the use of se

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I understand that you need to use se for when people are doing something to one another such as in "La pareja se esta besando" but I don't understand why you would use it in a sentence like "Las mujeres se estan yendo", in this sentence both women are "going" but why would you put se in if it is not something that they are doing to each other. Then there is the sentence of "Las mujeres estan viniendo" why would *se * not be put in front of that... what difference should there be in the sentence structure from yendo and viniendo (coming and going)'''? I hope this makes sense.... if someone could explain this I would be very greatful... thanks

-Leah

2251 views
updated DIC 11, 2016
posted by Leah

7 Answers

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¡I can't believe it! ¡It costs $100 in Amazon!
It is only 23? in Spain ($30) new, and as low as £12.95 ($17) in Amazon.co.uk. Surely it is worth paying the delivery from Europe.

updated DIC 11, 2016
posted by lazarus1907
lazarus1907, I'm reading posts on "se" because it is so confusing to me and wondering if you have that book written now? Kim
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Actually, Marco, I have never seen any good didactic book on how to use 'se'. Most of the literature is aimed at linguists, and every single book (or web page) has its own approach and terminology, which is not helpful, to be fair. A fairly comprehensive reference written in English could be "A New Reference Grammar of Modern Spanish" (Benjamin & Butt), which is reasonably good as a reference book, but not for that good for learning (it doesn't have practice questions). In a (hopefully) new future we'll get the "Gramática avanzada del estudiante español", which follows the excellent "Gramática básica del estudiante español" (a must-have), and if it is as good as I expect, it will probably be the best didactic book on the uses of 'se' for students of Spanish, although it will be written in Spanish (maybe they'll release a version in English too).

I am slowly working on my own book, but now with the child I'm going even slower than I planned, so I don't know when I will be able to finish it.

Thank you, Lazarus for your recommendation.
I have ordered "A New Reference Grammar of Modern Spanish", but "Gramática básica del estudiante español" is very expensive. :(

I am hoping that the book you are working on would be coming up soon. :O

Marco

updated ABR 2, 2009
posted by Marco-T
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I am slowly working on my own book, but now with the child I'm going even slower than I planned, so I don't know when I will be able to finish it.

The way your posts are running, it will be a jewel! (I am sorry if my Hungarian is showing.)

updated ABR 1, 2009
posted by Zoltán
0
votes

Actually, Marco, I have never seen any good didactic book on how to use 'se'. Most of the literature is aimed at linguists, and every single book (or web page) has its own approach and terminology, which is not helpful, to be fair. A fairly comprehensive reference written in English could be "A New Reference Grammar of Modern Spanish" (Benjamin & Butt), which is reasonably good as a reference book, but not for that good for learning (it doesn't have practice questions). In a (hopefully) new future we'll get the "Gramática avanzada del estudiante español", which follows the excellent "Gramática básica del estudiante español" (a must-have), and if it is as good as I expect, it will probably be the best didactic book on the uses of 'se' for students of Spanish, although it will be written in Spanish (maybe they'll release a version in English too).

I am slowly working on my own book, but now with the child I'm going even slower than I planned, so I don't know when I will be able to finish it.

updated ABR 1, 2009
posted by lazarus1907
0
votes

Leah, you have limited information about this "se", because it has about a dozen different uses, and the one you mention is just one of them, and not a very important one.

"Ir" is used when the focus is on the destination, i.e. to go. You cannot use this verb without a destination, explicit or implicit. If you suddenly say to someone "Voy.", this person will be puzzled, and will probably say something like "Vas... ¿adónde'", wondering why you omitted the destination.

"Irse" is used when the focus is on the place from which we depart, i.e. to leave. If you say "Me voy", the focus of your sentence is on the starting point, which you are about to leave, regardless of your destination, which does not have to be mentioned, as it is secondary (although you can mention it too, of course).

In this case, the "se" changes the focus, but in other verbs it has different functions. Think of "ir" and "irse" as separate verbs, like "go" and "leave" in English.

"Venir" works in a similar way, although unlike "ir(se)", this verb implies by definition that the destination is HERE, so the difference is even subtler. Think of these two sentences: "The cloth is over the board" and "The board is under the floor"; they say pretty much the same, but the focus is different, like in "half full" and "half empty".

"Se" has so many uses, that there are entire books describing them (and only covering part of the whole picture). For some reasons, books only mention the reflexive and the reciprocal uses, even though they are the LEAST common ones in practice.

Hi Lazarus, do you have any good books that would help me understand the uses of "se"? The uses of "se" is probably the most difficult part for me to learn Spanish.

Would you please give me some recommendation of books?

Gracias, mi maestro.

Marco

updated ABR 1, 2009
posted by Marco-T
0
votes

Leah, you have limited information about this "se", because it has about a dozen different uses, and the one you mention is just one of them, and not a very important one.

"Ir" is used when the focus is on the destination, i.e. to go. You cannot use this verb without a destination, explicit or implicit. If you suddenly say to someone "Voy.", this person will be puzzled, and will probably say something like "Vas... ¿adónde'", wondering why you omitted the destination.

"Irse" is used when the focus is on the place from which we depart, i.e. to leave. If you say "Me voy", the focus of your sentence is on the starting point, which you are about to leave, regardless of your destination, which does not have to be mentioned, as it is secondary (although you can mention it too, of course).

In this case, the "se" changes the focus, but in other verbs it has different functions. Think of "ir" and "irse" as separate verbs, like "go" and "leave" in English.

"Venir" works in a similar way, although unlike "ir(se)", this verb implies by definition that the destination is HERE, so the difference is even subtler. Think of these two sentences: "The cloth is over the board" and "The board is under the floor"; they say pretty much the same, but the focus is different, like in "half full" and "half empty".

"Se" has so many uses, that there are entire books describing them (and only covering part of the whole picture). For some reasons, books only mention the reflexive and the reciprocal uses, even though they are the LEAST common ones in practice.

updated ABR 1, 2009
posted by lazarus1907
0
votes

You're mixing two different (but closely related) verbs; "ir" and "irse". The latter is what is called a "pronominal" verb (although some people like to use the term "reflexive"). If you search the forum for "pronominal", you will find many discussions of these verbs. I'd recommend that you pay particular attention to any posts by Lazarus on the subject

updated ABR 1, 2009
posted by samdie