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Chapter 3, Section 1 Grammar **Impersonal/Passive ‘se’ **Preterite of -car, -gar, -zar verbs **Preterite use of CONOCER. Chapter 3: Section 1. Impersonal/Passive ‘se’ In English, we say "You shouldn't smoke in a hospital“ "They say she is very pretty“

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Chapter 3, Section 1 Grammar**Impersonal/Passive ‘se’ **Preterite of -car, -gar, -zar verbs**Preterite use of CONOCER

Chapter 3: Section 1


Impersonal/Passive ‘se’

In English, we say

"You shouldn't smoke in a hospital“

"They say she is very pretty“

"One never knows when he will turn up." 

These are "impersonal expressions".  In other words, we don't really have anyone specific in mind when we say "They say..." or  "One" or  " You".  We mean people in general.  This is what we mean by "impersonal".

We use se  in front of verbs to create the Spanish way of making general statements. Don’t confuse this structure with reflexive verbs! You’ll see that the context will make it clear.


Impersonal/Passive ‘se’ (cont…)

  • The "Passive se"  is what we call in English "the passive voice".
  • An Active voice is when you have a subject doing something with an active verb. 
  • She sells clothes in the store.
  • (Ellavenderopa en la tienda.)
  • In English a Passive voice has an object having something done to it with or without an identified subject.
  • Clothes are sold in the store.
  • (Sevenderopa en la tienda.)

Impersonal/Passive ‘se’ (cont…)

The passive ‘se’ is often used to say what is or isn’t allowed.

For example, you might see this sign in a restaurant:

This sign means:

Smoking is not allowed.


Impersonal/Passive ‘se’ (cont…)

To form the passive/impersonal ‘se’, you simply place SE in front of the verb you are talking about. The verb will either be in the él, ella, Ud. form or the ellos, ellas, Uds. form depending upon the noun receiving the action.

For example:

Smoking is not allowed.

No se permite fumar.(“permite” is in the él, ella, Ud. form since it comes before and unconjugated verb.)

Bread is bought at the bakery. (or…One buys bread in the bakery. )

Se compra pan en la panadería.(“compra” is in the él, ella, Ud. form since the noun receiving the action – PAN- is singular.)

Shirts are sold at the mall.

Se vendencamisas en el centro comercial.(“venden” is in the ellos, ellas, Uds. form since the noun receiving the action – CAMISAS- is plural.)


Impersonal/Passive ‘se’ (cont…)

Let’s practice!!

Russian is spoken in the shopping center.

Se habla ruso en el centro comercial.

The book is written in Italian.

Se escribe el libro en italiano.

A lot of ice cream is sold.

Se vende mucho helado.

One eats cake at parties.

Se come la torta en las fiestas.


Impersonal/Passive ‘se’ (cont…)

Which of the following are written correctly using the impersonal/passive ‘se’?

  • One buys ice cream in the ice cream shop

a. Se compra helados en la heladaría.

b. Se compran helados en la heladaría.

  • One finds a bus at the bus station.
    • Se encuentra un autobús en la estación de autobuses.
    • Se encuentran un autobús en la estación de autobuses.
  • Swimming is not permitted.

a. No se permiten nadar.

b. No se permite nadar.

  • Spanish is spoken here.

a. Se habla español aquí.

b. Se hablan español aqui.


Preterite of –car, -gar, -zar verbs

-CAR, -GAR, -ZAR verbs, such as toCAR, juGAR, and empeZAR, have spelling changes in the “yo” form.

-CAR becomes -QUÉ

-GAR becomes –GUÉ

-ZAR becomes –CÉ

For example:

I looked for a job. (buscar)

Yo busqué un trabajo.

I played outside.(jugar)

Yo jugué afuera.

I started to cook. (empezar)

Yo empecé a cocinar.



Contesta las siguientes preguntas.

  • ¿Jugaste al tenis anoche?


  • ¿Tocaste el piano ayer?


3. ¿Comenzaste la tarea?



Preterite of **CONOCER**

  • Remember that in the present tense, conocer means to know….as in to be familiar or acquainted with.
  • Conocer is regular in the preterite tense.
  • In other words, it conjugates like a normal –ER verb. (-í, -iste, ió, imos, isteis, ieron) You use the perterite tense of conocer when you want to say that you:
        • * met someone
        • or
        • * got to know a place for the first time
  • For example:
  • I met Mario yesterday.
  • Yoconocí a Mario ayer.
  • I got to know Dallas well last year.
  • Yoconocí Dallas bien el añopasado.

¡Practicamos Todo!

Traduzca lo siguiente:

  • Flowers are sold in the flower shop. __________________________
  • It is not permited (permitir) to eat. ___________________________
  • One can take out (sacar) money in the bank. ___________________
  • I took out money from the bank. _____________________________
  • I arrived at 8:00. _______________________________
  • I ate lunch (almorzar). ____________________________
  • I met Juan yesterday. ___________________________
  • You (inf.) got to know Allen well this year.______________________

Chapter 3: Section 1