Prohibitions and permissions in Spanish is a trending topic in Spain these days. The Spanish Government has developed a gradual system for the lockdown de-escalated against the Covid-19. The provinces that have good results and resources will pass phase by phase until they reach the final phase 4.

Many weeks ago, we propose some challenges to you in order to pass the quarantine. Nowadays, things have changed and we have to suffer restrictions that affect citizens’ rights and freedoms. So, we think it can be useful for our readers to learn how to express prohibitions and permissions in Spanish.

General and impersonal prohibitions and permissions in Spanish

Depending on the context and register, we can find structures that might sound more formal or less aggressive. In order to achieve that, we can use impersonal forms to express general prohibitions and permissions in Spanish.

Expressions using the verb “estar”

We can use the verb estar and the past participles prohibido and permitido, followed by an infinitive. If we choose this option, we can forbid or allow everybody to do something.

En la fase 1 de la desescalada, está prohibido viajar a otras provincias. Sin embargo, está permitido visitar a familiares y amigos dentro de la misma provincia.

Expressions using the reflexive passive with the pronoun “se”

Another option to express prohibitions and permissions in Spanish, is the usage of la pasiva refleja. This kind of passive sentence requires the pronoun se and the third person in any tense of prohibir or permitir and the infinitive.

En la fase 2 de la desescalada, se prohibirá celebrar eventos deportivos, pero se permitirá entrenar de manera individual.

Personal and specific prohibitions and permissions in Spanish

Using impersonal expressions is a good idea when you express prohibitions and permissions in Spanish, nevertheless, you might sometimes need to be more specific and address a particular person or group. Although the register might be formal too, the power of the expression will be stronger.

Expressions using the verb “estar”

As we did with the impersonal forms, we can use the verb estar and the past participles prohibido and permitido. However, this time we’ll use the conjunction que followed by subjunctive. Of course, we should express the person or group we are referring to.

En la fase 0 de la desescalada, está prohibido que los ciudadanos vayan a segundas residencias; en cambio, en la fase 4 estará permitido viajar a otras provincias para hacer el examen DELE.

Personal constructions using the reflexive passive with the pronoun “se”

We can also use the subjunctive with the reflexive passive. As we saw before, the subject of the verb prohibir or permitir must be present in the sentence.

En la fase 1 de la desescalada, se prohíbe que los niños salgan por la noche; por otro lado, en la fase 3 se permitirá que los ancianos paseen a cualquier hora.

More aggressive expressions for prohibitions and permissions in Spanish

The previous examples are very good if you want to sound formal, but, what if you want to say prohibitions and permissions in Spanish to your children or friends? You can make them stronger. Just use the person who forbids or allows as the subject of the main verb, and use an indirect object pronoun, who is the person you forbid or allow something. In this case, it’s acceptable the usage of the infinitive or que and subjunctive

¿Quieres ir de compras sin mascarilla? Te prohíbo salir sin mascarilla; pero si te la pones, te permito que vayas a casa de tu abuela.

These are only some of the forms to express prohibitions and permissions in Spanish, that you can use. However, you can learn many more if you want to sound even more natural. Do want to know more about this topic? Just reserve some lessons with us. If you want to try it first, you can do it freely. Reserve a free trial lesson here and start speaking Spanish from the very first momen.