Devuelva vs devuelvan

DeeC1Kwiziq community member

Devuelva vs devuelvan


Hi Kiwziq team,

las comunidades indígenas están reclamando que se les devuelva algunas piezas de museo, porque pertenecían a sus antepasados.

I'm slightly confused as to why this uses 'devuelva' and not 'devuelvan' given that it's 'algunas piezas' being returned and 'las comunidades indigenas' doing the demanding. Please could someone offer an explanation?

Many thanks

Dee

Asked 10 months ago
JohnC1 Kwiziq Q&A super contributor Correct answer

Hola Dee, 

I made the same mistake. Having looked at the correct answer, I think they use the singular 3rd person subjunctive “devuelva” because they are referring to the United States; literally, “that it [the USA] returns them [some museum pieces] to them [the indigenous communities].” … “que se les devuelva algunas piezas de museo.” 

Espero que te ayude. Saludos. John

InmaKwiziq team memberCorrect answer

Hola Dee y John

This one is a case where grammarians continuously discuss.

The verb can actually use the singular form (se les devuelva) as an impersonal sentence even though you have a direct object in plural (algunas piezas) as we did in this exercise, but the verb in plural agreeing with the object is also correct: se les devuelvan... 

This often happens with verbs of this type using both indirect and direct objects: dar, entregar, devolver... 

Here are other sentences to see more examples:

A los estudiantes se les dio / se les dieron  los resultados de los exámenes.

The students were given the results of the exams.

A los participantes se les entregó / se les entregaron las medallas y trofeos. 

The participants were given the medals and trophies. 

This is one of those structures using "se" that are a bit complicated... and sometimes there is no agreement among grammarians. 

My own tendency is to go for the singular form of the verb, and I think that might be the most common use. 

Saludos a los dos.

 

JohnC1 Kwiziq Q&A super contributor

Gracias Inma,

He aprendido mucho de tu respuesta. Es tan importante que recibimos comentarios sobre nuestros explicaciones y interpretaciones. Siempre estamos aprendiendo.

Esto es lo que me encanta de Kwiziq. Recibimos un valor añadido de los profesores que va más allá de los básicos. ¿Qué especial es eso?

John

Devuelva vs devuelvan


Hi Kiwziq team,

las comunidades indígenas están reclamando que se les devuelva algunas piezas de museo, porque pertenecían a sus antepasados.

I'm slightly confused as to why this uses 'devuelva' and not 'devuelvan' given that it's 'algunas piezas' being returned and 'las comunidades indigenas' doing the demanding. Please could someone offer an explanation?

Many thanks

Dee

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