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varisas veces

1,Varias veces trataron los juman tinos de romper el cerco y otras tantas fracasaron.
What does otras tantas mean? Does it relate to the "varias veces"? Please explain it in English, thank you a lot!,

2, todas las averiguaciones fueron en vano y no se aclaró nada
What does "se" mean? A token of passive case or suggesting an infinite person??.

For learning: Spanish
Base language: English
Category: Language

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    Hi Brucy, now you're going into the most difficult field in language learning; little language details that are not propper to grammar but to comunication. These two phrases are difficult to understand beacause grammatically they doesn't make a lot of sense, but they are very common though.

    In the first example you are right, "otras tantas" refers to "varias veces", varias veces means "many times" and "otras tantas" means "another ones", the word "tanto (masculin)" or "tanta (feminine)" means "many" or "a lot" or sometime even "much". So the second part of the phrase explains that many other times the failed.

    Examples with "tanto":

    - "Te he dicho tantas veces que no regreses tarde a la casa"!
    - "Tengo tantos planes para el verano que no se a donde voy a ir!"
    - "Tantas horas estudiando y no he aprendido nada..."

    For your second question, "se" refers to the reflexive form of the verb aclarar. Reflexive verbs are those who involves the subject with the action using the past participle, those kind of actions that the subjet do to itself or tdirectly to other subjects. Like "dormirse"(fall asleep) Yo-me-duermo, or "caerse"(to fall down) yo-me-caigo. In this case "se" is the third persons' singular pronoun for le verb aclarSE and the subject is "nada", the phrase is in negative past tense so in this case the subject "nada" "no se aclaro" (wasn't clarified). You can use two kind of organization in spanish with reflexive verbs, the subject at the beginning or the subject at the end:

    - No se aclaro nada
    - Nada se aclaro

    Both are correct.
    I know it may sound complicated but if you keep reading, listening and talking in spanish it will come naturally. It's an easy language!

    Good luck.

    On the first sentence, "Varias veces" literally means "multiple times". "Repeatly"

    Vario or varia means "much" "several"
    Veces (or its singular "vez") means once but in plural, which doesn't exist in English, I think. So vez=once.


    The second doubt about "se" the answer is yes, se is the passive way to say it. Once I say this you need to know the existence of multiples uses and 2 cases to use se, one is personal and the other is impersonal.

    Personal: it's the use of se with the 3rd personal pronoun. EXAMPLE: Èl se llama. (If we traduce to English literally means He calls himself)

    More examples...
    El se acuesta.
    El se duerme a eso de las 10.
    El se encariñó con ella pronto.


    And there is the impersonal case, we the usage of se doesn't mean anyone in particular, even you can say "they" is whom does the action but that "they" are out of the context. EXAMPLE: Se sabe que no iba a sobrevivir más de una noche. (It's known that he wasn't going to live more than one night).

    MORE EXAMPLES:

    Se conocía la causa, pero no se pudo hacer nada.
    Las cosas se hacen con prudencia.
    Con todo lo que le dije, se podía hacer un libro.
    Si se quiere, se puede.
    Uno no sabe lo que tiene hasta que se hace análisis.

    To Know Better wether is Impersonal or not, You Only have to ask "who does the action?" And if the pronoun is included, the answer is this pronoun, but if it isn't included, then the answer should be the pronombre "UNO" ( I gave you one example with this pronoun).


    Hope this help a little. For more info check this:

    http://es.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pronombres_en_español
    http://forum.wordreference.com/showthread.php?t=1640003

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