English Grammar

Impersonal sentences with identification and examples

When we review a sentence the first thing we do is identify the subject and the predicate. However, some of these components are not explicitly shown in some of them, because it is not known who performs acts on the predicate. Next, what impersonal sentences are, how they are identified, and we will give some examples in each type will be explained here .

We understand a sentence as a word or set of them that coherently transmit an idea . Said sentences or phrases must express something logically, they fulfill a grammatical structure and, according to what it is, it will receive its respective name.

It is necessary to clarify that impersonal sentences cannot be confused with those sentences where the subject is not included, but is known to exist. Usually in the Spanish language the use of the pronoun is omitted, although the subject is present.

What are impersonal sentences

Also known as, impersonal sentences are those in which the subject is not explicitly shown . That is, it is understood that it is there, since the subject does not dispense with it. This type of impersonal sentences are not considered with the typical structure where the subject goes, and the verb acts only to describe a circumstance.

When doing a syntactic analysis of this type of sentences, it will be necessary to detect the characteristics of the predicate followed by the phrase “impersonal” and the position of the speaker. According to the type of predicate the sentence can be transitive , active , simple and predicative . In addition, when it is said that it depends on the position of the speaker, reference is made to whether it is affirmative or enunciative.

With the above, two points must be taken into account:

  • Nothing that is included in these types of sentences can act as a subject.
  • It should not be assumed that there is some implicit subject within the sentence.

How to identify an impersonal sentence

To identify an impersonal sentence, it is done through its types:

  • Meteorological: are those phrases where words referring to weather conditions are included , with verbs such as hail, snow, rain, cloud, dawn or thunder. As an example: it is dawn later than it should, it will rain a lot in the morning.
  • Grammaticalized: they are sentences made up of verbs in the third person singular (to do, to have, to be, to be, to be enough). For example: “you have to continue as you were doing” (with the verb Haber), on the other hand there is “today is much better than yesterday” (verb Estar) and “you have to do a lot” (from the verb Haber).
  • The impersonal ones of oneself: are sentences where it implies that there is something hidden. They are semantic and syntactic impersonal. In addition, the morpheme “se” is included instead of the subject and the verb is in the third person singular. An example of this would be: “the launch of the next hit is expected”, and also “it is known that everyone does their thing”.
  • Occasional: these sentences in question do not mention the subject as such, omit it and the verb is in the third person plural. Depending on how the context is found, the subject is sometimes known, so they would no longer be impersonal. For example: “they mentioned that it was not true” (it is not known who mentioned it), “they say it will not stop raining” (it is not known who said it).
  • Reflexes: these types of sentences have a verb in the third person singular that can be transitive or intransitive; and the pronoun se is highlighted. Also, they should not be confused with passive reflexes. As an example is the sentence: “It’s about religion in this restaurant.”
  • Semantics: in this type of sentence someone executes the action , but you don’t know who it is . An example of this type of sentence: “they have invited me out” (omission), “they get up early in Bogotá” (indeterminacy), “they forced entry” (ignorance).

Examples of impersonal sentences

Examples using meteorological verbs:


  • “It has rained a lot here in Colombia.”
  • “It dawns cloudy almost every day.”
  • “It hailed so much last night that the streets were impassable.”
  • “Today it rains a lot” (verb to rain).
  • “It dawns fast when it’s winter” (verb sunrise).
  • “It thundered while we were returning from the walk” (verb thunder).
  • “It snowed mercilessly all day” (snow).

Examples using se:

  • “You live well in Israel.”
  • “The Inspector is expected.”
  • “The family is expected to arrive.”
  • “You need teachers who really teach.”
  • “Good play is forecast.”
  • “It is estimated that everything happens today.”
  • “Pending exams will be finalized.”
  • “In Spain you eat well.”
  • “It is known that the meeting is important.”
  • “In winter it gets dark very early.”
  • “In class the topic of discussion was broadened.”
  • “There are many things to visit in Siena.”
  • “I have plenty if you come to visit me.”
  • “Yesterday it was cloudy.”
  • “It’s too late”.
  • “Today it’s very hot”.

Examples of occasional impersonal sentences:

  • “They say there is going to be a snowfall.”
  • “They call for the interlocutor in the building.”
  • “Telling lies brings problems.”
  • “They gave me this on the street.”
  • “They sewed my dress.”
  • “They killed him”.
  • “They said that.”
  • “They convicted the defendant for murder.”
  • “They speak ill of Pedro.”

Examples of reflexive impersonal sentences:

  • “Then it will be as before” (verb to be).
  • “It is known that everything will happen as it should be.”
  • “In summer conditions are forecast to improve.” (Intransitive verb).
  • “People know they can do it.”
  • “The perpetrator of the attack is being sought.”
  • “It’s about religion in this restaurant.”
  • “Chinese translator wanted.”
  • “Second-hand car for sale.”
  • “In a few hours it will start pouring down.”
  • “Everything necessary is being managed” (verb to be).
  • “You can see that everything is improving.”

Examples of semantic impersonal sentences:

  • “They are already at home.”
  • “It’s very hot.”
  • “He is far from coming back again.”
  • “He could come at any time.”
  • “They forced entry”
  • “The news will be out soon.”
  • “You resist when something goes wrong.”
  • “Downtown apartments for rent.”

So far you have known the impersonal verbs. It is known that they are phrases where the subject is not explicit. On the other hand, we explained how the types of impersonal verbs could be identified, emphasizing that they are: occasional, grammatical, reflex, semantic, se, meteorological and grammaticalized. Finally we also cite some examples for each type of impersonal verbs. As you can see, a full-blown language class, which we hope has served you.

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