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What is the function of "siendo" in the sentence "No creo que ella se viera bien siendo sarcástica."?

3 Answers 3

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The word "siendo" in this sentence is what is know as a gerundio predicativo.

Participios predicativos are, shortly speaking, a special type of adjuncts that specify some characteristic associated to whatever they reference. They are very similar in form to a complemento circunstancial de modo, as described by Gustavson, but present some conceptual differences as well as the telltale sign of requiring agreement in number and gender with the object they apply to. Compare

Llegó tarde -> complemento circunstancial, doesn't require agreement.

Llegó contenta -> complemento predicativo, requires agreement.

The NGLE gives the following example as a complemento predicativo:

Las mujeres lucimos más bonitas embarazadas.

And argues how "embarazadas" is a complemento predicativo to "lucimos".

Gerunds can often take on the role of being part of a complemento predicativo when they specify, among other things, a state or circumstance. This makes them look like a complemento circunstancial, even though they fit the definition of a complemento predicativo better:

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In your sentence, the gerundio predicativo "siendo", together with its atributo "sarcástica", expresses a circumstance in which the person doesn't look good. Because it specifies a characteristic about the subject ("ella es sarcástica"), it's a complemento predicativo. This sentence is similar in form to the first example from the NGLE:

Las mujeres | lucimos | más bonitas | embarazadas.

(No creo que) Ella | se viera | bien | siendo sarcástica.

Therefore, whatever is said form the first sentence applies more or less to the second:

Cuando están embarazadas, las mujeres lucen más bonitas.

Cuando es sarcástica, ella no se ve bien.

Both "lucir" and "verse" are semi-copulative verbs, which often take complementos predicativos the same way copulative verbs take atributos.

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  • +1 Es correcto tu análisis, no así el mío.
    – Gustavson
    Jun 10, 2020 at 13:11
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The present participial phrase (or clause) "siendo sarcástica" in the sentence:

No creo que ella se viera bien siendo sarcástica.

can be parsed as an adverbial adjunct of manner (complemento circunstancial de modo) within the noun clause "que ella se viera bien siendo sarcástica". Within the non-finite verb phrase, "siendo" is the head and "sarcástica" is a subject complement (predicativo subjetivo).

The main clause is "No creo", and what follows is a noun clause functioning as direct object (No creo ESO / No LO creo).

If we convert the subordinate into an independent clause, we have:

  • Ella no se vio bien siendo sarcástica (Ella no se vio bien de ese modo.)
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If you're looking for a simple non-grammatical answer, the English version of that sentence could be translated as "I don't think she looks good being sarcastic", or "I don't think being sarcastic is a good look for her". So the function of siendo, "being", is assigning the action of sarcastic behavior to her.

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