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I want to ask a question about distinguishing reflexive verbs from pronomial verbs (verbs that use a reflexive pronouns).

I was learning about "la forma del futuro imperfecto" and the following sentence appeared:

Verbos regulares
Se usa el infinitivo + terminaciones propias de este tiempo

But I was confused about the use of "se."

Initially I thought I would use the simple pronouns ("nominative") i.e.

Ellos usa el infinitivo + ...

but then I was wondering whether "se" is formed from part of the "usar" verb so it becomes "usarse".

What is the function of the pronoun "se" in the sentence above?

My thoughts were that the verb was "usarse" and if I'm correct that this "se" is a reflexive pronoun, then the verbs are doing the action "usar" on themselves, hence the reflexive connotation and the need for "se" before "usa."

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This use of "se" is called pasiva refleja. It is equivalent to a sentence in passive voice. Both

  • Se usa el infinitivo
  • El infinitivo es usado

mean "the infinitive is used". The construction with "se" is much more idiomatic and common in Spanish. Another example could be:

  • Aquí se habla español

which means "Spanish is spoken here".

These are not reflexive verbs because they do not imply that "the infinitive uses itself" or that "Spanish speaks itself".

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