From "El último adiós desde Granada":

Pues no lo sé. En realidad, esas famosas estatuas, en mi opinión, tienen poco valor artístico. Puede usted ver lo toscas que son, en comparación con la arquitectura de la Alhambra. Son algo curioso, y casi único en el mundo. Creo que ningún comerciante de arte se atrevería a comprar eso.

I didn't see anything even further back that these adjectives could modify besides estatuas. Is this an error, acceptable because of the main verb ser, or another grammar rule like "Ellos la quitan la chaqueta" where the singular comes from the fact that each person takes of one coat?

up vote 5 down vote accepted

What they modify is "algo":

algo

Del lat. alĭquod.

  1. pron. indef. n. Designa una realidad indeterminada cuya identidad no se conoce o no se especifica. ¿Hay algo para mí? Ha hecho algo que no le perdono.

"Algo" is a neuter indefinite pronoun (meaning "something"), so anything that modifies it must be in the same neuter gender (that happens to be the same as the masculine).

So, in the sentences you have:

Son algo curioso
Son algo único en el mundo

In this case, you do know what "indetermined reality" the pronoun is referring to. You use "algo" just because you do not want to use the same word "estatua" over and over the text. So, to add more variety, you say "son algo único" instead of "son estatuas únicas" because you just used "estatuas" in a former sentence. Or it may be that by using "algo" the writer is trying to point out that they are something unique not only in the statues' world, but in a more general sense (being something famous despite having little value).

  • aha! I was automatically reading ALGO="[somewhat] strange" because of the parallel CASI. – user5389726598465 Feb 2 '17 at 9:57
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    @user135711 OK, now I understand your point. In fact, "algo" means also "un poco, no del todo", as in "está algo sucio". In that case, it would have been "son algo curiosas", indeed. – Charlie Feb 2 '17 at 10:01
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    weird word to begin with. This adjective doesn't change endings I guess because of a collision with marine algae. – user5389726598465 Feb 2 '17 at 10:04
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    @user135711 you could ask that as another question. :D – Charlie Feb 2 '17 at 10:07
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    @user135711 In fact, algo is never and adjective. It can be a pronoun (in the question example) or an adverb (in Carlos's comment). And adverbs have no gender. – Gorpik Feb 2 '17 at 12:26

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