"No puedo decir cómo se hace."

Translation:I cannot say how it is done.

February 27, 2013



"se hace", according to Duolingo, means "since", "ago" or "he/she/it makes"..

February 27, 2013


I am not totally sure but I believe this an example of the se passive. Basically, hace means he/she/it makes. However, se is used before so that the expression could refer to any of those three. All the reader knows is that some agent "made something" in this case.

A brief explanation of spanish passive voice:

true passive: In english, passive voice is when we say a sentence like "the car is sold". Who sold the car? I have no idea, but someone did and now it is sold. The true passive is basically the exact translation of this: el coche es vendido.

se passive: Se passive has the exact same meaning as the true passive, it's just a different structure. In the se passive the formation is as follows: se + verb conjugated in he/she/it or them/you-all form. Example: se venden. This literally translates to "they sell themselves". There might be some context in which this makes sense, but if this is referring to an inanimate object(s) as in "se venden oro" then it would make no sense for the object(s) to sell itself. However, because we just said that the gold sold itself, the gold must be sold, which leads us to translate the phrase "se venden oro" to "the gold is sold".

Analysis of se hace: "hace" all alone would mean he/she makes, or it makes. Because of the context of the exercise, we'll assume the "it makes" case. When we put se before hace, we now translate to "it makes itself" which is synonymous to "it is made" as per the se passive explanation above.

If you are still having trouble understanding spanish passive voice, here is a nice article explaining it all pretty well: http://spanish.about.com/cs/verbs/a/passive_se.htm

August 10, 2014


Thank you for your help! Have you noticed that politicians frequently use the passive. They say, "Mistakes were made". That way they don't take responsibility for their errors. It always stands out like a sore thumb to me.

December 23, 2014


Lol! Exactly my thoughts, Susanna. Politicians and business companies alike. It's "prices are hiked up" but "we lowered the prices" When it's negative, use the passive; when positive, use the active. When I see a passive construction, I get a little suspicious :D!

October 30, 2015


You're right, tessbee! Watch drug commercials. The narrator will frequently list mild side effects and then use the passive tense for the severe ones, so it sounds like the medicine didn't cause those -- they just happen to have happened for some unknown reason.

October 31, 2015


HAHA! Exactly!

October 31, 2015


Thank you for such a nice explanation!

November 27, 2014


Great job explaining this, you helped me a lot. Have a lingot.

July 24, 2015


"Hace" is a conjugation of "hacer". "Hacer" can mean "to do" or "to make". Maybe duolingo should add "he/she/it does". I guess "se hace" could mean "itself does" which could mean "it is done".

February 27, 2013


I know - I would have got it right, but 'checked' the hover, changed my answer and got it wrong!

April 10, 2014


"Since" or "ago" would require an amount of time be inserted into the expression.

January 5, 2014


We use 'se' when a subject is not identified. It is also what makes a sentence passive. So 'se' is translated as 'it'. Answers accepted are 'how to do it' or 'how it is done'. Hacer is conjugated to third person singular to match to the use of 'se' as it. I am writing this out for my own benefit and I'm sure if anything I said is wrong someone will point that out which I do appreciate.

September 20, 2013


¡Gracias por sus comentarios! I've a bit more understanding about the use of 'se' [and the conjugation of 'hacer'] in this sentence.

January 17, 2014


Why was i marked incorrect for writing, "I cant TELL how its done"? Thanks

February 7, 2014


That seems like a legitimate translation. Report it.

February 20, 2014


maybe because TELL is like Q:"can you tell how he did it" A:"I can't tell" (as in i don't know) JUST GUESSING

July 21, 2014


It is still marked wrong. 05/13/2017

May 14, 2017


8/9/2017 still wrong

September 8, 2017


DL accepted: " I cannot say how it's made,"

September 2, 2013


Can it not be translated to 'I cannot say how to do it?' 'How it is done' is past tense in English, but the Spanish sentence is in present tense.

May 31, 2013

  • 1860

Both Spanish and English are in the present tense; the Spanish "se hace" is a form used as a substitute for the regular passive voice (es hecho) which translates as "it is done"; hope that helps :-)

June 10, 2013


in a way, at least in english, those are both saying the same thing in slightly different ways. I've noticed that in some instances spanish has a way of generalizing english phrases, and other times english generalizes spanish phrases. By generalizing, I mean a single phrase stands for several different meanings in the other language and therefore requires context.

July 10, 2013


I didn't put "how it's made" b/c I was SURE that would be wrong since "made" is past-tense! And if "it" is part of the sentence, shouldn't there be a "lo" or something?

January 19, 2014


I'm sorry but I could look at that sentence for hours and never come up with the correct translation. This is one I'll just have to memorize.

July 23, 2014


Could how he/she makes it be a possible solution?

July 13, 2014


Is this also correct to say: no puedo decir como hacerlo?

March 10, 2014


Yes I also would like to know why se is used and not lo.

March 29, 2014


How I suppose to know that translation ?!!!

July 20, 2014


The issue here is, where is "it" in the sentence. If you translate the sentence literally you get "I cannot say how it does itself." You can even say "I cannot say how it makes itself." Since we don`t say "it does/makes itself" in English "se hace" becomes "it is done". Hope that helps.

December 3, 2014


I'm glad that DL allows me to fix my mistakes!! I must have tried a dozen solutions for this before I got it right! WHEW!!

October 20, 2013


This entire level of duolingo has gotten ridiculous.

March 12, 2014


Why can't it be translated to: "I cannot say to you how HE does it"?

May 12, 2014


The use of "se" in this context makes it passive voice - I cannot tell you how it is done ("it" is being done/acted upon by an agent that is not stated in the sentence. "it" is not actively doing anything, it is having something done to it)

So say "....how HE does it" you would say: "No puedo decir cómo él lo hace" or, if context allows you to omit the "él" - "No puedo decir cómo lo hace"

May 12, 2014


Come se dice How does one say Como se hace To me would mean How does one do/make

July 8, 2014


Why is it that in tis section on infinitives, it's full of idioms we have not seen?

July 16, 2014


Why not "I can't say how it works"?

July 18, 2014


"I cannot say hot it happens?" Wrong?

November 25, 2014


"To happen" is usually "pasar"


November 25, 2014



November 25, 2014


I translated this as "I cannot say how it happens." Not sure why it is incorrect. Can someone tell me why?

January 27, 2015


To happen - pasar, ocurrir, suceder

To do - hacer

January 27, 2015


"I can't say how to do it" has been accepted by DUO.

March 7, 2016


Could 'No puedo decir cómo es hecho' or something similar mean the same thing?

May 26, 2016


Does this mean "I am not allowed to say how it is done", "I do not know how it is done", both or something else?

July 6, 2016


it's a secret recipe.

August 21, 2016


coca cola recipe

September 18, 2016


Can it not be "I can't say how you do it" if it assumes Usted?

July 7, 2017


Every time this sentence appears, there is no audio. How can I write what I hear when there is nothing to hear?

July 15, 2017


“I can’t say how one does it” should be an acceptable alternative answer.

January 24, 2019
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