Reflexive or not?

Apologize if it’s a duplicate, but I could not find it anywhere.
I am struggling with verbs that sometimes seem to be reflexive and other times not.
Examples: Eu despedi vs Despeço-me dele antes de sair
And with casar something similar, but I can’t find that back right now.
Is there any rule that I am missing?
Thank you for your help.

@anne, despedir is always used with the pronoun -se when it means to say goodbye or to quit. But it can also be used in the sense of firing someone, in which case it should never have the pronoun.

  • Eu despedi-me. (I said goodbye / I quit)
  • Eu despedi-o. (I fired him)

Casar, on the other hand, only has one meaning: to marry. But it can be used both ways, with or without the -se pronoun.

  • Eu casei com ele. = Eu casei-me com ele. (I married him)

Let me just add that although -se is usually assumed to be a reflexive pronoun, there are cases where it’s just this extra structural element without reflexive purposes. That’s the case with both of these verbs you mentioned (we call them pseudo-reflexive).


@Joseph Thank you so much for your quick reply and explanation! (did not expect that on the weekend of New Year’s Eve!)
In the lessons is a sentence saying
“Eu despedi” with as translation “I said goodbye” (wanted to upload the image, but that does not work).
So is this an error in the lesson or am I misunderstanding this?
Thanks again and happy wishes for the New Year!

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Sorry, I see that this post is marked as resolved, but for me it isn’t.
Could someone please respond to my latest question?
Thank you!

The sentence you saw was extracted from our Verbs section, where the verb conjugations are typically presented as is, without reflexive/object pronouns. I guess we just didn’t anticipate that applying meanings that still depend on those pronouns could create further confusion - sorry about that! That sentence and all other sentences related to this verb have already been updated accordingly. Should you find any other cases, just let us know via our support channel :slight_smile:

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Thank you, Joseph, you’re awesome :+1:

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