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reflexive verbs


What are reflexive verbs used for?

updated NOV 1, 2009
edited by 00494d19
posted by kiyoshi_finest

3 Answers


First you must explain your understanding of what a reflexive verb is. Many people use this term to apply to a verb that is being used pronominally (in conjunction with a reflexive pronoun). In other words, any time that they see the infinitive end in se.

Others use it specifically for a verb that is being used reflexively where the subject of the verb is also the receiver of the verb's action. Therefore, the verb is called reflexive since it reflects its action back on to the subject of the verb by use of a pronoun.

It is similar to English were we say:

I wash myself. The action of the verb it transferred back onto the subject by the use of the pronoun myself.

Spanish uses a reflexive pronoun to accomplish that.

[Yo] me lavo. (me being the reflexive pronoun).

There are many other pronominal (verb + reflexive pronoun) uses of a verb beyond reflexive uses, however. Reflexive uses are confusing enough for beginner's however, so I would master the reflexive uses before venturing on.

Another suggestion concerning what confuses beginners when using verbs reflexively: Spanish also includes objects belonging or closely identified with the subject in reflexive use. (objects like clothing, jewelry, makeup, etc.)

Me puse la corbata. (I put on [myself] my tie).

Ella se puso los zapatos. (She put on [herself] her shoes).

Reference article on reflexive verbs.

updated NOV 1, 2009
edited by 0074b507
posted by 0074b507

Here is a previous thread on the subject: Pronomial Verbs/Reflexive Pronouns

updated NOV 1, 2009
posted by Izanoni1

Hi kiyoshi, have a look at our excellent reference.

And please don¡t forget, correct spelling is mandatory on this sitewink

updated NOV 1, 2009
posted by 00494d19
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