Las or los + Mixed Gender List + adjective?

Discussion in 'Spanish-English Grammar / Gramática Español-Inglés' started by stefman2, Feb 20, 2013.

  1. stefman2 Member

    USA English
    Hello: I would like to say "Fill in the correct formulas and values," but feel uncomfortable saying any of the following three alternatives:

    1. "Rellena los fórmulas y valores correctos" because "los fórmulas" sounds strange to me (but my guess is that this may be correct)
    2. "Rellena las fórmulas y valores correctos" because "las" and "correctos" are of the opposite gender.
    3. "Rellena las fórmulas y valores correctas" because "correctas does not match "valores".

    Do I need the definite article for both in this case, as in "Rellena las fórmulas y los valores correctos"? Otherwise which, if any, is the correct alternative?
    Last edited: Feb 20, 2013
  2. jsvillar Senior Member

    Spanish - Spain
    Sorry, the first option is the worst one, because you are saying 'los fórmulas', which sounds really strange. Same happens with the third one, 'valores correctas' is not correct. The best option is the second one, 'las fórmulas y [los] valores correctos'. 'Correctos' is masculine because a) it applies to a group of feminine and masculine nouns, b) it is closest to 'valores' (RAE accepts both rules).

    Check this link
    The agreement of the only article with the closest noun is in point 3.1 (Las fórmulas y valores)
    The agreement of the adjective with the closest noun is in point 3.2: On general basis, tt should be masculine, but if it is clear that the adjective applies to both nouns and not only to the second one, then it is allowed that the adjective agrees only with this last noun.

    'Lleva traje y gorra blanca': Not correct, because it can be understood that the cap is white but the suit isn't white. You should say 'traje y gorra blancos' to make it clear.
    'Los valores y fórmulas correctos': Correct, because it uses masculin when you have both genders.
    'Los valores y fórmulas correctas': Correct, because it is clear that both values and formulas have to be correct.
    Last edited: Feb 20, 2013
  3. stefman2 Member

    USA English
    Hello jcvillar and thank you for you input. Until we hear otherwise on this thread, I am following your advice and saying "las fórmulas y los valores correctos;" I cannot reverse the order (the quiz first asks for formulas, then values).
  4. jmx

    jmx Senior Member

    Spain / Spanish
    Yes, options 1 and 3 sound awful. Option 2 is all right, even with the strange mix of genders.
    Last edited: Feb 21, 2013
  5. stefman2 Member

    USA English
    Hi Jmartins and thank you. (I assume you meant that Option 2, not Option 1, is acceptable, correct?)

    So, the grammar rule seems to be that, while mixed-gender collections are referred to externally using the masculine form, ellos, qualifying articles and adjectives must always match the gender of the adjacent noun they qualify (as in option 2).
  6. duvija

    duvija Senior Member

    Spanish - Uruguay
    Yes. Adjectives following the conjoined nouns, are masculine (if the nouns are mixed, or just masculine). Whatever goes before the first noun, matches that noun.

    And you don't need the second article. Las fórmulas y valores correctos is fine.
  7. stefman2 Member

    USA English
    Thank you, duvija. It now makes perfect sense!
  8. stefman2 Member

    USA English
    Thank you jsvillar for going the extra mile and locating the link to the RAE discussion. The interesting case is when the last item in the list is feminine and the choice of gender of the concluding adjective removes some ambiguity as to which members of the list the adjective applies.

    Thanks to everyone on this thread for your interest and assistance!

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