Cómo se dice...

Robert-C7

Robert-C7

OK - here is more fun stuff to ponder. Suppose I turn to my Spanish speaking friend and ask: ¿Cómo se dice "fruit" en español? Why do we need to include 'se' in this question? Maybe I should rephrase the English from which I am translating to something along the lines of "How does one say fruit in Spanish?". That doesn't help me much. Decir is not a reflexive verb and I don't see any indirect object anywhere.
Steven-W15

Steven-W15

This is how Spanish makes a sentence abstract. In English, the equivalent would be, "How is it said?", although that sounds a bit weird. We would typically say, "How do you say...?". I suppose you could say in Spanish, "¿Cómo uno dice...?", but in the same way, I think that would sound a bit strange to a native Spanish speaker. Perhaps a clearer example would be: "Eso no se hace" - That isn't done.
Robert-C7

Robert-C7

That makes sense. This is one of those things that I just knew without really understanding why. Now, would make any sense to use say it like this: ¿Cómo te dice "fruit" en español? That it, use 'te' instead of 'se'? My guess is that no-one would ever use that form since we are really asking about something in the abstract.
Steven-W15

Steven-W15

I would agree with you. You might get away with "¿Cómo dices "fruit" en español?" but "¿Cómo te dice "fruit" en español?" just doesn't sound/look right. Saying it in the abstract is what people would be expecting.

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