“se” impersonal

How to give instructions in Spanish

There are 2 ways to give instructions in Spanish:

1. Imperative afirmative

2. Impersonal “se”


The imperative is used to give orders, instructions, requests… The imperative has only 4 forms: tú, usted, vosotros, ustedes.






Remember that when the imperative is accompanied with pronouns, the pronouns are attached to the verb making just one word.


– ¿Cierro la ventana? – Sí, ciérrala.
– Do I close the window? – Yes, close it.

– Pela las patatas, lávalas y córtalas.
– Peal the potatoes, wash them and cut them.

There are some irregular verbs






The word “se” has many uses in Spanish. In some cases “se” is used in an impersonal sense. The impersonal “se” structure is a way of talking about things that get done when the subject is unknown or unimportant. This is a very common structure in Spanish but English doesn’t have this structure so it is translated in different ways depending on the meaning. One of the uses, the one that is important for us in this article, is to give instructions.


– La paella se hace con arroz, carne, verduras y pescado. Primero se fríen los trozos de carne y pescado y las verduras. Luego se añade el arroz y el agua.
– The paella is made with rice, meat, vegetables and fish. First, the meat and fish pieces are fried. Then we add the rice and the water.