why is antojarse different - or is it?

why is antojarse different - or is it?


Why is antojarse different from other reflexives in how it is used? Still doesn´t make sense to me because with other reflexive verbs the se is not added,

e.g. 1. afeitarse can conjugate as ¨me afeito¨ but not ¨se me afeito.¨ 2. or enojarse can be conjugated as ¨me enojo¨ but not ¨se me enojo¨. 3. or a non reflexive verb like gustar that is commonly used with a indirect object. We say ¨me gusta¨ and not ¨se me gusta.¨

So why is antojarse different? Why don´t we use me antoja instead of se me antoja? I understand that in ¨se me antoja¨ that ¨me¨ is the indirect object. But what is ¨se¨? it can´t be a direct object because it is in the wrong place and in the wrong form. In fact, would it be possible to add a d.o. to ¨se me antoja un helado¨ to change it to ¨se me lo antoja¨? Why not just say ¨me lo antoja¨?

updated JUL 30, 2015
posted by TomOfHelatrobus

2 Answers


Writing for “espanol-ingles.com.mx” the writer Neil Coffey has this to say about pronominal verbs of which he calls reflexives a subset:


Pronominal verbs, often (misleadingly) called reflexive verbs, are verbs in which a "pronoun" clitic is inserted that agrees with the subject. The term reflexive is often used to cover all these verbs, because a helpful notion for understanding them is that "the object of the verb is the same thing/person as the subject". Strictly speaking, reflexive verbs can be seen as a subset of pronominal verbs.


The infinitive of pronominal verbs has the clitic “se” added to the end: lavarse, bañarse, esconderse, hartarse etc.


At the end of his article, he says this about the verb “antojarse” (to want, long for, desire, feel like):
Antojarse is an intrinsically pronominal verb

There are a few cases such as the verb antojarse where in simple terms, the verb is pronominal "just because it is". It's difficult to break the verb down and say that the clitic (the “se” at the end of the word ) has a particular "unit of meaning" such as being reflexive, reciprocal or passive.


You can read Neil Coffey’s one page article here ----> Pronominal Verbs


To return to the question asked about “Antojarse”, I speculate that since reflexive verbs are only one subset or class of pronominal verbs and that since “antojarse” is pronominal but is not reflexive as explained above, it will be dealt with and treated differently.

updated JUL 30, 2015
posted by Moe

Moe gave you an excellent answer!

My thought is more of a "PS". If it helps, think of it as a type of skewed passive voice. Obviously, the passive makes no sense with this meaning in English, and I am using the term "passive voice" very liberally and not entirely grammatically correctly. However, if you think of "antojarse" as meaning "to be appealing to", it might help you to explain it to yourself.

Therefore: "Se me antojan esos zapatos" - "Those shoes are appealing to me", or - in more common language - "I find those shoes really cute"...¿Se te antoja algo de picar?" - "Is something to nibble on appealing to you?" or - "Do you want to nibble on something?"

In that sense the "se" throws the focus of the start of the action on the item that is appealing. It is similar to "olvidarse de" - "to forget about. "Se me olvidaron los papeles" - "the papers were forgotten to me" ("I forgot the papers")

Once again, I apologize to those who prefer to have things explained in strict grammatical terms. My experience in teaching is that a combination of strict grammatical explanation as well as a bit of "winging it" tends to cover most learners.

updated JUL 30, 2015
posted by mountaingirl123
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