Ask a Question

(Create a thread)
Go Back   Spanish language learning forums > Spanish & English Languages > Grammar


Impersonal se

 

This is the place for questions about conjugations, verb tenses, adverbs, adjectives, word order, syntax and other grammar questions for English or Spanish.


Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
  #1  
Old November 18, 2013, 01:12 PM
Psychosid Psychosid is offline
Opal
 
Join Date: Jun 2013
Location: Manchester, England
Posts: 25
Native Language: English
Psychosid is on a distinguished road
Impersonal se

Hi can anybody give me a little explanation, what is the difference between:

olvidé el libro (i forgot the book)

and

se me olvidó el libro (literally: it forgot me the book)

I know that it is something regarding an unintentional action, but is the first example not the same thing??

i dont get it.

Psid
Reply With Quote
   
Get rid of these ads by registering for a free Tomísimo account.
  #2  
Old November 18, 2013, 01:25 PM
AngelicaDeAlquezar's Avatar
AngelicaDeAlquezar AngelicaDeAlquezar is offline
Obsidiana
 
Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: Mexico City
Posts: 8,387
Native Language: Mexican Spanish
AngelicaDeAlquezar is on a distinguished road
You can take a look at this other thread to see a discussion on it. (There are some more answers here too.)
__________________
Ain't it wonderful to be alive when the Rock'n'Roll plays...
Reply With Quote
  #3  
Old November 18, 2013, 01:36 PM
Psychosid Psychosid is offline
Opal
 
Join Date: Jun 2013
Location: Manchester, England
Posts: 25
Native Language: English
Psychosid is on a distinguished road
Thanks Angelica, but my brain is not working well today, i just dont understand the difference between i forgot the book and the book forgot itself to me,

if i said: olvidé el libro or se me olvidó el libro, am i saying the same thing? what context would i use the se me construction? or is it just a personal preference on the part of the speaker??
Reply With Quote
  #4  
Old November 18, 2013, 01:44 PM
AngelicaDeAlquezar's Avatar
AngelicaDeAlquezar AngelicaDeAlquezar is offline
Obsidiana
 
Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: Mexico City
Posts: 8,387
Native Language: Mexican Spanish
AngelicaDeAlquezar is on a distinguished road
Take a look at my note about "voz media" (Post #8 here). There are things beyond one's control.
__________________
Ain't it wonderful to be alive when the Rock'n'Roll plays...
Reply With Quote
  #5  
Old November 18, 2013, 01:52 PM
Psychosid Psychosid is offline
Opal
 
Join Date: Jun 2013
Location: Manchester, England
Posts: 25
Native Language: English
Psychosid is on a distinguished road
Thanks for your efforts Angelica, i think that your last sentence "there are things beyond ones control" is a help, for example; olvidé el libro: i forgot the book (when really there was no excuse for forgetting it?)

and se me olvidó el libro: (when maybe i was so busy with lots of things happening, that it is perfectly understandable that it sliiped my mind?)

would i be on the right lines with this?
Reply With Quote
  #6  
Old November 18, 2013, 02:08 PM
Rusty's Avatar
Rusty Rusty is offline
Señor Speedy
 
Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: USA
Posts: 10,682
Native Language: American English
Rusty has a spectacular aura aboutRusty has a spectacular aura about
When it is not your fault, or when it was not your intention, you use the accidental 'se' (not the impersonal 'se', if it makes any difference to you to call it that).
The Spanish don't like to take blame for forgetting something, so the accidental 'se' is used MUCH MORE often than you would think. In other words, avoid saying "olvidé el libro."
Reply With Quote
  #7  
Old November 18, 2013, 05:25 PM
Julvenzor's Avatar
Julvenzor Julvenzor is offline
Emerald
 
Join Date: Sep 2013
Location: Sevilla, España.
Posts: 716
Native Language: Español
Julvenzor is on a distinguished road
Si sirve de ayuda, yo diría que la clave está en distinguir entre objetos y conceptos. Como comenta Rusty, los nativos tenemos cierta predilección por quitarnos las culpas; así pues, suele emplearse principalmente "se me" cuando hablamos de objetos. Por el contrario, a mí se me hace bastante más común (al menos por mi zona) el uso "normal" de "olvidé" en aquellos casos en que nos referimos a olvidar conocimientos o citas en ambientes formales:

Olvidé cuál es la fórmula química del agua.
Olvidé asistir a la consulta del médico.

Cabe destacar que, sobre todo, depende de la intencionalidad: hay personas a las cuales les cuesta un mundo reconocer los errores propios y utilizan la voz media casi con todos los verbos posibles; mientras que alguien "serio" tendería hacia la otra forma, sobre todo, estando en un entorno acorde.

Un saludo a todos.
Reply With Quote
  #8  
Old December 07, 2013, 02:14 PM
3.14159's Avatar
3.14159 3.14159 is offline
Opal
 
Join Date: Dec 2013
Posts: 2
3.14159 is on a distinguished road
Quote:
Originally Posted by Psychosid View Post
Hi can anybody give me a little explanation, what is the difference between:

olvidé el libro (i forgot the book)

and

se me olvidó el libro (literally: it forgot me the book)

I know that it is something regarding an unintentional action, but is the first example not the same thing??

i dont get it.

Psid
As has been stated, this "se me" construction indicates lack of intentionality on the part of the speaker; the logical subject ("I") is backgrounded. In se me olvidó el libro, the grammatical subject is "el libro," while the logical subject is embodied in the meaning of "se." By contrast, in olvidé el libro, the grammatical and logical subject are one and the same, represented by the morphological ending of the verb olvidé (and "el libro" assumes the role of direct object). English doesn't have a "se" counterpart, but the idea of "hiding" the true/logical subject is the same when using the passive voice. The difference between I made mistakes and mistakes were made by me is that the second version dilutes my role by making "mistakes" the grammatical subject (it agrees with the plural verb "were"). That's the semantic implication of all these "se me" constructions (se me olvidó el libro, se me cayó la radio, se me rompió el celular, etc.)
Reply With Quote
Reply

Bookmark this thread at:

 

Link to this thread
URL: 
HTML Link: 
BB Code: 
Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts
BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Site Rules

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
The impersonal se seems confusing to me BrianDeBama Practice & Homework 6 August 05, 2013 03:31 PM
Reflexive verbs that admit impersonal reflexive construction Coffee Kitten Grammar 13 September 25, 2012 09:36 PM
When an impersonal phrase is followed by 2 parts LearningSpanish Grammar 2 August 28, 2012 05:35 PM
Subjunctive with impersonal expression. DeanQuest Grammar 7 October 22, 2009 01:16 PM
el tiempo impersonal gramatica Grammar 5 August 31, 2007 03:54 PM


All times are GMT -6. The time now is 05:41 PM.

Forum powered by vBulletin® Copyright ©2000 - 2020, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.

X