HomeQ&APronomial Verbs versus Reflexive Verbs

Pronomial Verbs versus Reflexive Verbs


I learned a new verb today - persignarse, to make the sign of the cross/to cross oneself. The definition showed it as both a pronomial verb and a reflexive verb. I further looked into the meaning of 'pronomial' and found that a reflexive verb is one type of pronomial.

So, all reflexive verbs are pronomial, but not all pronomial verbs are reflexive?

What would be a pronomial verb that is not reflexive?

updated MAY 17, 2011
posted by lkelly

2 Answers


Spanish Pronominal Verbs

Pronominal verbs are often incorrectly referred to as reflexive verbs, when in fact the latter are just one type of pronominal verb. The defining characteristic of pronominal verbs is that their subjects are acting upon themselves.

One example would be a reciprocal verb:

Ellos se hablan mucho. They often talk to each other.

The "true" (literal) reflexive denotes that the agent is simultaneously the patient.

(yo) me lavo I wash (myself)

Then some are verbs which are both reflexive and reciprocal, the expressions el uno al otro or uno a otro can be added to emphasize the reciprocity.

Ellos se mataron. They killed themselves. Ellos se mataron los unos a los otros. They killed each other.

updated JUL 21, 2010
posted by Kiwi-Girl
Great Answer Maria-Claire - Izanoni1, JUL 19, 2010
Gracias :) - Kiwi-Girl, JUL 19, 2010
Excellent examples! Thank you Maria-Claire. - lkelly, JUL 21, 2010
you're so welcome :) - Kiwi-Girl, JUL 21, 2010

Hi LKelly,

I posted something a while back on this subject. Perhaps you will find it useful

Pronominal verbs/Reflexive pronouns

updated JUL 21, 2010
edited by Izanoni1
posted by Izanoni1
saw it -very good. - DR1960, JUL 19, 2010
excellent :) - Kiwi-Girl, JUL 19, 2010
Thanks, Ira, this is great. - --Mariana--, JUL 20, 2010
I'm sorry I missed your post. It's very informative. I've bookmarked it for future reference. Thanks. - lkelly, JUL 21, 2010
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