https://www.duolingo.com/HelpfulDuo

Impersonal use of SE

  • 10
  • 10
  • 8
  • 6
  • 4

In Spanish, you can use an impersonal sentence with se when you want to express a thought about an action without associating it with a specific person, or in a general statement or question that would be expressed with you, they or one.

Spanish English
En el Reino Unido, a veces se come porotos en el desayuno. In the UK, they sometimes have baked beans for breakfast.
No se permite hablar en la biblioteca. You are not allowed to talk in the library.
Se come buena carne en Argentina. They eat good meat in Argentina.

Although there is no clear cut rule as to which English sentences would use impersonal se in Spanish, in general we use impersonal statements with se to talk about customs, rules and generalizations.

Spanish English
Se come bien en este lugar. Food is really good in this place.
Se prohíbe fumar aquí. You mustn’t smoke here.
Se trabaja mucho en esta oficina. They work a lot in this office.
Se aprende español muy rápidamente con Duo. You learn Spanish very quickly with Duo.

Impersonal se statements follow a very simple formula:

SE + third person singular (he/she/it) form of the verb

Spanish English
Se duerme bien después de hacer ejercicio. You sleep well after exercising.
En los Estados Unidos,se usa mucho la internet. In the USA, they use the internet a lot.
Se bailó mucho en nuestra boda. There was a lot of dancing at our wedding.
Se permitirá comer en la oficina el año próximo. You will be allowed to eat in the office next year.

Practice your Spanish!

Think about one or two rules in your workplace/school. Write them in Spanish in the comments using impersonal se.

9/26/2017, 9:53:30 AM

27 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/Muddogging1
Plus
  • 21
  • 12
  • 12
  • 4
  • 3
  • 3
  • 2
  • 205

Yeah, we learned about this in Spanish 3, too! The idea is that, in English conversation, sometimes you say "you", but you really mean "one". You can put "se" before the conjugated 3rd person verb, to make it look like a reflexive, and it looks like "one does". It's usually used before words like "can" and "do". Don't believe me? Re-read the contexts of the words I put in Italics, and think about their meaning.

9/28/2017, 9:18:28 AM

https://www.duolingo.com/verne617209

no se simplemente camina hacia Mordor

7/18/2018, 2:12:47 PM

https://www.duolingo.com/EnglishTutorJay
Plus
  • 25
  • 25
  • 22
  • 22
  • 19
  • 15
  • 14
  • 14
  • 13
  • 12
  • 11
  • 10
  • 10
  • 9
  • 8
  • 7
  • 7
  • 7
  • 7
  • 6
  • 6
  • 6
  • 5
  • 4
  • 4
  • 3
  • 3
  • 3
  • 3
  • 984

Thank you for this information. I am still trying to understand the use of se, es muy dificil para mi!

9/26/2017, 9:58:34 AM

https://www.duolingo.com/HelpfulDuo
  • 10
  • 10
  • 8
  • 6
  • 4

SE has many uses and that's why it might be difficult to understand. This is just one of them but we will deal with the other in future posts. Meanwhile why no try to produce a sentence with the impersonal use of se? :)

9/26/2017, 10:03:35 AM

https://www.duolingo.com/BelgianStr
  • 23
  • 11
  • 8
  • 7
  • 6
  • 5

I would definitely appreciate another lesson or two on how to use SE.

Thanks so much for these great lessons.

9/26/2017, 8:39:07 PM

https://www.duolingo.com/QuadraticLingual

Forgive me for sounding stupid, but if you were using one in a sentence, wouldn't you use un/una?

9/26/2017, 10:54:04 AM

https://www.duolingo.com/HelpfulDuo
  • 10
  • 10
  • 8
  • 6
  • 4

Yes, you can use a sentence with un/una. Using the impersonal se is just another option to say those, an option that focuses more on the action rather than on who performs it.

One enjoys summer in Mauritius =

a) Uno/Una disfruta el verano en Mauricio.

b) Se disfruta el verano en Mauricio.

Hope this is helpful. :)

9/26/2017, 11:04:25 AM

https://www.duolingo.com/QuadraticLingual

It is helpful, thanks!

9/26/2017, 12:04:14 PM

https://www.duolingo.com/alezzzix
  • 19
  • 18
  • 15
  • 14
  • 14
  • 12
  • 10
  • 9
  • 6
  • 5
  • 2

For the sentence to be impersonal uno can only be masculine. It should only be feminine if the speaker is a woman referring to herself. "Una disfruta el verano en Mauricio" means "I enjoy the summer in Mauritius".

9/28/2017, 1:01:20 PM

https://www.duolingo.com/FreedomofThought

¡Muchas gracias! Ayuda con esta palabra está muy útil.

9/26/2017, 10:02:01 AM

https://www.duolingo.com/mike413694

el reactor nuclear 'se' controla con cuidado. Yo lo sé.

9/29/2017, 2:45:32 AM

https://www.duolingo.com/mikemcdonald58
  • 25
  • 25
  • 9
  • 9
  • 1250

Gracias por la ayuda

9/27/2017, 12:29:56 AM

https://www.duolingo.com/ReggevLivn

En mi lugar de trabajando, se tiene que poner pantalones largos

10/2/2017, 8:35:33 AM

https://www.duolingo.com/mike413694

Mi esposa se habla con pronombres demaciado al menudo. No le entiendo. Se dice que estoy siendo dificil. Dios mio, que voy hacer? En broma

10/4/2017, 12:07:26 AM

https://www.duolingo.com/AlexGreensleeves
  • 25
  • 14
  • 11
  • 9
  • 8
  • 240

se tiene miedo de hacer errores en mi trabajo.

12/3/2017, 8:47:22 AM

https://www.duolingo.com/ElenaZDOROVTSEVA
  • 13
  • 13
  • 12
  • 11
  • 11
  • 9
  • 7
  • 6
  • 5
  • 5
  • 651

Is it wrong to translate "Se prohibe fumar aqui" as "It is prohibited to smoke here'"? Who knows?

12/4/2017, 3:29:31 PM

https://www.duolingo.com/Victorcarrera0

No , I think you are correct and it agrees with my understanding of impersonal in that there are no references to singular or plural entities. Furthermore I would demonstrate the English examples given above as. Baked beans are eaten for breakfast. Talking is not allowed in the library. Good meat is eaten in Argentina. Smoking is prohibited here. etc.

1/9/2018, 12:13:38 AM

https://www.duolingo.com/MemeMcQueen116

I think in English we're more likely to write it as "Smoking here is prohibited" but yeah, that works too.

5/26/2018, 3:10:21 PM

https://www.duolingo.com/AzraShah

Se permita fumar en el parque. Se no duerme en las calles en la ciudad en mi pais.se corre en el parque.

12/10/2017, 3:14:49 PM

https://www.duolingo.com/danicole94

En mi trabajo, se sale a la puerta trasera cuando hace las 5 de la noche.

12/27/2017, 2:03:41 AM

https://www.duolingo.com/SusanBG

Se trabaja de lunes hasta viernes.

Se prohibe fumar en tercera piso.

1/21/2018, 3:52:48 AM

https://www.duolingo.com/levitycuz
  • 25
  • 9
  • 3
  • 262

Se no permitirá comer en la bibliotecha en está escuela Idk if it's all correct but you get what I mean right?

2/12/2018, 12:53:48 PM

https://www.duolingo.com/Nepal16

Se dice "Namaste" para saludar en Nepal

2/20/2018, 9:16:32 AM

https://www.duolingo.com/el.dieseLL
  • 25
  • 25
  • 25
  • 7
  • 5
  • 4
  • 2
  • 738

no se fuma en el autobús

7/25/2018, 9:23:54 AM

https://www.duolingo.com/Mara186484

Este es ayuda pero necesito mas. Is this only in the 3rd preson?

9/23/2018, 8:07:49 PM

https://www.duolingo.com/Frd4
Plus
  • 15
  • 7
  • 5
  • 4
  • 3

no se puede dormir en el cielo nunca se come bastante en la casa de la abuela se va cuando el toro viene

10/17/2018, 11:14:22 AM
Learn Spanish in just 5 minutes a day. For free.