https://www.duolingo.com/MemeMcQueen116

"Se" sometimes causes me confusion

Am I the only one who hates this in specific? It can mean so many things, it can be used to mean him/her/they/you in reflexive verbs, it can be used to mean "one can/cannot" e.g "No se puede comer aquí", it can be used to refer to an object e.g "se le da a Juan" (He gave it to Juan, "se" means "it" here... I'm pretty sure it can also be used with verbs when referring to a body part e.g "se lame los labios" I believe would mean "he licks his lips"... Could it be that I'm just not learning enough reflexive verbs to be able to distinguish when the "se" is being used as a reflexive verb and when it's being used in those other instances, or does anyone else genuinely struggle with this?

6 months ago

10 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/El_Gusano
El_Gusano
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It is something to struggle with surely as there is NOTHING like it in English. But it does get easier over time as reflexives come naturally and you become aware of more in context without thinking first in English. It's a normal thing to find difficult but it's something you only have to learn once and the concept repeats in Portuguese, Italian, French.. Good luck!

6 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/MemeMcQueen116

Ah, but would you say once you've learnt the reflexives in one language it becomes easier in the others? I'm going to focus on Portuguese after Spanish so it would be worthwhile knowing in advance if I'm gonna have to go all the way over this kind of thing again.

5 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/MemeMcQueen116

Oh I just noticed you said it's something you only have to learn once, that's good news then! Of course this doesn't mean the reflexive verbs themselves will be the same in all the languages.

5 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/PajoliYT

Can be confusing at times, you get used to it though

6 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/MemeMcQueen116

After how long? I've been studying on and off for 8 months and can hold a conversation for the most part. As of recent I'll admit I've been a bit lazy with it, but still, how long did it take you?

6 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/PajoliYT

After studying Spanish for a while (outside of Duolingo) it took me about 9 months

6 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/MemeMcQueen116

Hmm I see, well it will probably take me longer due to the laziness acquired as of recently, but I take your word and with hope soon I'll understand it, I just need to study it more often lol.

6 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/medievalmaide715

Se is most commonly used to refer to when an action was performed but you don’t know who did it.

El pastel se comó | The cake was eaten.

Do we know who ate the cake? No. This is called the passive se.

6 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/MemeMcQueen116

I've seen something like this in the past and when I talked about it I must have muddled it up because the person I was asking about it was like "no that's not how it works". Thanks for clearing this up for me.

5 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/MemeMcQueen116

Another thing I learnt is it can sometimes be used as an intensifier e.g "Comí el pastel" = I ate the cake, but "Me comí el pastel" = I ate up the cake.

5 months ago
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