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Spanish subject pronouns

16 Aug, 2017 Popular Articles, Spanish for Beginners
Spanish subject pronouns3 votes. 4.83 / 5

A subject pronoun is a personal pronoun used as the subject of a verb. It's a pronoun that identifies who or what is performing the action of a verb. Spanish pronouns are used much like their English counterparts. However, there are still some twists.

Spanish subject pronouns

The table below shows a list of subject pronouns in Spanish.

Subject pronouns

EnglishPersonNumber/GenderFormality
yoIfirst personsingular 
nosotroswefirst personplural/masculine 
nosotraswefirst personplural/feminine 
yousecond personsingularinformal
vosyousecond personsingularinformal
ustedyousecond personsingularformal
ustedesyou allsecond personpluralformal in Spain, both informal and informal in Latin America)
vosotrosyou allsecond personplural/masculineinformal (Spain)
vosotrasyou allsecond personplural/feminineinformal (Spain)
élhethird personsingularmasculine
ellashethird personsingularfeminine
ellostheythird personpluralmasculine
ellastheythird personplural feminine

Spanish subject pronounsSubject pronouns in Spanish

Yo

Use "yo" to say "I" in Spanish. It isn't necessary to capitalize yo unless it starts a sentence.

For example:

Yo hablo español - I speak Spanish

Mi mamá y yo fuimos a la tienda - My mom and I went to the store

Tú/Vos/Usted

Unlike in English, Spanish has both formal and informal form of the word "you". While "tú" is used when you are talking to a friend, a child, or a relative, etc, "usted" is used to address someone older, a superior, a person you do not know, or someone you respect.

See also: Tú vs. Usted

Vos is also informal singular second person form. It is used instead of "tú" in some countries such as Costa Rica, Argentina, Uruguay, Paraguay, etc.

Él/Ella

Él and ella are used to say he/she in English. They are often used in place of a person's name.

Nosotros/Nosotras

Nostros and nosotras are used to say "We" in English. They are used when you want to speak about a group of which you're a part. The main difference between these two subject pronouns is gender.

While "nosotros" is used to refer to a group of men only or a mixed group of men and women, "nosotras" is used only when the entire group is female. Even if there are nine women and only one man in a group, the group is still considered masculine. And nosotros should be used. So regarless of the size of a group, if it includes just one male, use nosotros.

Vosotros/Vosotras/Ustedes

Vosotros and vosotras are the informal plural "you". However, they are used primarily in Spain. You won't hear them in Latin America. They follow the same rules for gender as nosotros and nosotras.

Ustedes is used in both formal and informal situations to mean "you all" in Latin America. However, in Spain, ustedes is used only in a formal situation.

Ellos/Ellas

Ellos and ellos are used to say "they" in Spanish. The same gender rules in nosotros and nosotras also apply.

In Spanish, subject pronouns can be ommitted while they are required in English. This is because Spanish verb endings show you who the subject is. So they are primarily used for emphasis or clarity.

See also: