In Spanish, in many situations, the pronouns can be omitted. This is because the language contains verbs that are extensively conjugated, and their endings help clearly identify who performed the action and when the action was performed.
Unlike English, Spanish grammar is slightly more complicated. Do not, by any means, misunderstand the word ‘complicated’. It simply means that the parts of speech in this language have extensive classifications and the way they are used in different scenarios could indicate very different meanings overall. Pronouns are an intrinsic part of Spanish grammar (obviously), and are categorized into various types. You would be aware of the universal snippet of knowledge that pronouns are used in place of nouns. Their functioning too, is almost the same as in English, however, in Spanish, they are hugely influenced by the gender. You will understand this better with the help of the following paragraphs, which enlist Spanish pronouns with examples.
|Yo (I)||Nosotros/as (We)|
|Tú/Usted [familiar/formal] (You)||Vosotros/as/Ustedes (You)|
|Él/ella (He/she)||Ellos/as (They)|
|Sí (Himself/herself/yourself/themselves/yourselves)||Sí (Himself/herself/yourself/themselves/yourselves)|
✤ Yo quiero el chocolate. (I want chocolate.)
✤ Ella es muy bonita. (She is very pretty.)
✤ Ellos son de Chile. (They are from Chile.)
The ‘usted’ here is used as a formal ‘you’, the usage is different in Spain and Latin America.
|me (to me)||nos (to us)|
|te (to you)||os (to you)|
|le (to him/her/it/you)||les (to you/them)|
|se (to himself/herself/yourself/themselves/yourselves)||se (to himself/herself/yourself/themselves/yourselves)|
✤ ¿Le hablas? (Are you talking to her?)
✤ ¿Le hablas a ella? (Are you talking to her?)
Now, in the examples above, note that the first one does not have a prepositional phrase while the second one does (a ella). It indicates that the person receiving the action is a female. In the first example, this is not clear.
|me (me)||nos (us)|
|te (you)||os (you)|
|lo (him/it/you)||los (you/them)|
|la (her/it/you)||las (you/them)|
|se (himself/herself/yourself/themselves/yourselves)||se (himself/herself/yourself/themselves/yourselves)|
✤ La conozco bien. (I know her well.)
✤ La conozco a ella bien. (I know her well.)
In case the verb is implied, a prepositional phrase is mandatory.
✤ Nos lo vendieron. (They sold it to us.)
✤ Se lo di a ellos. (I gave it to them.)
|me (to/for/from myself)||nos (to/for/from ourselves)|
|te (to/for/from yourself)||os (to/for/from yourselves)|
|se (to/for/from himself/herself/itself/yourself)||se (to/for/from yourselves/themselves)|
✤ Me lavo. (I wash myself.)
The pronoun should match the subject in number and person.
✤ Se hablaba. (She was talking to herself.)
The pronoun ‘se’ is used to represent the reflexive verb. For example, lavarse, despertarse, etc.
|Éste [masc]/Ésta [fem]/ Esto [neu] (this)||Éstos/Éstas (these)|
|Ése [masc]/Ésa [fem]/Eso [neu] (that)||Ésos/Ésas (those)|
|Aquél/Aquélla/Aquello [mas/fem/neu] (that over there)||Aquellos/Aquellas (those ones over there)|
✤ Éste es mi plato favorito. (This is my favorite dish.)
✤ Ésos son mi ropa. (Those are my clothes.)
✤ Aquéllas allá son muy bonitas. (Those ones over there are very pretty.)
|El mío [masc]/La mía [fem] (mine)||Los míos/Las mías|
|El tuyo [masc]/La tuya [fem] (yours)||Los tuyos/Las tuyas|
|El suyo [masc]/La suya [fem] (his/hers)||Los suyos/Las suyas|
|El nuestro [masc]/La nuestra [fem] (ours)||Los nuestros/Las nuestras|
|El vuestro [masc]/La vuestra [fem] (yours)||Los vuestros/Las vuestras|
|El suyo [masc]/La suya [fem] (theirs)||Los suyos/Las suyas|
✤ Tu reloj es rojo y el mío es verde. (Your watch is red and mine is green.)
✤ Éste es tuyo. (This is yours.)
✤ Ésta casa es la nuestra. (This house is ours.)
✤ Éste es mi edificio, aquél es los suyos. (This is my building, that one is theirs.)
|¿A quién? (Whom)||¿A quiénes?|
|¿Cuál? (Which one)||¿Cuáles?|
|Cuánto/a (How much, how many)||Cuántos/as|
✤ ¿Quién es usted? (Who are you?)
✤ ¿A quién podemos hablar? (Whom can we speak to?)
✤ ¿Cuál es tu problema? (What is your problem?)
✤ ¿Cuándo vienes? (When are you coming?)
✤ ¿Dónde estabas? (Where were you?)
|Mí (me)||Nosotros/as (us)|
|Ti/Usted [familiar/formal] (you)||Vosotros/as/Ustedes (you)|
|Él/ella (him/her)||Ellos/as (them)|
✤ Me gustaría salir contigo. (I would like to go out with you.)
✤ A mí me gusta el dulce. (I like the sweet.)
✤ ¿Es para ella? (Is it hers?)
✤ Nos miramos. (We look at ourselves.) [Normal]
✤ Nos miramos a nosotros mismos. (We look at ourselves.) [Prepositional phrase for reflexive usage]
✤ Ella y yo nos miramos el uno al otro. (We look at each other.) [Prepositional phrase for reciprocal usage]
✤ Ella me dijo que ella era de Nueva York. (She told me that she is from New York.)
✤ La chica cuyo cabello es rubio es mi amigo. (The girl whose hair is blonde is my friend.)
|Algo (anything/something)||Alguien (anyone/someone)|
|Nada (nothing)||Nadie (No one/nobody)|
✤ Nada es perfecto en la vida. (Nothing is perfect in life.)
✤ ¿Es alguien en casa? (Is anyone home?)
- Negative words are used along with negative pronouns in some sentences in order to form a double negative.
- This kind of usage would be incorrect in English. In Spanish however, the situation demands so.
- As you must have already noted above, demonstrative pronouns have three classifications. In English, we use ‘this’ and ‘that’. In Spanish, we have ‘this’, ‘that’, and ‘over there’.
- ‘Se’ is one pronoun that is brilliantly versatile yet confusing. It substitutes as the passive voice, functions in the reflexive usage, and varies between being masculine or feminine and singular or plural.
- Many pronouns function better when attached to a verb rather than stand-alone.
- The function of ‘it’ is relatively simpler in English than in Spanish. In the latter, it can be translated using a number of words.
- In certain special situations, like when parts of the body are used as direct objects, a definite article is used and an indirect object pronoun indicates the person in question.
Spanish grammar, with all its behemoth of complexity, is highly pleasing as well as challenging to learn. The above article covers only the pronouns, and even then, it is only a gist of the subject. A lot of other examples have various other usages where this part of speech is concerned. Once you start to learn the language, there is really no stopping you, for there is so much to learn. In fact, you can learn about Spanish adjectives too. All the best!