6

Primero mi pregunta en español:

¿Hay alguna regla que gobierna cuando se puede y cuando no se puede usar «ser» (en una forma de tiempo presente) + un participio pasado para formar una oración en la voz pasiva?

Details in English:

I recently spent a few minutes doing an exercise in a Spanish textbook -- Spanish Grammar in Context, 2nd Edition by Juan Kattán-Ibarra and Angela Howkins. It was an exercise in a chapter titled, "Passive and impersonal sentences," and the specific exercise I am referring to was one of those "change the verb in brackets" exercises. I got all but one wrong. I understood why, once or twice, but many left me wondering why my answer wasn't listed among the correct choices. To preserve intellectual property rights, I won't list all of those that left me wondering, but I'll include a few. Maybe someone out there in this forum can explain why some of my answers weren't listed among the correct choices. Examples below:

Los pueblos (repoblar) por familias jóvenes.
The villages (to repopulate) by young families.
Textbook answer: han sido repoblados/serán repoblados
My answer: son repoblados*
*Are there any differences in meaning between "son repoblados" and "están repoblados?"

Todos los datos (analizar) antes de publicarlos.
All data (to analyze) before publishing (them).
Textbook answer: han sido analizados/fueron analizados
My answer: son analizados*
*Are there any differences in meaning between "son analizados" and "están analizados?"

Mucha gente (invitar) a la inauguración del nuevo teatro.
Many people (to invite) to the opening of the new theater.
Textbook answer: fue invitada/ha sido invitada
My answer: es invitada*
*Are there any differences in meaning between "es invitada" and "está invitada?"

Initially, I thought that I had missed something in the instructions, which explicitly state this:

Change the verb in brackets to the passive form, «ser» with the past participle, to complete these sentences.

So, I got to thinking that a present tense conjugation of "ser" with what looks like a past participle is actually serving as an adjective and the two combine to form a predicate nominative or subject complement sentence. The thing is, that theory doesn't seem to hold water because this textbook did, on occasion, give answers with a present tense conjugation of "ser" with a "past participle" (or adjective). Below are the two examples in which it provided as an answer a present tense conjugation of "ser" with a past participle/adjective:

Los robots (programar) para tomar fotografías de la superficie de Marte.
Robots (to program) in order to take photographs of the surface of Mars.
Textbook answer: son programados/serán programados*
*Are there any differences in meaning between "son/serán programados" and "están/estarán programados?"

Cada verano grandes áreas de bosque (arrasar) por incendios forestales.
Each summer large areas of forest (to level) by forest fires.
Textbook answer: son arrasadas*
*Are there any differences in meaning between "son arrasadas" and "están arrasadas?"

The English translations you see above are not included in the book. They are my own.

Regarding the questions I have asterisked above, I have a fairly good understanding of when you should choose "ser" over "estar," but as I continue to study Spanish, I am beginning to notice that the Spanish language contains subtleties that go beyond the basic rules students are taught in the beginning, and therefore, I posed these questions to see if any of those subtleties in meaning apply to any of these examples.

By the way, I have visited (and read ... and even commented on) the following:

When should I use the pure passive voice in Spanish? ( fue/fueron [past participle] )

Preterit Passive vs. Estar + Past Participle

Both were very good and I learned some things from them I wasn't fully aware of before, but it didn't exactly address my questions in this post.

For that reason, I hope that someone can understand what I’m asking about in this post and can add additional enlightenment.

As always, thanks in advance.


Detalles en español:

Hace poco pasé unos minutos en un ejercicio en un libro de texto de español — Spanish Grammar in Context, 2nd Edition por Juan Kattán-Ibarra y Angela Howkins. Fue un ejercicio en un capítulo titulado, «Oraciones pasivas e impersonales», y el ejercicio específico de que me refiero fue uno de los «cambie el verbo entre corchetes» ejercicios. Conseguí todos menos uno equivocado. Entendí por qué , una o dos veces, pero muchos me dejó pensando por qué mi respuesta no estaba en la lista de opciones correctas. Para preservar derechos de propiedad intelectual, no voy a enumerar todos que me dejó pensando, pero voy a incluir unos pocos. Quizás alguien ahí fuera en este foro pueda explicar por qué algunas de mis respuestas no estaban aceptadas. Ejemplos siguientes: [Véanse los ejemplos supra comenzando con «Los pueblos …» en la sección inglesa.]

Al principio, pensé que me había perdido algo en las instrucciones, que declarar explícitamente ésto:

Cambie el verbo en corcachetes a la forma pasiva, «ser» con el participio pasado, completar estas oraciones.

Así que me puse a pensar que una conjugación en tiempo presente de «ser» con que parece un participio pasado, en realidad, sirve como un adjetivo y los dos combinan para formar una oración del nominativo predicado o sujeto complemento. La cosa es que esa teoría no se sostiene porque este libro de texto dio, en ocasiones, ejemplos de una conjugación de «ser» con un «participio pasado» (o adjetivo). A continuación figuran los dos ejemplos en que el libro de texto dio como una respuesta una conjugación de «ser» en el tiempo presente con un participio pasado/adjetivo: [Véanse los ejemplos supra comenzando con «Los robots …» en la sección inglesa.]

Las traducciones ingleses que ven por encima no se incluyen en el libro. Son mías.

Respecto a las preguntas que he marcado arriba con un asterisco, tengo una comprensión bastante buena de cuando debería elegir «ser» en lugar de «estar» y viceversa, pero como continúo estudiando español, estoy empezando a notar que la lengua española contiene sutilezas que transcenden las reglas básicas que, al principio, se enseñan estudiantes, y por lo tanto, planteé estas preguntas para ver si algunas de estas sutilezas de significado aplican a alguna de estes ejemplos.

Por cierto, he visitado (y leído … y incluso comentado) lo siguiente: [Véanse los enlaces arriba en la sección inglesa.]

Los dos hilos de discusión eran muy buenos y aprendí algunas cosas de ellos de que no era plenamente consciente anteriormente, pero no abordaron mis preguntas en este post.

Por esa razón, espero que alguien pueda entender lo que estoy preguntando en este post y pueda añadir iluminación adicional.

Como siempre, gracias de antemano.

  • You are correct, @walen, some of my errors were wrong exactly for that reason. In fact I mentioned that I understood, once or twice, the reason I got an answer wrong. I was referring precisely to those sentences that contained contextual clues of time, but as you can see from my examples in this post, not all of them included such clues. Good hypothesis, though, and thank you for your comment. – Lisa Beck Aug 14 '17 at 20:04
9

"ser" + past participle in the present tense can be used in any passive context where the present is allowed. The difference with "estar" + past participle is that the former will indicate the process, while the latter will denote the state already reached (for this reason, the past participle after "estar" is always adjectival).

Let's analyze each example:

  • Las pequeñas ciudades son repobladas por familias jóvenes. (This refers to the process whereby young families repopulate villages.) Note: I don't use "pueblos" to avoid the redundancy with "repoblar", but some better overall translation might be found.

  • Las pequeñas ciudades están repobladas por familias jóvenes. (This refers to the state of villages being already repopulated by young families.)

  • Todos los datos son analizados antes de publicarlos. (For stylistic and even grammatical reasons I don't like the simultaneous use of a passive tensed verb and an active infinitive: I'd very much prefer "antes de ser publicados"). In this case, the action of publishing encourages the use of the passive rather than that of "estar + adjectival past participle".

  • Mucha gente es invitada a la inauguración del nuevo teatro. (Equivalent to "are invited": this refers to the process or action of being invited.)

  • Mucha gente está invitada a la inauguración del nuevo teatro. (This refers to the fact that they have already been invited and are therefore on the list of guests: state.)

  • Los robots son programados para tomar fotografías de la superficie de Marte. (This refers to the action of being programmed.)

  • Los robots están programados para tomar fotografías de la superficie de Marte. (This refers to the state of being already programmed and therefore ready to take those pictures.)

  • Cada verano grandes áreas de bosque son arrasadas por incendios forestales. (In this case, the presence of the time adverbial "cada verano" and of the agent "por incendios forestales" renders "están arrasadas" impossible. To express a state, both elements should be eliminated. This differs from the case of the villages being already repopulated by young families in that, in this case, the families continue to live there. Instead, fires do not devastate forests on an ongoing basis.)

  • 1
    I like the way you think, walen. In fact, I did attempt to see if either of the authors were active Twitter users, but I didn't have much luck. I did find an "Angela Howkins," but there was no indications she was tied to this book and with one follower and no tweets of any kind whatsoever, didn't look like much of an active user. To be perfectly honest, I am quite delighted with @Gustavson's answer. I have yet to read all of the answers posted, but his is definitely a strong contender for the green checkmark. – Lisa Beck Aug 14 '17 at 20:17
3

I'm going to give you a very simple answer (and to do so I must ignore the question in your title -- if you want to address this I suggest a separate Question):

Your solutions to the exercises are correct. Just notice that the solutions in the book show "ser" in a different tense than the present tense that you used. Yours are fine.

(I could construct scenarios or contexts for these present tense sentences but I don't see the need at this point.)

Often the person who writes the answers in the back of the book is not the author him or herself. Well, in this case, the person who developed the answers section interpreted the instructions differently than you did, but who's to say one of you was right and the other wrong?

But please do make sure you understand how ser is conjugated in the future and past, and if I missed the mark, please clarify your question or write a new one.

  • No, you did not miss the mark, @aparente001. I suppose if I were simply looking for validation that my answers were in some way correct, your answer fits the bill quite well, and I appreciate the fact that you took the time to respond to my inquiry. As it is, the answers by Gustavson and pablodf76 go into much more depth and expand my mind and its ability to use the Spanish language with more precision, and therefore, they are the contenders for the green checkmark. If it's any consolation, I awarded you the green checkmark for your answer to this question here. – Lisa Beck Aug 14 '17 at 20:32
3

There are several things going on here. As indicated by other people already, your answers are not ungrammatical. Mostly they sound wrong because they don't correspond to the implied context.

Los pueblos (repoblar) por familias jóvenes.

Here you can use the present tense, but, as in English, the present tense often implies a habitual aspect. If you write Los pueblos son repoblados por familias jóvenes, it sounds as if that repopulation is taking place all the time, customarily, as a matter of fact. Without any context, this could very well be true, but it's not something you'd hear often; more probably you'll see it either in the past tense (in a history book) or in the future (e. g. in a proposal to repopulate small towns).

You ask: Are there any differences in meaning between "son repoblados" and "están repoblados?" Yes. I hear son repoblados as explained above (a habitual or continual process of repopulation), while están repoblados sounds more like a report on the present, and probably final, state of the repopulation.

Todos los datos (analizar) antes de publicarlos.

This again sounds like a habitual process, but unlike the previous one, it looks OK considering the likely context. "We check everything before publication."

You ask: Are there any differences in meaning between "son analizados" and "están analizados?" Estar analizado is borderline ungrammatical. The only context where I would not hear it as wrong would be, for example, in a lab, where samples are lying on a table. In that case someone might say: Éstos ya están analizados, aquéllos todavía no. It still sounds forced, though I could not explain why. For that meaning most people would rather use the active voice or a past tense passive (ya los analicé or ya fueron analizados).

Mucha gente (invitar) a la inauguración del nuevo teatro.

Here you don't have a choice; being invited to a particular event is always something that happens in the past, that will happen in the future or that is happening right now. You cannot be habitually (present tense) invited to the opening of a particular theater. You could have Mucha gente está siendo invitada a la inauguración, for example (meaning a lot of people are being sent invitations).

You ask: Are there any differences in meaning between "es invitada" and "está invitada?" Yes. If you are invited (meaning you have been invited), then it's always estar invitado. The verb just works that way. If you use ser then the present form will be ser un invitado = "to be a guest", with the participle invitado turning into a noun.

  • 1
    I see your point, but I think that "Los pueblos son repoblabos for familias jóvenes" can work as the statement of a typical occurrence and "Mucha gente es invitada a la inauguración del nuevo teatro" can express historical present (for example, in a newspaper). Also "Los datos están analizados (= chequeados, verificados)" could work if no reference were made to their subsequent publication. – Gustavson Aug 13 '17 at 23:55
  • Wow. Both you and @Gustavson have opened up a Pandora's Box of enlightenment for me. If there were ever a time when I wish I could give two green checkmarks, it would be now. Both of you have definitely given me some points to ponder. I will make a decision after reading the next and final answer posted at this time. – Lisa Beck Aug 14 '17 at 20:24
  • @pablodf76 Your answer was quite good and added to my base of knowledge. I especially liked your inclusion of references to what sounded natural or forced to you, subtleties in language that are sometimes difficult to get from a textbook or grammar book. I will definitely tuck this away into my treasure chest of resources. – Lisa Beck Aug 14 '17 at 20:50
  • @pablodf76 Nevertheless, I am going to award Gustavson with the green checkmark, He addressed my inquiries, line by line, was the first to answer, and even addressed a comment you had made. I also try to favor those with fewer reputation points when I can (and I can't help but notice that you have quite a few more). In terms of the overall quality of this answer, however, I cannot really say that one is better than the other, but alas, only one green checkmark can be awarded. – Lisa Beck Aug 14 '17 at 20:51
  • 1
    @LisaBeck Thanks! No need to justify your choice to me; we know this is not a contest. ;-) – pablodf76 Aug 14 '17 at 21:02

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.