Overlap with English use of third person plural impersonal constructions

Sky C1Kwiziq community member

Overlap with English use of third person plural impersonal constructions

 I just wanted to add that it seems like a similar thing IS actually done in colloquial English in certain rare cases and the form and nuance is very similar--eg "they say it's tricky to learn" where the "they" is someone unspecified or people in general and not particularly relevant. (In more formal English, other ways of expressing the idea would sound less "colloquial", but it would  sound very normal in conversation.) But what I'm seeing is that in Spanish this has much broader use, and is quite natural in many cases where in english you'd have to use a passive construction (or another pronoun instead to keep the impersonal sense)--eg, "He was robbed," or maybe "someone robbed him", but not "they robbed him" because in English that implies subjects already mentioned or known and wouldn't sound impersonal (at least, not in any dialect I've encountered). Yet helpfully, the Spanish form isn't TOTALLY alien to an English speaker, just a lot more freely used. Gee, isn't language fun?! 🙃 

Asked 1 year ago
InmaKwiziq team member

Hola Sky 

Yes, you're right, it shouldn't be completely unknown or strange to English speakers, but as you say, there are other contexts where we use this impersonal structure where it sounds completely natural while in English not so much. Another typical sentence is:

Me han puesto un 8 en el examen de Matemáticas.

I got an 8 on my Maths exam.

Would this sound OK in English if we say "They gave me an 8 on my Maths exam"???

Saludos

Sky C1Kwiziq community member

Oh, no, now you've really got me scratching my head! "They gave me an 8..."??

No, it does seem a bit different, like you say... but also, I think my brain just broke! Language doesn't seem so fun anymore. 😂 

But seriously: thanks for the feedback and addition explanation, Inma! I appreciate it.

Sky asked:View original

Overlap with English use of third person plural impersonal constructions

 I just wanted to add that it seems like a similar thing IS actually done in colloquial English in certain rare cases and the form and nuance is very similar--eg "they say it's tricky to learn" where the "they" is someone unspecified or people in general and not particularly relevant. (In more formal English, other ways of expressing the idea would sound less "colloquial", but it would  sound very normal in conversation.) But what I'm seeing is that in Spanish this has much broader use, and is quite natural in many cases where in english you'd have to use a passive construction (or another pronoun instead to keep the impersonal sense)--eg, "He was robbed," or maybe "someone robbed him", but not "they robbed him" because in English that implies subjects already mentioned or known and wouldn't sound impersonal (at least, not in any dialect I've encountered). Yet helpfully, the Spanish form isn't TOTALLY alien to an English speaker, just a lot more freely used. Gee, isn't language fun?! 🙃 

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