Reflexive Pronouns and Verbs / Pronombres y Verbos Reflexivos
Reflexive Verbs: Are actions that happen to the subject of a sentence. In a reflexive sentence, the reflexive verb has the same subject and direct object.
- (yo) Lavé el coche – I washed the car. (In this case “lavé” is not a reflexive verb, because the verb has as direct object the noun “coche” and as subject the person “Yo”. Note that the direct object and the subject are not the same, thus the verb “lavar” in this particular sentence is not reflexive.)
- (yo) Me lavé – I washed myself. (In this case “lavé” is a reflexive verb, because the verb has as direct object the noun “me” and as subject the person “Yo”. Note that the reflexive verb’s action happens to the same person – “Yo” and not to somebody or to something else.) Since “lavé” is a reflexive verb, the complement “me” is a reflexive pronoun.
The infinitive form of a reflexive verb ends in “se” For example – levantarse – to get up. But when conjugating those verbs you just need to drop the complement “se” and see if the verb ends in ar, er or ir and conjugated it normally positioning the reflexive pronoun, that you’ll learn ahead, adequately.
Levantarse – to get up – the verb is conjugated as a verb ending in ar (levantar)
Usually personal actions are reflexive. Read the examples below.
- Despertarse – to wake up
- Acostarse – to go to bed
- Lavarse – to wash
- Levantarse – to get up
- Peinarse – to comb
- Secarse – to dry
- Vestirse – to dress
- Quitarse – to take off
- Bañarse – to take a bath
In the chart below, you’ll see the reflexive pronouns used along with reflexive verbs. Click on the arrow to listen how to pronounce the word in Spanish.
|Él / Ud||Himself / Yourself – formal||Se|
|Ella / Ud||Herself / Yourself- formal||Se|
|Nosotros / Nosotras||Ourselves||Nos|
|Ellos/ ellas / Uds||Themselves / yourselves – formal||Se|
- Despertarse – to wake up – it must be conjugates as a verb ending in ar – despertar.
Look how the verb despertarse is conjugated in the present tense, and do not forget to observe how the reflexive pronouns are used.
- (yo) Me despierto temprano. – I wake up early.
- (tú)Te despiertas temprano. – You wake up early.
- María se despierta temprano.- María wakes up early.
- José se despierta temprano – José wakes up early.
- (nosotros)Nos despertamos temprano. We wake up early.
- José y María se despiertan temprano. José y María wake up early.
As you could observe, the reflexive pronouns are used before the conjugated verb. But when the verb is in its infinitive or progressive forms the pronoun is usually attached to the verb.
1. Does María wake up early?
¿María se despierta temprano? (In this example “se” is used before the verb, because the verb is conjugated)
2. Is María waking up early?
¿María está despertandose temprano? (In this example the verb is in its progressive form (ending in ando), so the reflexive pronoun “se” is used attached to the verb).
3. Is María going to wake up early?
¿María va a despertarse temprano? (In this example the verb is in its infinitive form (ending in ar), so the reflexive pronoun “se” is attached to the verb)