética/la policía soviética, implacable
—> El fino casimir inglés
—> El desorientado turista alemán/el turista alemán, desorientado
Wow! You've put a lot of thought and effort into this wonderful, interesting and instructive response. I suspect that these three adjectives all have the same priority, but I would personally rank wonderful a little higher than the others. Thanks Angelica.
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  #19  
Old June 23, 2009, 08:53 AM
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Thank you, Brute. That's what I'm here for... it's a real challenge to explain things that come just spontaneously to me.
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  #20  
Old June 23, 2009, 03:09 PM
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Wow! I second that, Brute. Thanks, AngelicaDeAlquezar!
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