Discussion in 'Spanish-English Grammar / Gramática Español-Inglés' started by Banjodb, Sep 18, 2008.

  1. Banjodb Junior Member

    Good Morning!

    I just would like to know when should we use Cualquier and when should we use Cualquiera - many times I have seen used "cualquier cosa" - where cosa is feminine and I assume cualquier is masculine - why wouldn't you use "cualquiera cosa" as an example - but I'm looking more for the general gramatical rule here?


  2. Ynez Senior Member

    cualquier = adjetivo (tiene que ir algún sustantivo detrás)

    cualquiera = pronombre (esta palabra va sola)

    -Cualquier persona puede cometer un error si no......
    -¿Cualquier persona?
    - Sí, cualquiera.

    - Dame cualquier plato que veas en el mueble. Ah, y un vaso también.
    - ¿Qué vaso?
    - Cualquiera.

    It's easier than you thought, isn't it? :)
  3. Banjodb Junior Member

    ¡Hola Ynez!

    ¡Mil Gracias! ¡Tiene razon! ¡Es facilisima! ¡Su inglés es perfecto también!

    ¡Un buen día!

  4. jannythetranny Junior Member

    hola! i'm still a little bit confused with this rule. i understand that cualquier = adj whereas cualquiera = pronombre. still, there's that rule where the adj always has to correlate to the object being described. why then does cualquier retain its masculine form even when describing a feminine noun?
  5. macroplaza

    macroplaza New Member

    Seattle, WA
    Hello jannythetranny,

    The word <cualquiera> is gender neutral; therefore, dropping the <a> to say "cualquier plato" has nothing to do with <plato> being masculine, but rather it is done because <cualquier> is being used before a noun as an adjective.

    Consequently, you can say "él es un hombre cualquiera" and "ella es una mujer cualquiera" and both would be totally correct. Also, you can say "cualquier hombre" and "cualquier mujer" if you use <cualquier> as an adjective.

  6. gringuitoloco Senior Member

    American (awesome) English
    I think the question is more about adding an "a" to cualquier, than taking away an "a" from cualquiera.

    I would say that "cualquier" goes in the category of adjectives such as "cual, que, quien, etc"
    These adjectives do not change between feminine/masculine.
    Que libro? Que cosa?
    Cual profesor?
    You wouldn't say "cuala profesora?" So when using cualquier, it is an adjective and does not change for gender.

    Cualquiera is used as a pronoun. It is always cualquiera. When you are talking about guys/girls, it doesn't matter. It is a gender-neutral pronoun.
  7. macroplaza

    macroplaza New Member

    Seattle, WA
    Actually, it is exactly the opposite. In other words, <cualquier> is the result of dropping the “a” from <cualquiera> when using it as an adjective before a noun for the following fundamental reasons:

    According to the Real Academia Española (RAE), <cualquier> is an abbreviated or shortened version (apócope, in Spanish) of <cualquiera>. Here is what the RAE shows for the definition of <cualquier>:

    1. adj. indef. cualquiera U. ante s."

    As we can see, <cualquier> is defined in terms of <cualquiera>. The definition of <cualquier> is that it is an indefinite adjective; <cualquiera> used before a noun (adjetivo indefinido; cualquiera usado ante sutantivo).

    The RAE defines <apócope> in the following manner:

    Supresión de sonidos al final de una palabra; también la palabra que resulta de dicha supresión."

    If the word that results from the omission is called an <apócope>, then by definition, the abbreviated word exists as a result of dropping whatever number of letters to arrive at the abbreviated form. Some examples include the following:



    In these examples, the shortened forms exist because a certain number of letters have been omitted when using them before a noun, numeral, adjective, or an adverb.

    Therefore, the existence of <cualquier> is all about dropping the “a” from <cualquiera> when being used as an adjective and the existence of <cualquiera> is actually nothing about adding an “a” to <cualquier> other than physically doing it when typing or writing it out.

    Last edited: Jun 6, 2011
  8. gringuitoloco Senior Member

    American (awesome) English
    Ok. Although I agree with defining it in terms of cualquiera, Your examples do not work. For all of those, there is a "feminine" form of those adjectives.

    Algun is an adjective, but so is alguno. And alguna.
    With cualquier, it isn't like those other examples, because there is no "cualquiero" and "cualquiera" is a pronoun.

    It isn't that the sound was omitted, and now you have an "abbreviated form."
    You have a completely new word with a new definition.
  9. macroplaza

    macroplaza New Member

    Seattle, WA

    Actually, my examples do work; however, perhaps not for the reasons you are thinking.

    Upon revisiting the Real Academia Española’s (RAE) definition of <apócope> (Supresión de sonidos al final de una palabra; también la palabra que resulta de dicha supresión), we see that nothing is mentioned about whether the word is feminine or masculine. Therefore, the gender of a word is irrelevant in determining whether it is an apocopate word. From this we can construct the following general formula:

    [Complete word] – [sound(s) at the end] = Apocopate form

    Now, let’s take a look at my examples again:

    [Grande] – [e] = Gran
    [Malo] – [o] = Mal
    [Primero] – [o] = Primer
    [Alguno] – [o] = Algún
    [Ninguno] – [o] = Ningún
    [Bueno] – [o] = Buen
    [Santo] – [to] = San

    We see that each one conforms to the general formula I mentioned above which is derived from the RAE’s definition of <apócope>.

    Now, do some of these examples only work in the masculine? Of course. We have <malo>, <primero>, <alguno>, <ninguno>, <bueno>, and <santo>.

    But, we also have <grande> which is neither masculine nor feminine.

    Additionally, we can add the following examples:

    [Ciento] – [o] = Cien (hay cien mujeres y cien hombres aquí)

    [Recientemente (reciente)] – [temente (te)] = Recién (la comida se hizo recientemente/la comida está recién hecha)

    [Tanto,ta] – [o,a] = Tan (en nuestro despacho, hay casi tantas mujeres como hombres/ella se fue tan repentinamente como llegó)

    Adverbs in sequence such as, but not limited to, [Repentinamente] – [mente] = Repentina (ella se fue tan repentina y sigilosamente como llegó)

    Regarding whether we have an abbreviated form or “a completely new word with a new definition,” let’s take a look at the definitions of my examples according to the RAE:

    gran. (Apóc.). 1. adj. grande. U. en sing. ante s.
    mal1. (Apóc.). 1. adj. malo. U. ante s. m.
    primer. (Apóc.). 1. adj. primero. U. ante s.
    algún. (Apóc.). 1. adj. alguno. U. ante s. m.
    ningún. (Apóc.). 1. adj. indef. ninguno. U. ante s. m. sing.
    buen. (Apóc.). 1. adj. bueno.
    san. (Apóc.). 1. adj. santo.
    cien. (Apóc.). 1. adj. ciento.
    recién. (Apóc. de reciente). 1. adv. t. recientemente.
    tan3. (Apóc. de tanto).
    cualquier. 1. adj. indef. cualquiera. U. ante s.

    The RAE tells us that the abbreviated form is defined in terms of the complete word and we do not necessarily have new definition.

    Are there additional definitions possible with some of these words? Yes, such as in the case of <mal> and <tan>. However, those are listed as separate possibilities and in some cases they have a distinct etymology.

    Can the placement of the abbreviated form cause a change in the resulting phrase. Sometimes; such is the case of <gran> (él es un hombre grande/él es un gran hombre). However, this doesn’t necessarily classify it as a completely new word as explained here:

    Triple w dot elcastellano dot org forward slash consultas.php?Op=ver&Id=3241

    (Sorry, I guess I need to find the time to make enough posts to be able to include links in my comments. One of these days I’ll get there)

    The main issue is that in all of the above examples and the many other examples not mentioned here, is that regardless of whether the apocopate forms appear only in front of masculine nouns, or both masculine and feminine, or only in front of adjectives or adverbs, or in a sequence of adverbs, or as a numerical value, they all have one thing in common according to the RAE:

    [Complete word] – [sound(s) at the end] = Apocopate form

    Supresión de sonidos al final de una palabra; también la palabra que resulta de dicha supresión
  10. Magnalp

    Magnalp Senior Member

    Español - México
    Creo que el malentendido ha surgido por concebir a cualquiera únicamente como sustantivo, lo cual no es cierto; el adjetivo simplemente se apocopa ante sustantivos, pero recobra su forma normal al ser pospuesto a la palabra.

    Cualquier hombre. - Un hombre cualquiera.

    Aunque ambos tienen algo de razón, no todos los adjetivos mencionados por Macro pueden compararse a este. Cualquiera siempre se acorta por el solo hecho de encontrarse detrás de un sustantivo, un adjetivo como bueno solo hará esto frente a palabras de género masculino.

    Cualquier hombre. - Cualquier mujer.
    Un buen hombre. - Una buena mujer.
  11. macroplaza

    macroplaza New Member

    Seattle, WA
    Estoy de acuerdo. De hecho, justamente eso es lo que pretendo destacar en cuanto a Cualquiera. Los otros ejemplos sólo se pueden comparar a éste en el sentido de que se apocopan en determinado momento, independientemente de las otras cuestiones relacionadas con el género y demás cosas.

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