Se – My Spanish Word of the Day 7/9/2015

Se is a pronoun with many uses.  I just finished reading The Nine Uses of Se from El Blog Para Aprender Esapñol.  This is a wonderful blog.  Raquel and María are Spanish teachers based in Madrid who give Spanish lessons via Skype.  They also share lots of wonderful information and videos for Spanish students.

Here is a very, very brief summary of the EBPAES post.

1. Reflexive Se

Reflexive verbs are generally used when talking about the body, clothing, or feelings.

Mi hija se peina en el baño.   (She combs her hair in the bathroom.)

2. Pronominal Se

Some verbs only have a reflexive form.  A non-reflexive form does not exist.

arrepentirse –  to regret   Se arrepintió de decir eso. (He regretted saying that.)

3. Reciprocal Se

This form is used to express each other.

Se pelearon porque no se entendían.   (They fought with each other because they did not understand each other.)

4.Some verbs have a reflexive and non-reflexive form.  These verbs change their meaning when used reflexively.

admirar – to admire     admirarse – to be amazed

5. Se as an Indirect Object Pronoun

Ella se lo da.  (She gives it to him.)

6. Emphatic Se

¡Se pasó la noche conduciendo!   (She drove all night!)

7. No fault Se

El vaso se cayó.  (The glass fell down.)

8. Se Impersonal

This is a type of passive voice.  It is used to describe situations in general.  Sometimes this kind of verb has a direct object and other times it doesn’t.  If a direct object is used, it requires the personal a.

Se vive bien en Aspen.   (One lives well in Aspen.)

Se detuvo a los ladrones.   (They stopped the robbers.)

9. Passive Se

This is the true passive voice.

Se dice coche en España y carro en México.

As I said above, this has been a very brief summary.  I hope you will take the time to read the entire blog post at El Blog Para Aprender Español.

Se certainly is a multi-tasking word!


Parecer vs Parecerse

I have always found reflexive, pronominal, and reciprocal verbs challenging to understand and use. An example of a verb that has both a pronominal and non-pronominal form is parecer.  Parecer means to appear, to seem, to look.  The pronominal form of the verb – parecerse – means to appear alike, to seem alike, to look alike.  Notice the use of the pronominal and non-pronminal forms of these verbs in the following sentences:

pareces cansado.

Tú pareces cansado.

Samuel se parece a Simón.

Twin Baby Boys Stroller
Samuel se parece a Simón.

I have created a booklet of handouts and worksheets to practice the use of reflexive, pronominal, and reciprocal verbs which is available at Teachers Pay Teachers.

Here is a sample of the booklet.