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Why is "bajar" and not "bajando" used here?


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Old April 25, 2022, 09:53 PM
createdamadman createdamadman is offline
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Why is "bajar" and not "bajando" used here?

I have the following:

"Dos veces el año, el primer día de primavera y el primer día de otoño, se puede ver a una serpiente bajar del templo. Parece una serpiente de fuego, pero es el sol reflejado en las escaleras del templo."

I'm a bit thrown by the use of "bajar". I would have expected "bajando". Is it normal to use an infinitive as a progressive like this?

I'm also wondering why the personal "a" seems to be used before "una serpiente".
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Old April 25, 2022, 11:45 PM
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Originally Posted by createdamadman View Post
Dos veces al año, el primer día de primavera y el primer día de otoño, ...

The part in question may be understood better if rewritten "se puede ver bajar una serpiente del templo." It could also be rendered "se puede ver bajar del templo una serpiente."

It's not as easy to see in your manual, but 'ver' and 'bajar' go together. The pair translates into English exactly the way you think it should: see coming down.

The word 'bajando' can be used as a gerundio (present participle in English) to make the continuous form, but that would also require the conjugated form of 'estar', which doesn't appear in your sentence.

'Bajando' can be used by itself (therefore, NOT the continuous form) in an adverbial clause. This subordinate clause modifies the verb in the main clause. You can't say, "Bajando del templo, se puede ver una serpiente," because that implies that the unspecified subject is doing the moving. But it is possible to attach the movement to the serpent, by placing the adverbial clause after the serpent is mentioned. However, that is NOT what the author is trying to convey.

The infinitive 'bajar' can act as a noun (the equivalent of the English gerund), but in your sentence it is not a noun.

What you've got here is called a verbal periphrasis.
"See coming down" is its translation. It has no other form.
The direct object of the verb 'ver' is the movement, NOT the snake. That is why it's better to locate the movement 'bajar' next to the verb 'ver'.

The 'a' is superfluous, in my opinion. The snake represents a deity in the culture, so perhaps that is why it appears in the sentence. Present or not, it makes no difference in the English translation.
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