Spanish personal pronouns / Los pronombres personales en español




Learn easy Spanish pronouns. Visit www.soeasyspanish.com




1. Definition
2. Subject personal pronouns
3. Unstressed personal pronouns
4. Stressed personal pronouns







     1. Definition



Personal pronouns replace people, animals or things. They change according to their function in the sentence and agree with the noun they refer to in gender and number.


There are three types of personal pronouns depending on the person (or animal or thing referred to):


Type                Description

1st person
The person who is speaking (I, me, we…)
2nd person
The person who is addressed (you)
3rd person
The person who is spoken about (he, she, them…)




2. Subject personal pronouns



Subject personal pronouns agree with the verb in person and number. Verb endings usually indicate who the subject is. Because of this, subject personal pronouns are widely omitted in Spanish. They are stressed personal pronouns (see below).


These pronouns can also be a complement of the verb ser (to be). This complement is also called predicate (predicado):


¿Quién llama? Soy yo.                                   Who’s ringing? It’s me.



The following chart shows the Spanish subject personal pronouns:




Spanish
English

Masculine
Feminine
Masculine
Feminine
1st person (sg)
yo
I
2nd person (sg)
tú, usted (formal)
you
3rd person (sg)
él
ella
he
she
1st person (pl)
nosotros
nosotras
we
2nd person (pl)
vosotros,
ustedes (formal)
vosotras,
ustedes (formal)
you
3rd person (pl)
ellos
ellas
they




Él es mi mejor amigo.                           He is my best friend.

Ella corre muy rápido.                          She runs very fast.

Usted es el siguiente.                           You are next.
   

  
Usted, ustedes  are an exception to the agreement with the verb. They are 2nd person pronouns, but they agree with the 3rd person verb form.


In some places, they are used instead of the other 2nd person pronouns.  But it is safer the standard use; you are going to be understood everywhere.


Sr. Pérez, usted tiene la palabra.               Mr. Pérez, you have the floor.

¿De dónde son ustedes?                                Where are you from?



There is no neuter personal pronoun equivalent to “it”. If you refer to a thing or an idea, there are two options (not always interchangeable):


·         Not using personal pronoun.
·         Using the neuter demonstrative pronouns: esto, eso, aquello.



¡Hola! Soy yo.                                       Hello! It’s me.

¡Esto es increíble!                                 It’s incredible!

¿Qué es eso? Es un gato.                        What’s that/it? It’s a cat.



    3. Unstressed personal pronouns



The unstressed personal pronouns can act as direct objects (DO, they are directly affected by the action of the verb) or indirect objects (IO, they are the recipient of the action of the verb).


They come after, before or attached to the verb, without preposition.


Pronominal verbs always carry a personal pronoun (there is no syntactic role in this case).


Pronouns can also be reflexive (the action returns to the speaker, directly or indirectly). 



BAD NEWS: These pronouns are very difficult to learn by English speakers, because in Spanish they are quite different. To make their learning a bit easier, I have prepared a chart and some simple examples:




Spanish
English

Function
Masculine
Feminine
Neuter
Masculine
Feminine
Neuter
1st p.sg.
DO / IO
me
me
2nd p.sg.
DO / IO
te
you
3rd p.sg.
DO
lo
la
lo
him
her
it
IO
les, se

him
her
1st p.pl.
DO / IO
nos
us
2nd p.pl.
DO / IO
os
you
3rd p.pl.
DO
los
las
them
IO
les, se
them



Note: The use of le instead of lo for a masculine singular person is accepted, but I highly recommend avoiding it.



No busques el libro. Ya lo guardé.               Don’t look for the book. I already put it away.

Hay una niña allí. ¿La ves?                            There’s a girl over there. Can you see her?

Te los mandé ayer.                                      I sent them to you yesterday.

Os llamo después.                                        I’ll call you later.



Se, a third person pronoun, is used before another unstressed pronoun. It can refer to él / ella or usted / ustedes (see subject pronouns above):


El vuelo… ¿se lo reservo?                              The flight… do I book it for you?




Spanish reflexive pronouns are very similar to DO pronouns, save for the third person. They are the same for masculine and feminine:
   

1st p.sg.
me
1st p.pl.
nos
2nd p.sg.
te
2nd p.pl.
os
3rd p.sg.
se
3rd p.pl.
vos



Me peino.                                          I’m combing my hair.

Se está duchando.                             She is taking a shower.

¿Te cortas el pelo tú misma?              Do you cut your own hair?




There are some general order rules for unstressed personal pronouns.


In the following chart you will be introduced to verbs



Rule                                    Example

Before the verb: indicative, subjunctive o neg. imperative.
¡No lo cojas!   Don´t take it!
Attached to the verb ending: imperative; infinitive and gerund; rarely, subjunctive. * These words follow general accent rules.
¡Cógelo!          Take it!
Comiéndolo.    Eating it.
Verb phrase (conjugated verb form + infinitive / gerund / participle): pronouns can usually come before the conjugated verb or attached to the second verb ending. *For Spanish learners, the last option is the safest.
Lo voy a ver/Voy a verlo.
I’m going to see it/him.
Te lo estoy diciendo/Estoy diciéndotelo.
I’m telling you.
Pronoun order:  se + 2nd p. + 1st p. + 3rd p.
*Indirect object pronoun precedes direct object pronouns.
No te me hagas el sordo.
Don’t pretend you didn’t hear me.



4. Stressed personal pronouns




Stressed personal pronouns are the subject and predicate pronouns (see point 2), as well as other pronouns, always preceded by a preposition (invariable word that introduces other sentence elements). The latest are shown in the following chart:





Spanish
English

Masculine
Feminine
Neuter
Masculine
Feminine
Neuter
1st p.sg.
me
2nd p.sg.
ti, usted (formal)
you
3rd p.sg.
él
ella
ello
him
her
it
1st p.pl.
nosotros
nosotras
us
2nd p.pl.
vosotros
vosotras
you
3rd p.pl.
ellos
ellas
them
(reflexive)
himself
herself
itself



¿Esto es para mí?                                     Is this for me?

Lo hago por vosotros.                              I’m doing it for you.

Ese libro es de él.                                   That book is his.

Nos vamos sin usted.                               We are leaving without you.

Habló para sí.                                               

He/she talked to himself / herself.



When the preposition con (with) accompanies the prononuns mí, ti, and sí, it is attached to them: conmigo, contigo and consigo:


¡Ven conmigo!                                              Come with me!

No quiero hablar contigo.                             I don’t want to talk to you.



The neuter pronoun ello (it) has a very restricted use in Spanish. Be especially careful not to use it as subject pronoun (dated, rarely used).


If the preposition a is used with a pronoun or a noun, then the equivalent unstressed personal pronoun must be mentioned in the sentence:



Le he contado todo a ella/Alicia.          I have told her/Alicia everything.




Subscribe to So easy Spanish!


Enter your email address: