1 Vote

Was it normal to address an individual using the second person plural (informal). In Don Quijote a young man says to him,

"Señor, quienquiera que seáis, que yo no os conozco, os agradezco la cortesía que habéis tenido conmigo".

Why wouldn´t the singular informal conjugation be applicable?

  • Posted Sep 6, 2010
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  • Actually, this is formal eddy, not informal, very old fashioned. - 00494d19 Sep 6, 2010 flag
  • I've also read it a lot in Spanish language historical fiction; it always seems to be one "lower class" person addressing one "upper class" person - mountaingirl Sep 6, 2010 flag
  • That's it, as it was a young man speaking to Don Quijote who was purporting to be a "knight-errant". - Eddy Sep 6, 2010 flag

3 Answers

1 Vote

Exactly , I asked the same question to my teacher, what she told me was ," in those days , they were talking like that. To say "¿Qué quiere su mejestad?" for example they used to say "¿Qué queréis su majestad?" so , it's an old formal form...

P.S : If you have watched the movie; El laberinto del Fauno , they talk like that. smile

1 Vote

Ok, this phenomenon has the fancy term "plural mayestático" (from "majestad), similar to the "royal we", but used with other persons as well. Basically, the Pope or other top guys don't say "I", but "we": "Nos ha agradado la visita" instead of "Me ha agradado la visita". In the second person, you refer to people in second person plural to make it more polite: "Estáis invitados en mi casa" instead of "Estás invitado a mi casa".

These uses are as rare nowadays as "thy" in English, and when they are used they are considered extremely polite. Notice that "el Quijote" uses the singular form and "tú" to address Sancho and other people from lower hierarchical classes, but the plural one for people he respects and admire, generally with "vos".

0 Vote

Heidi, now I am even more confused.

Seáis - 2nd person plural present conjunctive (which I thought was informal)

Habéis - 2nd person plural presnt indicative (which I also thought was informal)

Where am I going wrong?


Or did you mean they used these present informal tenses in a formal way in those days.

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