One of the questions on this site asks how to express in Spanish a situation where you're having, say, a shower and the faucet suddenly runs dry. The only answer posted suggested this:

Se corto el agua.

Is it common to use se with a verb conjugated in the first person as in the example above? If so, what's the grammar behind such usage? I only ever understood that reflexive verbs take me when used in the yo form.

3 Answers 3


No, the phrase you cite is missing an accent mark. The correct one would be:

Se cortó el agua

So the verb is in third person singular of the simple past tense, as you would expect.


It is very common. If you already understand me for the first person, se is for the third. i.e It is use for things that happen to inanimate objects like in this example and yours.

Se dañó el carro = the car broke.

Also as reflexive for the third person

Juan se entrena para la carrera = Juan trains (himself) for the race

Juan se está entrenando para la carrera = Juan is training for the race.

One more way to say your example using both se and me could be

Se me cortó el agua

which means The water run dry on me. or The water went off on me

And by the way...don't get confused with the conjugation of the verb "saber" in sentences like

"I know = yo se"

I hope this helps.



Se cortó el agua

Refers to the flow of water mains have been cut.

So it's like saying:

El flujo del agua se cortó.

It is the tilde(Accent) sets the third person of the singular, of the first prerson.

Yo corto pan. - I cut bread.

Pepita se cortó el pelo. - Pepita got a haircut.

"se" can be used if you use "usted" too.

Usted se cortó el dedo sólito.

"Usted" is an third person of singular, but it means "tú" a degree of respect, at least in the correct use of language, as in many countries "Usted" not charge any sense of respect.

How "Usted" it possible that this is the third person singular and second at the same time?

Because it is used as a second person instead of "tú", but it really is the third person, as "usted" means "vuestred" - "Vuestra merced" It is similar to the English word "your self" what does it mean "tú y tu persona" (Your body and mind, nonsense respect of the Middle Ages)...

Usted was used to speak with a degree of respect for people without titles like "su santidad", "su excelencia" "su magnificencia" was descortez mention the other person directly saying ", or "vos", it was disrespectful.

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