Pronouns are extremely powerful. They are a necessary component in almost every language. Understanding who or what the subject of a sentence is depends on the pronouns used. Without them, sentences would quickly become very messed up. Spanish pronouns will help you design Spanish sentences in an error-free and organized manner.
A pronoun is a word that is used in sentences to replace names or nouns. If we say, “John is my friend,” for instance. He works and lives close by,” we are using the pronouns “my” and “he” here. Without pronouns, that sentence would sound pretty awkward. This is how it would appear: John is a friend of Benny. John works and resides close to Benny.
Depending on where and how they are used in a sentence, pronouns can change. Depending on whether you’re using them to indicate possession, direction, or to follow prepositional phrases, they may change. It sounds complicated, but it’s very similar to English; for example, the personal pronoun “I” can be used instead of “me” or “my” depending on the context.
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The person, thing, or location being talked about or doing the action of the verb is the subject of a sentence. For instance, “He” is the subject, and “to run” is the verb in the sentence “He runs a race.”
Here are the subject pronouns:
- I: Yo
- You: Tú (informal) / Usted (Formal):
- He: Él
- She: Ella
- We: Nosotros / Nosotras
- You, plural and informal: Vosotros / Vosotras
- You, plural and formal: Ustedes
- They: Ellos / Ellas
You must learn the Spanish personal subject pronouns, beginning with “I,” “we,” “they,” and “you,” in order to conjugate Spanish verbs.
Pronouns that end in -o are masculine and are used to refer to individuals or groups of men or both men and women. The feminine -a endings are only utilized when “we,” “they,” or “you” are referring to a group of all women.
Furthermore, there are formal and informal ways to say “you” in Spanish. You use tú for friends and family and usted to address strangers or show respect. Only in Spain is “you” used in the informal plural form, vosotros. Ustedes is a phrase that is used both formally and informally in Latin America.
The best way to learn Spanish is to practice these concepts again and again till you get them right. Do not fear mistakes, as they are the building blocks towards perfection.
The ending of a verb is altered in Spanish depending on the sentence’s subject. It makes the topic understandable and clear. Let’s try some sentences with Spanish pronouns to see how the verb “to go” is affected.
- “I” in Spanish: Yo voy a la tienda. (“I am going to the store”)
- “You” in Spanish: Tú vas a la tienda (“You are going to the store”)
- “He” in Spanish: Él va a la tienda (“He is going to the store”)
- “She” in Spanish: Ella va a la tienda (“She is going to the store”)
- “We” in Spanish: Nosotros vamos a la tienda (“We are going to the store”)
- “You” (plural, informal) in Spanish: Vosotros váis a la tienda (“You all are going to the store”)
- “You” (plural, formal) in Spanish: Ustedes van a la tienda (“You all are going to the store”)
- “They” in Spanish: Ellos van a la tienda. (“They are going to the store”)
The verb “to go” also changes depending on the subject (ir). The rest of the phrase is unchanged (a la tienda). The concept is the same even though the Spanish verb ir is irregular. Depending on the sentence’s subject, verb endings (also known as verb conjugations) change.
For some verbs, English is comparable. For instance, when using the verb “to run,” you might say “I run” or “she runs.” Depending on the sentence’s subject, the verb’s ending alters. But in English, this is only occasionally the case. It’s always the case in Spanish, and each subject has a different ending.
Because the subject can often be understood from the verb structure alone in Spanish, the subject is frequently omitted. Then, you would still be able to identify the subjects as “I” and “you” even if the sentences were simply “Voy a la tienda” and “Vas a la tienda.”
Spanish possessive pronouns provide an answer to the query “Whose is it?” They transfer ownership of an object to the pronoun. In English, you might say “That’s mine” or “It’s her house,” for instance.
Each pronoun has a singular masculine, singular feminine, plural masculine, and plural feminine form in Spanish. Additionally, possessive pronouns are always followed by “the” (which also must match one of the four forms – el, la, los and las). Depending on the gender of the word you’re saying is owned, you’ll use one over the other.
Singular masculine possessive for “mine” is el mío. Singular feminine is la mía. And for plural masculine and feminine, it’s los míos/las mías. If you’re saying a book (el libro, masculine) is yours, you would say “Es el mío” (“It is mine”). For books, it’s Son los míos (“They are mine”). If the apple (la manzana, feminine) is yours, then it’s Es la mía, or plural Son las mías.
- Mine: El mío, los míos, la mía, las mías
- Yours: El tuyo, los tuyos, la tuya, las tuyas
- His, hers or its: El tuyo, los tuyos, la tuya, las tuyas
- Ours: El nuestro, los nuestros, la nuestra, las nuestras
- Yours: El vuestro, los vuestros, la vuestra, las vuestras
- Theirs: El suyo, los suyos, la suya, las suyas
Only two pronouns change when following a preposition. When following a preposition:
- “I” or Yo becomes mí (“me”)
- “You” or Tú becomes ti (“you”)
All other Spanish pronouns stay the same after a preposition, so that makes this set of pronouns easy to remember.
Esto es para mí, eso es para ti. (“This is for me, that’s for you.”)
The only exception is con (“with”). That’s comitative form, and it changes mí and ti to conmigo and contigo, respectively.
The verb’s action is transferred to the object. Therefore, the direct object is the recipient of the action, which is carried out by the subject. If we were to say, “I ate pizza,” I would be the subject, “ate,” would be the verb, and “pizza” would be the direct object.
Here are the direct object pronouns:
- Me: Me
- You: Te
- Him, her, it: Lo, la
- Us: Nos
- You: Os
- Them: Los, las
Words that end in “-self” or “-selves” are reflexive pronouns. Yourself, I, myself, etc. You must use the Spanish reflexive pronoun when using a reflexive verb in Spanish, such as lavarse or llamarse.
When the subject and object are the same, a verb is reflexive. Thus, if we say Me Llama Benny, I’m actually saying “I go by Benny.” Because of this, it’s me rather than you. Me lo com means “I did it myself,” which is what I’m expressing. I ate it myself.
Here’s the list of reflexive pronouns:
- Myself: Me
- Yourself: Te
- Himself, herself, itself: Se
- Ourselves: Nos
- Yourselves: Os
- Themselves: Se
Although it is not the primary recipient of the action, the indirect object is someone or something that is impacted by the verb’s action. Grammatically, an indirect object comes after “to” or “for,” while a direct object does not. Therefore, the indirect object is for or going to the direct object.
- To/for me: Me
- To/for you: Te
- To/for him, her or it: Le
- To/for us: Nos
- To/for you all: Os
- To/for them: Les
Relative pronouns connect phrases to a noun or pronouns. They’re words like “who”, “which”, “that”, “where” and “when”. They can help connect two sentences or to connect an adjectival clause to a noun.
- El libro que tomaste prestado. (“The book that you borrowed.”)
- Mi amigo para quien compré pizza se fue a casa. (“The friend, who I bought pizza for, went home.”)
Q. What are the rules for pronouns in Spanish?
A. In Spanish, there are four forms for each pronoun: singular masculine, singular feminine, plural masculine, and plural feminine.
Q. How do you identify a pronoun?
A. A pronoun is a word that can replace a noun in a sentence. The noun that is replaced by a pronoun is called an antecedent.
Q. What are the three roles of pronouns?
A. Subjective case: pronouns used as subject – Objective case: pronouns used as objects of verbs or prepositions – Possessive case: pronouns which express ownership.
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Spanish pronouns come in a wide variety of forms including demonstrative pronouns in Spanish, but if you start by understanding the subject pronouns, everything else becomes simpler. With the exception of “it,” three of the forms remain constant. Keep an eye out for the Spanish accent marks as you go.
There are several confusions that you may encounter as a learner such as a debate between senora vs senorita. In order to minimize your confusion, you can enroll in italki. Book your lessons and start learning!