In short, the Spanish reflexive is only used when the indirect object (the part of the sentence telling to whom or for whom) is the subject. In this instance, it is implied that the indirect object is the person who is winning the prize, or the subject, so the reflexive is correctly used.
I believe that "ganar" - "to win". Whereas, "ganarse" = "to earn". So, even though it is translated into English as "win", the concept in Spanish is more along the lines that whatever was won was actually earned in this case - like a race or competition that someone had to work for. It wasn't like a doorprize that you just got lucky and won.
As someone already said further on in this discussion, using the reflexive pronoun (himself, in this case) is an English thing. Although we rarely say "He wakes himself up," or "He shaves himself," or "He goes to bed himself," in this sentence I think Duo should accept your answer because a substantial number of users are English speakers. If you can get back to the sentence, you can use the "Report a Problem" link to tell them so. If enough users do this, they may change it.
Exactly, never in my life have a won a prize, which was then promptly handed over to someone else. Yet 26 people upvoted the response of JollyWolf, stating the reflexive adds clarity. Have all of you thought this through super clearly? Perhaps I am the only one that just does not get this..No disrespect to you, Jollywolf, but this is a really tough concept.
Anyone working for a company in, for example, advertising or design can quite easily win an award that goes not to the individual, but to their employer. So you might see a sentence like "Él nós había ganado un premio" - "He had won us an award," or "Él les había ganado un premio" - "He had won them an award."
@Shirlgirl007: Yes, you are correct that I'm using a pronomial form. I was responding to the argument that was posed (i.e. never heard of someone winning an award then turning it over to someone else.) Making the verb reflexive gives it the sense "had won himself." Reflexive verbs often carry the meaning that the agent and object are the same. If they are different, the pronomial form is used. That's how I interpret this sentence, as opposed to the other common use of the reflexive to indicate passive voice.
https://www.spanishdict.com/guide/reflexive-verbs-and-reflexive-pronouns Reflexives can be used to emphasize an action, show emotion even sometimes before an adjective associated with a verb, for verbs of personal care like washing or shaving or brushing hair or putting on makeup, and to show that someone or something is performing an action on or for her/him/itself. The list of verbs given at the site and examples and placement of the reflexive pronoun are clear and helpful, with audio for reach of many examples.
When using a reflexive, understand you're using two entirely different verbs. Not all verbs have reflexive forms. In this case, we're talking about Ganar and Ganarse, the latter being the reflexive form of the verb. You don't use reflexive words like Se or Me for non-reflexive verbs.
I think that's a correct but confusing response. Reflexive forms of verbs in Spanish can have a variety of meanings when translated into English, and the 'reflexive' quality can vary. Sometimes it's very definitely something one does to or for oneself. In this case, 'ganarse' appears to simply be clearer than 'ganar' in indicating who the prize was won for.
However, caerse tends to be translated as 'to fall down' as opposed to caer, 'to fall.' For English speakers, attempting to define this as the verb acting on the subject (Yo me caigo - I fall...all by myself, as opposed to...other kinds of falling?) is pretty tortuous. In those cases, it's generally simplest to say, 'just consider caerse and caer to be two separate, etymologically related verbs, and think of them as functionally independent of each other.' Parecer and parecerse seem to be another pair of verbs in this category: 'Ella parece como una maestra' (she seems like a teacher), vs 'Ella se parece como la maestra' (she looks like the teacher). There's nothing to gain from trying to contort the translations to make it seem reflexive in English; better just to consider them two separate, related words.
A third use of reflexive verbs seems to roughly (only roughly) fill the role that is filled by the passive voice in English. It obscures the subject and generalizes the verb: "Se puede entender el libro como decir que..." Roughly, "The book can be understood as saying that..." or "One can understand the book as saying that...". Necesitarse is another verb that shows up this way commonly. (Para bailar la bamba, se necesita una poca de gracia...) This formation seems to me to be crucial in attaining idiomatic Spanish, but it's one of the hardest to pin down as a learner.
So, overall, I think this is the kind of thing that a single rule of thumb will hurt more than it will help. My experience has been that it's better to keep my hold on this deliberately loose and learn from context and experience how to treat any reflexive-formed verb.
Agreed. I'm still very much learning, but I can easily see that these reflexive forms are best understood as whole part of the sentence, like looking at the whole painting instead of part of the painting because you really can't understand a piece without the big picture.
Meanings of ganar, and ganarse: ganar = win, earn....................................................ganarse = win, earn (deserve through effort). So say you won a prize for your writing skills that you worked hard to develop (ganarse). And, say, you walk into a room, and, surprise! you win a prize for being the 100th person to enter the room. You did not earn the prizes through effort, but you did win (ganar).
"Ganar" seems to mean "to win," while "ganarse" seems to mean "to earn or to deserve." If that is correct, then "he had earned a prize" would seem to be a better translation than "he had won a prize." A native Spanish speaker's opinion on ganar/ganarse would be welcome. http://www.wordreference.com/es/en/translation.asp?spen=ganarse
Some understandable confusion here. Adding 'himself' is a bit of an English thing. It is a way in which we try to juggle with the reflexive verb concept of other languages. In this case it is not pertinent as the reflexive form of ganar means to earn and not to win (for oneself). I think this is just a mistake personally. Either the favoured translation should be 'He had earned a prize' or the question should be 'Él había ganado un premio'.
So I typed ganarSE into wordreference and
AND I tried it with earned and it was accepted.
Unfortunately, none of the translators can correct your Spanish. All they can do is try to form a sentence from what you throw at them. And, they're not very good at it beyond the simple tenses. Your first sentence is incorrect because you don't have a complete verb ("ganado" is just a past participle). I just tried, "Él se había (note accent) ganado un premio" in Google and it translated it correctly (He had won a prize). Did you hit the little arrow on the right to re-translate after you changed your sentence?
Can someone tell me the difference between "have"/"has," and "had," in regard to how they are expressed in Spanish? If had is "...ía ....ado," what is has? And also, I assume the difference between the two in general, is that "had" is more a "once, in the past" thing, while "has"/"have" is less finite; maybe done as a habit. Is this accurate? I think I've used them somewhat interchangeably in English.
For me, the most likely explanation for the use of "se" is the passive nature of the sentence. An active sentence would be "he won the race," in the sense that he did an action. To say "he won a prize" just makes him the passive recipient of the prize. Much like one would say "se habla espanol" or "se venden vestidos" to indicate that "Spanish is spoken," or "dresses are sold." See here for more exampes: https://www.spanishdict.com/guide/passive-se-in-spanish
Your example, "He won a prize," is still an active sentence. The subject (he) is still doing the action (winning), which is what makes it active.
A passive version would be something like "The prize was won (by him)." Here the subject (the prize) is not doing the action (winning), but rather being acted upon, with the agent or doer often at the end.