"Él se había ganado un premio."

Translation:He had won a prize.

August 30, 2013



why is the reflexive used here? it seems like había ganado would do the trick

August 30, 2013


or why can't it be "translataed as "he had won himself a prize"?

September 8, 2013


I deliberately added in the "himself" at the last second in a conscious attempt to meet DL's standards... it was marked incorrect, but is that the meaning here?

May 25, 2014


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.

April 11, 2017


I answered without the 'se' on another question (same sentence) and it was marked correct

March 4, 2019



July 29, 2014



December 14, 2018


This is exactly what I had done. I think it should be marked correct because the "he had one himself a prize" is widely used in English.

March 10, 2017


Ahem... It is "won," Miguel.

March 10, 2017


Amble, how about a lingot here for your delicate sense of humour.

March 19, 2017


Gracias, Melita.

March 19, 2017


I still do see why it is wrong..oh well.

March 17, 2017


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.

March 19, 2017


I tried he won himself a prize in that didn't work either

November 28, 2017


The reflexive is used to create more clarity to the sentence. Without it, the sentence states he had won a prize, but adding se tells us that he won it for himself

December 23, 2013


Who wins a prize for somebody else?

June 2, 2016


Who wins a prize for somebody else? Only instance I can think of is a guy throwing balls at a fair stand, to win a teddy bear for his girlfriend.

December 8, 2016


hmm, or possibly the guy wins the teddy bear, which he then gives to his girlfriend.

December 8, 2016


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.

October 7, 2016


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."

October 8, 2016


@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.

October 10, 2016


I could be wrong, but I don't think your examples are using reflexive verbs...but rather, indirect objects.

October 8, 2016


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.

April 2, 2018


I am still confused about when you use se. I have used it in other phrases where the subject was doing for themselves and they said it was wrong can someone please help me

January 18, 2015


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.

April 28, 2015


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.

June 22, 2016


I've read several explanations of ganarand ganarse but all I can see is that the verb is conjugated and then se is split off and added before the verb, but you can't SAY it! GR-R-R! (Because of the se, I added "himself" and was marked wrong.)

August 28, 2017


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.

September 25, 2016


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).

October 7, 2018


he had earned an award

May 18, 2016


Yes Spanishdict gives "earn" as the pronominal (ganarse): "Se ganó el amor del pueblo..." which sounds as if it is more emphatic (more effort) than simply "won", although they also give earn as in "obtain income" as ganar. http://www.spanishdict.com/translate/ganar

February 2, 2017


I'm not sure it is the reflexive. I think that the sentence would stand minus "El," which means that the "El" is tacked on to clarify it's a he, not a she.

June 6, 2014


I don't understand what the El has to do with whether or not the verb is reflexive. Could you explain?

May 19, 2015


Dios mio...I can barely remember my own name some days. Sorry!

May 20, 2015


"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

July 3, 2014


Yeah if u think about it "to win" using ganar do suggest u could win a raffle u did no work for, not done for self. Mientras en el otro mano to use ganarse, which is reflexive now, do seem to suggest " to earn" which is more someone doing it for themselves.

December 28, 2014


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'.

July 25, 2015


I also answered he had won himself a prize because of the reflexive pronoun, duo did not accept. I didn't report because I'm not sure if my translation is correct or not

July 14, 2014


I wrote "He would have won a prize" and the supposed correct solution is "He would won a prize" that is absolutely not correct English grammar.

December 11, 2014


is it not he would win a prize?

January 9, 2016


Using "would win" requires the conditional verb form. Your sentence would be: Él (se?) ganaría un premio.

January 18, 2016


Brber102 and Elmono23: Two good questions and I have no answers. It would be nice if there were some way to find my way back to this to see what the answer is.

November 9, 2013


I almost put He had won a prize for himself. I would think that all of these translations would be fine, but of course I only tried one of them, He had won a prize, which worked.

November 18, 2013


I think if you click 'Follow Discussion' in the upper right corner, you will receive future responses to this.

January 11, 2014


Not on the Android app. I have to use my computer to track these discussions. On the plus side, at least it automatically follows any of them I comment on.

February 15, 2014


So I typed ganarSE into wordreference and


AND I tried it with earned and it was accepted.

January 4, 2015


How in Spanish will be "He had got a bonus."?

January 24, 2016


Is "se" necessary in this sentence?

February 1, 2016


because of the 'SE' the translation he had deserved/earned the price' should work as well

February 25, 2016

[deactivated user]

    @beadspitter: Thank you for a very helpful and clear reply!

    September 13, 2016


    Trophy instead of prize??

    December 4, 2016


    first= premero | premio= prize/award

    April 1, 2017


    First = primero/a or primer before a masculine singular noun.

    April 4, 2017


    It jumped before i finished

    May 17, 2017


    [google says,]
    "él se ganado un premio"= He has won a prize

    [where as] "él habia ganado un premio"= He had won a prize

    él se habia ganado un premio= He has had won a prize ... which makes no sense!!!

    August 30, 2017


    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?

    August 31, 2017


    Why is "he had won himself a prize" wrong? It's both literal, and correct.

    October 14, 2017


    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.

    October 29, 2017


    In "He had won himself a prize" the "himself" is emphatic but still reflexive. It's perfectly good English and should be accepted. "I won myself a bottle of wine at the raffle" is the kind of thing folk commonly say

    December 18, 2017


    Just for my peace of mind: If i say "The price that he had won" = El premio que (él) había ganado. ?

    January 25, 2018


    Descansa tu mente. Sí, es correcto. Por ejemplo: El premio que (él) había ganado probablemente valiera solo cien dólares. (The prize that he had won was probably worth only a hundred dollars.)

    February 8, 2018


    I thought ganarse means to deserve not to win

    August 17, 2018


    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

    February 23, 2019


    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.

    March 12, 2019


    I see that you are right. I was just trying to understand why the Spanish might use "se," as if it were passive. In a sense, winning is not as active as running; it's more like achieving something "for yourself." Maybe that's the way they see it.

    March 12, 2019


    A prize had won by him. Is this a good translation?

    May 13, 2019
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