The Key to Reflexive Verbs in Spanish
We’ve all heard me or te when learning Spanish. “Me llamo [insert your name here]” is probably one of the first things we learn to say. But this me and te are neither the English me or the Spanish tea (tea in Spanish is té with a tilde!). Me, te, se, nos are the Spanish reflexive pronouns that accompany reflexive verbs. What are reflexive verbs, you ask? Well, keep reading and you’ll find out!
What are reflexive verbs?
We use a reflexive verb when we want to say that the subject in a sentence performs an action on itself. For example, in Spanish, you don’t shower, tú te duchas (you shower yourself). You see that the subject tú performs the action on itself. Now, if you use the verb as a non-reflexive verb, you perform the action on something or someone else other than yourself or a part of your body. Let’s see:
When using reflexive verbs, you will need a reflexive pronoun that matches the noun of the sentence that performs the action on itself. Let’s have a look at the reflexive pronouns:
Let’s check out how these look in sentences:
As you can see in the English translation, these are not actions directed toward ourselves, but to another object, so they are not reflexive! But, are there reflexive pronouns in English too? Yes! Let’s check them out to better understand their Spanish meaning:
Placement of Reflexive Pronouns
We place reflexive pronouns in a different part of the sentence, depending on how the verb is used:
Change in Meaning
Whenever we use verbs as reflexive verbs, the meaning of the verb changes slightly to refer to an action that the subject of a sentence performs on itself. With certain verbs, however, the change in meaning goes a lot further than that—it can completely alter the meaning.
Keep in mind that while it’s possible to turn most verbs into reflexive verbs, the meaning isn’t the same. In some cases, the meaning changes altogether. Let’s have a look at some verbs in which the meaning drastically changes when we use them as reflexive:
Of course, there are verbs that only exist in the form of reflexive verbs. We cannot use these verbs in a non-reflexive form, as they do not exist. Let’s check some of these out:
A Little Practice
Practice your reflexive pronouns with this short exercise. And don’t forget to book a FREE class today to practice even more with a qualified Spanish teacher. Study this guide and then start talking!
It’s always a good idea to practice as much as possible! Test yourself by building sentences with the following adjectives: