I have only seen impersonal "Se" used for sentences in present tense:

One enters through here. = Se entra por aquí.

I am wondering would it be possible to construct sentence using future or past tense? Below are examples that I made:

No se entró por aquí

No se entrará por aquí

I know that these sentences even sound very odd, but I cannot come up with better example myself.

  • 4
    Impersonal "se" can be used with verbs in any tense: - No se entró por aquí (though odd, this could be said to mean that the burglars did not use that place to break in). - No se entrará por aquí (this could be said to mean that a certain entrance is not to be used, so people will have to come in through another door).
    – Gustavson
    Nov 15, 2019 at 2:49
  • Thank you. I never personally encountered "Se" impersonal with tenses other than present, but at least I know it would not be out of possibility to use in other tenses even if it sounds odd.
    – Alex
    Nov 15, 2019 at 8:51

1 Answer 1


I think you have your answer already (it's a yes), but I guess you could do with some extra details. It might be that you thought impersonal sentences worked only in the present tense because a certain significant subset of impersonal sentences do tend to appear in the present, being general or atemporal statements, for example:

  • En este restaurante se come bien.
  • Se habla español e inglés.
  • Se cree que los fósiles hallados corresponden al Cretácico.

But it's perfectly grammatical to form impersonal-se sentences with other tenses. Actual examples using the compound perfect and the imperfect from Wikipedia:

Se ha conjeturado que la primera persona en haber defendido la idea de una Tierra esférica fue Pitágoras (siglo vi a. C.)...

La idea extendida y falsa de que durante la Edad Media se aceptaba que la Tierra era plana se introdujo por primera vez en el imaginario popular en el siglo XIX...

And using the future tense and the compound perfect, this is from a passage in a translation of the Tibetan Book of the Dead:

Si se va allí, se entrará en el Infierno y, sufriendo dolores insoportables a causa del calor y del frío, se necesitará un tiempo muy largo para salir. No te metas en medio de todo esto. Se ha dicho: “Ejerce tu energía hasta el límite extremo”, en este caso no es necesario.

  • Thank you, great to have real-life examples for reassurance. One thing - I always saw that impersonal "Se" used in the beginning of sentence and thought that it should be this way. But now I see from you: "En este restaurante se come bien." If we say "Se come bien en este restaurante", does it change meaning somehow? Depends what you want to accentuate ("in this restaurant" vs "good eating")? I asked before about order, but it was about passive (with using reflexive "se" included) spanish.stackexchange.com/q/32048/23475
    – Alex
    Nov 17, 2019 at 11:13
  • 1
    Yes, it only depends on what your focus is. The impersonal phrase can be anywhere, like any other verb phrase. Intonation also plays a role, though of course you can't see that in written examples.
    – pablodf76
    Nov 17, 2019 at 12:27

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