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Spanish Reflexive Verbs

Spanish Reflexive Verbs - Part I: General Concepts

The purpose of this mini-lesson is to give you a general idea about Spanish reflexive verbs. Although the best way to understand any grammar concept is to practice as much as possible, you first need to understand some general ideas.

Additionally, there are plenty of examples with audios to help you better understand the concepts and to practice your listening skills.

Spanish Reflexive Verbs

When the subject and direct object are the same in a sentence, the verb is reflexive. In other words, a reflexive verb is a verb in which the action is performed by and occurs to the subject of the verb. Also, we could say that a reflexive verb expresses that the subject of the sentence carried out an action on itself.

An easy way to recognize these verbs is to pay attention to how it ends. The infinitive form of reflexive verbs always end in -se.

Example
  • Mirarse → To look at yourself. 

The equivalence of these verbs in English are sometimes expressed by words like: to myself, to yourself, to herself, to himself, to itself, to ourselves, to themselves or to each other.

Example
  • Me miro en el espejo. → I look myself at the mirror. 

COMMON SPANISH REFLEXIVE VERBS

SpanishEnglish
Acostarse
To go to bed
Bañarse
To bathe
Despertarse
To wake up
Dormirse
To fall asleep
Ducharse
To take a shower
Levantarse
To get up
Olvidarse
To forget
Peinarse
To brush one's hair
To comb
Vestirse
To get dressed

RECIPROCAL VERBS

Some of these reflexive verbs are reciprocal verbs. Such verbs express an action that is performed on one another or each other.

Example
  • ¿Ustedes se conocen/vosotros os conocéis? → Do you know each other? 

PRONOMINAL VERBS

In addition, some verbs are always conjugated with a reflexive pronoun, even if they do not have a reflexive meaning. They are called pronominal verbs.

Example
  • Atreverse  → To dare. 
  • Quejarse  → To complain.

Reflexive Pronouns

Abreviations: Reflexive pronouns (REFL. PRON.).

SUBJECTREFL. PRON.
Yo
Me (myself)
Te (yourself)
Él/ella/Ud.
Se (himself, herself, itself, yourself)
Nosotros/as
Nos (ourselves)
Vosotros/as
Os (yourselves, each other)
Ellos/as/Uds.
Se (themselves, yourselves, each other)

Reflexive Pronoun Placement

BEFORE THE CONJUGATED VERB

Example
  • Él se ducha. → He takes a shower. 

BEFORE OR AFTER THE IMPERATIVE

Example
  • ¡No te duches!  → (You) do not take a shower!  
  • ¡Dúchate! → (You) take a shower! 

BEFORE THE AUXILIARY VERBS OR ATTACHED TO THE END OF THE MAIN VERB

Example
  • Voy a ducharme. → I am going to take a shower. 
  • Me voy a duchar. → I am going to take a shower. 

Final Thoughts

Hopefully this post helps you understand the main concepts about Spanish reflexive verbs.

I advise you to practice with the examples here and try to make up some others on your own.

If you want to continue learning about Spanish reflexive verbs, check here the list of the most common ones with multiple meanings.

If you want, I can help you practice with these verbs by using them while having a conversation during our online Spanish conversation classes.

Additionally, we can practice in the comment section below by answering the following questions:

  • ¿A qué hora te vas a levantar mañana?
  • ¿Te acuestas pronto normalmente?

Hola and hi, I am Inés and I am the author of all the posts in the ConvoSpanish blog. My goal is to offer free content for people to practice their Spanish. Creating and maintaining the blog takes a lot of my free time however, due to my love of sharing Spanish with you, I will keep adding and updating the content in the blog. If you like the content of this post and believe that it helps you, please consider donating. I need coffee to keep me going while creating the posts. Aren´t they worth at least a cup of coffee? 😛 Any amount is appreciated. Donations will be used to support the free blog.


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