Reflexive verbs express that the subject of the sentence does the action to himself/herself (e.g., I introduced myself to the class.) In Spanish, -se at the end of an infinitive indicates that the verb is reflexive (levantarse/ to get up). When conjugated, the verb is followed by a reflexive pronoun.
Note that each subject of the verb has a corresponding reflexive pronoun as follows:
VESTIRSE/ TO GET DRESSED Yo me visto./I get dressed, I dress myself. Tú te vistes./ You get dressed, you dress yourself. Usted se viste./ You get dressed, you dress yourself. Él se viste./ He gets dressed, he dresses himself. Ella se viste./ She gets dressed, she dresses herself. Nosotros nos vestimos./ We get dressed, we dress ourselves. Vosotros os vestís./ You get dressed, you dress yourselves. Ellos se visten./ They get dressed, they dress themselves. Uds. se visten./ You get dressed, you dress yourselves.
I. Reflexive pronouns are positioned in a sentence in the following manners; keep in mind that in English, many verbs have reflexive meanings that are not expressed, but understood:
1. Before a conjugated verb
- Juan se queda en la reunión./ Juan stays in the meeting.
2. Before a verb in negative command
- No te quedes en la reunión./ Don't stay in the meeting.
3. After a gerund or before the verb estar
- Juan está comiéndose una manzana./ Juan is eating an apple.
- Juan se está comiendo una manzana./ Juan is eating an apple.
4. After an infinitive or before the main verb
- No quería levantarme esta mañana./ I didn't want to get up this morning.
- No me quería levantar esta mañana./ I didn't want to get up this morning.
5. At the end of the verb in an affirmative command
- Siéntense, niños./ Children, sit down.
NOTE: In commands addressed to nosotros, the final -s is omitted and -nos is added.
- Alegrémonos./ Let's rejoice.
- No nos alegremos./ Let's not rejoice.
6. Before a direct object pronoun:
- Te lavaste las manos? Sí, me las lavé./ Did you wash your hands? Yes, I did wash them.
LESSONS: Insurance I & Insurance Ia.
II. In a reflexive construction, since the reflexive pronoun identifies who does the action, possession is understood; therefore, the definitive article is used rather than the possessive adjective, which is the case in English.
- Tienes que cortarte el pelo./ You need to get cut your hair (You need a haircut).
- Mi esposo se baña y se lave la cara./ My husband bathes (himself) and washes his face.
III. Sentir (se)/ to feel is reflexive when used with an adjective and non-reflexive when used with a noun.
LESSONS: Insurance II & Insurance IIa.
- Mi madre se siente aburrida./ My mother feels bored.
- Mi madre siente aburrimiento./ My mother feel boredom.
IV. The following verbs are typically used in a reflexive construction:
REFLEXIVE Acostarse/ to go to bed Afeitarse o rasurarse/ to shave Bañarse/ to bathe Callarse/ to stop talking Despertarse/ to wake up
Ducharse/ to take a shower
Levantarse/ to get up Peinarse/ to comb one's hair Ponerse/ to put on Probarse/ to try on Quedarse/ to remain, to stay Quitarse o sacarse/ to take off Sentarse/ to sit down
V. The following verbs have slightly different meanings when used in their reflexive form:
NON-REFLEXIVE REFLEXIVE Abonar/ to pay abonarse/to subscribe Acordar/ to agree to acordarse/ to remember Acostar/ to put, to bed acostarse/ to go to bed Alegrar/ to cheer up alegrarse/ to be glad, to rejoice Burlar/ to deceive burlarse/ to make fun of Casar/ to marry casarse/ to get married Conducir/ to drive conducirse/ to behave Despedir/ to dismiss despedirse/ to say goodbye Detener/ to detain detenerse/ to stop Dirigir/ to direct dirigirse/ to address Dormir/ to sleep dormirse/ to fall asleep Encontrar/ to find encontrarse/ to be located, to meet Hacer/ to make hacerse/ to be Ir/ to go irse/ to leave Levantar/ to lift levantarse/ to get up Llamar/ to call llamarse/ to be named Llevar/ to carry, take llevarse/ to take away Negar/ to deny negarse/ to refuse Parecer/ to seem, appear parecerse/ to look like Poner/ to place, to put ponerse/ to wear, to put on, to become Probar/ to taste probarse/ to try on Quitar/ to take away quitarse/ to take off Volver/ to return volverse/ to become, to turn around
LESSONS: Insurance III & Insurance IIIa.
VI. The following verbs are used with a reflexive pronoun but do not have a reflexive meaning:
NON-REFLEXIVE MEANING Arrepentirse (de)/ to repent Asomarse / to look out of Atreverse (a)/ to dare Darse cuenta (de)/ to realize Empeñarse (en)/ to insist on Enterarse (de)/ to find out (about) Equivocarse/ to make a mistake Portarse bien/ to behave Portarse mal/ to misbehave Quejarse (de)/ to complain Tratarse (de)/ to be related to an issue (This is only for the 3rd person) Resignarse/ to resign
LESSONS: Insurance IV & Insurance IVa.
VII. In Spanish there are 3 different ways of expressing the English to become or to be.
1. Volverse/ to become is used to refer to a change in physical or emotional state, but it denotes a sudden change.
- La madre se volvió loca cuando el hijo fue asesinado./ The mother (became) went crazy when her son was killed.
- El cielo se volvió negro antes de llover./ The sky (became dark) darkened before raining.
2. Ponerse / to be, to become is used refer to physical or emotional changes.
- Nos pusimos contentos cuando ganamos el partido./ We (became) were happy when we won the game.
- Sofía se puso triste cuando el novio se fue a la Argentina./ Sofía (became) was sad when her boyfriend left to Argentina.
3. Hacerse/ to be, become is used to indicate personal effort.
- Me haré famoso después de esta película./ I'll become famous after this movie.
- Liliana se hará doctora después de tanto estudiar./ Liliana will (become) be a doctor after so much studying.
LESSONS: Insurance V & Insurance Va.
© Copyright 1999-2003 businessspanish.com. All rights reserved.