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Cher
Cher, #1 JustAnswer Spanish Expert/Mentor
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Experience:  Spanish Teacher & Tutor 40+ years Experience; Masters Degree Spanish/Education; Translator
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Hi, what is the difference between sentir and sentirse? Please

Resolved Question:

Hi, what is the difference between sentir and sentirse? Please provide a few (non-basic) examples.

Thanks!
Submitted: 4 years ago.
Category: Spanish
Expert:  Cher replied 4 years ago.
Hi again, and welcome back to Just Answer.

Sentir and sentirse are both translated to mean 'to feel'. Sentir usually refers to feeling emotions, but it can also refer to physical feelings/sensations.

Sentir is very often used in its 'reflexive' form, 'sentirse' and describes how a person is feeling.

Here are some examples of sentir, to describe feelings of emotion and sensation:

Ella siente felicidad por ser madre--She feels happy about becoming a mother.

Puedo sentir pasos en el techo--I can hear (feel/sense) footsteps on the roof. (here it is used in the infinitive form)

Siento que algo malo viene--I feel that something bad is coming.

Sentirse is typically used to describe a feeling of pain in a body part. Example:

Me siento dolor de la cabeza.--I have a headache (I feel pain in my head)

Ella no se siente bien; tiene dolor del estómago--She doesn't feel well; she has a stomachache.

Used by itself, sentir can be used to mean feeling sorrow or regret. A commonly used expression which I'm sure you've heard/used, is 'Lo siento' and/or 'Lo siento'--I'm sorry. and 'Lo siento mucho'--I'm very sorry.

Of course you have to keep in mind that both sentir and sentirse are classified as irregular verbs because they are e to ie stem changing verbs.


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Best regards,
Cher
Customer: replied 4 years ago.
So if I were to say, I feel frustrated... would it be:

Me siento frustrado.

Expert:  Cher replied 4 years ago.
Hi again,

Yes, "Me siento frustrado" would be correct to mean "I feel frustrated"; however, "Siento frustrado" would also be correct to mean "I'm frustrated". Sometimes it gets confusing, as you can see. There is a fine line between when to use each. One rule remains constant: with physical feelings in your body--as with illness, sentirse must be always be used.

I hope this helped.

Best regards,
Cher
Customer: replied 4 years ago.
Sentir vs. Sentirse is one of the hardest for me!

If I wanted to say, 'it feels hot here'.

Siente calor aqui o se siente calor aqui?

Thanks!
Expert:  Cher replied 4 years ago.
Hi again, and thanks for your reply.

Yes, "It feels hot here" would be correctly translated as 'Se siente calor aquí."

I hope this helped.

Please let me know if you need any additional information by clicking 'Reply'.

If you have found this answer helpful, please click 'ACCEPT', as this is the only way I am compensated for assisting you today (although you have made a deposit/have a subscription, no payment is released to the Expert until you click on 'Accept').

Positive Feedback and Bonuses are always welcomed and appreciated.

Best regards,
Cher
Cher and 2 other Spanish Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 4 years ago.
Hi Cher,

If SENTIR is to describe feelings of emotion or sensation, wouldn't "It feels hot here", be "Siente calor aqui"?
I'm not describing how I feel, but how the air or temperature feels to me... more like a sensation/sense.
Also, you mentioned that SENTIRSE is always used to describe physical feelings in your body, but I'm seeing mixed reviews (http://learnenglishspanishonline.webs.com/apps/forums/topics/show/7285979-sentir-vs-sentirse).
Como siempre, gracias!
Expert:  Cher replied 4 years ago.
Hi again, and thanks for your additional question.

Also, thanks for your patience, as I just logged on.

I know this particular subject of when to use sentir and when to use sentirse is a difficult one and sometimes, confusing.

In your first example/question of why sentir is not used in the sentence "It feels hot here", it's because it IS describing how the air temperature feels to you, that's why a 'weather expression' using 'hacer' would be more appropriate, like 'Hace calor aquí." However, you can also use the 'impersonal' expression: "Se siente calor aquí." meaning 'it feels hot in here' with no particular 'subject/person' feeling hot, stating how the air/temperature feels. However, you mentioned 'how the air/temperature feels to me'. In this case, you can say: 'Me parece calor aquí', meaning 'it feels hot to me in here'.

That link is a very good summary and I agree. However, as with any language, there are exceptions to rules and colloquialisms that won't always agree with the rules.

Best regards,
Cher
Customer: replied 4 years ago.
Ah, so we are using "SENTIR" in this example, but with the impersonal "se". I didn't think we were using SENTIRSE...

Thank you
Expert:  Cher replied 4 years ago.
Hi again, and you're most welcome!

Yes, as you know, the impersonal 'se' is used in many expressions like 'se habla español aquí' or 'aquí se habla español', seen in many storefront windows in the U.S. Since you're obviously an American in Colombia, I'm sure you've seen, 'se habla inglés aquí' in store windows where you live! Of course this means Spanish/English is spoken here and that's what makes it impersonal--there is no particular subject doing the action of the verb.

Best regards,
Cher