DIFFERENT CASES OF THE PARTICLE «SE»

The particle «SE» is one of the most studied in linguistics -even for Spanish speakers- because of his complexity. You’ve found in Spanish language several cases of the use of this particle «SE» in many different contexts, so…How can we use «SE» in a Grammarly correct way and why it is working in that way. Let’s find out!

Depending on what book or the author you’re consulting of the accuracy of the terminology but generally, we can distinguish about SIX cases where the particle SE is being used with different purposes.

CASES OF THE PARTICLE «SE» IN SPANISH

(1) «SE» AS A PERSONAL PRONOUN

One of the multiple uses of the particle «SE» in Spanish is as a personal pronoun. This happens in sentences with (OI) indirect object and direct object (OD).

We’ll see that the pronoun of the indirect object «le/les» it’s immediately followed by another 3rd person personal pronoun with direct object function: lo, la, los, las. It is replaced in order to avoid the cacophony.

(2) REFLEXIVE «SE»

This case appears with reflexive verbs.

A reflexive verb is a wich one the action of the verb relapse in itself. In other words, the subject does and receives the action.

You can recognize these verbs cause they have the particle «SE» visible in their simple form. Such is the case of BAÑARSE/ PEINARSE. (a lot of this kind of verbs belong to the personal routine.)

(3) RECIPROCAL «SE»

This case is pretty much like the one above. This refers to when the subject is multiple or plural and the action is mutual between them. For example in the following verbs: SALUDARSE/ABRAZARSE/ PELEARSE.

Here appears the particle «SE» to indicate to us accurately he action is happening between them. This type of verbs requires specifically the intervention of a second subject ‘cause without the second one, simply doesn’t have any sense.

As in the previous example, reflexive and reciprocal verbs use the corresponding pronouns ME/TE/NOS/SE. ¡DON’T FORGET THEM!

(4) EMPATHIC «SE»

The «empathic se» is used as his name shows just to add emotion or surprise to the sentence. We can omit it without causing any problem because besides the emotion it has no power to modify the meaning.

(5)   PSEUDO-REFLEXIVE «SE»

Also known as «Se” formant of the pronominal verb. This use refers to those verbs that can not be separated from the particle «SE». Some experts include them withing the reflexive ones, nevertheless, other linguists consider them in a different category.

Commonly the mean characteristic of this special type of verbs is that they exist with the particle and without it but they mean different things. Let’s check some examples:

(6) IMPERSONAL «SE»

We express the impersonal phenomenon ALWAYS in the third person. Sometimes the subject is omitted simply because we are not interested in focusing attention on it and sometimes it’s just because we want to express a general idea. You can replace the particle «se» with the adverbs «here / there» In Spanish: Acá,aquí,allá,allí.

You can also traduce this use as «someone» or well, everybody». See the following examples:

Ahora que sabes los usos de la partícula «SE» en español, ¿los usarás? Si tienes alguna duda, no dudes en escribir… se responden todas las preguntas. 😉

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