Learn the Spanish Pronoun. I, you, he, she, it, we, they.

These pages look at the Spanish pronoun. This page covers the Spanish personal pronouns.

In simple English these are the Spanish words for I, you, he, she, it, we, they.

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There are several different types of Spanish pronouns.

Spanish Personal Pronouns

Spanish Subject Pronouns

Subject pronouns are the subject of the verb in a sentence.





for example - Using a variation on Julius Caeser's famous phrase....

  • I came,
  • You saw,
  • We conked out.

The Spanish Subject Pronouns are as follows:

  • the Spanish subject pronoun for 'I' is yo.
  • the Spanish subject pronoun for 'you' (informal singular*) is .
    Note the accent on the 'u' making it a long 'u'.
  • the Spanish subject pronoun for 'he' is él.
    Note the accent on the 'e' making it a long 'e'.
  • the Spanish pronoun for 'she' is ella.
  • the Spanish pronoun for 'we' is nosotros.
  • the Spanish pronoun for 'you' (informal plural*) is vosotros.
  • the Spanish pronoun for 'they' is ellos.
    (for a group with any males in it).
  • the Spanish pronoun for 'they' (for two or more females in an exclusively female group) is ellas.
  • the Spanish pronoun for 'you' (formal singular*) is usted.
    The abbreviation for this is Ud. or Vd.
  • the Spanish pronoun for 'you' (formal plural*) is ustedes.
    The abbreviation for this is Uds. or Vds.

*Read for more on the five forms of the word 'you', the two forms of 'they' and how to use each form.

The Five Forms of the Spanish pronoun 'you'

Hey you, Boss!
In Argentina the form '' is not used.
In its place the Argentines use the word

'VOS',

which sounds like 'BOSS'.

They do not use the 'vosotros' or 'vosotras' form of pronoun either.
In English the word 'you' is used whether you are talking to one person, two persons, or a group of people.

It does not change whether you are talking to someone you know well or your superiors.

In Spanish there are several different forms of the word 'you'.

  • Informal Singular
    - the Spanish pronoun for 'you' (informal singular*) is .
    • This informal form of address is used between family and friends, and people who know each other well.
    • By an adult to a child.
    • By a superior to a subordinate.
    • Between children.
    • This form is used only when addressing one person. Hence it is the informal singular.
    • A basic rule is that if you can use someone's first name you can use . If not use usted.
    • Note the accent on the 'u' making it a long 'u'.
      [pronounced TOO]

  • Informal Plural - masculine or mixed sex group
    - the Spanish pronoun for 'you' (informal plural*) is vosotros.
    • This form of address is used in exactly the same circumstances as for the word , except it is used when addressing two or more people, where the group has one or males in it.

    • A group of 100 females and 1 male would be addressed as vosotros.
    • Vosotros and vosotras (see next) are generally not used in South American Spanish, and in parts of Southern Spain and the Canary Islands.

  • Informal Plural - feminine group
    - the Spanish pronoun for 'you' (informal plural*) is vosotras where the group is exclusively female.

    It is used in the same circumstances as vosotros, except the group (of two or more people) must be exclusively female.

    • Vosotros and vosotras (see next) are generally not used in South American Spanish, and in parts of Southern Spain and the Canary Islands. The plural form ustedes is used.

  • Formal Singular
    How about it, then? (...wink, wink...)!
    The word for 'it' is:

    él for masculine, and
    ella for feminine

    and for 'they' when referring to objects (i.e. the plural of 'it') is:
    ellos for masculine, and ellas for feminine.

    BUT BE CAREFUL!

    In Spanish these words are usually NOT used as subject pronouns as we do in English.

    As a general rule just leave 'it out!
    - the Spanish pronoun for 'you' (formal singular) is usted.

    This is a polite form of address. It is used in the following circumstances:

    • An adult talking to another adult that he or she has just met, or does not know very well.
    • Someone addressing a superior, e.g. an employee to the boss.
    • A child addressing an adult that is not a family member or friend.
    • If you are not able to call someone by his or her first name, use usted.

  • Formal Plural
    - the Spanish pronoun for 'you' (formal plural*) is ustedes.

    This form of address is used in the same circumstances as usted when there are two or more people being addressed.

    • In Latin American Spanish ustedes is used instead of vosotros.


How about it, then? (...wink, wink...)

The word for 'it' is:él for masculine, and ella for feminine

and for 'they' when referring to objects (i.e. the plural of 'it') is:

ellos for masculine, and ellas for feminine.

In Spanish these words are not often used as subject pronouns as we do in English.


The Two forms of the Spanish Pronoun 'they'

There are two forms of the word 'they' in Spanish.

ellos is the subject pronoun used for 'they' representing a group that includes any males.

ellas is the subject pronoun used for 'they' representing a group that is exclusively female.


The Two forms of the Spanish Pronoun 'we'

nosotros is the subject pronoun used for 'we' representing a group that includes any males.

nosotras is the subject pronoun used for 'we' representing a group that is exclusively female


More on Personal Pronouns - Object Pronouns

There are two types of Spanish Object Pronouns,
  1. Direct Object Pronoun and the,
  2. Indirect Object Pronoun.

Spanish Direct Object Pronouns

The object pronoun is the object of the verb.

The Direct Object Pronoun answers the question: "Who?" or "What?"
"Who do you see at the beach?" (Answer: my friend). My friend is the Direct Object. The pronoun is 'him'.
"What do you want to find?" (Answer: the ball). The ball is the Direct Object. The pronoun is 'it'.

The Direct Object can be replaced by an appropriate Direct Object Pronoun.

Examples of direct object pronouns are:

  • He took them.
    (them is the object of the verb 'took').
  • You saw him.
    (him is the object of the verb 'saw').
  • We watched you.
    (you is the object of the verb 'watched').

The Spanish Direct Object Pronouns are:
me - te - le - lo - la - nos - os - les - las - los


Spanish Indirect Object Pronouns

The object pronoun is the object of the verb.

The Indirect Object answers the question "for whom?" or "to whom?" in a sentence. The pronoun replaces the indirect object noun.

Examples of Spanish indirect object pronouns are:

  • He took them to you.
    (them is the object of the verb 'took' and to you is the indirect object).
  • I'll give it to him.
    (it is the direct object of the verb 'give' and to him is the indirect object of the verb 'give').
  • Show them to me.
    (them is the direct object of the verb 'show' and to me is the indirect object of the verb 'show').

The Spanish Indirect Object Pronouns are:
me - te - le - nos - os - les



Spanish Direct & Indirect Object Pronouns

Spanish Object Pronoun Direct Indirect
me me to me
te you
(informal singular)
to you
(informal singular)
le you
(formal singular)
to you
(formal singular)
le him to him
le her to her
la her, it
(fem)
 
lo him, it  
nos us to us
os you
(informal plural)
to you
(informal plural)
les you
(formal plural)
to you
(formal plural)
les them to them
las them
(fem)
 
los them
(masc)
 


Question: Where do you put these Spanish Object Pronouns?

Answer: Usually they go BEFORE THE VERB.

Te ha visto.
He has seen you... or more literally...You, he has seen.

No te veo.
I cannot see you.... or more literally...Not you can I see

Me las llevo.
I'll take them... or more literally... Me, them I'll take.


Indirect Object Pronouns with 'Gustar'

With gustar you can use the indirect object pronouns:
me - te - le - nos - os - les

Te gusta el ciné. You like the cinema.Le gustan las patatas. He likes potatoes.Me gusta el fútbol. I like football.


When can Direct Object Pronouns be attached to the end of a verb?

A Spanish pronoun can be attached to the end of a verb in the following instances:
  • added to an infinitive.
    Vas a verlo.
    You are going to see him.
    ¿Puede usted decirme dónde esta la piscina?
    Could you please tell me where the swimming pool is.

  • added to a present participle (-ing) word ( a word ending in 'ando', '-iendo' or '-yendo'.

  • after a positive command.
    Digame! Tell me!Pongalas detrás! Put them in the back!

Add an Accent

When object pronouns are added to the end of words as in the above cases, an accent often needs to added to preserce the original stress of the word, now that the new word has an extra syllable.

eg. estas buscándolo; tráigamelo.


Which goes first? The Indirect or the Direct?

Where a sentence has both an indirect and a direct object pronoun, the Spanish indirect object pronoun goes first.

Me lo dice
To me he said it... (or more literally To me it he said).

Remember this one by adding 'to' before the first pronoun... so that you get 'to me' or 'to you' or 'to us' etc.

Remember the Indirect Object Pronoun answers the question "to whom?" or "to what?"

What if there are two Object Pronouns, both in the third person?

The Indirect Object Pronoun goes first again and it becomes se.

Se los doy.
I am giving them to him.... more literally it is a bit easier unravelled as 'to him them I give!'


Reflexive Pronouns in Spanish

Spanish Reflexive verbs are verbs that, generally speaking, 'one does to oneself'.
  • alegrarse - to be glad
  • apurarse - to worry oneself
  • bañarse - to bathe oneself
  • dedicarse - to dedicate oneself
  • irse - to go away
  • llamarse - to call oneself (to be named)
  • peinarse - to comb one's hair
  • pintarse - to make one's face up, to
  • quedarse - to remain (oneself)colour or tint (as in one's hair, eyelashes, lips etc)

The reflexive verbs are the same pronouns as the Indirect Object Pronouns, with one exception.

In the third person, for both the singular and the plural cases the pronoun becomes se.

So in the case of llamarse - to call oneself (to be called, to be named).

  • Yo me llamo.
    • Literal translations are: I call myself
    • my name is
    • I am called
  • te llamas.
    • You call yourself
  • usted, él, ella se llama.
    • You (formal) call yourself
    • he calls himself
    • she calls herself
  • nosotros nos llamamos.
  • nosotras nos llamamos.
    • We call ourselves
  • vosotros os llamáis.
  • vosotras os llamáis.
    • You call yourselves
  • ustedes se llaman.
    • You (formal plural) call yourself
  • ellos se llaman.
    • They call themselves (masculine).
  • ellas se llaman.
    • They call themselves (feminine).


Possessive Pronouns in Spanish

More on Spanish pronouns. What are possessive pronouns?

In a sentence with a possessive adjective we can replace the noun with a possessive pronoun.

Spanish possessive pronouns take the definite article (el, la, los, las) and they agree in gender and number with the possessed object.

Examples:

I see your shirt ... becomes ... I see yours

We like their car ... becomes ... I like theirs.

Spanish Possessive Pronouns

  Singular Plural
  Masculine Feminine Masculine Feminine
mine el mío la mía los míos las mías
yours
(informal singular)
el tuyo la tuya los tuyos las tuyas
his, hers, yours (formal singular) el suyo la suya los suyos las suyas
ours el nuestro la nuestra los nuestros las nuestras
yours
(informal plural)
el vuestro la vuestra los vuestros las vuestras
theirs, yours
(formal plural)
el suyo la suya los suyos las suyas

To choose the right possessive pronoun from the list above it has to match in gender and in number of the object.

e.g. Me gusta tu coche ... becomes Me gusta el tuyo

I like your car ... becomes ... I like yours.
Car is masculine and tuyo is masculine with the second person singular(tú).

Me gusta nuestra casa ... becomes Me gusta la nuestra.

Some more examples...

Tengo mi sombrero y el tuyo.
... I have my hat and yours.

Tienes tu camisa y la mía.
...You have your shirt and mine.

Tengo mis cartas y las nuestras.
...I have my letters and ours.

Tiene sus papeles y los veustros.
...He has his papers and yours.


A bit of 'this' and a bit of 'that' - Demonstrative Pronouns

Demonstratives such as the equivalent words for 'this' and 'that' in Spanish, can be either Spanish adjectives or Spanish pronouns.

There is one form for 'this'.
There are two forms of 'that'.

  • One is for items that are close.
  • The other is for items that are far away in time and place.

    As Demonstrative Adjectives

    This and these (as Demonstrative Adjectives)
    este/estos (masc singular/plural)
    esta/estas (fem singular/plural)

    That and those (close by) (as Demonstrative Adjectives)
    ese/esos (masc singular/plural)
    esa/esas (fem singular/plural)

    That and those (over in the distance) (as Demonstrative Adjectives)
    aquel/aquellos (masc singular/plural)
    aquella/aquellas (fem singular/plural)

    You can use these as pronouns in which case they take an accent so that:

    This and these (as Demonstrative Pronouns)
    éste/éstos (masculine singular/plural)
    ésta/éstas (feminine singular/plural)

    That and those (close by) (as Demonstrative Pronouns)
    ése/ésos (masculine singular/plural)
    ésa/ésas (feminine singular/plural)

    That and those (over in the distance) (as Demonstrative Pronouns)
    aquél/aquéllos (masculine singular/plural)
    aquélla/aquéllas (feminine singular/plural)

    These Spanish pronouns also have a neutral form where the gender of an object is not yet known. In this case the accent is dropped.

    e.g ¿Qué es esto? ... What is this?
    Eso es todo ... That is all.

    The neutral form is also used where the word 'this' or 'that' refers to an abstract idea.

    e.g eso no me gusta ... I don't like that (concept).


    Relative Pronouns

    More still on Spanish pronouns.Relative pronouns are 'which', 'that', 'whom' and 'who'.The relative pronoun for these words in Spanish is 'que.

    el coche que me gusta ... the car that I like.
    el sombrero que vendí ... the hat that I sold.
    la mujer que vi ... the woman that I saw.
    or (la mujer a quien vi).

    After prepositions, use el que, los que, la que, las que.

    or one can use (less commonly) el cual, la cual, los caules, las cuales.

    For people quien or quienes can be used.

    el chico con el que salí ... the boy with whom I went out.
    el chico con quien salí ... the boy with whom I went out.

    la calle por la que anduvo ... the street that he walked along.

    Even more still on Spanish pronouns - more on Relative Pronouns

    'Everything that' is todo lo que.

    'Whose' is cuyo, cuya, cuyos, cuyas with the pronoun agreeing with the noun that comes after it, not the person whose thing it is.

    los casas cuyas ventanas estan abiertas ... the houses whose windows are open.
    We hope this page on Spanish pronouns is of some benefit. It is quite a big topic that needs to learnt in several chunks.
    Top Learn how the Spanish pronouns are important for learning how to form Spanish verbs.




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