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Reflexive? Passive? Impersonal?

Apologies if this might have been answered in another discussion but was hoping to get some clarification on something I was reading from a news article:

'Ha demostrado que humanos y neandertales son primos evolutivos, tan parecidos que cuando se encontraron en Europa se cruzaron y tuvieron hijos fértiles'

I understand that 'se encontraron' is reciprocal but I'm having a hard time understanding what 'se cruzaron' implies. I'm doing my best to resist the urge of relying on a translator since it doesn't always get it right, but I frequently come across these sort of verbs that tack on '-se/se-' to verbs that don't imply pronominal or reciprocal.

Any help or direction to a good discussion topic that can help clear up the confusion would be appreciated!

June 7, 2018



"Cruzar" here is just like in English "to cross(breed)". The pronoun "se" means "each other", so it's reciprocal too ;)


My guess is that se cruzaron would often mean "came across each other." In this case, it seems more intimate since the result was children! It can also mean crossbreed so that may be the best fit in this context. http://www.wordreference.com/es/en/translation.asp?spen=cruzar


Se encontraron= they came across/ met each other.


cruzarse con v prnl + prep (tropezar, encontrar)

  • bump into vi phrasal

  • run into vi phrasal

Hoy me crucé con Juan en el supermercado. = I bumped into John in the supermarket today.


It seems to me that bump into and run into can mean the same thing as they came across each other or met each other in some contexts. Obviously, that's not the intended meaning in this context.


There is another meaning: to cross (to produce offspring). There are a lot of silly jokes "¿Qué sale de la cruza de....?" (What is the result of crossing ............ ?) I remember "Q. What is the result of crossing an earthworm and a porcupine? A. A meter of barbed wire."............


"Cruzarse" is "to make babies", mostly applied to animals, specially when progenitors are from different species (i. e.: horse and donkey) or races (i.e.: Husky and Labrador).


Chilotin, I tried to read and understand the first post. Your interpretations help a lot. How does making babies relate to the first post? Love, Cat


S/He/It has demonstrated that humans and Neandertals are evolutive cousins, so similar that when they met in Europe they mated and produced fertile offspring.

"Cruzarse" is a reciprocal activity. "Mi labrador se cruzó con una doberman" (My Labrador mated with a Doberman). It can be treated as a transitive: "Crucé a mi labrador con una doberman" (I crossbreeded my Labrador with a Doberman).


See "https://forum.wordreference.com/threads/cruzarse.299921/" for a discussion of some meanings of "cruzarse".

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