"Se" as copulative verb
Él se cayó. - He fell. Or he fell down.
The Three Main Copular Verb of Spanish:
In Spanish, traditionally the three main copulative verbs are ser, estar and parecer. Ser and estar are usually translated as "to be," while parecer usually means "to seem." Both "be" and "seem" often are copulative in English as well.
A copular verb, also called a linking verb, is a verb that links the subject of a sentence with the predicate
These verbs are copulative verbs only when they performing a linking purpose. All three, especially estar, have other uses as well.
USING 'SE' AS THE EQUIVALENT OF THE PASSIVE VOICE. http://spanish.about.com/od/pronouns/a/introduction_se.htm
02 How to use Impersonal Se / Passive Se in Spanish ... Video for what is se in spanish means▶ 6:26 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bWU_lvuUXrU
When reflexive verbs (ending in se) are used, the subject (the thing acting out the verb) and the object (the thing being acted upon) are one and the the same.
He bathes himself (bañarse) = Él se baña. Non-reflexive verbs are used is when one thing acts on another. He bathes the child (bañar) = Él baño al niño.
In this example, because he fell by himself, no one or no other thing dropped him or made him fall the reflexive form of cayer is used cayerse.
Even if there is not a full word for word translation into modern English like "He fell himself", that is how it is said in Spanish... Él se cayó.
If e'l means "he" and "cayo' " means "he/she/it" fell and "e'l cayo' means "he fell" where does "se" come into it and what is it trying to say. can you converse without using, le, les, lo, la las, etc. it all seems so unnecessary, answers please, in lay mans terms. Thanks.:-)
caer is the verb to fall and caerse is the reflexive verb to fall over/down. if you said "el cayó" to mean he fell down you'd probably be understood. reflexive verbs can be a pain to learn, but they are important because some reflexives can mean something quite different to their non reflexive counterpart. correr vs correrse for example.
"He dropped it" would be phrased as "Se le cayó."
When you have questions on translations, reverso context is a great resource. http://context.reverso.net/translation/english-spanish/he+dropped+it
But for understanding what is going on in this sentence construction, maybe these links will help: http://spanish.about.com/od/pronouns/a/moreaboutse.htm http://www.ovs0.com/PDF/120342532.pdf
Caerse and many other reflexive verbs, strain our English-thinking brains as they require a change in how we think about concepts. While we intuitively understand how verbs like "wash" can be reflexive, as in, "I washed myself" or "You washed yourself", other verbs that we don't use reflexively are more twisty to us. The conjugation of "he dropped it" "se le cayó" would more literally be translated as "It fell itself from him" which of course barely makes sense in English.
Él se cayó = He fell/fell down, or more literally, he fell himself
Se le cayó = He dropped it, or more literally, it fell itself from him (assuming that somewhere in the rest of the sentence that it is clarified that the direct object and indirect object have been specified, so we know that it is a "he" that is doing the dropping of an "it", rather than say a she or formal you dropping another person.
These sentences however, do not give a clear understanding as to what exactly is being conjugated since both the direct object and indirect object in both are 3rd person. But I think the following sentences might be more helpful to see what is going on in how the verb is conjugated.
Te caíste = You fell/fell down, or more literally, you fell yourself down
Se te cayó = You dropped it/him/her, or more literally, it/he/she dropped/fell itself from you.
I'm not a native speaker but I am pretty sure what I've said above is correct. I hope that helps!
Very important points. This always seemed very strange to me, but you are correct. Another strange expression was, "I forgot it". T hey say, "se me olvidó," literally, "It forgot itself to me." (I'm not a native either, but spent 5 years in Mexico speaking Spanish most of the time.)
Because the verb is reflexive your translation would be "it fell itself down". Inanimate objects are not inclined to fall down. They may be pushed or thrown but not fall on their own. We know this because of the "se" in the sentence which tells you it is a reflexive verb. Just as was explained to you above.
I'm not a native speaker, but from what I'm reading, it's likely because caer can also translate in some circumstances as "to drop". So "él cayó" could mean either "he fell" or "he dropped it" since Spanish doesn't insist on using the word "it" the way English does. "Él se cayó", the reflexive form, makes it clear that "he" is what the action is happening to.