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Question on conjugation and use of se, le and la

 

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Old February 04, 2021, 01:04 AM
Tony123 Tony123 is offline
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Question on conjugation and use of se, le and la

Hello there. I’m looking for some guidance on what I need to study to get my head around the use of se, le and el/la.
This sentence, for example: “Se le tomaron las huellas y se la dejó ir a casa.”
In the phrase “se le tomaron las huellas” - I don’t know what the “se” represents. Does it mean “them”? I.e. if I was reading this in English would it translate to “they took them (se) from her (le), the fingerprints” If I was trying to say this myself I would have said “tomaron sus huellas” or “tomaron las huellas de ella”.
In the second part of the sentence “se la dejó ir a casa”, I have no idea what “se” represents. I would have written it as “la dejó ir a casa”. In fact I wold have written it as “le dejó ir a casa”. That is the second part of my question. When and where should I represent a person as le (as with the first part of the sentence) versus when should I use el/la (as with the second part)? I would really be grateful for someone to help me understand this better! Even if just to direct me to a useful resource. I’m sorry if I’m using the wrong terminology.
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  #2  
Old February 04, 2021, 05:43 AM
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Rusty Rusty is offline
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The usages of 'se' are varied. Rather than discuss all of the different uses, which can be found here in the forums or elsewhere online, I'll simply identify the two usages employed in the clauses you cited.

The first clause is an example of the passive 'se' construction. The direct object in the active voice (las muellas) becomes the agent in the passive and the verb is always a third-person conjugation, preceded by 'se'. If the agent is plural, the verb is plural; if not, the verb is singular.
In the active voice, the model is 'tomarle algo a alguien' (take something from someone). They took fingerprints from her (they took her fingerprints).
In the pasiva refleja (passive 'se') construction, the English passive voice equivalent is 'Fingerprints were taken (from someone).' The 'le' in both the active and the passive is an indirect object pronoun that refers to the girl (referent appearing in a sentence previous to your example) from whom the fingerprints were taken.

The second clause is impersonal in nature; no particular person (or persons) is performing the action.
In an impersonal 'se' construction, an intransitive verb is used (ir) and it is always a third-person singular conjugation. The verb dejar, in this case, is an auxiliary to the verb ir. The meaning is 'allow/let'.
The model is 'dejarlo/a hacer algo' (allow him/her to do something). They allowed her to go home (they let her go home).

(The verb 'dejar' is versatile. It can be an auxiliary verb, whose meaning has already been explained, or it can be a transitive verb, taking both a direct object and an indirect object. In this sense, the verb takes on the meaning of 'bequeath.')

Last edited by Rusty; February 05, 2021 at 11:33 AM. Reason: corrected
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Old February 08, 2021, 12:21 AM
Tony123 Tony123 is offline
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Thanks again, Rusty! I didn’t get a notification for your reply, but it is very helpful. I will look into passive and impersonal se to get a better grasp - and also into direct v indirect object pronouns.
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Old February 08, 2021, 01:23 AM
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Glad to have been of some help.
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