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Quick answer
"Ellos" is a pronoun which is often translated as "they", and "servir" is a transitive verb which is often translated as "to serve". Learn more about the difference between "ellos" and "servir" below.
A pronoun is a word that stands in for a noun (e.g. she).
1. (third person plural)
a. they (subject)
¿Ellos van a venir a cenar?Are they coming to dinner?
b. them (after prepositions)
Si confías en ellos, dales las llaves.If you trust them, give them the keys.
c. them (in comparisons)
Mi hermano y yo somos tan altos como ellos.My brother and I are as tall as them.
d. theirs (after "de" to show possession)
Esta ropa es de ellos.These clothes are theirs.
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A transitive verb is a verb that requires a direct object (e.g. I bought a book.).
1. (culinary)
a. to serve
Van a servir lomo de puerco en la boda.They're going to serve pork loin at the wedding.
2. (to attend to)
a. to serve
Esta compañía sirve a clientes de todo el mundo.This company serves customers around the world.
An intransitive verb is one that does not require a direct object (e.g. The man sneezed.).
3. (to have a purpose)
a. to be used for
Esta máquina sirve para coser.This machine is used for sewing.
4. (to function as)
a. to serve as
Sirve de ejemplo para los demás.He serves as an example for others.
5. (to work as a servant)
a. to be in service
Trabajó sirviéndoles años antes de empezar su propia carrera.He had been in their service for years before starting his own career.
6. (military)
a. to serve
Mi tío sirvió en las fuerzas armadas durante la Segunda Guerra Mundial.My uncle served in the armed forces during World War II.
A pronominal verb always uses a reflexive pronoun. (e.g. Te ves cansado.).
7. (to make use of something)
a. to use
Me serví de una pala para cavar un agujero.I used a shovel to dig a hole.
A reflexive verb is a verb that indicates that the subject performs an action on itself (e.g. Miguel se lava.).
8. (to serve oneself)
a. to help oneself
Sírvanse lo que gusten del bufet.Help yourselves to anything from the buffet.
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