Different uses of “se” in Spanish Who would have thought that such a small word could be used so much and in so many different ways. The word “se” drive Spanish students crazy, so today I thought we will see some of the different uses of “se” in Spanish.

As I have said “se” if one of those tricky words in Spanish, with loads of meaning and not much clarity, today we are going to see some of the different uses of “se” in Spanish , we will explain them and give some examples in each case. And also you could watch a video if you do not feel like reading 🙂


Different uses of “se” in Spanish


1-“se” impersonal.

It is used in guidelines, instructions, advice etc. It works as a marker for impersonal staments, when we do not want to mention the person who makes the action.

Se aconseja vestir ropa cómoda

Make sure to wear comfortable clothes.


2-“se” as reflexive pronoun (pronombre reflexivo)

Reflexive verbs are those that indicate that the subject does the action to her/himself such as “despertarse”-to wake up or “ducharse”-to have a shower among many other, the infinitive ended in –se.

In this verbs when we talk about the third person singular (él or ella) we need “se” before the conjugated verb, meaning (to him/herself).

Depending on the person used, it is replace by me, te, nos, os

Macarena siempre se levanta muy temprano entre semana.

Macarena always wakes up really early during the week.


3-“se” as a mutual/reciprocal pronoun (pronombre recíproco)

It is used to indicate that two or more people do something to one another.

Ana y Carlos se saludaron

Ana and Carlos wave/greet  each other



4-“se” pronominal morpheme (morfema pronominal)

In this case the pronoun is part of the verb’s lexical unit and plays no individual syntactic role. Depending on the person used, it is replace by me, te, nos, os

En 1980 se convirtío en día festivo

In 1980 it became a bank holiday


5- “se” in the passive voice (en la voz pasiva refleja)

This “se” indicates that the subject is not the person who does the action but the one affected by it

Se vende casa

House is sold


6-“Se” as “le” substituted (el sustituto de le)

This “se” is also know as falso “se”, fake “se” it is used when one of the indirect pronoun le or les is followed by the direct object pronoun lo/la/los/las, and we need to replace le or les by “se”

El chico se las compró a su madre

The boy bought them to her mother


I think that is all for today, these are just some of the different uses of “se” in Spanish, there are some others, a bit more complex, but I think this is a good introduction to “se” and its own magical word. Anyway if you have any questions about any particular use of “se” leave a comment below and  I will get back to you.


Your homework for today’s blog is easy, leave a comment below using “se” for any of the uses we have seen above, extra points if you say it which use has “se” in your sentences. Have fun!

And lastly, before you leave…. pick one person you know who can benefit from this post, spread the Spanish word around,  I would be very grateful.

Have a great weekend and I will write you soon.


One Response to “Different uses of “se” in Spanish”

  1. Joanne

    Muchas gracias Blanca. A veces, esta palabra pequeña puede ser muy problemática.


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