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Intermediate Spanish: A trip across Latin America
Intermediate Spanish: A trip across Latin America

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4.2 ¿Prohibido o permitido?

A continuación vas a practicar algunas formas de expresar que algo está prohibido o permitido.

Box 4 Rights, obligations, prohibitions and permissions in Spanish

Besides the expression (no) se puede + infinitive, the most common way to express prohibitions or allowances is by:

  1. (No) está + prohibido/permitido + infinitive (bañarse), or
  2. (No) está + prohibido/permitido + noun (el motociclismo).

In the second case, prohibido/permitido must agree in number and gender with the noun:

Está prohibido el motociclismo

Está prohibida la venta ambulante

If the noun is plural (las motos) ESTAR would also have a plural form: Están prohibidas las motos

Another more formal way of expressing prohibitions or allowances is the use of the impersonal se:

Se prohíbe/permite fumar (infinitive)

Se prohíbe el uso del móvil (noun) / Se prohíbenlos teléfonos móviles (plural noun)

This construction is more characteristic of the written language, and is used especially in legal texts and on signs or placards enforcing the prohibition.

The most common ways to express rights and obligations in Spanish are:

(tener) derecho A … noun/ infinitive

Todos tenemos derecho a una vivienda digna/ Todos tenemos derecho a tener una vivienda digna

(tener) la obligación DE… infinitive

Todos tenemos la obligación de respetar las leyes

Actividad 15

Timing: 20 minutos

Completa las siguientes frases con el verbo conjugado, según corresponda.

Write sentences following the example.


(estar prohibido) los coches diésel.
Están prohibidos los coches diésel.

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