2

Below are sentences:

Aquí se venden muchos libros.

Would saying it in classical passive (done by) change its meaning?

Muchos libros son vendidos aquí.

Am I correct to conclude that there are the following differences between two:

  • former is more widespread
  • with former you cannot precise by whom books are sold
  • latter is rarely used, more informal
  • with latter you can omit by whom books are sold (like in former sentence), but with this construction you can mention by whom it is sold (if you want to)

Just in case, I know how "Se" is used in impersonal rather than reflexive way, so to avoid ambiguity I deliberately used example in plural form.

1

1) Aquí se venden muchos libros.

2) Muchos libros son vendidos aquí. (very awkward)

My answers to your questions:

  • former is more widespread: yes
  • with former you cannot precise by whom books are sold: correct
  • latter is rarely used, more informal: not informal
  • with latter you can omit by whom books are sold (like in former sentence), but with this construction you can mention by whom it is sold (if you want to): both are passive, but only the periphrastic (what you call "classical") passive voice allows for the presence of the agent: Muchos libros son vendidos por estudiantes que necesitan algo de dinero. Adding the agent makes this sentence less awkward.
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Neither of your phrases is wrong, though the second is less used, —still grammatically correct, but sounding ill-chosen.

  1. aqui se venden muchos libros

    • it is true that is more widespread (as being the conventional or natural way to phrase it)
    • it does have a way to precise who is doing it (e.g. aqui se venden muchos libros *por intermedio [a mano] de José*)
  2. muchos libros son vendidos aqui

    • Might not be as common, but for something that has not to do with formality, rather, with its awkwardness
    • Yes, it also does permit saying who the subject doing the action is (muchos libros son vendidos aqui *por José*)
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