Appendix:Spanish pronouns

Personal pronouns edit

Inflection edit

Personal pronoun inflection in Spanish
  nominative objective reflexive
Person No Gender subject direct object indirect object prepositional object con + form 1 plain
1st sg   yo me conmigo me
2nd (familiar) 2 vos te, os 7, vos vos con vos te, os 7, vos
2nd (familiar) te ti contigo te
2nd (formal) sg   usted, vusted 3   se usted, vusted consigo, con usted se
3rd m él le, lo le, se 4 él consigo, con él se, 5
f ella la ella consigo, con ella
n ello lo ello consigo
1st pl m, c nosotros nos nosotros con nosotros nos
f nosotras nosotras con nosotras
2nd (familiar, is used only in Spain) m, c vosotros os vosotros con vosotros os
2nd (familiar) f vosotras vosotras con vosotras
2nd 6 pl   ustedes, vustedes 3   se ustedes, vustedes consigo, con ustedes se
3rd m, c ellos los les, se 4 ellos consigo, con ellos
f ellas las ellas consigo, con ellas
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 and, in certain countries, is considered non-standard.
3 The second person formal usted and ustedes take verbs conjugated in the third person.
4 The form se is used in place of le or les before the third person direct object pronouns lo and la.
5 Use of the form is always accompanied by a preposition.
6 In Spain (except Andalusia), 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 (convusco). These forms have dropped out of usage and are considered archaic or obsolete.

Regional and temporal variation edit

Tú, usted and vusted edit

The second person formal pronoun is usually usted, but the in older forms of the language, vusted (and its plural vustedes) were used. The 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. However, the abbreviations Vd. and Vds. are still used in all Spanish-speaking areas for the singular and plural form respectively. 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. 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 it is neither formal nor informal.

The pronoun vosotros is 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 Sephardic Jews who speak Ladino.

Voseo edit

The term voseo refers to use of the pronoun vos, which 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. It has long since dropped out of the spoken Spanish language though it occasionally appears 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.) to whom the pronoun would normally be used.

Ladino speakers use vos as well but 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 informally.

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

Inflection of possessive pronouns in Spanish
Grammar of the possessor Grammar of the possessed 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) tuyo tuyos tuya tuyas tu tus
2nd (formal) 2 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) vuestro vuestros vuestra vuestras
2nd (formal) 2 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

Inflection of demonstratives in Spanish
  Masculine Feminine Neuter 1
Remoteness Function sg pl sg pl sg pl
pronomial 2 éste éstos ésta éstas esto
adjectival este estos esta estas
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