In Spanish, to make general comments about unspecified people there is a special verb construction called the “se impersonal” that we will use. It is used:
  • to make recommendations or generalizations
  • when the subject (who is doing the action) is unspecified.
In English we see this in phrases that start with “one”, “you”, or “they”. For example:
  1. They speak English in Canada.
  2. You should eat breakfast every day.
  3. Can you / one swim in the lake?
The way we form this in Spanish is simple:
se + 3rd person singular verb in present tense
The examples from above in Spanish would be:
  1. Se habla inglés en Canadá.
  2. Se debe comer desayuno cada día.
  3. ¿Se puede nadar en el lago?

Watch these videos for further information and practice with the impersonal se.