HomeQ&AA question about one of the example sentences from the word of the day.

A question about one of the example sentences from the word of the day.

4
votes

I have just been learning about reflexive verbs, and I have a question about how it is being used in this example sentence for the word of the day: Se puede dulcificar el queso crema en la microonda. The translation given is "You can soften the cream cheese in the microwave." For a reflexive verb, I understand that the direct object or the indirect object is supposed to be the same (i.e. reflecting) the subject. So for this sentence, "you" is the subject, "the cream cheese in the microwave" is the direct object phrase. The direct object is not at all the same as the subject; does that mean "you" is implied as the indirect object? Also, is it completely from the context of such a sentence that one even knows the usted form is what was intended by the speaker?

2975 views
updated FEB 4, 2010
posted by tlries05
"Example" is a noun. I believe "Sample" is the word you're looking for. - 005faa61, FEB 4, 2010
Both 'example' and 'sample' are nouns, but can function as adjectives, as both your formulations demonstrate - just as 'circus' is functioning adjectively in 'circus elephant'. - luki13, FEB 4, 2010

6 Answers

2
votes

This use of reflexive verbs can be a bit confusing for native English speakers

Better yet, this is not in any way reflexive. "se puede" is an impersonal construction ("one can use" or "x can be used"). If you insist on thinking "reflexive usage" every time you encounter the pronoun "se", you are going to have a lot of problems.

"se" can be used in many grammatical contexts (some [but only some] of which are reflexive).

updated FEB 4, 2010
posted by samdie
2
votes

Se puede in this context is best understood as it is possible.

This use of reflexive verbs can be a bit confusing for native English speakers, because there isn't an equivalent use in English. Strictly speaking, queso is being reflected, so literally the sentence is saying that Cream cheese can soften itself in the microwave, though this is a confusing way to think about it.

Compare:

The sign Se vende on a house - literally 'the house is selling itself', but properly translated as 'the house is on sale/being sold', or

En Argentina se come mucha carne, meaning 'a lot of meat is eaten in Argentina'.

You will quickly come to recognise when the 3rd person reflexive is being used to express the passive voice.

Hope that helps!

updated FEB 4, 2010
edited by luki13
posted by luki13
1
vote

Es muy simple

En Español podemos encontar dos formas de voz pasiva:

.

Ej. This house was built in 1890

Esta casa fue contruída en 1980 (the literal translation - traducción literal)

.

o

. Esta casa se construyó en 1980

.

Siendo el segundo el más usado.

updated FEB 4, 2010
posted by Benz
1
vote

I have come to believe that the single greatest sin committed by Spanish teachers (native or not) is to suggest to their students that any time that they encounter "se", they should assume that they are dealing with a reflexive construction. "se" (or some equivalent pronoun) is, indeed, used in reflexive constructions. It/they is/are also used in many (apparently, to foreigners) similar constructions that are, by no stretch of the imagination, "reflexive". The advantage of this practice (for teachers) is that they don't have to "think up" terminology to describe different cases. The disadvantage (for students) is that they are given a single (inadequate) term to encompass what are, in fact, different cases and end up trying to "fit" what they hear/read to what they were "taught".

The best discussion that I have ever read is at uses of "se". Unfortunately this is in Spanish (in fact it's directed at teachers of Spanish as a second language). Most of the same points are made by Lazarus in Transitive? Reflexive? Pronominal?. By way of endorsing (and agreeing with) the content of the former, he once commented, "I feel I could have written this myself."

updated FEB 4, 2010
posted by samdie
1
vote

Se puede here is in the passive voice meaning one can soften the cream cheese in the microwave and there is no reflexive verb involved.

updated FEB 4, 2010
posted by kenwilliams
0
votes

Se puede dulcificar el queso crema en la microonda

Where can I see this sentence , please? This is incorrect.

updated FEB 4, 2010
posted by 00494d19
It was in the daily email with the word of the day. - tlries05, FEB 4, 2010
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