"He puts more money."
It is what it is. This is not an idiomatic expression. It just sounds incomplete. A more fitting sentence would be perhaps "He puts more money in the vault > Ele coloca mais dinheiro no cofre".
Interesting. I don't recall seeing any other half-finished sentences so far, though.
I've seen plenty, but mind you, I said "sounds incomplete", not "is incomplete". The sentence is grammatically correct, it just doesn't have much information.
Ok. But you admit that 'he puts more money' alone is not grammatically correct ('complete') in English? (Technically it requires three arguments: the putter, the 'puttee', and the place it is being put.) So are you saying this is not the case in Portuguese? If it isn't, how would you translate it into English?
Ah, isn't it? I always thought there was a difference between grammatical correctness and making sense, in any language. Anyway, I would say that since you have a verb like "colocar" (other verbs like "to exist" don't need anything else), you only need a complement, be it "what", "where" or "to whom", to be grammatically correct. If it's a thing one would say, I don't know. Probably not, without further clarification, or in a very specific context. So the translation is correct. Does this help?
It won't let me reply on your latest answer for some reason. Haha we are getting tied up in semantics now. On your first point, I would say that there is a difference between grammatical correctness and making sense, yes. For example, "ain't done nothing today" makes sense (at least in context), whereas it is not (prescriptively) grammatically correct (the correct version would be "I've done nothing today" or "I haven't done anything today"). Now, what I am saying is that "he puts more money" is neither grammatically correct, nor does it make sense in English without a third argument, namely the GOAL argument (see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thematic_relation). So the question becomes: Does colocar require three arguments (agent, theme, goal), like English put, or can it be used with just two?
Ok, I think I finally see the problem. Let's consider the sentence as an answer to a question:
What does the bank clerk do inside the vault? He puts more money in it.
Que faz o funcionário do banco dentro do cofre? Ele coloca mais dinheiro [nele].
So, if you'll agree this sounds OK, then I would say "No, you only need one complement. In this case, one that answers the question "where". It could have been "Ele coloca Domingo", had the question been different. Whereas you can't omit "in it" in English, you actually tend to omit things in Portuguese, if those things are implicit in the context. I would argue that is a good rule of thumb.
Now just a proviso: this does not sound like normal people speaking. But it's correct, as far as I can tell. It actually sounds like something from a first grader's textbook, with that sort of basic and contrived formulation so characteristic of them. Lol. Have I nailed it this time? :-)
I think you have indeed nailed it! As long as the nele is strictly optional in Portuguese, then colocar can be a two-place predicate or a three-place predicate, as opposed to English put, which can only be a three-place predicate
Given this, I think this sentence (the one in the original question) should be changed to one which is a free-standing complete sentence in both English and Portuguese, rather than just in Portuguese.
NB: put can actually drop the agent argument in the passive (the butter was put in the fridge), but this is not relevant to the above discussion.