Subject pronouns in Spanish, or los pronombres personales, are used as the subject of a sentence. Their primary purpose is to take the place of the noun that performs the main action of the sentence.   

Subject pronouns hold the most significance within the broader category of personal pronouns. Direct object pronouns, indirect object pronouns, and reflexive pronouns are the other personal pronouns. The action verb of the phrase must be conjugated according to the subject pronoun.

Master Subject pronouns in Spanish

Subject pronouns in Spanish: Scenario cases

The subject pronouns in Spanish follow the same rules as those in English, although they have additional choices to accommodate variations in formality and gender. The whole set of pronouns is as follows:

Spanish subject pronounsSingularPlural
First-personyonosotros (masculine)
nosotras (feminine)
Second-person (informal)vosotros (masculine)
vosotras (feminine)
Second-person (formal)ustedustedes
Third-personél (masculine)
ella (feminine)
ellos (masculine)
ellas (feminine)

Let’s now examine each of these scenarios to determine how they differ or are similar to their English counterparts.

I in Spanish: Yo

This is undoubtedly the simplest. Similar to how it is in English, there is no gender distinction when using yo. Yo is always the exact equivalent of I in English when speaking Spanish.

We in Spanish: Nosotros, Nosotras

In Spanish, if there are multiple of us, we must use the appropriate pronoun to indicate our genders. For all-male or mixed-gender groups, the masculine version is Nosotros. We use nosotras if we are all female. To be more inclusive, these two choices are frequently expressed as nosotros/as.

Singular You in Spanish: Tú, Usted

When referring to a single person, Spanish has two forms for second-person subject pronouns: usted is the formal form and tú is the familiar form. The choice of subject pronoun depends only on the speaker’s intended level of respect, not the person’s gender. While usted is used with strangers, elders, and in most professional circumstances, tú is used with friends, peers, or youngsters.

Another subject pronoun for the singular you in Spanish is vos, used in a few South American nations, including Argentina, Uruguay, Argentina, Paraguay, Chile, and some areas of Colombia. This is an equally informal pronoun that replaces tú.

Plural You in Spanish: Vosotros, Vosotras, Ustedes

Both tú and usted have plural forms for addressing groups of people, although there are significant variations in their usage across Latin America and Spain.

Technically, vosotros or vosotras is the informal plural for you in Spanish; it follows the same gender norms as nosotros and nosotras. Nonetheless, vosotros/as is rarely used outside of Spain.

Ustedes is the formal plural of “you” in Spanish. Regardless of the person’s gender being addressed, there is only one form. As the formal plural of you, ustedes is used as a sign of respect in Spain. However, in most of Latin America, there is no distinction between formality levels; the only you that is used in plural is ustedes.

Compare Spanish subject pronouns with English counterparts

He, She, It in Spanish: Él, Ella

These third-person singular pronouns, él and ella, seem simple enough at first glance: él denotes he and ella denotes she. With your English subject pronouns, you differentiate between genders; but, you also have a neuter gender, which you use for nouns that aren’t obviously masculine or feminine.

We use either él or ella, depending on whether the noun itself is masculine or feminine. Every noun has a gender in Spanish, so the corresponding third-person pronouns always just follow that gender. There’s no neutral it in Spanish.

They in Spanish: Ellos, Ellas

The rules governing Spanish third-person plural pronouns are the same as those governing their singular counterparts. Any group of individuals or objects that are wholly male or mixed gender is denoted by ellos, and any group that is exclusively feminine is denoted by ellas.  To put it briefly, in Spanish, ellos is masculine they and ellas is feminine they.

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Frequently asked questions

What are subject pronouns in Spanish?

In Spanish, subject pronouns replace nouns as the subject of a sentence. They are used to indicate who or what is acting as the verb.

How many subject pronouns are there in Spanish?

There are seven subject pronouns in Spanish: yo (I), tú (you, informal), él (he), ella (she), usted (you, formal), nosotros/nosotras (we), vosotros/vosotras (you all, informal in Spain), and ellos/ellas (they).

When do I use “tú” and when do I use “usted”?

“Tú” is used in informal situations, such as with friends, family, or people of the same age group. “Usted” is used in more formal situations, such as with strangers, elders, or in professional settings.

What is the difference between “vosotros” and “ustedes”?

“Vosotros” is used in Spain as the informal plural “you all.” “Ustedes” is used in both formal and informal contexts as the plural “you all” in most Spanish-speaking countries.


Subject pronouns in Spanish are essential for indicating the subject of a sentence. They help clarify who or what is performing the action of the verb and are used in both written and spoken Spanish.

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