83 Comments This discussion is locked.
It is a reflexive verb (Not really a reflexive verb but it acts like them). Those verbs are those that the action is done in the same person that makes the action. Usually you translate it as "pronoum -self" like herself. Example: Él se afeita= He shaves himself.
it Doesn't mean nothing but changes the meaning of the phrase:
Ella parece su madre=She acts like her mother, usually said during a precise action
Ella se parece a su madre=She looks like her mother. Usually acts, looks or both every time.
If by "the rule," you means do the other object pronouns (me, te, lo, la, etc.) make the verb reflexive - the answer is NO. "Se" is special and it has several uses. This article may help: http://spanish.about.com/od/pronouns/a/introduction_se.htm
It's worth noting that lots of languages have verbs which are reflexive in ways that don't translate into a reflexive use in English. So, 'je me souviens' is 'I remember' in French, not because there's a way in which the speaker is acting on him- or herself in any way apparent to an English-speaker, but because the verb simply is reflexive. You could contort it into 'I remind myself' or 'I recall to myself' but the best translation really is just 'I remember.'
I think it's often best to think of learning which verbs are reflexive by memorizing it, the same way you remember which verbs are -ir conjugations, or which verbs are irregular, rather than depending on a way of translating it that 'sounds' reflexive in English. In this case, if I'm understanding the comments here properly, if you want to say 'resembles' or 'looks like', you use the reflexive construction of 'parece.'
Think of 'Se parece' and 'parece' as different verbs which sound like each other and are etymologically related, like 'to finish' and 'to finalize.' Same root. Sound sort of like they should mean the same thing. Don't.
- Ella se parece a su madre: She looks like her mother
- Ella se ve como su madre: She sees herself like her mother
In some American countries:
- Ella se parece a su madre: I don't know if they use it, but they understand it
- Ella se ve como su madre: She looks like her mother
Could it be the case that su can only mean her in this sentence because of se which is a reflective pronoun?
Because of se, I'm guessing that She and her refer to the same person, it's her own mother, not somebody elses.
She and your (formal) do not.
The thing that confuses me is that She and her mother are not the same person, even if it is her own mother!! I'm not sure that su madre is really the object of the verb parece either.
The best way to clarify that "su" does not refer back to the subject would be to change the "su" to "la" and add the little possessive phrase "de él" to the end. "Ella se parece a la madre de él." This could also be changed to "de José" (or whomever), "de ella/usted/ellos/ellas/ustedes." Other than that, I think it would be most logical for the listener to assume that "su" refers to the subject of the sentence.
In the U.S., the use of the word "akin" is very regional. So, your translation isn't entirely wrong. I would sure understand what you mean if I heard it. But Duo is a computer program and, as such, has a limited number of answers it can accept. I'm sure "akin" isn't in their database and that's why they dinged you.
+1. It's technically correct, but I don't think most English-speakers would use 'akin' in conversation or in any usual writing activity, and I'm not sure it really works with 'looks' in any case.
To me (midwestern and east coast US), 'akin' sounds archaic, more than regional. I wouldn't expect DL to be familiar with 'looking glass' instead of 'mirror' for 'espejo,' or 'wherefore' instead of 'why'. For me, 'akin' instead of 'like' is similar to those.
And even in context where 'akin' seems appropriate, I think I mostly have seen it used with used with 'to be' more than other verbs, and not usually of people, with an implication of not just 'like' but 'nearly'. "That would be akin to betrayal' implies, to me, not just 'that would be like betrayal' but also a flavor of 'that would be next thing to betrayal.'
Gracias, @beadspitter y @amble2lingo. I'm not entirely sure where i've picked up that word and which context it was used in. Obviously, the main goal when speaking a language is to be understood. But with time you'd also like not to sound too weird. I'm crossing 'akin' out of my memorised contemporary english word set :P Thanks again guys ;)
Hi Luke. To answer the first part of your question, the "a" has nothing to do with the verb. It is what is called a "personal a" which is required in Spanish whenever the direct object of a sentence is a person. (See my explanation above.) Although "a" is usually considered a preposition, the "a" here is not, and is not translated. Remember that you need to translate for meaning - a word-for-word translation often does not work.
I'm not quite sure what you mean by the second part of your question because there are no infinitives or prepositions (per se) in this sentence, but certain verbs do take certain prepositions and the preposition often changes the meaning of the verb. You may want to take a look at this list: http://users.ipfw.edu/jehle/COURSES/vrbsprep.htm
This sounded quite a bit like, "Ella se paresa su madre." I'm assuming it is just a slurring of the vowels together, but it dampens my spirits when I understand every word of a sentence but cannot decipher it. It makes me feel as though I will never develop the proper ear to speak the language to fluency or near-fluency. Does anyone else empathize with my dilemma?
If this lesson has taught me nothing else, it has shown me that I need to brush up on my English (and I'm a native English speaker). I just speak/write with no considerations for things like what is an Object/subject pronoun...I can't recall ever earning about those in English class...you just learned how to use the language by assimilation, I guess.
Lordy...this is now getting difficult. As someone said earlier...I miss the days of my elephant drinking wine.
The way young children learn languages, including their first language, has been found to be enormously different from the way adolescents and adults learn additional languages. So presuming you're over the age of 9 or 10, it makes sense that the way you're learning Spanish is quite different from how you learned English. And teaching grammar in English classes (as a subject in the curriculum in schools for native English speakers) has become highly unfashionable. We're taught about sentence fragments and run-on sentences, and if we have an old-fashioned teacher, we may be taught to avoid misplaced modifiers and dangling prepositional clauses, but that's about the limit of it. Mostly we're taught spelling, literature, and composition. If you ask someone who went to school in the US in the 40s or 50s, they could tell you about tedious lessons teaching them to 'diagram sentences', but even for those of us who grew up in the 70s and 80s, that's an alien concept, and I doubt whether anyone much younger even runs into the phrase except from a grandparent.
Like most of my cohort and anyone younger, most of my knowledge of grammar comes from having studied a foreign language in high school, and then retroactively applying it to English. I remember learning the subjunctive in French, and declaring that English didn't have a subjunctive. (I was wrong, although it's blurred with the conditional in a lot of situations, and some of the more clearly marked cases sound dated - or British - now.)
In other words, congratulations! You're right where you should be. :)
Hahaha! I remember having much the same experience (thought I don't think I said it to anyone, but thought the same for a bit) in my 3rd year of secondary school French. That was the same semester M. Rieman tried to have us read a very abridged Les Miserabes -- I hated that book! Not because the story was bad, but because it was SO hard for me to figure out in French!
"Se" - reflexive pronoun that makes the verb "parecerse" (to look like) instead of just "parecer."
"A" - the "personal a," required when the direct object of the sentence is a person.
"Su" - a possessive adjective which could mean his, her, its, your, their - here you should choose "her" because there is nothing in this sentence that would lead you to think that it shouldn't agree with the subject (Ella).
You should read through this discussion again because there's a lot of good material here. Also try these links:
SE PARECE is a bit abstract for me. To make sense of this, I have concluded for myself that what makes this a REFLEXIVE use is NOT that she is being compared to herself, but in a more abstract sense, something ABOUT herself: her own features, her own mannerisms, her own property, her own family, HER OWN MOTHER. And coincidentally, this way also clarifies the SU in SU MADRE. Simply put, SE indicates she is about to be compared to herself OR something about herself. And the following SU refers back to HER: her mother, her dog, her chair, her job, her whatever. ...or something like that.
I didnt read all the comments but for the people wondering why the "se". Correct me if im wrong somebody. But i think if you left out the "se" it would be weird like saying. The way her mom is looking at something, she is looking at it that way too. The "se" shows that when they are saying looks, that it is talking about the way she herself looks (appearance)similar to her mother.