1 The impersonal clauses fulfil three conditions:

  • Absent subject, because it is understood, unknown or intentionally omited.
  • To be formed with with verbs (transitive or intransitive) in active voice.
  • To be formed always with the third person of the plural, although the action is performed by a single person.

Aquí venden pan.

Llaman (a la puerta).

Me han dicho que te vas.

Le han robado las maletas.

2 The impersonal clauses with se fulfil conditions slightly different:

  • Se eis an indefinite subject, close to the French on.
  • They are built with verbs in third person of the singular.

Se citó a todos los interesados. (= Someone called the involved people.)

Se lo condenó a tres años de cárcel. (= The judge sentenced him.)

The direct object pronouns lo, la, los and las are also used in impersonal clauses with se. This is an exception in the use of the object pronouns.

A los pobres se los explota.

Al criminal se lo castiga.