Online Spanish Grammar Course

Reflexive Verbs and Reflexive Pronouns

This Spanish Grammar online topic covers Reflexive Verbs and Reflexive Pronouns. In Spanish, a verb

is considered reflexive if the subject (the performer of the action) and the object (the receiver of the action)

are the same.

 

Here’s an example of a reflexive verb being used in English:

 

I wash myself.

 

In the above sentence the verb “wash” is considered reflexive because the subject or the

one performing the action (“I”) and the object or the one receiving the action (“myself”)

are the same. On the other hand, if I said “I wash the baby,” the verb “wash” is no longer

reflexive because  the subject or the one performing the action (“I”) and the object or the

one receiving the action (“baby”) are not the same.

 

Spanish reflexive verbs consist of a verb and a reflexive pronoun.

The following are reflexive pronouns or objects of reflexive verbs.

 

            me        myself

            te         yourself (tú form)

            se         yourself (usted form)

            nos       ourselves

            se         themselves, yourselves

 

When there is just one verb in the sentence, the reflexive pronoun must come before the reflexive verb. 

 

            Me baño.

            I wash myself

 

However, when there are two verbs in the sentence, the reflexive pronoun either

comes right before the first verb or follows the second verb.

 

            Quiero bañarme.

            I want to wash myself.

 

            Me quiero bañar.

            I want to wash myself.

 

Here are some examples using reflexive verbs.

 

           

            Me afeito

I shave myself

 

            Te duchas

            You take a shower

 

            Se llama Juan

            He calls himself John

 

            Nos dormimos

            We fall asleep

 

            No nos sentamos

            We don’t sit down

 

            Se enojan

            They get mad

 

            Se levantan

            All of you get up 

           

            Te cepillas los dientes

            You brush your teeth.

 

Literally, “los dientes” means “the teeth” and not “your teeth.” Since we are using the reflexive

pronoun “te” it is obvious whose teeth we are talking about.

 

Here some common reflexive verbs in Spanish.

 

            acostarse                      to go to bed

            afeitarse                        to shave oneself

            bañarse                        to bathe oneself

            casarse (con alguien)     to get married, to marry someone

cepillarse                      to brush oneself

            despertarse (ie)             to wake up

            desvestirse (i)               to get undressed

            divertirse (ie)                to enjoy oneself

            dormirse (ue)                to fall asleep

            ducharse                       to take a shower

            enfermarse                    to get sick

            lavarse                          to wash oneself

            levantarse                     to get up

            llamarse                        to be named, to be called

            mirarse                         to look at oneself

            peinarse                        to comb (one’s hair)

            quitarse (la ropa)          to takeoff (one’s clothes)

            secarse                         to dry one’s self

            sentarse (ie)                  to sit down

            sentirse (ie)                   to feel  

            vestirse (i)                     to get dressed

 

 

Now let’s try a few exercises. Translate the following into Spanish. The answers follow the questions.

 

  1. My name is Patrick
  2. You brush your hair every evening. (Use “tu” form)
  3. You can wash your feet. (Use “tú” form)
  4. Do you take a shower or do you take a bath in the morning? (Use the “usted” form)
  5. He takes off his pants.
  6. We wash our hands before dinner.
  7.  The wake up very late.

 

 

 

  1. Me llamo Patrick.
  2. Te cepillas el pelo cada noche.
  3. Te puedes lavar los pies.  Puedes lavarte los pies.
  4. ¿Se ducha o se baña en la mañana?  
  5. Se quita los pantalones.
  6. Nos lavamos las manos antes de la cena.
  7. Se despiertan muy tarde.
  8.  


 

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