cosas pasanTaoism claims that in the natural world, everything is connected by two forces: dark and light, positive and negative. However, between black and white, there is una escala de grises (a grey scale) with plenty of different shades.

Today we’re going to search the grey scale in Spanish voice: La voz media (the middle voice).

Our students on know that there are two ways to express the action of a verb:

  • Voz Activa (Active voice): If the subject perfoms the action in the statement, the verb is called active. Ej: Yo rompí la ventana (I broke the window).
  • Voz Pasiva (Passive voice): If the subject doesn’t perform the action, but it receives that action, the verb is called passive. Ej: La ventana fue rota por mí. (the window was broken by me).

Despite that, Spanish has another kind of voice:

  • Voz Media (Middle voice): The subject doesn’t perform nor receive the action, but this action happened unintentionally. The verb takes the reflexive form, using the reflexive pronouns (me, te, se, nos, os, se). Ej: La ventana se rompió (The window was broken, but we don’t know how or who did that).

So, if El coche se ha averiado (the car has broken down), te golpeaste la rodilla con la mesa (your knee got hit with the table) or se fue la luz de tu casa  (the power in your house went off), don’t blame anybody… the subject didn’t perform the action. Las cosas pasan (things happen).