How to Use Vosotros When You Talk to Spanish Speakers
Vosotros is a personal pronoun that’s widely used in Spain, and it’s one of the main differences between Spanish speakers in America vs. Europe. As beginners, most Spanish students learn the three levels of formality, as well as appropriate situations to use the pronouns effectively. I think it’s about time we fleshed out the everyday use of vosotros!
As an English speaker, you’ve probably noticed how the accent is not the only thing that changes between the United States and the United Kingdom. Words and grammar are different too! The same happens in Latin America, where Mexicans, Guatemalans, all the way down to the Ushuaia Argentines have different accents and dialects, all shaped by the tongues of the indigenous tribes of each region.
Not surprisingly, Spain has a different way of approaching Spanish too, and since they’re the furthest away from Latin America, their differences are more notable. If you plan on visiting Spain at some point, it’s essential for you to learn about vosotros.
How to Use Vosotros and Ustedes
Both vosotros and ustedes act as plural forms of the second-person pronoun. Grammatically, they both mean “you all,” but if they’re accompanied by a verb, they require separate conjugations.
Each pronoun means “you all”:
- ¡Esas son buenas noticias para vosotros! — That ‘s good news for you guys!
- ¡Esas son buenas noticias para ustedes! — That ‘s good news for you guys!
Each pronoun’s verbs are conjugated differently:
- Vosotros representaréis a nuestro país en las Olimpiadas. — You’ll represent our country in The Olympics.
- Ustedes representarán a nuestro país en las olimpiadas. — You’ll represent our country in The Olympics.
Verb Conjugations with Vosotros and Ustedes
Being from Latin America myself, vosotros conjugations always sound strange to me. Even I have to practice at it to improve.
As you’ll see, the conjugations will change depending on which kind of verb you’re conjugating (ending on ar, er, ir) so we’ll look at all three. Let’s start by looking at the -ar ending:
Vosotros -ar conjugation: saltar
|Mode||Tense||Suffix||Example with “saltar”||Pronunciation|
Vosotros -er conjugation: correr
|Mode||Tense||Suffix||Example with “correr”||Pronunciation|
Vosotros -ir conjugation: abrir
|Mode||Tense||Suffix||Example with “abrir”||Pronunciation|
As you probably noticed, -er and -ir have similar conjugations, however, -ir can be complicated since you’ll find more irregular verbs when conjugating it than usual. Don’t worry, though, this example is a regular verb, you can talk about irregular verbs with your Spanish teacher!
Differences in Formality between Vosotros and Ustedes
As you probably know from reading our post on the three levels of formality in Spanish, usted is the right pronoun to use for formal settings, and when conveying respect too. The big difference here is that In Latin America, ustedes is used in both formal and informal settings. Vosotros, on the other hand, is the informal way of addressing others in second-person plural when you’re in Spain.
- Ustedes is both formal and informal in Latin America.
- Vosotros is informal and ustedes is formal in Spain.
Language is Strange
Here’s something interesting to think about: The word vosotros comes from two different words vos – otros. Vos is the informal version of “you” and otros adds plurality to the pronoun.
However, vos isn’t used in Spain anymore. It’s actually seen as an outdated form of Spanish, much like the pronoun “ye” in English.
Interestingly enough, in Latin America we use vos but not vosotros, while in Spain people use vosotros but not vos—even if both words have the same origin! Strange, right?
Object Pronoun of Vosotros
When using the vosotros pronoun, you’ll need to use os as the object pronoun.
For those of you who are familiar with the Spanish spoken in Latin America, we use the direct and indirect object pronoun les when in reference to ustedes, whereas in Spain they use the object pronoun os in reference to vosotros.
Like any other object pronoun, os can be attached to a word or separate depending on whether it comes before or after the verb:
Before the verb = separate
- Os traje un pastel. — I brought you a cake.
After the ver = attached
- Iba a llamaros antes del partido. — I was going to call you before the game.
Example Sentences with Vosotros
Now that you know the right conjugations and how to use the object pronoun for vosotros, let’s practice with some examples!
- Vosotros contáis con mi ayuda en todo momento. — You can count on my help at all times.
- Haced lo que pensáis que sea mejor para vosotros. — Do what you think is best for you.
- Vosotros venderíais más producto en el local cercano a la playa. — You would sell more product in the stall near the beach.
- ¿Tenéis lista la camioneta para nuestro viaje? — Do you have the truck ready for our trip?
- Si vosotros seguiríais practicando, os volveríais muy buenos. — If you keep practicing, you’d become quite skilled.
- ¿Vendráis a mi fiesta de cumpleaños? — Would you come to my birthday party?
- Os sugiero que traigáis traje de baño mañana. — I suggest you bring a swimsuit tomorrow.
Always Keep Practicing
Even though our teachers are Guatemalan, they’re experts in the Spanish language and know how to teach you vosotros conjugations and usage. If you want to get some extra practice, take a free class with us and you’ll be using vosotros faster than you can say the word “conjugate.” What other grammar topics would you like to learn about? Leave me a comment down below to let me know!
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