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elfstone February 05, 2018 04:17 AM

Is comprar reflexiv?
In my online spanish course I just stumbled about "¿Dónde se puede comprar pescado fresco?" as translation for the german "Wo kann man fisch kaufen?" which is literally translatable to "Where can one buy fish?" and is used as "where can you buy fish?"

When I use google translate to translate that sentence to spanish, i get "¿Dónde puedes comprar pescado?"

Can someone explain the difference between the two spanish sentences? I googled, and it seems comprar is not reflexive, or am I mistaken.

Thanks for helping :-)

poli February 05, 2018 06:50 AM

It's not reflexive. Se, in this case, is an example of the passive tense. A direct translation of this sentence in English would be, where can fresh fish be bought?

If you want to say, where can I buy fresh fish, in Spanish without using the passive, you can ask. ¿Dónde puedo comprar pescado fresco?

Rusty February 05, 2018 07:14 AM

Actually, you're dealing with the "impersonal 'se' " in this case. This is used when no one in particular is being addressed. It's the equivalent of "Where can one buy fresh fish?"
In colloquial English, we can substitute 'you' for the impersonal 'one' and get "Where can you buy fresh fish?"

The second translation, where 'you' is listed as the subject pronoun, is an example of the colloquial substitute for the impersonal pronoun 'one'. And the 'you' is the second-person familiar form (as conveyed by the verb's -es ending).

You/One can also use the second-person formal form of the verb (with the -e ending).

These sentences all mean the same thing:

Where can one buy fresh fish?
¿Dónde se puede comprar pescado fresco?

Where can you buy fresh fish?
¿Dónde puede comprar pescado fresco?
¿Dónde puedes comprar pescado fresco?

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