The word "ponga" means "I put" but when put in this sentence: Que solo la mire de lejito y se ponga asi" is "That he only looks at her from afar and gets like this" "Ponga" doesn't become "I put" anymore in that sentence, and I'm very confused as to why and what this is called

  • Isn't it both first person and third person?
    – Draconis
    Sep 13 at 20:39
  • 1
    Note that que yo ponga ... and que el ponga ... are both subjunctives. If the pronoun is left out, you need to use context. The se is part of the context here.
    – Henry
    Sep 14 at 14:54
  • It’s exceedingly common in languages with inflectional morphology that different forms of the same word have the same surface shape. Consider ‘put’ in English, which can be either base form (infinitive/imperative/present subjunctive), present tense (except third singular), past tense, or past participle. In Spanish, all verbs have the same form in the first and third singular in the present subjunctive, imperfect, conditional and past subjunctive – that’s just how Spanish verbal morphology works. So to say that ponga means ‘I put’ is inaccurate: it means ‘[that] I put/[that] he put/put!’. Sep 17 at 10:55

1 Answer 1


Why do Spanish words change meaning when put in a sentence?

Is this unique to Spanish, that one surface form can have many senses?

Let me put it like this:

He put his shares at 80.
He is a shot put champion.
He sold a put.
He is a put.
He is a put. ...

See also: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Double_articulation

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