Passive "Se" in Spanish
- The passive voice is generally used to talk about a person or object without making mention of whoever or whatever is performing the action on that person or object.
- Passive se constructions are one way of using the passive voice in Spanish. Only transitive verbs (verbs that require a direct object) are used in passive se constructions.
Passive Se Formula
The passive se is always formed using the third person singular or third person plural of a verb. If whatever you're talking about is singular, the verb is singular; if the whatever you're talking about is plural, the verb is plural.
se + third person (singular/plural) verb + (singular/plural) noun
Common Uses of the Passive Se
Want Ads and Other Public Announcements
The passive se is commonly seen in want ads and other types of public announcements.
It's common to see the passive se used in instruction manuals, cookbooks, and other types of publications that tell you how to do something.
When the Person Performing an Action is Unknown or Unimportant
Finally, it's also very common to for the passive se to be used when you don't know who performs an action, or it doesn't matter who does it. In these constructions, the action being performed (rather than the performer of the action) is considered the most important part of the sentence.
Looking for more on the passive se? Check out our article on the impersonal se and the passive se!