SE in Spanish

Properties, structures and analyses


  • Antonio Fábregas Department of Language and Culture, University of Tromsø



SE reflexive SE; impersonal SE; passive SE; aspectual SE; inherent SE; anticausative SE; reciprocal; middle SE; spurious SE; agentive SE; transitive SE; antipassive SE; factitive SE


This article provides an overview of Spanish SE, covering the main empirical facts, analyses and theoretical issues that it raises, and exploring the prospects to unify all uses –which are over a dozen in the literature– under one same object that keeps its surface properties invariable. We will show that it is almost inescapable to propose that SE is associated to two types of objects, defective arguments and defective verbal heads; both objects share the property of not introducing referentially independent DPs, which can be argued to be the result of the grammaticalisation of a reflexive element in contemporary Spanish. The chapter proposes that a treatment of SE as a projection introduced high in the clausal structure and acting as an agreement locus can be a fruitful way to unify all uses of SE.


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How to Cite

Fábregas, A. (2021). SE in Spanish: Properties, structures and analyses. Borealis – An International Journal of Hispanic Linguistics, 10(2), 1–236.



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