Spanish subject pronouns (A1)

Spanish subject pronouns

Subject pronouns (PRONOMBRES DE SUJETO) are pronouns that identify who or what is performing the action of a verb, below you can see the Spanish subject pronouns with their equivalents in English.

Learn everything about SPANISH SUBJECT PRONOUNS

Subject pronouns, how they work in Spanish

1. Unlike «I» in English, yo isn’t written with a capital letter, except when it starts a sentence.

2. TĂş (you) and Ă©l (he) have accents to distinguish them from tu (your) and el (the).

3. There are four words for you, each using a different verb ending:

  • TĂş: someone you call by the first name (informal)
  • Usted: someone you don’t know well, someone older than you (formal). In writing, it’s usually as abbreviated to Ud. or Vd., and the verb with it has the same ending as for el/ella( he/she).
  • Vosotros/vosotras: more than one person in a familiar situation. It is mainly used in Spain.
  • Ustedes: more than one person in a formal situation. In writing, it is usually abbreviated to Uds. or Vd. and the verb with it has the same ending as for ellos/ellas (they). In Latinamerica ustedes is used rather than vosotros/-as.

4. We can be the masculine nosotros or the feminine nosotras, depending on who’s talking. Similarly, who´s being addressed, the familiar plural you can be vosotros or vosotras. When these words relate to a mixed group of men and women, masculine forms are used. The same is true of ellos (they).

5. Spanish subject pronouns usually go before the verb, but in questions, they go after it: ÂżPagan ellos? (Are they paying?).

6. When it is used as the subject and when they refer to things, you never use a subject pronoun in Spanish: Es un cachorro (It is a puppy). Son botellas de cava (They’re bottles of cava).  There is a word for it: ello, but ello refers to a whole idea rather than to a noun and is mainly used only in formal written texts: No quiero hablar de ello (I don’t want to speak about it).

7. Subject pronouns are used much less than in English because the verb ending clearly shows who’s doing something. So they tend to be used mainly to contrast, emphasis or to avoid ambiguity:

Él trabaja en Buenos Aires, mientras que yo trabajo en Córdoba (He works in Buenos Aires while I work in Córdoba).

Nosotros no podemos ir pero tú sí (We can’t go but you can).

¿Cómo se llama usted? (What’s your name?).

¿Cómo se llama él? (What’s his name?).

8. For even greater emphasis, you can add mismo/a/os/as:

ÂżLo ha hecho ella misma? (Did she did it herself?).

Usted mismo lo ha visto (You yourself saw him).

9. Subject pronouns are also used in phrases like these:

Soy yo. (It is me).

¿Quién, tú? (Who, you?).

Nosotros también (Us too/So are/did we).

10. Subject pronouns change after a preposition (pronouns after a preposition).

11. Don’t mistake subject pronouns with reflexive pronouns:

Yo me ducho con agua frĂ­a y ella se ducha con agua caliente (I shower -myself- with cold water and she showers -herself- with hot water).

Subject pronouns exercises

Now you can practice everything you have learned with the quizzes below, you can click on the link to learn more about the personal pronouns.  Remember you can contact your tutor with any question you have. Don’t you have a Spanish personal tutor yet?

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