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Spanish reflexive verbs and pronouns

17 Apr, 2017 Popular Articles
Spanish reflexive verbs and pronouns 2 votes. 2.5 / 5

In the previous lesson, we've learnt about Spanish direct vs indirect object pronouns. Here in this article, we will show you the definition of Spanish reflexive verbs and reflexive pronouns, their usage, and examples of using reflexive verbs and pronouns in Spanish.

Spanish reflexive verbs and pronouns

1. Definition

Spanish reflexive verbs (verbo reflexive) : used to indicate that the subject of the sentence performs an action on itself – action you perform yourself.

Reflexive pronouns (pronombre reflexivo): used as part of a reflexive verb to indicate that someone/something performs an action on/for itself.

So in other words, if the subject in a sentence performs an action on itself, then the verb is considered to be reflexive, and the pronoun used to receive the action is reflexive. And the subject is the same as the object.

For example:

I wash myself - Yo me lavo

In this sentence, the subject “I” and the object “myself” are the same. So the verb “wash” is reflexive

2. Usage

Just like in English, 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).

The table below will show you different forms of Spanish reflexive pronouns and examples of using them in a sentence.

PersonSingular/Plural pronounsSpanishEnglish
First Personme (matches with yo) - singularMe lavoI wash myself
 nos (matches with nosotros) - pluralNos lavamosWe wash ourselves
Second Personte (matches with tú - informal) OR se (matches with usted - formal) - singularTe lavas Se lava

You wash yourself
 os (matches with vosotros) OR se (matches with ustedes) - pluralOs laváis/Se lavan

You (all) wash yourselves
Third personse (matches with él or ella) - singularSe lavaHe washes himself./She washes herself./It washes itself
 se (matches with ellos or ellas) - pluralSe lavanThey wash themselves


Spanish reflexive pronoun forms

    Forms of Spanish reflexive pronouns
  • Reflexive verbs require the use of reflexive pronouns to show that the subject is performing an action on herself/himself. So the direct object of the verb is this case is also the subject.

For example:

Nos sacamos los guantes - We take our gloves off

  • Spanish reflexive verbs can also be used to show an emotional response to something (sad, angry, happy, etc.)

For example:

Se aburre en la clase de matemáticas - He gets bored in math class

  • Spanish reflexive pronoun can also be used to add emphasis to a regular situation. And in this situation, it isn’t directly translated into English. Instead, it often means that the subject has done something more thoroughly/completely.

For example:

Me comí el pastel - I ate up the cake/I ate the whole cake

Spanish reflexive pronouns examples

Examples of Spanish reflexive verbs and pronouns

You may want to see Spanish relative pronouns and adjectives

3. Spanish list of common reflexive verbs

  • aburrirse (de) - to get bored (with)
  • alegrase - to be happy
  • enojarse - to get angry
  • enfermarse - to get sick
  • despertarse - to wake up
  • enojarse (con) - to get mad (at)
  • quitarse - to take off
  • acordarse de - to remember
  • afeitarse - to shave oneself
  • ponerse - to put on oneself
  • destaparse - to uncover
  • reponerse - to get better
  • acostarse - to go to bed
  • desvestirse - to get undressed
  • secarse - to dry off
  • afeitarse - to shave
  • disgustarse (de) - to become upset (about)
  • maquillarse - to put on makeup
  • sentarse - to sit down
  • alegrarse (de) - to be glad (about)
  • distraerse - to distract oneself
  • mirarse - to look at oneself
  • bañarse - to bathe
  • divertirse - to enjoy oneself
  • olvidarse (de) - to forget (about)
  • subirse - to get up
  • cepillarse - to brush
  • dormirse - to go to sleep
  • peinarse - to comb one's hair
  • taparse - to cover up oneself
  • convertirse en - to become
  • ducharse - to shower
  • torcerse - to twist
  • enfermarse - to become ill
  • probarse - to try on
  • vestirse - to get dressed
  • despedirse - to say good-bye
  • enloquecerse - to go crazy
  • ponerse - to put on
  • volverse - to become

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