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Old September 22, 2012, 10:42 AM
JSK JSK is offline
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Originally Posted by Coffee Kitten View Post
The Spanish grammar textbook that I'm using says:

Some reflexive verbs admit the impersonal reflexive construction and take, therefore, an indirect object (e.g. Se le olvidó la carta.)

What does this rule mean?
I personally find that your book is throwing in two different things here. The rule about some verbs being ambigous and therefore require (not admit...) the impersonal construction is one thing.
But the example sentence you offered adresses another function of Se you yourself already guessed before:

Originally Posted by Coffee Kitten View Post
Hmm... I think I got the use of "se" in "se me olvidó el pasaporte;" basically, it's blaming the passport for forgetting to be with me (or something like that).
Our book calls this phenomenom of the Spanish language Involutariedad.

Se me ha estropeado el ordenador/la computadora -> I broke my computer.
Se me ha quemado el erroz -> I burnt the rice.

Se indicates that the actions took place involuntarily (from the point of view of the speaker) and the personal pronoun me indicates the affected person(s), in your case he/she -> le.

Originally Posted by Coffee Kitten View Post
How do I know when I should use this rule?
I'm not sure which rule you mean because, as I said, I think that you're talking about two rules at the same time (like Angelica pointed at as well). But I'd personally recommend you to use se if you want to indicate "involuntarity"*. That would explain why in your

Originally Posted by Coffee Kitten View Post
* Se nos olvidó decirte. We forgot to tell you.
* Se le olvidó la carta. He forgot the letter.

the se occurs. To forget sth. can happen involuntarily and to clarify this exact connotation we use se.
What confuses me now is your Se les figura que son ricos.
I'm not a native so I can not tell whether this sentence feels right or not, or sth. like that. In this case I'd definately listen to what alecCowan said he's a native so he for sure can tell. Although all I can offer is my lousy book-strategy-mathematics-logic-knowledge from years of grammar classes and lessons, I have to agree to him, though... the only version that is acceptable is se los figuran ricos in a reflexive or reciprocal way of meaning. In order to eliminate this ambiguity you could use the impersonal construction se figura rico a los (but that sounds weird to me)to indicate that other persons imagine them being rich.

That they are rich is imagined by them. -> Se los figuran ricos
En mi opinion es imposible esa traducción porque la estructura de la Pasiva Refleja es
+ verbo transitivo en 3a persona (sing. o plural) + sujeto.

Your sentence is missing the subject that is required from the Spanish passive.
I'm not sure whether an adequate translation would be se figuran que son ricos (son = ellos = sujeto). I will ask one of my profs about this thing, I'm curious what he says. :>

*better translation needed urgently...!
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