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  5. "No puedo decir cómo se hace."

"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"..


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


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.


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!


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.


Thank you for such a nice explanation!


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


"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".


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


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


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.


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


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


That seems like a legitimate translation. Report it.


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


It is still marked wrong. 05/13/2017


8/9/2017 still wrong


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


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.

  • 2416

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 :-)


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.


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?


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.


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


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


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


How I suppose to know that translation ?!!!


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.


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!!


This entire level of duolingo has gotten ridiculous.


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


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"


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


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


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


"I cannot say hot it happens?" Wrong?


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


To happen - pasar, ocurrir, suceder

To do - hacer


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


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


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?


it's a secret recipe.


coca cola recipe


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


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


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

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