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Adjective placement

 

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  #1  
Old March 09, 2016, 09:39 AM
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Adjective placement

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Este libro trata sobre un joven mago.
This book is about a young wizard.

I know adjectives normally come after the noun except for a few exceptions such as ´gran ciudad´, ´buen hombre´ etc.

Should the example above be
Este libro trata sobre un mago joven.

Son equales? Cual es las reglas?

Como siempre, gracias. Bo Ritter, Pensacola, Floridsa
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  #2  
Old March 09, 2016, 11:22 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BobRitter View Post

¿Son equales iguales (or "equivalentes")? ¿Cuál es las reglas ("Las reglas" is the subject, so the question must agree with it: "cuáles son")?
They're the same, and there aren't actual rules for that; it's rather a decision of the speaker who subjectively decides where to place the adjective.
I think that an adjective can be placed before the noun for reasons of euphony, for emphasis and/or for how poetic it may sound.
In this case, "joven" here is placed before "mago" because of the first two reasons: it sounds better and it emphasizes that the wizard is young, which may be an important part of the story.

I also would dare to say that short adjectives tend to come first (although it may depend on the context and the rhythm of the sentence). In the next examples, most people I know would have used the first phrase rather than the second:
- una nueva tienda = una tienda nueva
- el fuerte viento = el viento fuerte
- tus lindos ojos = tus ojos lindos
- las breves notas = las notas breves


You might find this other thread useful too.
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Old March 09, 2016, 12:14 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BobRitter View Post

Should the example above be
Este libro trata sobre un mago joven.
"Este libro trata sobre un mago joven", as opposed to a book about a "mago viejo" or a "mago de mediana edad".

"Este libro trata sobre un joven mago"; being "joven" and "mago" are both essential qualities of the main character.

There are many elements in adjective + noun order, but let's start with:

adjective + noun ---> the adjective qualifies the noun as a whole

noun + adjective ---> the adjective differentiates the noun from others belonging to a set.

los viejos árboles del parque (the trees in this park are old, as a general rule)
los arboles viejos del parque (among all the trees in this park, just the old ones)

¡Buenos días! -a wish for each individual person to have a good whole (to)day, for having "good" as the characteristic of this day as a whole-

Hoy tuve un día bueno. Trabajé de sol a sol y gané 400 euros, cuando normalmente gano 200. -a good day as opposed to a bad or average day-.

If you play with the order you'll find some instances are not used because they don't make sense, or they force you to chose one of many meanings:

Es un muy mal momento para hablar (inconvenient)
Vivimos un momento muy malo (bad)
Eligió la habitación grande (big size)
Ésta es una gran habitación (great qualities)
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Old March 09, 2016, 12:26 PM
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Gracias
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