Section III: The Spanish Verbs

Topic 4 Reflexive Verbs

Los verbos reflexivos

Reflexive Pronouns

Yo me
te
Ud./él/ella se
Nosotros nos
Uds./ellos/as se

Reflexive pronouns and verbs

  • In the Spanish language there is a kind of verbs called the reflexive verbs
  • These verbs have an object pronoun called the reflexive pronoun that indicates the same person as the subject
  • Reflexive verbs are characterized by having the reflexive pronoun “se” attached to the end of a verb in the infinitive such as:
    1. acostarse (to go to bed)          acostarSE          stem-changing verb/-ar ending
    2. dormirse (to fall to sleep)      dormirSE          stem-changing verb/-ir ending
    3. despertarse (to awake)          despertarSE      stem-changing verb/-ar ending
    4. levantarse (to get up from)   levantarSE        regular verb/-ar ending
  • The reflexive pronoun se must agree with the subject of the verb.
  • The reflexive pronoun precedes the conjugated verb in the simple tense.

Checklist for acostarse

verb ending     ⇒     -ar (o, as, a, amos, an)
kind of verb     ⇒     stem-changing from o to ue
person              ⇒     yo, tú, Ud./él/ella, nosotros, Uds./ellos/as

1. Me acuesto, te acuestas, se acuesta, nos acostamosse acuestan temprano (early).

Checklist for dormirse:

verb ending     ⇒     -ir (o, es, e, imos, en)
kind of verb     ⇒     stem-changing from o to ue
person              ⇒     yo, tú, Ud./él/ella, nosotros, Uds./ellos/as

2. Me duermo, te duermes, se duerme, nos dormimosse duesmen tarde (late)

Checklist for despertarse:

verb ending     ⇒     -ar (o, as, a, amos, an)
kind of verb     ⇒     stem-changing from e to ie
person              ⇒     yo, tú, Ud./él/ella, nosotros, Uds./ellos/as

3. Me despierto, te despiertas, se despierta, nos despertamosse despiertan temprano (early).

Checklist for levantarse

verb ending     ⇒     -ar (o, as, a, amos, an)
kind of verb     ⇒     regular
person              ⇒     yo, tú, Ud./él/ella, nosotros, Uds./ellos/as

4. Me levanto, te levantas, se levanta, nos levantamos, se levantan temprano (early).

  • Most reflexive verbs can be used as non-reflexive.
    • Yo despierto a mi hermano por las mañanas. I wake up my brother in the mornings.
    • Yo me despierto temprano. I wake up early.
  • The se of the infinitive must agree with the subject of the verb when using two verbs. For example, dormirse.
    • Me quiero dormir/Quiero dormirmeI want to fall to sleep.
  • Remember that in Spanish the reflexive pronoun reflects the subject doing something to or for himself, herself, or itself.
  • Many English verbs that describe one’s daily routine are expressed in Spanish with a reflexive construction.

Practícalo…

Using the following questions and verbs, form complete sentences using reflexive verbs to tell your best friend what you do every day.

¿Cuál es tu rutina diaria? What is your daily routine?

¿Qué haces todas las mañanas? What do you do every morning?

¿Qué haces todas las noches? What do you do every night?

acostarse

to go to bed

afeitarse

to take a bath

bañarse

to take a bath

cepillarse los dientes

to brush one’s teeth

despertarse

to wake up

dormirse

to fall asleep

ducharse

to take a shower

levantarse

to get up, to stand up

secarse

to dry yourself

ponerse

to put on

vestirse

to get dressed

peinarse

to brush one’s hair