Los pronombres reflexivos
What is a reflexive action?
A reflexive action is one which the subject performs on itself. In
English, we make an action reflexive by using a reflexive pronoun (-self)
with it. For example: I looked at myself in the mirror.
In Spanish, reflexive pronouns are also used to make an
action reflexive. The above example: Me miré
en el espejo.
The reflexive pronouns are:
himself, herself, yourself (formal)
- What's the difference between reflexive verbs and all the other verbs
I've learned so far?
Nothing. It's just the pronoun that is new to you, not the verbs.
The new verbs you are learning are just new vocabulary. You conjugate
them just like all the other verbs you have learned. Almost any verb
can be made reflexive in Spanish, the only condition being that the subject
must be performing the action on him/herself.
I looked at myself in the mirror. Me miré en el espejo.
Nonreflexive: I looked at the
photograph. Miré la foto.
- Where do I put the reflexive pronoun?
The reflexive pronoun must come immediately before the
conjugated verb in the sentence: Me desperté muy tarde
If an infinitive follows the conjugated verb, you have the option of
attaching the pronoun to the infinitive instead: Necesito levantarme
- This seems too easy. What's the catch?
Unfortunately, there is one. Some verbs have a different meaning
when used reflexively. For example, you know dormir means to
sleep, but dormirse does not mean to sleep oneself.
Instead, it means to fall asleep. Below is a short list of
verbs and their meanings when used both reflexively and nonreflexively.
This is only a partial list and includes common verbs generally encountered
in 100- and 200-level Spanish.
acordar to agree
acostar to put to
parecer to seem
to take away
to be bored
acordarse to remember
acostarse to go
to go away, to leave
to die (naturally, figuratively)
parecerse to resemble
to put on
to take off