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Question

Does not the singular or plural form of a verb in Spanish correspond with the primary noun of the subject?

The primary noun in the subject "El número de figuras" is "el número" which is singular. However the corresponding form of the verb "entrar" is plural "entran". Why is this? If it is "Los números de figuras que entran" it sounds find to me. If someone can explain the logic behind, it would be appreciated.

Sentence

«El número de figuras que entran en un compás entero de Compasillo es de una redonda o dos blancas o cuatro negras u ocho corcheas o dieciséis semicorcheas».

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7

Entre las muchas funciones de la partícula "que" está el introducir oraciones subordinadas explicativas. Por eso el entran de que entran no concuerda con número. Pertenecen a dos oraciones distintas.

Por ejemplo

Estas son las medidas (que yo he decidido tomar) [y] (que nosotros vamos a aplicar)

El verbo dentro de la oración subordinada debe concordar con su propio sujeto. Volviendo a tu ejemplo, compara

El número de figuras que entran en un compás es de X

con

Los resultados que ha arrojado la encuesta son alarmantes

Como ves la concordancia en número es con el sujeto de cada frase, la principal o la subordinada.

Otro punto que puede causar confusión es que decimos "el número de figuras" usando figuras en plural, pero ahí el sujeto sigue siendo número y de figuras es simplemente la explicación de la composición de este ente, y se usa plural porque nos referimos a un grupo.

5

You have the agreement you expect in the sentence:

El número [de figuras que entran en un compás entero de Compasillo] es de una redonda o dos blancas o cuatro negras u ocho corcheas o dieciséis semicorcheas.

So you have "el número es", that agrees on the singular form, and for the relative clause you have "figuras que entran", that agrees on the plural form.

-2

There are two points of view. You can consider

[el número de] as a block as the determiner of the noun [figuras]. Figuras is then the nucleous of the subject and so the verb must be plural.

However, another possible interpretation is that the nucleus is "número" and "de figuras" is only adding informations. If so, the verb should be in singular.

Since both views are justifiable, both forms should be accepted. There were interesting discussions about this kind of things at Spanish class haha. In sum, for me, both forms should be correct, but, as you see, the "meaning" can be very little slightly different. I think that's what @Mazu_R means

  • I don't think that "El número de figuras [que entran en un compás...] son de uno redonda o dos blancas [...]" sounds completely right, but you could easily convince me with an example of usage. – Diego Jul 31 '17 at 1:23
  • 1
    I'm sorry but this is wrong. For a short answer see Carlos Alejo's. To understand why, see @Diego 's answer. – DGaleano Aug 3 '17 at 13:27

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