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This is a paragraph in which I am practicing the two uses of "se"--se pasiva and se impersonal. I did exercises with it first and now I am trying to see if I have them correct in "natural" writing. I would be very grateful to have it proofread! Thank you.

Enfermedades mentales y los límites de la ciencia

En las últimas tres décadas, se han cambiado las perspectivas acerca de las personas con enfermedades mentales en los Estados Unidos. En el pasado, se culpaba con frecuencia a personas con trastornos mentales porque se creía que podrían cambiar si sólo hicieran el esfuerzo. Desde el punto de vista de aquel entonces, las enfermedades mentales resultaban de cosas que se podían controlar o superar, como pensamientos negativos, eventos traumáticos, o egoísmo. Ahora se entiende mucho más de las enfermedades mentales, sobre todo que surgen en muchos casos de problemas con la química del cerebro. Se ven a las personas que padecen trastornos mentales no como débiles sino como víctimas de un problema de salud. Sin embargo, sigue habiendo prejuicios en algunos casos porque se supone que los problemas de salud siempre se pueden resolver. Desde este punto de vista, se puede curar una enfermedad mental con suficiente ayuda y esfuerzo—una perspectiva, como la de antes, que culpa a la víctima (o, por los menos, su médico). Para que se entiendan las enfermedades mentales de una manera comprensiva, se deben evitar expectativas poco realistas. Como cualquier problema de salud, los del cerebro a veces son difíciles de curar. Para enfrentar el problema, se necesita compasión además de ciencia.

  • Spanish -

    I'm sending this to our Spanish expert, JMcGin.

  • Spanish -

    For the title, it is best to begin with: Las Enfermedades, etc.

    a unas or a las personas con trastornos...
    (It IS possible to also use "se podrían)
    como unos or los pensasmientos, los eventos..., o el egoísmo.
    (In Spanish, nouns rarely stand alone)
    o, por los menos, a su médico (personal a)

    My bien hecho, QL

  • Spanish -

    ¡Gracias, Senora! You are always so helpful to so many and I always learn a lot by reading your comments.

    I often have trouble with the use of articles. What you say about nouns not usually standing alone maybe will help me remember to use the articles. I think I learned a rule that is not that effective--to use articles when it is a "general" noun, as opposed to a specific one--but this can be difficult to apply in practice and may not cover all cases.

    Again--thank you so much for your help!

  • Spanish -

    Here are some rules for definite articles:

    Some uses of the definite article:

    Although omitted in English, the definite article is used in Spanish:

    1. Before the names of languages, except after hablar, en or de. (#1)
    If an adverb occurs between hablar and a name of a language, the article is used with the language. (Habla bien el español.)

    2. Before titles, except when addressing the person. (El señor Gómez, etc. BUT Buenos días, señor G.)
    The article is omitted before don( doña), Santo (San, Santa).

    3. Instead of the possessive adjective, with parts of the body or personal possessions (clothing, etc.). (Ella tiene el pelo rubio.)

    4. With the time of day (la, las = hour, hours). (Es la una.)

    5. Before nouns used in a general or abstract sense. (El hombre is mortal.)

    6. Before infinitives used as nouns. These nouns are always masculine. (El mentir es un vicio.)

    7. With the names of seasons. (Me gusta la primavera.)

    8. With the days of the week, except after the verb ser. (Hoy es jueves. Los jueves hay pruebas.)

    9. Before certain geographic names (el Brasil, la Florida)
    Even with a geograph ic name that ordinarily does not use an article, the article is used if the name is modified. (La España del siglo XVI me interesa.)

    10. To express "a (an)" with weights or measures. (un dólar la libra)


    1. Before nouns in apposition. (Madrid, capital de España, etc.)

    2. Before numerals expressing the numerical order of rulers. (Carlos Quinto)

    And indefinite articles are omitted:

    1. before predicate nouns denoting a class or group (social class, occupation, nationality, religion, etc.) (Es peluquero.) BUT if the predicate noun is modified, the indefnite article is expressed. (Era un peluquero hábil.)

    2. Before or after certain words that in English ordinarily have the article: otro, cierto, ciento, mil, tal, ¡Qué...!

    Hope that helps!


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