"You" in Spanish

Overview

In English you can say you to practically any person or group of people, whether you know them or not. In Spanish, there are many ways to address a person, and they vary depending on the formality of the relationship, how many people you are talking to, and even what country you are in.

In Spanish, there are 5 ways to say you:

PronounNumber and FormalityWhere It's Used
 
singular and informalused in most Spanish-speaking countries
vos
 
singular and formal or informalused in Argentina, Paraguay, Uruguay, and parts of Chile and Central America
usted
 
singular and formalused in most Spanish-speaking countries
vosotros
 
plural and informalused in Spain
ustedes
 
plural and formal or informalused in all Spanish-speaking countries

While the examples in this article use subject pronouns like and ustedes to show usage, it's very normal for these pronouns to be omitted in everyday speech.

Singular Direct Address

Only use   when talking to people you know well, especially those that are the same age as you or younger. can be used to speak directly to children, close relatives, friends, peers, or pets. It is also used in many online conversations to keep the tone informal.

¿Vas tú a la fiesta esta noche?
Are you going to the party tonight?
 
¿Cómo te llamas tú, niño?
What is your name, child?
 

Vos

Vos  is mainly used in a region of South America called the Southern Cone , which is made up of Argentina, Paraguay, Uruguay, and parts of Chile. It is also commonly used in Nicaragua and may be heard in Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras and Costa Rica. Many people use vos in place of both and usted.

¿No querés vos más jugo?
You don’t want more juice?
 
Queremos hablar con vos muy pronto.
We want to speak with you very soon.
 

Usted

Usted  (often abbreviated Ud.) is used when addressing someone older, a person you do not know, a superior, or someone you would like to show a lot of respect to. It is a good idea to address a new acquaintance as usted as a sign of respect until they tell you otherwise or request that you tutear  them.

Tutear is a fancy verb that means to address someone using instead of usted.

¿Cómo se llama usted?
What is your name?
 
Usted tiene una casa muy bonita.
You have a very beautiful home.
 

Plural Direct Address

Vosotros

Vosotros  is primarily used in Spain to address a group of people with whom you are familiar. It is the plural form of .

¿Adónde vais vosotros esta noche?
Where are you (all) going tonight?
 
Adela y Manuel, ¿queréis vosotros cenar?
Adela and Manuel, do you want to eat dinner?
 

Ustedes

Ustedes  (often abbreviated Uds.) is used to address two or more people and can be formal or informal. Since most Latin American countries do not use vosotros, ustedes is used in all forms of plural address in this region.

Señor Martinez y Doctor Moncada, ¿quieren ustedes decir algo?
Mr. Martinez and Dr. Moncada, do you want to say something?
 
Hola, chicos. ¿Quieren ustedes ir a la playa?
Hey, friends. Do you want to go the beach?
 

Take a practice quiz!

Practice what you know with our quiz tool.

Did this page answer your question?