In Russian language "Las clases empiezan" is said "Классы начинаются", where the ending "тся" shows reflexiveness. This is because we consider that classes ("las clases") start themselves.
I see that in Spanish it is not like that. Why is it so? Why is it not said "Las clases se empiezan"?

  • 4
    Not all phrases in all languages are 1-1 analogues. Would it help to think of empezar as 'to begin', rather than 'to start'?
    – jacobo
    Jun 16, 2018 at 21:07

3 Answers 3


The only answer I can think of for your question is that

Languages have many differences. If all verbs matched up perfectly, in meaning and usage, such as transitive/intransitive, reflexive/not reflexive, then we would lose the beautiful variability and richness of the world's languages. How boring that would be!

However, I thought you might like to know that there's another way of expressing the same concept, that is reflexive (pronominal):


Las clases se inician el 27 de agosto.

  • Las clases se dan inicio suena rarísimo en España. Me suena mucho mejor las clases se inician.
    – fedorqui
    Jun 19, 2018 at 9:33
  • 1
    @fedorqui - I hope you don't mind, I'm going to change my answer and use your verb. It sounds better to my ear too, and it fits the bill of being a reflexive verb that can be used for the same purpose as empezar or comenzar. Jun 19, 2018 at 12:39
  • Of course! Dar inicio is normally used in a formal way and without reflexives: Hoy dio inicio la legislatura en el Parlamento.
    – fedorqui
    Jun 19, 2018 at 12:50

I traveled through South America for 9 months and I can say that some people use se for almost any verb. They are natives and they use incorrect grammar, but that does not mean they are speaking correctly.

Also every language is a reflection of a culture. There are rules that come to be through a long process and they do not depend on any opinion. So do not worry about the grammar so much.

Just try to communicate with people and you will learn why, either way.


'Las clases' doesn't start themselves. A group of people begins them -students and teacher-, usually at a given schedule. Adding reflexive 'se' implies that they start wether someone is present or not.

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