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With or without "Se"


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Old April 14, 2014, 06:31 AM
jellybabe jellybabe is offline
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With or without "Se"

Why in Spanish do you sometimes use "se" and others not like in the examples below.

"Se me caen los pantalones" "My trousers are falling down"

"Se me bajan las gafas" "My glasses are slipping down"

"Se me ha caído el bolí" "I've dropped the pen"

(All with "se") but in these next sentences it's without se.

"Le está saliendo agua de la mochila" "Water is leaking out of her bag"

"Te arrastra el vestido" "Your dress is dragging on the ground"

"No me gusta cuando el agua me entre en los ojos" I don't like getting water in my eyes"

Why is it not for example "se te arrastra el vestido" because the dress is "doing it to itself"????
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Old April 14, 2014, 06:34 AM
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The first sentences are all examples of the accidental 'se' construct. This is used whenever something happens that is not your fault. Even if it seems to be your fault in the English translation, the accidental 'se' construct is used in Spanish.
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Old May 14, 2014, 12:39 PM
jellybabe jellybabe is offline
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Thanks but how do you decide if something is accidental in Spanish or not because in my mind, if water is leaking out of you bag or your dress is dragging along the ground, this is accidental!?
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Old May 14, 2014, 04:02 PM
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Originally Posted by jellybabe View Post
Why in Spanish do you sometimes use "se" and others not like in the examples below.
It depends on the verbs and if they're reflexive or not. That said, I'm not sure if all native speakers will agree that the last three are correct, at least not in all varieties of Spanish.
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Old May 14, 2014, 10:01 PM
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@Jelly: "Accidental" here means that you have no control over these things that happen. You might find useful this discussion about the uses of "se".

In addition:

"Le está saliendo agua de la mochila" -> The speaker could have used pronominal particles, but it seems he/she preferred an indirect object pronoun (le) to include the person carrying the bag that was leaking water.

With a pronominal particle, the speaker would have used a different structure: "se le está saliendo el agua de la mochila" / "se le está saliendo agua a la mochila", and here it's only the bag involved, not the carrier.

"Te arrastra el vestido" and "se te arrastra el vestido" are expressing the same idea. Many people tend to avoid the emphasis/accident function of "se", because they feel it's colloquial; for me though it's not a matter of correctness, but of personal preference.

"No me gusta cuando el agua me entra en los ojos" -> There is no "se" here, because the pronoun (me) is an indirect object one.
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accidental se, impersonal se, passive voice, reflexive


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