Repitiendo este proceso muchas veces, y determinando la proporción de éxitos para cada muestra, ilustra la idea de la variabilidad de muestra a muestra en la proporción muestral.

Should ilustra or ilustran be used? We have repitiendo and determinando... in a parenthetical expression but these two can both be the subjects.

  • 1
    Perhaps "se ilustra". But you repeated "muestra/l" four times, and in Spanish that sounds odd. Commented Jul 28, 2013 at 19:44
  • Is this an indication of a problem you must solve? Is this in a book or a test?
    – Newbie
    Commented Jul 29, 2013 at 15:45
  • As it stands the expression is incorrect and even difficult to understand. Could you post the original?
    – leonbloy
    Commented Jul 29, 2013 at 19:56
  • @leonbloy I think the expression is correct if it is an instruction like from a book or so.
    – Newbie
    Commented Jul 30, 2013 at 16:29
  • It is from a description of an educational curriculum. Commented Aug 1, 2013 at 2:03

2 Answers 2


Neither ilustra nor ilustran should be used! You can't use them because in fact repitiendo and determinando cannot be the subject of the sentence. In Spanish, unlike in English, gerunds cannot act as nouns, so they cannot be the subject...

The infinitive, however, can act as a noun, so you could change the verbs of the sentence to their infinitive form: repetir and determinar. And in this case, I'd go for ilustra, since both repetir and determinar must be done together as a single process...

Anyway, if you want to keep the gerund forms, you need a subject for your sentence, so you have a couple of options:

  • The best option in my opinion would be to use se ilustra (pasiva refleja).
  • But you could also use ilustramos or ilustran, depending on who is performing the actions, namely who is repitiendo and determinando (we or they)...
  • Thank you. This sentence was taken from a document originally translated from English. Now I am translating it back to English (without having seen the English version) to see if the Spanish translation conveys the same meaning as the English version. Commented Aug 3, 2013 at 20:30
  • The actual reason for ilustra is that infinitives are of the neuter when nominalized and that only exists in singular. You can see a similar effect in me gusta.... No matter how many infinitives, no matter how close or distantly related, it will always be gusta Commented Apr 30, 2015 at 6:01

If this is part of a problem you must solve, like a practice after learning something, it is Ok.

Repitiendo este proceso muchas veces, y determinando la proporción de éxitos para cada muestra, ilustra la idea de la variabilidad de muestra a muestra en la proporción muestral.

The first part is telling you what you are going to do, you'll repeat the process you learn (that I asumme is a part of the text you didn't write) and after doing it, it indicates you need to write on your own words "Ilustrar"- what variability from sample to sample,in the sample proportion, means.

Why use Ilustra? Why not Ilustrar?. It is because is an instruction so the verb is not longer in its infinitive form:

"Write the answer"- "Escribe la respuesta"

"Explain the concept" - "Ilustra el concepto"

On a book/test never says "Ilustrar concepto", "Escribir respuesta"

(Editor's note: in other words, ilustra is an imperative verb, conjugated in the informal .)

  • I am not asking about the infinitive. I am asking about why not use "ilustran?" Commented Aug 3, 2013 at 20:00
  • That's what I tried to explain. It is not ilustran because it is said as an instruction to you, not as a description of something already done. "Con base a lo anterior, (tú) ilustra el concepto"
    – Newbie
    Commented Aug 5, 2013 at 14:43

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