Reflexive Verbs and PronounsStart first lesson
Reflexive Pronouns in Use
Many actions related to personal care or daily routines are reflexive, but other verbs can be reflexive as well. In the sentences below, the subject performs the action on itself, and the subject and object of the verb refer to the same entity.
|I shower every morning.|
|You brush your hair before going out.|
|He was talking to himself.|
|I see myself in the mirror.|
Now, compare two sentences in which one is reflexive and one is not. In the reflexive sentence, the subject and object refer to the same entity.
|Reflexive||I wash myself.||Yo (I) is the subject of of the verb lavar (wash) and me (myself) is the object.|
|Not Reflexive||I wash the dog.||Yo (I) is the subject of of the verb lavar (wash) and el perro (the dog) is the object.|
Match your Pronouns
When the object of the verb is the same entity as the subject, you will need to use a reflexive pronoun that matches the subject of the verb in both number (singular or plural) and person (first, second, or third). In the first table below, you'll find the different forms Spanish reflexive pronouns take.
Reflexive Pronoun Forms
Just to make sure you've got these down, the next table shows you the Spanish reflexive pronoun forms, along with example sentences showing how they may be used. Remember, the reflexive pronoun will always be the same number and person as the subject of the sentence.
Reflexive pronouns have the same forms as indirect object pronouns, with the exception of se, which is used instead of le and les for the third person.
Reflexive Pronoun Forms and Examples
|Number and Person||Reflexive Pronoun||Spanish||English|
|Singular, First||I wash myself.|
|Singular, Second (Informal)||You wash yourself.|
|Singular, Second (Formal)||You wash yourself.|
|Singular, Third||He washes himself./She washes herself./It washes itself.|
|Plural, First||We wash ourselves.|
|Plural, Second||You (all) wash yourselves.|
|Plural, Second (Informal)||You (all) wash yourselves.|
|Plural, Third||They wash themselves.|
More Examples of Reflexive Pronouns and Verbs
As you now know, reflexive verbs require the use of reflexive pronouns to indicate that the direct object of the verb is also the subject (in other words, the subject is performing the action on himself or herself). Check out a few examples with verbs that are commonly reflexive.
As mentioned before, you can also add reflexive pronouns to verbs that are not regularly reflexive in order to make them reflexive.
Reflexive verbs can also be used to indicate an emotional response to something. When a person becomes angry, sad, happy, etc., you can express this by using reflexive verbs.
Reflexive pronouns can also be used to add emphasis to a seemingly regular situation. In these cases, the reflexive pronoun is not normally translated directly into English, but it often adds a sense of doing something more completely or thoroughly.
Reflexive Pronoun Placement
Reflexive pronouns are placed immediately before simple conjugated verbs and negative commands.
Reflexive pronouns are attached to the end of affirmative commands. For compound verbs like the present progressive, the pronoun can either be attached to the end of the infinitive or present participle or go before the conjugated verb.
|Take off your hat.|
|Estoy duchándome.or Me estoy duchando.||I am showering.|
|Voy a sentarme.or Me voy a sentar.||I am going to sit (myself) down.|
Reflexive Verb Examples
Below is a list of common reflexive verbs. This is not a complete list, but rather a reference to give you an idea of the kinds of verbs that can be reflexive.
Become a pronoun pro with the following articles: