Vosotros, Vosotras and Ustedes, three different words to refer to the second-person plural in Spanish. Some of you may wonder, why do Spanish speakers have three words to address more than two people, when in English there is only one? That is exactly the question I want to answer here.


Before reading this, bear in mind that the uses of these words vary in relation to different Spanish-speaking regions. So, there is no universal rule that applies to every case when using these pronouns. This shows the diversity that you can find in a single language, and also reflects the cultural aspect of people who speak the same language in different regions… and that’s precisely the charm of it!




These are primarily used in Spain to address more than one person in an informal way. The endings of these words indicate whether we are addressing a group of men or women: vosotros is used for men, and vosotras for women. Now, what happens if I am addressing a group which includes both men and women? Well, in Spanish we keep the masculine form, so we would address them as vosotros.


In Latin America, in daily conversation, vosotros/as is never used. However, there are some specific contexts where you can hear them, but very specific. For example, at church, priests usually read a lot of passages that contain vosotros. (For Latinos, it is similar as when you hear “Thou shalt not lie.” (But, I guess you don’t normally use “thou” to talk to your friends, do you?) You can also hear it in some military ceremonies, but as you can see, those are special cases, not the widespread use in Latin America. 




Ustedes has different uses, depending on the region.  While in Spain it is the formal way to address two or more people, in Latin America it is used in both formal and informal situations indiscriminately. In other words, Latinos only use ustedes in every case.


That is why little children at school in Latin America are very surprised when they review the use of vosotros/as  because it is something alien to them. So although we learned it, we never actually use it in daily life.


What is important about these pronouns is that they have different conjugations. In the following chart, you can see the conjugation with the three endings of Spanish verbs (ar, er, ir)















Example: ¿Dónde trabajáis vosotros? / ¿Dónde trabajan ustedes?


There are also different object pronouns associated with each of them. If you don’t know what an object pronoun is, you’ll understand with the following example:


In “I see you,” the object pronoun is you. It is located in the complement of the sentence and, is not the person (or subject) who performs the action. If you want to say “I see you” in Spanish, you have two options:


I see you



Yo os veo


Yo los/las veo


As you can see above, the object pronoun of vosotros is os, whereas, in the case of ustedes, it can be either los (masculine) or las (feminine).


So now that you know the difference between vosotros, vosotras and ustedes,  make sure you use the right one when you travel to Latin America or Spain. As you can see, the use of the second-person plural is not homogenous in the Spanish-speaking world. So, I hope I have provided you with a better understanding of this particular subject. ¡Espero verlos pronto!


Hero Image (Estar a salvo aquí con ustedes) by  .::Catalina::. (CC BY ND 2.0)