When do we use the "subject pronoun" in Spanish: yo, tú, él, ella....?
A good example is yo estaba corriendo = I was running as estaba can also be used for he/she was running or when using 3rd person singular él quiere ir a Madrid = He wants to go to Madrid - FELIZ77
After seeing this post by Feliz, I have decided to post this question to try and make things clearer.
This thread certainly made my day
Why use "yo" when the statement already includes the yo form? For instance, why say "Yo estudio chino", when "Estudio chino" already means "I study Chinese"? Why say "I" twice?
As a general rule: Do not use subject pronouns!
Even though you think it might be necessary, look at Feliz's confusion above, don't use them, just in case
Are subject pronouns optional or should we not use them? We already had this discussion here, and the opinion of the Spanish native Lazarus was this:
You shouldn't use subject pronouns, because it is not English, and those pronouns are kept on hold for a very good reason. If you use them, you not only sound horrible most of the time, but you deprive Spanish from expressing distinctions and nuances that are normally expressed with those pronouns.
So what distinctions is he talking about? Please don't miss the thread I have mentioned, he gives some examples too, but I would like to point this out to you:
Look at these examples.
It is nor necessary to include the pronoun in sentence in Spanish, with the exception of the following examples:
I. To emphasize the subject
Mi vecino sacó la basura, pero yo me olvidé de hacerlo.
My neighbour took out the garbage but I forgot to do it!
Yo soy Pepa, ella es María.
I am Pepa, this is María.
¿Sabes quién ha llamado? Yo no lo sé, a lo mejor lo sabe él!
Do you know who rang? I don't know, maybe he knows!
II. In sentences like:
Soy yo, abre la puerta.
It's me, open the door.
As you can see the pronoun is not used to distinguish between different subjects in the third person like Feliz suggests at the beginning of the thread.
http://gramaticacognitivaele.es/material didactico/pronombres/P 13-B/P 13-B.swf
For swf (Small Web Format) files you need a player. You must copy the URL manually into your browser's navigation bar. (This video is interactive, it does not play automatically like our lesson videos).
Please don't miss them!!
It took me some time to find them, but this is a real treat! You will find the examples so clear and much fun to do
Another way to look at this, which might help, is to consider that in Spanish, conjugation of person is done through verb selection. Period. Very easy.
Conjugation of person in English is done through the choice of personal pronouns (and some verb conjugation, ie: We/They go, She/He goes). Not so easy.
Remember this and just maybe Heidita will stop pulling her hair out.
Heidi, Thank you and we all know that using subject pronouns will get you to the "dunce corner" quicker than a New York minute!! Thanks for the post.
This is excellent, Heidi....I love learning something new everyday!
Thanks for putting all of this together for us. I know it probably seems simple from the point of view of a Spanish speaking person, but for those of us who are dunce corner regulars, we need all the help we can get!
I just can't get the subject pronouns. I study everything about them that I can. It's not making sense (the direct object/ indirect object stuff). And, I constantly have to change the sentence so it has no subject pronouns and it was not what I was trying to say at all, but it was all I could say without the pronouns.
As you might remember, I certainly have had my problems (in the past) with subject pronouns.
I was thinking that there has to be times to use them, otherwise why would they exists in the first place?
It is great that you have supplied this post with links and examples.
This will definitely be helpful to me.
Great explanation Heidita and that site is brilliant ! Thank you for taking the time to put this together .
On the exercise I only got one wrong (although there were a couple which I really needed to think about) which was the one with two aliens and two humans:
¿Queréis jugar con nosotros?
Yo no sé jugar.
Choice A: ¿Y tú sabes jugar?
Choice B ¿Y sabes jugar?
I chose choice B but I suppose I should have gotten a clue from the fact that the alien used yo .
I think you could prepare a reference article about it! It doesn't have to be very long, just the most important things.
Y los ejercicios son geniales
Yet these sentences are not typical because there is no context to get this information from as we would in normal reading or speech,
That is the problem with these kind of execises, unless you use the pronoun, it could be anyone, which does not happen in a normal everyday context.
You must take into consideration that the third person can be: he, she , it, usted.
So, we need to know the context to know which person we are talking about. But we have context when we are talking, so a sentence in a book, is something different.
A wonderful thread mi reina, what about this sentence is the "me" really needed?
Me paso por las narices todas las opiniones que dicen de mí.
Thanks for the post. I got confused in one of the example 'Yo soy Pepa, ella es María. I am Pepa, this is María.' Why we have to use 'Yo' ? why can't we use just 'Soy Pepa'?
In normal circumstances, soy Pepa would be best, however in this sentence yo soy and ella es is used for emphasis, for example:
A man comes up to two girls and shakes Pepa's hand saying "Hola María" to Pepa, and Pepa replies, "Yo soy Pepa, ella es María," to emphasise that the man got their names wrong.
I hope this helps a little .
I just saw this thread. Where have I been? :p
I loved the lesson link! Those are fun and I think very helpful. Being entirely en español is a big plus too.
This is a great post, Heidita. I'm a little confused about the use of "usted". It seems to me that I hear that pronoun used more than others. Does it still follow the same rules as you've mentioned or do people say it more just to make sure that they are being polite enough? If you meet Alvite tomorrow would you say "¿Cómo está usted?" or just "¿Cómo está?"
Sorry alba, good thing we have nametaken, she drew my attention to this question
Does it still follow the same rules as you've mentioned or do people say it more just to make sure that they are being polite enough? If you meet Alvite tomorrow would you say "¿Cómo está usted?" or just "¿Cómo está?"
NO way I would say usted to him! He hates that
De todas formas, lo normal seria decir:
¿Qué tal está?
Usted de hecho es verdad que se usa más.
Your reasoning is logical, people want to be polite enough
but the pronoun is really perfectly superfluous.
Thanks for the post. I got confused in one of the example
'Yo soy Pepa, ella es María.
I am Pepa, this is María.'
Why we have to use 'Yo' ? why can't we use just 'Soy Pepa'?