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#227 – The Impersonal ‘se’ in Spanish – reflexive verbs

Corporate Spanish Trainer

The impersonal ‘se’ in Spanish – reflexive verbs

Se habla español







Post 227/365
Es miércoles, 8 de noviembre de 2017




Bienvenidos a Spanish Blog 365.


Hoy aprendemos uso #2 de los verbos reflexivos: El ‘se’ impersonal.



The impersonal ‘se’ in Spanish – reflexive verbs



A. In this use of the reflexive verb, we’ll only use the 3rd person singular or 3rd person plural of the verb and pronoun.


Se habla español – Spanish spoken here (‘Spanish’ is singular so we’ll use the 3rd person singular verb form)

Se necesitan cocineros – cooks needed (‘cocineros’ is plural so we’ll use the 3rd person plural form)


B. It’s a passive voice meaning nobody is named as doing the action.


Active voice: ‘Nosotros hablamos español’ (Here we have named who speaks Spanish – We do)

Passive voice: ‘Se habla español’ (Here it is stated that Spanish is spoken here – we don’t mention who)


C. The ‘se’ can also be used to indicate an ‘impersonal’ subject. – They, one


¿Cómo se dice ‘cook or chef’ en español? (How does ‘one’ say…?)

Se dice ‘cocinero/a’ (‘you say’ or ‘one says’…)

Se dicen que va a nevar el sábado. – ‘They’ say it’s going to snow on Saturday.



A few more examples of the ‘se’ impersonal using the 3 Notes from above



Otros ejemplos de los 3 Notas de arriba:



¿Se habla español en Brasil? – Is Spanish spoken in Brazil?

No. Se habla portugués en Brasil. – No. Portuguese is spoken in Brazil.

¿Se venden licores en el supermercado? – Do they sell liquor at the grocery store?

No. No se venden licores allí. Se venden cervezas pero no licores. – No. They don’t sell liquores there. They sell beers, but not liquors.

Estas partes se hacen en Corea. – These parts are made in Korea.

El agave se cultiva en México. – Agave is grown in Mexico.


¿Cómo se dice? – How is it said?
¿Cómo se pronuncia? – How is it pronounced?
¿Cómo se escribe? – How is it written?

¡Sí se puede! – Yes you can! – Yes ‘one’ can!

¿Se puede estacionar aquí? – Can you (one) park here?

No. Se prohibe estacionar aquí. – No. Parking is prohibited here.


Action steps: Start collecting these impersonal ‘se’ expressions. They are everywhere!  Re-read the above notes and examples. Notice how they translate.
Come back tomorrow. We’ll continue this same usage.

Leave me a note, I’d love to hear from you.

Gracias y hasta mañana,