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  #1  
Old May 27, 2009, 07:49 AM
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Question Working on Syntax

I was going to call this post "Intransitive Verbs followed by 'determinerless' noun phrases". But I figured that title might be a bit too cumbersome. LOL!!

Anyway, yesterday I was reading the following thread about syntax: http://forums.tomisimo.org/showthread.php?t=4067 - and realized that understanding a little more about syntax would be helpful to me. So I googled it and found a website that has some helpful and concise information about syntax: http://www.staff.ncl.ac.uk/i.e.mackenzie/syntax.htm

In one of the sections, it says that if you have a subject noun without a determiner (el, la, un, una, etc.), it almost always comes after the verb. One of the examples they give is: "Viven lobos en aquellas montañas." This seems like such a simple fact, and it is obviously something that had escaped me previously. (Which is why I am thinking that I need to take a CLASS in español to make my approach to learning a bit more systematic.)

So would the following sentences be correct?
- Escribo Bob en los foros de español. (Is this really better than "Bob escribo en los foros de español."? Or would it still be "Bob escribo..." because it could otherwise be "El hombre escribo..."?)
- Vienen estudiantes a mi sala de clase para aprender matemáticas.
- Duermen tigres en el zoo durante los horas inconvenientes por las turistas.
- Nadan niños en la piscina en mi barrio.

If my sentences aren't correct (I suspect that they aren't), can you give me some more examples? I have had a difficult time coming up with some that (1) use subject nouns without determiners and (2) do NOT use "ser" or "estar" or some other obviously connecting verb.

THANK YOU!!
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  #2  
Old May 27, 2009, 12:02 PM
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Yes, your sentences are correct. Remember that this is just a sylistic choice, and the subject can almost always go before or after the verb. But I think what you read is right, that when the subject is a determinerless noun, it generally follows the verb:

Perhaps a native speaker can give an opinion as to whether the sentences in the left or right columns are more commonly heard:

 Verb first  Subject first 
 Escribó Bob en los foros de español.  Bob escribó en los foros de español. 
 Vienen estudiantes a mi salón para aprender.  Estudiantes vienen a mi salón para aprender. 
 Duermen tigres en el zoológico.  Tigres duermen en el zoológico. 
 Nadan niños en la piscina.  Niños nadan en la piscina. 
 Cayó nieve en las montañas.  Nieve cayó en las montañas. 

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Old May 27, 2009, 12:06 PM
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The web page you gave brought back memories of doing syntax in Spanish language classes a long time ago, i.e. learning about determiners, intransitive, transitive, types of clauses, etc. I'd have to read up a bit to answer your question properly.
But off the top of my head this is what I can see:
"Viven lobos en aquellas montañas" There are wolves living in those mountains.
"Sale agua de esa tubería" - There is water coming out of the pipe.
Entra luz por la persiana - There is light coming in through the blind.
Caen lágrimas por su mejilla. There are tears falling down his face.
Van un montón de niños con sus madres. There are loads of children going with their mothers.

Can you see the correlation between these sentences with their translations?
It's not an easy topic, Lou Ann.
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Old May 27, 2009, 12:24 PM
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Thanks, both of you!

David - that's helpful. AND ... it's a wonderful example of your beautiful new tables....

Ambarina - interesting that each of those English translations start with some kind of "there are" or "there is". So could any of those sentences start with "Hay..." Like "Hay lobos que viven en aquellas montañas." Would that be correct?

So I could say "Caminan estudiantes en los pasillos." That would mean "There are students walking in the hallways." ??
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Old May 27, 2009, 01:13 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by laepelba View Post
[...]
So would the following sentences be correct?
- Escribe/escribió Bob en los foros de español. (Is this really better than "Bob escribe/escribió en los foros de español."? Or would it still be "Bob escribe/escribo..." because it could otherwise be "El hombre escribe/escribo..."?) *YO escribo
- Vienen estudiantes a mi salón de clase para aprender matemáticas.
- Duermen tigres en el zoo/zoológico (in Mexico you won't hear "zoo" and hardly will it be understood) durante las horas inconvenientes para los turistas. (I suggest you use the dictionary to make sure about gender)
- Nadan niños en la piscina en mi barrio.

[...]
I agree with David that it's a matter of style whether the verb or the subject should be said first. Still, when there is a proper name, it's better to start the sentence by the subject (Bob escribe en los foros) and when the subject is something impersonal, the verb sounds better at the start (Cae nieve en las montañas).


As for the rest of the sentences, they are not incorrect, but they sound rather forced and artificial without an article. Sometimes it's better when you use the complement first:

En el zoológico duermen tigres.

En las montañas viven lobos.


...and you're right about "there are/is".

"Niños nadan en la piscina de mi barrio" would sound better if it were "Hay niños que nadan en la piscina de mi barrio" or "Algunos/unos niños nadan en la piscina de mi barrio".


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Old May 27, 2009, 02:10 PM
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Thanks, Malila - I DO check the dictionary for gender. Aargh! I THOUGHT I checked the dictionary for gender. (Sigh....) Thanks for your input. Interesting, because that website really seemed to favor post-verb subject phrases without determiners. Hmm.....
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