Spanish reflexive verbs and pronouns

Do you know what reflexive verbs are?  Sometimes you will have to talk about things you do to yourself – Like «washing yourself» or «getting yourself up» in the morning. It sounds weird in English but in Spanish, we do it all the time and this is what we call a reflexive verbs

Understanding reflexive verbs in Spanish

Ready to watch the video and learn everything about reflexive verbs? Take a pencil and paper and write down everything you find relevant, remember that you can stop and replay the video as many times as you want.

«Se» means «oneself». You can tell which verbs need «self» by checking in the dictionary those verbs ending in «se»: «to get washed» in the dictionary will be «lavarse«.  There are lots of these verbs, but here are the ones you really should know:

 

acostarse (to go to bed)sentirse (to feel)despertarse (to wake up)
vestirse (to get dressed)levantarse (to get up)llamarse (to be called)
 irse (to go away) ponerse (to put on)ducharse (to have a shower)

 

Spanish reflexive pronouns

Here are all the different ways to say «self», what we call reflexive pronouns:

Reflexive

The reflexive pronoun normally precedes the verb:

  • ¿Te sientes mal? (Do you feel ill?)
  • No me despierto temprano (I don’t wake up early).
  • Tomás siempre se acuesta a las 23:00 (Tomás always goes to bed at 23:00).

Even when you want to use reflexive verbs in the present perfect tense, put the reflexive pronouns (e.g. me, te…) in front of the auxiliary verb:

  • Me he puesto la chaqueta (I’ve put on my jacket).

Reflexive pronouns with infinitive, gerund or imperative affirmative

Nevertheless, the reflexive pronouns -like the object pronouns– it is added to the end of affirmative imperatives, gerunds, and infinitives:

  • ¡Levántante(Get up!).
  • Está divirtiéndose (She’s enjoying herself).
  • Fueron a Las Vegas para casarse (They went to Las Vegas to get married).

Use "se" to make impersonal phrases

The reflexive pronoun «se» is often used in front of a verb that’s not reflexive to make it impersonal. It is like saying «one does something» in English. The verb has to be in the «he/she/it» form.

  • ¿Se puede comer afuera? (Can one eat outside?).
  • Se vive muy bien en esta ciudad ( Life is good in this city).
  • Se debe trabajar mucho para tener éxito (One should work hard to be succesful).
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