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Reflexive verb help

 

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  #1  
Old September 19, 2007, 02:14 PM
anitagringita anitagringita is offline
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Reflexive verb help

Hi all, I just joined and started searching threads on reflexive verbs, but still have some questions.

I am confused when to use them! For example, I hear Spanish speakers use both se me olvidó and me olvidé when they forget something. I was taught to say things like me olvidó el libro and me torció el tobillo, but I am confused about the differences between the following:

se me olvidó/se me olvidé/me olvidó/me olvidé

me torció el tobillo/me torcí el tobillo

When do I need the se? when do the reflexive pronouns and the verb endings agree? and in general, when do I need a reflexive form. I hear it used in situations I didn´t realize it could be used.

(I realize this is a lot of teaching to do, so please feel free to comment on any part of it)

Thank you!
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  #2  
Old September 19, 2007, 05:37 PM
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Tomisimo Tomisimo is offline
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Hi Anita, and welcome.

Reflexive verbs are a hard thing to wrap your mind around. Let me just give you some examples, based on the examples you gave. I hope it helps.

se me olvidó la carta / se me olvidaron las cartas.

The verb agrees with the subject, as you know, but the subject in this case is the letter/letters. This is like saying the letters were forgotten, and you are the innocent bystander. This is the normal way of saying you forgot something. If you want to emphasize the fact that you are responsible for forgetting the object, you could say:

olvidé la carta / olvidé las cartas.

Some corrections:

me olvidó el libro.
se me olvidó el libro.
olvidé el libro.

me torció el tobillo - he/she sprained my ankle
me torcí el tobillo / se me torció el tobillo - I twisted my ankle

se me olvidó I forgot it.
se me olvidé
me olvidó
me olvidé (see note below about this)
me torció el tobillo he/she/it twisted my ankle
me torcí el tobillo I sprained my ankle.

About me olvidé, olvidar + object is to forget something olvidarse de + object is to forget about something. They are not used interchangeably.

Olvidé mi abrigo / se me olvidó mi abrigo - I forgot my overcoat.
Me olvidé de él - I forgot about him.

Quote:
When do I need the se? when do the reflexive pronouns and the verb endings agree? and in general, when do I need a reflexive form. I hear it used in situations I didn´t realize it could be used.
One thing to remember is that there are two things going on when you see the pronoun se. It could be a reflexive verb (me torcí el hombro / me lavé las manos.) where the actor and the acted upon are the same person, or it could be a sort of passive tense like this:

Escribí una carta - I wrote a letter.
Escribió una carta - He wrote a letter.

Se escribió una carta - A letter was written.
Fue escrita una carta - A letter was written.


....

Did any of that make any sense?
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  #3  
Old September 20, 2007, 09:47 AM
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Elaina Elaina is offline
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Reflexive Verbs........

A thorn on my side......

When both the object and subject are the same, then the verb is relfexive...
i.e. I shave myself.
I = subject
shave = verb
object = myself

Se = when the verb is reflexive then the infinitive ends in 'se'.
i.e. bañar = bañarse
Ella fué a bañarse. OR Ella se fue a bañar. (both correct)

lavar = lavarse
El fué a lavarse la cara. (NUNCA: El fue a lavarse su cara)

I also struggle with them but you know what they say.....Practice makes perfect.......La práctica hace al maestro.

Ciao
Elaina
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Old September 20, 2007, 11:14 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Elaina View Post
A thorn on my side......
a thorn in my side Idioms will be the end of me.
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Old September 20, 2007, 11:18 AM
anitagringita anitagringita is offline
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Thank you to both, this helps.

Just to follow up on a couple things in David´s reply-

Me torcí ... is correct, but

Me olvidé... is wrong because of the need to to use me olvidé + de, in the case of this specific verb. So I would say me olvidé de.... or just olvidé...
Since olvidarse and olvidarse+de are not interchangeable, what are the rules about using one or the other?

In the case of reflexive verbs in general, do I use me torcí, me lavé, me rompí, etc.?

Thanks again.
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Old September 20, 2007, 03:11 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Elaina View Post
Practice makes perfect.......La práctica hace al maestro.
Gracias por eso. I was looking for how to say that!

Last edited by WMX; September 20, 2007 at 03:12 PM. Reason: i messed up the quote code.
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Old September 24, 2007, 10:15 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by anitagringita View Post
Me olvidé... is wrong because of the need to to use me olvidé + de, in the case of this specific verb. So I would say me olvidé de.... or just olvidé...
Since olvidarse and olvidarse+de are not interchangeable, what are the rules about using one or the other?
It's pretty much like English.

I forgot my book - Olvidé mi libro (Se me olvidó mi libro)
I forgot to bring the camera - Olvidé traer la cámara (Se me olvidó traer la cámara)
I forgot to turn off the stove - Olvidé apagar la estufa (Se me olvidó apagar la estufa)

I don't want to forget about him - No quiero olvidarme de él
Don't forget about the homework - No te olvides de la tarea.
Don't forget about me - No te olvides de mí.

So:
olvidarse de algo/alguien = to forget about something/someone
olvidar algo = to forget something
olvidársele algo a alguien = to forget something (for something to be forgotten)

Quote:
Originally Posted by anitagringita View Post
In the case of reflexive verbs in general, do I use me torcí, me lavé, me rompí, etc.?
Yep, you´ve got it
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Old September 28, 2007, 09:26 AM
anitagringita anitagringita is offline
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perfect.

Thanks!
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  #9  
Old September 28, 2007, 02:47 PM
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Wow, that's very helpful stuff.
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