So after reading this question I came up with a really bad doubt.

In the past I was using quite often "(no) se hace falta" to say for instance, that "it is (not) necessary to", but I've by then been corrected, to make me understand the correct form was "(no) hace falta" instead.

However now I'm confused. The passive form should allow the construction with "se" as well.

Can someone please tell me why "se hace falta" is incorrect?

Thank you so much.

2 Answers 2


No creo que puede ser pasivo
En un pasivo será p.ej. "se prepara la fiesta" o "la fiesta fue preparada"
Aqui será: "se hace falta aqua", pero no es que "agua fue hecho falta" lo que es falso, debe ser, "agua (directamente) hace falta".
Breve, lo que hace falta es agua, y es el sujeto mismo de "hacer falta".

Cuando nos hace falta p.ej. comprar comida, sera: "hace falta comprar comida" o "nos hace falta comprar comida"

"Se hace falta" suena mas para un caso cuando algo le hace falta 'a la gente', 'a la comunidad' o algo del estilo. Aunque ahí no estoy muy segura que es correcto
Pienso en p.ej. "se hacen falta donadores de sangre". Sería un "se" impersonal, pero usado como un objeto indirecto. Lo que no creo que existe.

Es complicadito el "hace falta"... pero lo importante ahí es considerar que el sujeto viene siempre después de la expresión.
Capaz que la confusión surge en la equivalencia con "se necesita" (donde el sujeto sí viene adelante):

  • Se necesita comida ("se" es sujeto)
  • Hace falta comida ("la comida" es sujeto)
  • Claro, de ahí la confusión! But "comida" no es el sujeto, es el complemento de objeto directo si no me equivoco. Me corriges?
    – Sebas
    Apr 28, 2013 at 12:38
  • En la ultima oración? Yo diría que sí es sujeto. p.ej. "hacen falta platos", "haces falta tú"... Y se conjuga el verbo según el sujeto. Dime si me estoy equivocando en algo!
    – Sironsse
    Apr 28, 2013 at 20:54
  • "Se hacen falta donadores de sangre" tampoco es correcto. Simplemente, "Hacen falta donantes de sangre" o "Se necesitan donantes de sangre". Apr 8, 2014 at 13:29
  • Es fácil darse cuenta de si es sujeto: las frases "tú (nos|le|me) haces falta" y "los platos (nos|le|me) hacen falta" lo muestran claramente. Además de la conjugación del verbo que @Sironsse menciona. Apr 8, 2014 at 13:31

When you say "(no) hace falta" you are not using a passive form actually.

The "se" you are talking about is an impersonal pronoun. Please , have a look on this to see the usage of "el se impersonal" Examples:

"Se necesita tiempo"

"No se necesitan mas de dos carros"

"Se planea construir un edificio"

There is another usage of "se" along with a verb. In this case "se" is a personal pronoun than becomes "me", "te", "nos", "os", "se") when the associated verb is conjugated. (Either in reflexive or reciprocal forms). E.g:

"Ella se lava". (Verb: "lavarse" used as reflexive)

"Nosotros nos necesitamos". (Verb: "necesitarse" conjugated using the 1st person in plural, as reciprocal)

"Se faltaron el respeto". (Verb: "faltarse" conjugated using 3rd person in plural, as reciprocal)

In the case of "faltar", it is a verb used as impersonal in "hace falta" but simply it does not require "se".

I hope this may help. Adiosss!

  • 1
    Yes, it helped. Now what about "necesitar"? When you say "se necesita" you're not using the verb "necesitarse", you're just using "necesitar" but using the impersonal "se + 3rd person" form. I'm thinking of doing the same with "faltar"
    – Sebas
    Apr 29, 2013 at 19:33
  • "Necesitarse" is an interesting case and it is in its infinitive form. Keep in mind that a reflexive verb is formed by a "regular verb" + "personal pronoun". So in this case "necesitarse" = "necesitar" + "se". Then "se necesita" is impersonal as you said, but also is a conjugation of "necesitarse" in the 3rd person. Check this conjugacion.es/del/verbo/necesitarse.php for learning the conjugation of "necesitarse". I think nobody uses "Faltarse", it simply does not exist. Yeah, perhaps it does not follow the logic, but learning a language is more than just following rules. Adios! Apr 29, 2013 at 20:22
  • 1
    You are right, many things in language are more than rules, certainly for expressions etc. But the "se" topic is quite well described in rules, and at least for me, it's interesting to understand :) About "necesitarse", it is used as reflexive, but mostly as a recíproco. eg. "ellos se necesitan (mutuamente)" But at the other hand there is eg. "para hacer pan se necesita harina" and it is not "se necesitan...", although everybody does it and not only "él"/"ella". To my opion here it is an impersonal "se".
    – Sironsse
    May 1, 2013 at 7:49
  • Yes you are right. Thanks for the nice analysis that led me correct my answer. I make emphasis on the impersonal and personal "se" which is sometimes misleading even to a native speaker like me, sorry!. I apologize when I said "faltarse" does not exist. I simply forgot, but it actually does: in "me haces falta", "nos falta harina" in which the subject(s) are known, however "se hace falta" simply is not used. May 1, 2013 at 10:40

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