I just looked around and found a great explanation here: http://spanish.about.com/od/verbs/a/caer-vs-caerse.htm. Essentially the (subtle) difference is whether the sentence is emphasizing the fall being unexpected or not. In this case, perhaps someone was hunting and shot the bird out of the air; they expected the bird to fall and merely state that it did so.
Great explanation! So what I'm understanding is that "Él se cayó" translates to "He fell." The "se" exists here since in Spanish a person falls on himself/herself. In this case, like you said, the bird was probably hit by someone. Would this make "Tú se cayaste al pàjaro" a correct sentence? Meaning that you made it fall down?
There are 6 different manifestations of "se". It would appear that this one is not a reflexive form, but rather the "se" accidental. Google it, I'm too tired to explain it right now, but I believe your sentence doesn't make sense. Once you read up on it I think you'll understand why
As you know, se suggests an action being done unto oneself, so 'Él se cayó' suggests that he fell due to his own carelessness. This could be due to a slippery floor, or vertigo. It could also be taken as something like 'He tripped over himself'. In this case, birds are mostly in flight so if they fall, it is probably due to external causes such as being shot. As such, 'El pájaro cayó' :)
The verb caer (cayó-third person past tense) can be caerse (infinitive reflexive verb). So that being said 'se' would be correct. Why would it not be used then? The only reason I can think of is we want the emphasis on the fact that the bird fell, and we don't know why it fell, or we don't I suppose want to suggest the bird is to blame for falling.
Ok, first see this example: My coffee got cold / Mi café se enfrió as you can see, both sentences are talking about a proccess (in this case was in the past), so when we talk about process or actions which where made by the subject and the same subject is the "DIrect Object (the affected by the verb)" ("Coffee") we use the reflexive pronoun "se" for the 3rd singular person and 2nd formal plural and singular personal pronoun.
- He punch his stomach / (Él) se golpea el estomagó
- You went to Germany last year / Usted se fue a Alemania el año pasado / Ustedes se fueron a ......
- Marie is brushing her hair. María se está peinando el cabello.
You went to Germany last year / Usted se fue a Alemania el año pasado / Ustedes se fueron a ......
This sentence raises another problem for me. I always learned that irse means to leave, but now I learn that it can also mean to go to. :-( I guess it depends on whether it is followed by "de" or "a". Comment?
I wrote 'the bird fell out' - fell out being one of the meanings offered in the drop down and it was marked wrong. This seems strange as I can see the possibility of a (baby) bird falling out of a nest being more likely than a bird just 'falling'. I wish these choices would not be offered if they should not be used! Can't someone inform the course question designer?
I found out caer also functions like gustar when it's paired with bien, the difference being no infatuation is implied when talking about a person.
Ex: Me cae bien. I like him/her. (in a I'm friendly with him/her kind of way). No me cae nada bien. I don't like him/her at all.
No problem. I found several references showing this use of caer is correct, but none of them mention if it's a regional thing. I suppose we'll have to assume it's ubiquitous unless a native speaker can weigh in. Here's a couple of links that talk about this matter directly, hope it helps:
Dr. Lemon points out that a phrase like Me gusta a él would be interpreted as I liiiiiiike him. Potential landmine there.
My thanks again. The link and its associated sections will be of great help to me. I think I am finally getting some of the idiomatic uses of Spanish as this morning I tried to compose a sentence in Sp. to translate a thought I had and discovered when I put it into a translator that it actually seemed to mean what I wanted it to. lol All these links and pages help me to understand and get toward my goal. I am now 70 and have wanted to learn Spanish since I was 12. My earlier attempts were all stymied for one reason or another. :-)
Yes. The rule is about spelling. The rule seems to be that Spanish doesn't like word to have triple vowels, so the ió is changed to yó.
"For verbs that end in -aer, -eer, -oír, and -oer, the él,/ella/usted form uses the ending yó (rather than ió) and the third person plural uses the ending yeron (rather than ieron). The remaining forms gain a written accent over the letter i."