Appendix:Spanish pronouns

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Personal pronouns[edit]

Inflection[edit]

  nominative objective reflexive
Person No Gender subject direct object indirect object prepositional object con + form 1 plain
1st sg   yo me me conmigo me
2nd (familiar) 2 sg   vos te, os 7, vos te, os 7, vos vos con vos te, os 7, vos
2nd (familiar) sg   te te ti contigo te
2nd (formal) sg   usted, vusted 3   se usted, vusted consigo, con usted se
3rd sg m él le, lo le, se 4 él consigo, con él se, 5
3rd sg f ella la le, se 4 ella consigo, con ella se, 5
3rd sg n ello lo le, se 4 ello consigo se, 5
1st pl m, c nosotros nos nos nosotros con nosotros nos
1st pl f nosotras nos nos nosotras con nosotras nos
2nd (familiar, is used only in Spain) pl m, c vosotros os os vosotros con vosotros os
2nd (familiar) pl f vosotras os os vosotras con vosotras os
2nd 6 pl   ustedes, vustedes 3   se ustedes, vustedes consigo, con ustedes se
3rd pl m, c ellos los les, se 4 ellos consigo, con ellos se
3rd pl f ellas las les, se 4 ellas consigo, con ellas se
1 Most personal pronouns compound with the preposition con, but the meaning varies with grammatical person (see below).
2 Use of the vos forms is restricted to portions of Latin America. In several countries voseo is considered non-standard.
3 The 2nd person formal usted and ustedes take verbs conjugated in the third person.
4 The form se is used in place of le before the 3rd person direct object pronouns lo and la.
5 Use of the form is always accompanied by a preposition.
6 In Spain (except Andalucia), ustedes is formal; elsewhere, it is neither specifically formal nor specifically informal.
7 The use of os as the object form of vos is rare.

Usage[edit]

Nominative forms[edit]

Nominative forms of Spanish pronouns function as the subject of a sentence. However, because Spanish verb conjugation implies the subject pronoun, these forms are seldom used except in cases where the subject pronoun is given emphasis.

  • Subject implied by verb:
    Soy de España. — “I am from Spain.”
  • Subject given for emphasis:
    Él es de Portugal, pero yo soy de España. — “He is from Portugal, but I am from Spain.”

Nominative forms of pronouns precede the verb in most situations, but when asking questions or giving commands, the pronoun follows the verb.

  • Statement; pronoun precedes verb:
    Ella está en casa.She is at home.”
  • Question; pronoun follows verb:
    ¿Dónde está ella? — “Where is she?”

Compounds with con[edit]

Most personal pronouns compound with the preposition con, but the meaning varies with grammatical person. Such first and second person compounds are objective only (e.g. conmigo (with me)), but third person compounds may function either as an objective or reflexive form, e.g. consigo (with him/her; with himself/herself).

In the past, there were also compound forms for nosotros (connosco) and vosotros (convosco). These forms have dropped out of usage and are considered archaic.

Regional and temporal variation[edit]

Tú, usted and vusted[edit]

The second person formal pronoun is usually usted, but in older forms of the language, vusted (and its plural vustedes) were used. These archaic forms are confined mostly to period works now, though they also appear in Spanish translations of the Bible. Vuestra merced (your grace) and vuestras mercedes (your graces) are the origin of usted, usarcé and similar forms that are conjugated in the third person to address the second one.

The variant vusted/vustedes is mostly a regionalism of some South American countries. It is common to hear it in isolated areas of Colombia or Venezuela. It is archaic for other speakers of the language because it is an older form of the diminutive for vuestra merced. In Colombia it is not rare to hear people use su merced (your grace) for usted or vusted. It is used interchangeably by most users however. It can be used to replace a person’s name as well, e.g when speaking to an older man named Miguel, one could say, “Su merced, ¿por qué no viene vusted y sus nietos a mi casa esta tarde?” (“Your grace, why don't you and your grandchildren come to my house this afternoon?”)

In Spain, is increasingly used in neutral situations, reserving usted for a more formal register. In Latin America, usted (or its variants) is the normal polite form, and is reserved for family and friends.

Ustedes and vosotros[edit]

The ustedes second-person plural form is the formal plural form of address in Spain, but is also commonly used in Latin American countries—where vosotros is considered archaic—and is neither formal nor informal there.

The pronoun vosotros is completely absent in Latin America (the pronoun ustedes being used instead) except among some speakers of Ladino in countries like Venezuela, Curaçao, Cuba, Mexico, or Argentina. It is still used as the second-person, familiar plural for most people in Spain and is the only form used by the Sephardic Jews that speak Ladino.

Voseo[edit]

The term voseo refers to use of the pronoun vos. This second person pronoun has both an archaic usage in mainstream Spanish, as well as a modern usage that is quite different from the archaic one. In Old Spanish, vos was used to address superiors of noble standing and to address God. This usage has long since dropped out of the spoken Spanish language, though it will occasionally appear in poetic literature.

Today, the word vos is as an informal personal pronoun in Latin America, particularly in Central America, Argentina, Uruguay, Paraguay, the state of Zulia in Venezuela, and some Andean regions. There it can be used with the same treatment that is used (informal and intimate) or in some areas it is employed among equals but not to very close people (couples or family) or to “inferiors” (children, animals etc.), where the pronoun would normally be used.

Ladino speakers use vos as well, only that they employ it with the same treatment as usted is used. In fact, Ladino speakers do not use usted at all because vos implies the same respect that it once had in Old Spanish. In Ladino, is used towards anyone in an informal manner.

Possessive pronouns[edit]

Possessive pronouns are a special class of personal pronouns which indicate a relationship of ownership or possession. However, they may serve as either as a pronoun or as an adjective.

Inflection[edit]

Grammar of the possesor Grammar of the associated noun Short forms 1
Person No m sg m/c pl f sg f pl c sg c pl
1st sg mío míos mía mías mi mis
2nd (familiar) sg tuyo tuyos tuya tuyas tu tus
2nd (formal) 2 sg suyo suyos suya suyas su sus
3rd sg suyo suyos suya suyas su sus
Person No m sg m/c pl f sg f pl c sg c pl
1st pl nuestro nuestros nuestra nuestras    
2nd (familiar) pl vuestro vuestros vuestra vuestras    
2nd (formal) 2 pl suyo suyos suya suyas su sus
3rd pl suyo suyos suya suyas su sus
1 Short forms function only in the adjectival capacity, always with a noun.
2 The 2nd person formal forms take verbs conjugated in the third person.

Usage[edit]

The full forms of the possessive pronouns may function either as pronouns or as adjectives. Full forms always follow the associated noun or appear following the verb. Short forms of the possessive pronouns are functional adjectives. They must precede the noun with which they are associated.

  • Full form functioning as pronoun:
    El libro es mío. — “The book is mine.”
    Tu padre es mayor que el mío. — “Your father is older than mine.”
  • Full form functioning as adjective:
    Necesito el libro mío. — “I need the book of mine.” -or- “I need my book.”
  • Short form functioning as adjective:
    Necesito mi libro. — “I need my book.”

Demonstratives[edit]

The demonstratives are another class of pronoun that have both pronomial and adjectival functions. The two functions are traditionally distinguished by the presence or absence of accents. Accented forms (and the neuter forms) always function as pronouns. However, since the 1960s forms without accents may function either as adjectives or as pronouns.

Inflection[edit]

  Masculine Feminine Neuter 1
Remoteness Function sg pl sg pl sg pl
aquí
"here"
pronomial 2 éste éstos ésta éstas esto
adjectival este estos esta estas
ahí
"there"
pronomial ése ésos ésa ésas eso
adjectival ese esos esa esas
allí, allá
"over there"
pronomial aquél aquéllos aquélla aquéllas aquello
adjectival aquel aquellos aquella aquellas
1 There is no neuter adjectival form because Spanish does not have neuter nouns.
2 Pronomial forms are functional pronouns.

Usage[edit]

According to a decision from the 1960s of the Real Academia (which governs the academic use of Spanish), the accents on demonstrative pronomials (pronoun forms) are only to be used when necessary to avoid ambiguity with the demonstrative determiners (adjectival forms). However, the normal educated standard is still to use the accents on pronomials in all cases. Foreign learners may safely adhere to either standard.

  • Accented form functioning as pronoun:
    Éstos son caballos. — “These are horses.”
    Ése es mío. — “That one is mine.”
  • Unaccented form functioning as adjective:
    Estas llamas son peruanas. — “These llamas are Peruvian.”
    Esa llama está enferma. — “That llama is sick.”
    Aquellos nubarrones parecen siniestros. — “Those storm clouds look ominous.”

Note that there is never an accent on the neuter forms esto, eso, and aquello. The neuter forms have no determiner equivalents because there are no neuter nouns in Spanish. The neuter forms are a remnant from Latin, which had three genders of noun. As a result, no accents are necessary to distinguish these forms.

See also[edit]