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Quiz 1
Quiz 2

Se Accidental and Se Intransitivador

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Se Accidental

The se accidental is used in sentences where the action is not intended, rather it is accidental. With the se accidental the subject has no intention to perform the action, but it happens accidentally and the subject receives the consequences. The se accidental is usually followed by an indirect object pronoun that shows the person or object that is affected by the action.

Se me cayó un jarrón.
I dropped a vase.

Estaba tan nerviosa que se le derramó el café en la camisa blanca.
She was so nervous that she spilled her coffee on her white shirt.

A Ramón se le olvidó el portátil y no pudimos hacer la presentación.
Ramon forgot his laptop and we couldn't make our presentation.

This kind of pronoun refers to the holder of the object (example 1), the person who receives the consequences of the action (example 2), or the involuntary agent of the action (example 3).

The main idea of this pronoun is that the action is not intended to happen or there is no purpose on performing the action.

The se accidental is never conjugated. It always remains in its "se" form.

Se Intransitivador

1. Con Sujeto Voluntario

The se intransitivador is commonly mistaken with the "pure" se reflexivo. However, there's important differences betweem them two. Mainly, the se reflexivo is linked to an action that the subject performs on itself, an action the subject performs and rests upon him, in example, se duchó (he took a shower). On the other hand, the se intransitivador is linked to an action which the subject does not perform on itself, in example, se mueve rápidamente (he moves quickly).

Another difference between these two pronouns is that the se reflexivo allows the verb to have a direct object while the se intransitivador does not.

Se reflexive
Me peino el pelo; el pelo is the direct object.
I comb my hair.

Se intransitivador
Me arriesgué y gané.
I risked and I won.

Other verbs that use se intransitivador are trasladarse (to move), mudarse (to move (to a new place)), enfrentarse (to face (something)), sentarse (to sit down), levantarse (to get up), and acostarse (to lay down).

The se intransitivador has its own conjugation for each subject pronoun:

Yo me mudo a otro piso
te mudas a otro piso
Él/Ella/Usted se muda a otro piso
Nosotros nos mudamos a otro piso
Vosotros os mudáis a otro piso
Ellos/Ellas/Ustedes se mudan a otro piso

2. Con Sujeto No Voluntario

Very similar to the previous one but in this case the subject does not perform any action, rather it gets or experiments the consequences of an action done by someone or something else.

La ventana se abrió.
The window just opened itself.

La fruta se pudrió porque estuvo mucho tiempo fuera de la nevera.
The fruit got rotten because it was placed outside the fridge for a long time.

Notice that we use this reflexive pronoun when the action is not voluntary. It can be easily mistaken with the se accidental. However, the se accidental is used when the action implies an “accidental action” while the se intransitivador con sujeto no voluntario is used when the action is provoked by something that is out of our reach.

The se intransitivador con sujeto no voluntario is never conjugated. It always remains in its "se" form.