say what'...Como se dice ....?

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I've got questions with the expression "Como se dice'" First what does it mean'. How or when is it used?

I think people say "Como se dice ##### '" Where ##### is a word they don't know. Where they are asking what some word or phrase means. The literal translation seems to be "as it is said".

My second question with the expression is why use "se" in that sentence? According to what I'm studying .... se is not a DOP. It is an IDOP. So my point is that se is uncalled for in this sentence. It should be "Como lo dice." NO'

8528 views
updated NOV 2, 2008
posted by John-Albert-Flores

18 Answers

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You would say como se dice... and then put what you want to learn to say.

updated NOV 2, 2008
posted by Maria
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¡Claro que se puede! Y además suena muy bien. Estaba tratando de mejorar su frase con el mínimo número de cambios en cuanto a estructura y forma verbal. Usar el "desde hace" es raro, pero al menos se puede entender como "for", pero el verbo "llevar" no se puede traducir directamente, y normalmente confunde a los principiantes.

updated MAY 30, 2008
posted by lazarus1907
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Lazarus,
¿También se puede decir "Llevo solo cuatro meses estudiando español"'

updated MAY 30, 2008
posted by 00bacfba
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(Estudio español desde hace solo cuatro meses)
(Te lo agradezco)
Estos pronombres son una de las cosas más difíciles de la gramática española, y normalmente solo aparecen en libros para estudiantes muy avanzados.

updated MAY 30, 2008
posted by lazarus1907
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lazarus,
Estudio espanol solo cuatro meses. Ahora aprendo algo nuevo. no esta en mi libro. agradezco.

updated MAY 30, 2008
posted by John-Albert-Flores
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Ay, ¡me meto en problemas cada vez con esta maldita palabra!

wink

updated MAY 30, 2008
posted by Natasha
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You are quite right, but se is not only reflexive. Look, read Lazarus's' post below.

updated MAY 30, 2008
posted by 00494d19
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No offense, but I think you are confusing se (without an accent) with sé (with an accent). Although pronounced the same, they are quite different. (with an accent) is the first person, present tense of the verb saber, "to know", so it means "I know" as you mention.

se without an accent is a reflexive pronoun and there have been many discussion on this site about it . . . very difficult for English speakers to master . . .

updated MAY 30, 2008
posted by Natasha
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This is terrible, John, but no fooling around with lazarus, as it seems.

yes, "pasiva refleja" (passive)

updated MAY 30, 2008
posted by 00494d19
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No offense to Samantha, but she is completely wrong here. Se here is not sé, which is the first person singular of the verb saber, to know.

Lazarus gave you the correct literal translation. Cómo se dice means "How is said xxx'," which is "How do you say xxx'" in natural English.

To translate "What does xxx mean," it would be closer to say "Qué significa xxx" or "Qué quiere decir xxx."

updated MAY 30, 2008
posted by 00bacfba
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... but, unfortunately, it is NOT a impresonal pronoun (if such thing existed). Read my explanation above, because the sentence has a grammatical subject, and impersonal sentences don't.

updated MAY 30, 2008
posted by lazarus1907
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Heidita's explanation seems right. I just didn't know "se" was an impersonal pronoun.
-- thankyou all

updated MAY 30, 2008
posted by John-Albert-Flores
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Excuse me'? No I didn't. I said it was a pronoun.

updated MAY 30, 2008
posted by 00494d19
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That SE is not a DOP or a IDOP, and you cannot say "¿Cómo lo dice'" because in that sentence you are asking "How does he/she say it'", but we don't know who is this (s)HE you're talking about.

Spanish has seven basic types of SE, and some of them can be subdivided into other groups. The objects you're mentioning only cover three of these types, and in the sentence of this thread, that SE is one of the other ones: the so-called passive reflexive.

A fairly literal translation (not completely) would be "How is it said #####..'", but a more natural translation would be "How do you say ####'". Look at other examples of this SE:

Aquí se puede fumar = Smoking is allowed here
Aquí se habla español = Spanish is spoken here

These SE are used all the time in Spanish.

updated MAY 30, 2008
posted by lazarus1907
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I'll be dammed! I thought "se" was a pronoun in that sentence but you say its the first person singular of the verb saber! I appreciate your answers but I hope I get some more opinions. I can't believe it.

updated MAY 30, 2008
posted by John-Albert-Flores