Piece of Spanish Cake

The Impersonal

Use of the Impersonal Address

The impersonal address is a way of talking about things that get done when the subject (person doing it) is unknown or unimportant. For example, in the phrase ‘How does one get to the hotel?’ the reply would be about the action of getting to the hotel, disregarding the subject or the time in which the action will take place. In the phrase ‘How do you say in Spanish?’ we mean to ask in general and not necessarily at this time.

The Grammatical Structure of the Impersonal

English doesnt have this structure; you always have to specify a subject, and it often causes some awkward wording, either using the third-person singular ‘How does one say?’ or the second-person singular ‘How do you write?’

In Spanish the impersonal address is done in the following way:



The Verb Conjugated to 3rd person-singular in present simple

1. How do you reach the square? ¿Cómo se llega a la plaza?
2. How do you say in Spanish? ¿Cómo se dice en Castellano?


Pay attention that this form can also be conjugated in plural, if the subject referred to is in such form. For example:
Here bicycle are sold Aquí se venden bicicletas


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