Gramática española: Por que "se" en "Miguel se siente feliz?

Why do you include “se” in “Miguel se siente feliz?”

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“sentir” means to feel something and is asking for a noun. So “Miguel siente feliz” would translate to something like “Miguel feels luck” (if feliz was a noun, which it isn’t). If you want to use it with adjectives you need the reflexive pronoun “se”.

sentir - to feel something (anger, luck et. al.)
sentirse - to feel a particular way (angry, lucky et. al.)

No native speaker here, so take this with a grain of salt.


A little addition. We basically do the same in my native language German. We don’t say “Miguel feels lucky” either, but instead “Miguel feels himself lucky” (Miguel fühlt sich glücklich, literally translated) or “Miguel is lucky”. IIRC the latter should also be possible in Spanish: “Miguel está feliz” (Google Translator says it is correct :wink: )

Keep in mind that the translations provided by dictionaries only provide you with words that are closest. So “to feel” is what is closest to “sentir”. It doesn’t imply those words mean exactly the same or have the same grammatical usage. This will be the case for a lot of words, especially verbs.

Hope that helps. :slight_smile:


All of the following are correct. I hope they can complement @Obsttorte’s valid explanations and give you a gist of sentir without the pronoun.

  • Miguel siente felicidad.
  • Miguel siente que Marta es feliz.
  • No siento las piernas (Rambo).
  • Miguel siente que no haya podido venir (he’s sorry / upset about it).
  • Lo siento (I’m sorry).
  • Miguel siente que algo se acerca (he feels / is under the impression that).
  • Miguel siente calor.

It is a tough verb :grimacing:


@Obsttorte @rafarafa thank you both!! I think I’ve only scratched the surface with verb usage and pronouns, so this opens my eyes a lot! Lots of patterns to notice

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For more information about this topic, read about ‘pronominal verbs’ in Spanish. :slight_smile:


Obsttorte is correct. Note also that the reflexive form can only be used with an adjective. Siento tristeza’ - I feel sadness (noun); me siento triste (adjective) - I feel sad. The second form is more usual though.

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