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Wednesday, May 1, 2013

When trying to say "It is . . . " when do you use "se" and when do you use "li"? What is the difference?

Se should be primarily seen as a word that translates (present tense verb to be), it,  it is, this is , that is, he is, or she is

So the answer will be that we use "se" for impersonal expressions that's usually written with "it's" in English.
And, even though we use " li (it's)" when it's describing a specific person or thing, "li (it's)" is also used with some impersonal expressions in Creole too.


1. Se vre.
    It's true.
    That is true (so, here "se" also translates "this is" or "that is")

2. Se konsa.
    It's like that. 
    That's the way it is

3.  Se mwen
     or
     Se mwen menm. 
     It's me. 
     That's me.

4. Se li.
     or
    Se li menm.
    It's him.
    That's him

5. Se Joe.
     It's Joe.

6. Se Joe ki nan telefòn nan. 
     It's Joe on the phone

7. Se madanm mwen.
    It's my wife.  '
    That's my wife. (So, we can use "Se madanm mwen" even though you can also say "Sa se madanm mwen)

8. Se fèt mwen.
     It's my birthday.

9.  Se li menm ki fotif.
       It's him that is guilty.
       He's the guilty one.

10. Se lafwa w k'ap sove w.
      It's your faith that will save you.

      
11. Se apre goumen ou ka konte blese.
      It's after the fight you can count the injured.
      You can only make assessment of the injured after the fight.

12. Se pa tout maladi ki bezwen swen doktè.
      It's not all disease that needs doctor's care.

13. Se sa. 
     It's the one
     That is it.  (That's it)

14. Se tout.
      That's all.

--------------------------------
"Li" is used in impersonal expressions
15. Li lè.  It's time.
16. Li lè pou n ale.  It's time to go.
17. Li ta. It's late.
18. Li twò ta. It's too late
19. Li bonè. It's early.
20. Li pi bon pou tann. It's better to wait.

-----------------------------------
Here, "Li" stands for specific person or thing.
21. Li danjere
     It's dangerous.

22. Li bèl
     It's beautiful.

23. Li lèd
     It's ugly.

24. Li se pitit gason m.
     He's my son.

25. Li se yon gouman.
     He's a greedy person.

26. Li se yon gason vanyan.
     He's a brave man.

27. Li se moun mwen t'ap chache.  He's the person I was looking for)
     Say you wanted to use "Se" in that sentence instead....:
     Se li menm mwen t'ap chache a.  It's him that I was looking for)


Haitian Creole ↔ English Reference, Look up Haitian Creole and English Words

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