Spanish Grammar: [SE] For Unplanned Occurrences

Spanish Grammar: SE For Unplanned Occurrences

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Spanish Grammar: [SE] For Unplanned Occurrences
la gramática española: [se] para las ocurrencias no planeadas

  • One of several functions of the pronoun [SE].
  • Identifies actions and events that aren’t anyone’s fault.


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Using [SE] for accidents or unplanned events places an emphasis on the lack of control or responsibility of the event. It’s not your fault!

The verb is used reflexively, and an object pronoun (ME, TE, LE, NOS, OS, LES) indicates the “victim” of the accident/event.

Se me cayó el plato.
The plate fell from me.
(I dropped the plate.)

Se me olvidaron las llaves.
The keys slipped my mind.
(I forgot my keys.)

Here are some verbs that are often used with the “Unplanned SE”

acabarse : to run out of
caerse : to fall/drop
dañarse : to damage/break
ocurrirse : to occur
olvidarse : to forget
perderse : to lose (an object)
quedarse : to leave (something behind)
romperse : to break


¿Qué se le olvidó?
What did you forget?

¿Dónde se cayó él?
Where did he fall?

¿Quién se olvidaron las llaves?
Who forgot their keys?

¿Cómo se rompió el vaso?
How was the glass broken?

¿Cuándo se le ocurrió esto?
When did this occur to you?

¿Por qué se le quedó la billetera en la casa?
Why did you leave your wallet at home?


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