I have heard the following sentence in the Narcos TV series:

Si esos gringos se quieren llevar a todos los asesinos de ese país, que se los lleven.

What is the purpose of the pronoun "se" in this sentence, i.e. what is the difference between "llevar" and "llevarse" ? Emphasis?

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    Thanks for including your efforts so far. Try llevarse. Dec 14, 2019 at 16:37
  • Ok, I see now that the pronoun "se" refers to "llevar" in this sentence. If I understood right, its role here is to emphasize the subject. It could also imply that the action is furtive, but that is clearly not the case in this dialogue, as the speaker is talking about the legal extradition of drug dealers from Colombia to the US. Reference: dle.rae.es/llevar Dec 14, 2019 at 23:24
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    Good start ("22. prnl. Quitar algo a alguien, en general con violencia, o furtivamente"). Con violencia would be a better descriptor, rather than furtively. Unfortunately this definition appears to apply to objects that are things, not people objects. At any rate, I think Gorpik's answer is more on point: spanish.stackexchange.com/a/4481/9385. Also this looks helpful: baselang.com/blog/basic-grammar/llevar-or-llevarse. Dec 15, 2019 at 3:12
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    Llevarse is a perfectly good verb for "to take something away", no special connotation. The DLE is faulty in this case IMHO. Suppose a family meeting, everyone brought dessert so there's a lot left at the end, so the host says: ¿Quién se lleva el postre que sobró?. So someone says: Me lo llevo yo. And s/he takes the remaining dessert home.
    – pablodf76
    Dec 15, 2019 at 12:26
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    @pablodf76 could you please put that in an answer? Dec 16, 2019 at 12:37

2 Answers 2


Llevarse is a perfectly good pronominal verb for "to take something away" that for some mysterious reason doesn't appear as such in the DLE under llevar. Despite the DLE, it doesn't need to involve furtive intent or violence. The contrast between llevar and llevarse mirrors the one between ir and irse.

Suppose there's a family meeting where everyone brought dessert, so there's a lot left at the end, and the host says:

¿Quién se lleva el postre que sobró?

And someone says:

Me lo llevo yo.

And s/he takes the remaining dessert home.

Also note the related expressions:

  • llevarse puesto = to try on (a piece of clothing) (e.g. in a store) and take it home without taking it off;
  • llevarse por delante = to bump into (something/someone) by accident (this is the literal meaning of "to bump into", i.e. it means physically to bump against an object).
  • Thanks for the answer! Can't "llebarse puesto" also mean "to wear", regardless of trying on (eg in a store) first? I have recently heard a detective in a TV series say "No lo llebaba puesto" when he finds the Minister of Justiced dead, shot in his car, despite the fact that the detective had given him a bulletproof vest earlier. The minister just didn't have the vest on. Dec 16, 2019 at 16:15
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    That's llevar (algo) puesto, i.e. the simple verb llevar with the participle of poner.
    – pablodf76
    Dec 16, 2019 at 16:17
  • Sure! I got confused with the two forms. Thanks for the clarification! Dec 16, 2019 at 16:18
  • @pablodf76 So "me lo llevo" means "I'll take it / carry it away?" Does "me llevo" always mean "I carry [the unnamed it] away?" Could it ever be confused with "I carry myself away?"
    – Jwok
    Feb 12, 2020 at 5:04
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    @Jwok Yes, "me lo llevo" means that and no, "me llevo" cannot be confused with a true reflexive because it doesn't make sense. If you for some reason had to express the idea of "I carry myself away", you'd have to add "a mí mismo" explicitly.
    – pablodf76
    Feb 12, 2020 at 10:29

It's completely valid to say "Si esos gringos quieren llevar a todos los asesinos de ese país, que los lleven"

If those gringos want to take all the murderers from that country, let them

The word SE gives more ownership.

  • Without "se," when I read your sentence, I start to wonder where they were going to take them. But maybe that's just me. Anyway, welcome to the site, Daniel, I hope you continue participating. Dec 17, 2019 at 5:47

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