Word order

KentB2Kwiziq Q&A regular contributor

Word order

Is there a lesson on, or can you talk a little bit about word order? An example says “esta era mí antigua escuela”. I would have said “escuela antigua“. Why is the adjective in front of the noun in this case?  Gracias!

Asked 11 months ago
DavidC1 Kwiziq Q&A super contributor

Kent - Take a look at this lesson on guidelines regarding 'adjectives before or after':  - Position of adjectives in Spanish

Sometimes you can switch the order round if a different context applies. Perhaps if you were talking about a school whose origins dated back several hundred years - thereby distinguishing it from so many other schools - then "escuela antigua" could well have been appropriate.

KentB2Kwiziq Q&A regular contributor

Gracias David! The link was very helpful. 

KentB2Kwiziq Q&A regular contributor

To add to my previous question about word order, what about noun verb order? An example would be Aquí la gente sale mucho por la noche or Aquí sale la gente mucho por la noche. 

DavidC1 Kwiziq Q&A super contributor

My grammar book [by Butt & Benjamin] devotes the whole of its chapter 37 to discussing word order, in addition to mentioning it several times elsewhere.

It says: "Adverbial phrases of place especially favour the 'Verb before Subject' order" - which would support the option: "Aquí sale la gente mucho ...".

It also says: "When the verb is intransitive, inversion is usual"; [i.e., verb first].

It adds that these 'rules' are not rigid.

KentB2Kwiziq Q&A regular contributor

More good info David. Gracias otra vez. Claramente hay algunas áreas grises

DavidC1 Kwiziq Q&A super contributor

Thank you Kent... I've posted your second question as a new, separate item, because that will probably cause more people to see it >> [not everybody goes back to check the ongoing progress of old questions]...

>> It is possible^ that the KWIZIQ staff might think that it is worth adding another lesson or two on "Word Order".

InmaKwiziq team member

Hola David and Kent

The word order in Spanish is something that has been mentioned before in the forum and some students have previously requested a lesson on this. Unfortunately (or luckily, depending on how you see it...) there is a lot of flexibility in Spanish in terms of the order of the different elements in a sentence. As there is no hard rule on this and we end up talking about certain preferences we can't have this information in the form of a lesson with test questions. However this is something that we are still having in mind to compile the most relevant information about word order in Spanish and give it a place in our site. We'll keep you posted on this. 

With reference to the "verb before subject order", yes, we do have that "preference" if we start the sentence with the place adverb. For example, here, the most natural order would be:

En la calle hay mucho ruido.

Por la carretera van los coches y por la acera van las personas.

And often with other types of adverbs too:

En mi clase de español tengo 20 alumnos pero nunca participan los que se sientan en la parte de atrás.

Saludos

Inma

Word order

Is there a lesson on, or can you talk a little bit about word order? An example says “esta era mí antigua escuela”. I would have said “escuela antigua“. Why is the adjective in front of the noun in this case?  Gracias!

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