The passive voice has got me
tied up in knots. My all-spanish workbook refers to
ser + particple as the formal technique. It then recommends
two other forms as more common. The first is called
'se' en frase pasiva, and is se + verb in 3rd person
singular or plural. However, there's also a section
for a 'se' impersonal where it's se + verb in just 3rd
person singular, and I can't for the life of me tell
what the difference is between these 2 se + verb options?
Good question. To explain the answer, you must first
understand the difference between a transitive
and intransitive verb.
Though the passive ´se´ and impersonal
´se´ may look similar, they have different
1.´ Impersonal se´The
Spanish impersonal 'se' is the English equivalent
of 'one' / 'people.' Like the English 'one,' the impersonal
se refers to an unidentified human agent. It only
uses intransitive verbs and 'objectless' transitive
verbs as in en los Estados Unidos se come mucho
'people eat a lot in the United States (no mention
of what they eat.) The verb is always singular. See
|se entra por aquí
||one goes in this way.
|se está mejor aquí
|| one is better off here.
2. 'Passive se' may only be used
with third-person transitive verbs, singular or plural,
and usually only with non-living nouns and pronouns.
It is equivalent to the passive ser. See below examples:
|Es una zona de mucha sequía, así que no
se ve pasto verde.
||It is a very drought-ridden area, so you don´t see green grass.
|se vendió la casa.
||the house was sold
Identify the following sentences as impersonal
or passive se. Although
capitalization does not count, spelling does!