Effective way of studying or viewing Grammar

I am having trouble trying to find the best way of reviewing or studying grammar.

I am having trouble with the words “SE” and “LO” in Spanish. I have googled both and these words and have found both very complicated explanations of how these words are used with all different types of words but do not find these to be effective at all I have a very small grammar book that I am reading for 15 minuets but again I am lost as to how to study said book and I am not a massive fan of grammar but feel if I can get these words down and more than likely some more my reading will improve massively!

Whenever I do my reading I just ignore both the words “SE” and “LO” as I just do not know how these words work.

I have tried some apps but they are all crap and just give you sentences to complete which is not helpful I feel like I need a teacher to give me some examples to try and write out but I am not sure.

muchas gracias como siempre

Do you have examples of sentences containing those words that you don’t understand?

It’s hard to provide exhaustive grammar explanations for such words, as it would be hard to give a full explanation of the use of “for” or “to” in English. I think people here can help you, and then when you do your reading you should carefully try to figure out why they are used. I’m not sure ignoring them is the right solution. ^^

I too find that all those small words are the trickiest part of language learning, because they are heavily used. Massive exposure is the key to mastering them.

there are a lot of examples, I have read that “se” is the passive voice in Spanish which is confusion enough haha and yeah I suppose I have not had enough exposure yet but then again I do have over 10.000 words in Spanish how much more expose do I need?

and yes I could give some examples of times in which that word has confused me but that example would only be helpful for that one instance of a word I would like to know how it is effected with all words for example I know how “el los las la” are used and I know exactly how and why.

I had the same problem. I’m pretty sure that they’re all classed as pronouns. Alongside the dreaded subjunctive, they would be the part of Spanish grammar that is hardest to get a grip on (IMO) from a learners perspective. I looked at grammar books with example sentences and workbooks on my own but didn’t get very far either. The way I began to come to grips with them is when I got to around 23,000 words on lingq and started regularly using an SRS with bilingual sentences - I sort of got a feel for how they worked through massive repetition & subsequently starting doing better from online grammar tests. Some other forum readers might have other, better suggestions- I’d be very happy to hear them.

Please don’t try and just ignore them though, you’ll find a lot of sentences will be pretty much impenetrable if you don’t have at least some understanding of how they work.

We would all like to understand everything with a single rule but sometimes it’s not possible. With a few representative examples correctly explained and understood, you could cover a great deal of situations where those words are used.

Yes “se” can indicate passive voice.

Se vende una casa. Aqui se come bien. En Inglaterra se bebe té a las cinco de la tarde.

would you be able to explain to me what you mean by “The only way I came to grips with them is when I got to around 23,000 words on lingq and started regularly using an SRS with bilingual sentences”

this sounds very interesting and one day I would love to have your known number of known words.

once again I have found something else to try and focus on to crack Spanish lol it never ends still climbing that hill haha

yeah you do have a point, just finding to find the most effective way of doing cracking some of the Spanish grammar.

the word se is the most versatile word in spanish it is used in many ways it can be reflexive ;passive or used as a object pronoun or even in indiomatic expressions you did not specify what context you mean
i don’t think you can ignore them if you want to communicate properly just read the explanations in your grammar book and when you come across them while reading you will gradually understand why they are used

Cheers bro, I am aiming for 40,000 words in a few months- you can hold me to it as well! If you stick with it (you seem really motivated) you’ll get there sooner rather than later, 30,000 isn’t that big of a number!
My experience has been that when I got to like 23000 words on the back of an Assimil course, reading, a grammar reference and very occasional flashcard use, my reading wasn’t too bad, but my results on grammar tests (the ‘el patio’ website for example) were pretty lousy, I also felt like I could barely string a sentence together. I though using flashcards in anki (the deck came off the anki website) with Spanish on the front, English translation on the back might help me build a sort of intuitive understanding of how pronouns (plus other grammatical points like verb inflections) work through massive repetition. It worked reasonably well, my wordcount jumped up to where it is now and I started doing better on fill-in the-blank grammar exercises you find on workbooks and on the web.

Other forum members may have better suggestions than me as well, you should feel free to follow their advice, it could very likely be better than mine.

thanks for the feedback man, my goal is to reach 20.000 words once I have been studying Spanish for a total of a year I have about more or less 5 months left to achieve this and hopefully by then my understanding of the grammar will be much much better.

se lo, le, etc. will take a while to grasp and only after re-reading the grammar explanations constantly about all the functions they serve and after lots of exposure between all those grammar reviews.

You can ignore for a while, but eventually it will be too frustrating to do so as you won’t understand what is going on.

So what would your advise be for me to study or learn those grammar rules?

My advise would be to create a collection of instances of sentences where these words “se” and “lo” etc. occur. Try to collect at least a few hundred of them. Then put together the sentences of which you think they are more or less similar. Try to find explanations of these cases in your grammar, or on internet. If you don’t find a satisfactory explanation come back with those sentences here in this forum and no doubt someone will be able to help you.

If you are really into learning Spanish, we can help each other. Would you like to spend an hour of your time chatting on Skype? I can speak 30 minutes in Spanish (and actually teach you) and then you can talk the remaining time in English so I can practice for a while. I need to practice English. Wsp is also ok.

If you like the idea, lemme know. I am very serious about it.

Sure I would just give you my WhatsApp number but I’m not sure the most safe way to do this haha I think maybe a private post on your wall.

Lo has three main uses:

  • As a pronoun, it means “him” or “it”. Lo veo = I see him/it
  • Plus “que”: “Lo que” = what. Lo que pasa = what happens, “lo que quiero” = what I want
  • Plus an adjective, Lo blanco, lo negro, lo grande, lo bueno, … = that which is white/black/big/good = The white/black/big/good things, whatever is white/black/big/good

There are two different “se” and one of them has particular usages:
-First type: Reflexive: him/her/itself, our/your/themselves: se mató = s/he killed him/herself, se lavaron = they washed themselves

  • Second type; it’s an alternative form of “le” (meaning “to him/to her”) that is used when le comes before lo/la/los
    Le dije lo que pasó (I told him/her what happened) Se lo dije (instead of “le lo dije” which is not possible) I told it to her
    To sum up “le lo/la/las” always becomes “se lo/la/las”. Compare
    Te pedí eso → te lo pedí; Le pedí eso → se lo pedí

The problems many foreign learners have with “se” come from two different ways the first “se” (reflexive is used):

  • First, there are lots of verbs that are reflexive in Spanish: you have to use them with the “him/her/itself” part
    acordar_se_ : remember, enofar_se_: get angry, …

Second, and especially important, “se” also doubles as a way to build a kind of passive voice.
That is, instead of saying “the war was opened” (passive sentence) it’s possible (and very frequent) to say the equivalent to “the door opened itself”. This is not exclusive of Spanish, such a “reflexive passive” exists in the other romance languages and also in German, Russian, etc.
For example, the infamous
“Mistakes were made” can be translated into Spanish as “Se cometieron errores” [lit. “Mistakes made themselves”]
Sometimes this kind of passive is the only possible one in Spanish. Some more examples:
“Se canceló la reunión” = The meeting was cancelled
“Se dijeron mentiras” = Lies were told
“Se le dijo que…” = He was told that… (notice how the subject in the English sentence changes into a complement [Edit: into an object form “le”] in Spanish, this is always the case with pronouns)

My advice is this: whenever a “se” doesn’t make sense to you, try turning the sentence into a passive one (is done, was done, …)

Jack, this is excellent. Just do this ^^^

F, in your example, you say, ““Se le dijo que…” = He was told that… [notice how the subject in the English sentence changes into a complement in Spanish, this is always the case)”

What do you mean by “complement?”

As to how to absorb this: every time you find a confusing case, tag it. Refer back to this explanation and try to find out what use of “lo” or “se” it is and tag it accordingly. When in doubt, ask in the forum. Go back to some of those tagged phrases/sentences time and again: it’ll become second nature in no time

I meant “object”, as oppposed to "subject
In English He was told is a subject form
In Spanish it becomes Se le dijo, an object/complement form. Sorry if the word “complement” was confusing. I’ll edit it in the explanation

Okay, great. thank you. One more question regarding this example: is “le” an INDIRECT object for “him,” or is it a DIRECT object for “him” and this is merely the “leismo?” Would Latinos instead say, “se lo dijo que…”?