One vs. You


Kwiziq community member

8 December 2018

2 replies

One vs. You

I feel like in modern English, we don't say 'one' does something, but rather, it's expressed using 'you' in the sentence without being a personal statement or piece of advice. 

Would this be a reasonable translation/interpretation?

Se duerme mejor con la conciencia tranquila.

- One sleeps better with a clear conscience.

- You sleep better with a clear conscience. 

The second sentence is not necesarily a personal statement. It can also be said impersonally like a general statement. 

I find that when I'm speaking Spanish, I over use 'you' too much in phrases like this because the sentence structure of 'one should...' doesn't occur to me. However, I can recognize the statement is impersonal while I'm saying it. 

It would be helpful to know if this is the structure I should be using in these situations. 

PS. I'm not referring to passing the quizzes but more for the knowledge of how to use this better in real communication. 


This question relates to:
Spanish lesson "Expressing instructions and general statements with the impersonal se = one"


Kwiziq language super star

8 December 2018


Hola Amy,

It is a bit tricky sometimes which structure to choose in English when dealing with an impersonal sentence. We chose "one does" in this case but as you say using "you do..." would also be right. The other option would probably be "People do...[in general]". In Spanish you could also use the 2nd person singular for this as if referring to a general statement but I think it would have to be in a more specific scenario, for example, imagine I am explaining to a friend all the very good things about a course I am doing and then my friend asks ¿y en ese curso conoces a mucha gente nueva?, and I answer "Sí, conoces a mucha gente nueva y además de todas las edades". So, obviously, he is not asking if "I" meet lots of new people, but if "one meets" lots of new people, but he is using the "tú" form. 

So, yes, I think in many cases it is quite safe to also use the tú form to express an impersonal sentence.

I hope this helps.

Gracias y un saludo



Kwiziq community member

9 December 2018


Thanks Inma. It gives some clarity to when and how it's used in real life :)

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