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7.5: "Se" impersonal y "se" accidental

  • Page ID
    67803
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    Constructions with "se": Impersonal "se" and accidental "se"

    "Se" impersonal

    "Se" for general and impersonal information is used to express general and impersonal information in which the subject is not given or is unspecified. "Se" impersonal is used for signs and ads. The “se” construction is used as follow:

    Singular

    Se + verb (present in 3rd person singular) + singular noun

    Se habla español.

    Se alquila apartamento.

    Note that in the examples above the verb in present tense and the singular noun are in bold.

    Plural

    Se + verb (present in 3rd person plural) + plural noun

    Se venden los periódicos aquí.

    Se buscan meseros en este restaurante.

    Note that in the examples above the verb in present tense and the plural noun are in bold.

    Se + verb (present in 3rd person singular) + adverb or preposition

    Se ve mejor con estos lentes.

    Se maneja con alegría en este coche.

    Note that in the examples above the verb and the adverb or preposition are in bold.

    "Se" accidental

    "Se" for accidental or unplanned events: In order to imply that no one is directly responsible for an accidental or unplanned event, Spanish uses the following “Se" construction:
     

    Se IOP Verb (preterite) Subject

    Se

    me

    te

    le

    nos

    os

    les

    cayó

    el plato.

    In this construction, the indirect object pronoun indicates to whom the accidental or unplanned event affects. What normally is the direct object of the sentence (what is lost, forgotten, and so on,) is now the subject and the verb is now conjugated to this new subject (normally the 3rd person singular or plural). Because the event has already occurred, the verb tense used is normally the preterite.
     

    Se IOP Verb (preterite) Subject

    Se

    me

    te

    le

    nos

    os

    les

    cayeron

    descompuso

    olvidaron

    perdió

    quedaron

    rompió

    los libros.

    la televisión.

    las bebidas para la fiesta.

    el dinero.

    los boletos en casa.

    el vaso.

    List of verbs often used with se to describe accidental or unplanned events

    Spanish English Spanish English

    caer

    to fall; to drop

    dañar

    to damage; to break down

    descomponer

    to break down (appliances, electronic devices & transportation)

    olvidar

    to forget

    perder (ie)

    to lose

    quebrar

    to break

    quedar

    to be left behind

    romper

    to break

    To clarify or emphasize whom the action happened to (the indirect object pronoun), use "a + [noun]" or "a + [prepositional pronoun]".

    Al conductor se le perdió la llave. (The driver lost his key.)

    A mí se me cayó el pastel. (I dropped the cake.)