1. Subject pronouns (pronombres usados como sujetos)




    yo   I nosotros, nosotras   we
    you (familiar) vosotros, vosotras you (familiar, Spain)
    usted you (formal) ustedes you
    él he ellos they (masc.)
    ella she ellas they (fem.)

    Note the accent marks over [to distinguish it from tu meaning “your”] and él [to distinguish it from el meaning “the”].

    Subject pronouns are used as the subject of a verb (the verb may be implied); they are also used as the predicate complement after the verb ser.

    Yo prefiero coca-cola.     I prefer Coca-cola.
    ¿Es ella? Is it her? [Is it she?]
    —¿Quién lo hizo? —Yo. Who did it? I did. [implied verb]

    The vosotros form is used as the plural of in Spain; in Latin America ustedes is used as the second person plural, both familiar and plural.

    ¿Cómo estáis vosotros?   How are you all doing? (Spain, familiar)
    ¿Cómo están ustedes? How are you all doing? (Spain, formal plural;
    Latin America, both formal and familiar plural)

    The masculine forms nosotros, vosotros, and ellos are used when referring to a group of males and females; the feminine forms nosotras, vosotras, and ellas are used only when the group consists entirely of females.

    Nosotras estamos cansadas.     We are tired. (all female)

    In English the subject pronoun “it” is used very frequently. If “it” is indefinite —that is, if it doesn't refer back to anything at all— it is NOT expressed in Spanish. YOU CANNOT USE LO AS THE SUBJECT OF A VERB since it is not a subject pronoun but rather a direct object pronoun (or the neuter article used with adjectives). If “it” or its plural form “they” is used as a subject pronoun referring to something definite, it is normally omitted in Spanish; however, if for some reason it is essential to include such a subject pronoun, it is sometimes expressed using: 1) the regular masculine/feminine, singular/plural subject pronouns depending on the gender and number of the thing(s) referred to [this is done primarily where the thing can be personified], or 2) the neuter form ello if “it” refers to an abstract idea or a general situation instead of something physical.

    Es obvio que está nevando.      It's obvious that it is snowing. [“It” in both cases is indefinite, and not expressed in Spanish.]
    ¿Los libros? Están allá. The books? They're over there. [“They” is usually omitted in Spanish in this case.]
    Mis hijos dicen que las flores son un regalo de Dios. Ellas nos traen color y alegría. My children say that flowers are a gift from God. They bring us color and happinesss. [Ellas can be used here—- but it could and often would be omitted.]
    Jorge perdió el billete que Juana le dio. Ello causó toda una serie de infortunios para la familia. Jorge lost the ticket Juana gave him. It [his having lost it] caused a whole series of disasters for the family. [Ello can be used here, but esto, eso or aquello would more be employed more frequently.]

  2. Prepositional object pronouns




      me nosotros, nosotras     us
    ti you vosotros, vosotras you (familiar, Spain)
    usted you (fam.) ustedes you
    él him (formal) ellos them
    ella her ellas them (all female)


    These pronouns are used as objects of prepositions. They are identical to the subject pronouns except for , ti and . Note that has a written accent mark to distinguish it from mi meaning “my”; the same applies to , as opposed to si meaning “if”. The form, ti, does NOT have an accent mark.


    ¿Es para él o para ella?     Is it for him or for her?
    No saldrán sin nosotros. They won't leave without us.
    A me gusta el chocolate. I like chocolate.

    Special cases:

    Special forms are found for , ti, and after the preposition con:

    conmigo    with me    ¿Vas conmigo?    Are you going with me?
    contigo with you; fam. sing. Me gustaría salir contigo. I'd like to go out with you.
    consigo with himself/ herself/ yourself No traen dinero consigo. You/they don't bring money with yourselves/ themselves.

    A very few prepositions are followed by subject pronouns. These include entre (between), según (according to), salvo (except), excepto (except), and hasta (until, up to).

    Entre y yo, no es verdad.    Between to you and me, it's not true.
    Según , todo el mundo sabe lo que pasó anoche. According to you, everyone knows what happened last night.

  3. Direct object pronouns (pronombres de complemento directo)



    me   me              nos   us
    te you os you (fam. Spain)
    lo him, you, it los them, you
    la her, you, it las them, you

    se himself/herself/yourself/themselves/yourselves

    These forms are used as the direct objects of verbs. Lo and la are used as the direct object forms of usted, los and las for ustedes. THESE FORMS MUST BE USED IF A PRONOUN IS REQUIRED FOR THE DIRECT OBJECT AND THE VERB IS EXPRESSED. A prepositional phrase (e.g., a él, a ella, a usted) is sometimes added for clarity or for emphasis, primarily in spoken Spanish.

    ¿Me oyes?    Do you hear me?
    Te necesito. I need you.
    Lo conozco. I know him. Or: I know you (masculine formal usted). Or: I am familiar with it.
    Lo conozco a él. I know him.
    Lo conozco a usted. I know you.
    Yo me miro en el espejo. I look at myself in the mirror.
    El se quiere mucho. He loves himself a lot.
    Ustedes se matan. You are killing yourselves.

    Note that these are with-verb forms, and cannot be used if the verb is only implied; in that case, the prepositional phrase forms are required: a él, a ella, etc.

    ¿A quién vio Ud.? ¿A ella?    Who(m) did you see? Her? (verb implied)
    No, a él. No, him.

  4. Indirect object pronouns (pronombres de complemento indirecto)




    me   to me nos   to us
    te to you os to you (familiar, Spain)
    le to him, her, you, it les to them, you

    se to himself/herself/yourself/themselves/yourselves

    These pronouns are used as the indirect objects of verbs. As with direct object pronouns, they are required when the indirect object is a pronoun (in contrast to a noun) but a prepositional phrase may be added for clarification or emphasis.

    ¿Me hablas?     Are you talking to me?
    ¿Me hablas a mí? Are you talking to me? [a mí added for emphasis]
    Le dije la verdad. I told him/her/you the truth.
    Le dije la verdad a ella. I told her the truth. [A ella added for clarification since le can mean “him” or “you”.]

    Since these are with-verb pronouns they cannot be used if the verb is only implied. The preposition a plus prepositional object pronouns are used in such cases:

    ¿A quién hablas? ¿A mí?    Who are talking to? (To) Me?
    Sí, a tí. Yes, (to) you.

    In contrast to the situation with direct object pronouns, indirect object pronouns are normally used even when a noun is expressed as the indirect object:

    Veo a Carlos.     I see Carlos. [Carlos is the direct object; lo is not added]
    Le mando un regalo a Carlos. I'm sending a present to Carlos.
    Les escribo a todos. I write (to) everyone.

    Special situations:

    When parts of the body and articles of clothing appear as the direct object in Spanish, normally the definite article is used instead of the possessive adjective (my, your, his); an indirect object pronoun is used to indicate the person involved:

    Me pongo los zapatos.     I put on my shoes.
    Ella se cortó el dedo. She cut her finger.
    Les duelen los brazos. Their arms hurt.

  5. Position of object pronouns

    Object pronouns normally occur immediately before the verb. However, if the verb is an affirmative command, an infinitive, or a gerund (-ndo form), the object pronouns are attached to the end of the verb form. Note that when pronouns are appended to a verb a written accent mark is necessary when the stressed syllable is more than two syllables from the end of the word.

    No lo veo.     I don't see it.
    ¡No me digas nada! Don't say anything to me!
    ¡Háblenos usted! Talk to us!
    Favor de darme el libro. Please give me the book.
    ¿Qué estás haciendo? What are you doing?
    Quitándome el suéter. Taking off my sweater.

    If the verb form consists of a conjugated verb and either an infinitive or an -ndo form, the user has the option of placing the object pronouns before the conjugated verb or attaching them to the end of the unconjugated one.

    Voy a verlo.     I'm going to see him/you/it. (masculine)
    Lo voy a ver.
    Estamos buscándola. We're looking for her/you/it. (feminine)
    La estamos buscando.

  6. Double object pronouns

    When both a direct and an indirect object pronoun occur with the same verb, the indirect object pronoun always comes first. If the letter l occurs as the first letter of both the indirect object pronoun (le, les) and the direct object pronoun (lo, la, los, las), the indirect object pronoun is changed to se.

    Ya nos lo dijeron.     They already told (it to) us.
    Véndamelos. Sell them to me!
    le lo:   Se lo di a ella. I gave it to her.
    les la: Se la mandé a ellos. I sent it to them.
    le los: Se los regalaremos. We will give them to him/her.

  7. Interrogative pronouns (pronombres interrogativos)

     ¿Quién?, ¿Quiénes? .................................   Who? (used as a subject pronoun; note that a plural form exists)
           ¿Quién rompió la ventana? Who broke the window?
    ¿Quiénes van contigo? Who (all) is going with you?
    ¿A quién?, ¿A quiénes? Who(m)? (used as an indirect or direct object pronoun)
    ¿A quién ves en el espejo? Whom do you see in the mirror?
    ¿A quiénes debemos emplear? Whom (all) should we hire?
    ¿Qué? ........................................................ What? (when asking for information, e.g., the definition or identification of something)
    ¿Qué es esto? What is this (thing)?
    ¿Qué hace usted? What are you doing?
    ¿Qué quiere decir “anda? What does “anda” mean?
    ¿Cuál?, ¿Cuáles? ...................................... Which one(s)?, What? (which one out of two or more possibilities; note the uses below, some of which do NOT use ¿Qué? as you might have expected.)
    ¿Cuál prefieres? ¿El rojo? Which one do you prefer? The red one?
    ¿Cuál es tu número de teléfono? What is your phone number?
    ¿Cuál es su lugar de nacimiento? What is your place of birth?
    ¿Cuál es su nacionalidad? What is her nationaliity?

  8. Demonstrative pronouns (pronombres demostrativos)




    éste   this one éstos   these
    ésta this one éstas these
    esto this
    ése that one ésos those
    ésa that one ésas those
    eso that
    aquél that one aquéllos those
    aquélla that one aquéllas those
    aquello that

    Demonstrative pronouns point out something (this, these, that, those). In English, we usually just make two distinctions: between this thing (close by) and that thing (in the distance, or close to the person spoken to). In Spanish, three distinctions are usually made: éste (this thing close by), ése (that thing close to the person spoken to) and aquél (that thing in the distance). You will recall that the demonstrative adjectives (este libro, esa mesa, etc.) do NOT carry accent marks; the use of accent marks on these pronoun forms is considered optional in some grammar books, but use them for in this class.

    Neuter demonstrative pronouns also exist: esto (this thing), eso (that thing, near the person spoken to), aquello (that thing in the distance). These neuter never carry a written accent mark. They are used to refer to something unknown (as in the first sentence below), or to refer to a general situation, or an abstract concept or something said earlier (as in the last example below).

    ¿Qué es eso?      What's that [in your hand]?
    Esto es un reloj. This is a watch.
    Y éste es mi reloj favorito. And this is my favorite watch.
    Se parece mucho a aquél allá en la joyería. It looks a lot like that one over there in the jewelry store.
    Eso es ridículo. That [what you just said] is ridiculous.

    The demonstrative pronoun éste/a can be used for “latter” and ése/a or aquél/la for “former” (Note that in English the order is usually “the former ... the latter”, whereas in Spanish it is usually the other way around: ésta... ésa...).

    Juanita y Marta son amigas, pero Juanita and Martha are friends,
    son muy distintas; a ésta le gusta but they are very different;
    leer, mientras que ésa prefiere the former prefers to watch TV,
    ver la tele. while the latter likes to read.
    (Note that the order in which the two girls are subsequently described is reversed in the two versions.)

  9. Miscellaneous other pronouns and related expressions

    alguien  = someone, anyone   nadie  =  no one, nobody
    algo  =  something, anything            nada    =  nothing

    cada uno(-a)  =  each (one)
    todo el mundo  =  everyone
    quienquiera  =  anyone (at all)
    cualquiera  =  anything (whatsoever)

    Remember that the pronoun forms referring to people [such as alguien and nadie] require the use of the personal a when occurring as the direct object of a verb. Also keep in mind the rule for forming negative sentences: one negative word must occur in front of the verb (others may follow the verb).

    ¿Buscas a alguien?      Are you looking for someone?
    No. Yo no necesito a nadie. No. I don't need anyone.
    No veo nada aquí de interés. I don't see anything interesting here.
    Puedo mostrarle algo maravilloso. I can show you something marvelous.
    —¿Quién pagaría $30 por esa pluma? Who would pay $30 for that pen?
    —Quienquiera. Anybody (would).

  10. Reciprocal vs. reflexive pronouns: “ourselves” vs. “each other”

    The plural direct and indirect object pronouns nos, os, and se can of course be used reflexively to mean “ourselves”, “yourselves”, and “themselves”; in this case the “doer” and the recipient of the action are the same. These same plural forms may also be used to express reciprocal actions, expressing the idea of “(to/with/for/etc.) each other” or “one another”. Thus the expression nos miramos can mean both “we see ourselves” (for example, two of us are looking in the mirror and each of us sees both of us) or it can mean “we see each other” (we pass each other on the street and each one sees the other one). To distinguish between reflexive and reciprocal actions, clarifying prepositional phrases are often added:

    The usual clarifying prepositional phrases for reflexives, are:

    nos + a nosotros(-as) mismos(-as)  =  (to) ourselves
    os + a vosotros(-as) mismos(-as)  =  (to) yourselves (Spain, plural of )
    se + a sí mismos(-as)  =  (to) themselves, (to) you

    Nos queremos a nosotros mismos.     We love ourselves.
    Las chicas se cayeron y se hicieron daño a si mismas. The girls fell down and hurt themselves.

    For reciprocals, you may use as a clarifyer mutuamente or one of the following:

    (el) uno a(l) otro  =  (to) each other (two persons, male or one male and one female)
    (la) una a la otra  =  (to) each other (two persons, both female)
    (los) unos a (los) otros  =  (to) each other (more than two persons male or all male or male and female)
    (las) unas a (las) otras  =  (to) each other (more than two persons, all female)

    [Note: The definite article is optional. The preposition a is used in these samples, but is often replaced by other prepositions depending on individual sentence; see the use of con below.]

    Ella y yo nos queremos el uno al otro. She and I love each other.
    Ellas se enojaron y se hicieron daño unas a otras. The girls got angry and hurt each other.
    Carmen y los chicos charlaban unos con los otros. Carmen and the boys were chatting with one another.


[S210 Main Page]

See also: Pronouns (chart)

Contact: Fred F. Jehle


Indiana University - Purdue University Ft. Wayne
Fort Wayne, IN 46805-1499 USA