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How to speak Spanish

A Complete Guide to All Spanish Pronouns

Trying to communicate without pronouns can get messy. You’ll end up repeating yourself and including far too many nouns for what you need. Pronouns help add emphasis to certain words or sentences and can provide further clarification in complex conversations. Without them, a lot of people would be lost. However, Spanish pronouns are used in a slightly different manner than English pronouns. They come in many different forms and require alterations to the surrounding verbs or adjectives. To help you gain a better understanding of all the possibilities, this comprehensive article is meant to serve as a complete guide to all Spanish pronouns.

What is a Spanish Pronoun?

A Spanish pronoun is an essential part of sentence structure, as it stands in for a noun and reduces the need to repeat names or objects after establishing the topic. While they’re one of the most important parts of Spanish language comprehension, certain types can be omitted from sentences entirely. Wait… what? How does that make sense? Spanish pronouns affect the verbs in a sentence, which are conjugated respectively. As your fluency improves, you’ll be able to infer the correct pronoun based on conjugation and sentence structure.

Different Spanish Pronouns

Like English, Spanish pronouns come in a variety of forms—nine to be exact. The different Spanish pronouns include the following:

  •   Subject pronouns
  •   Possessive pronouns
  •   Direct object pronouns
  •   Indirect object pronouns
  •   Prepositional pronouns
  •   Reflexive pronouns
  •   Relative pronouns
  •   Indefinite pronouns
  •   Demonstrative pronouns

Spanish pronouns

Spanish Subject Pronouns

Subject pronouns are the most basic type of pronouns used in Spanish. They’re used to help simplify sentences and avoid repetition and they impact how verbs are conjugated based on gender and number. Spanish subject pronouns replace the subject of a sentence. They replace the person, place, or thing that is either doing something or being something and verbs must be conjugated to match. There are 13 different Spanish subject pronouns when you include variations from different Spanish speaking countries. Pay special attention to the Spanish accents used in subject pronouns. They are as follows:

English Subject PronounSpanish Subject PronounPersonGenderFormalityNumber
Iyofirst personsingular
yousecond personinformalsingular
youvossecond person-informalsingular
youustedsecond person-formalsingular
youustedessecond person-formal (informal in Latin America)plural
youvosotrossecond personmasculineinformal(Spain)plural
youvosotrassecond personfeminineinformal(Spain)plural
heélthird personmasculine-singular
sheellathird personfeminine-singular
theyellosthird personmasculine-plural
theyellasthird personfeminine-plural
wenosotrosfirst personmasculine-plural
wenosotrasfirst personfeminine-plural

Possessive Pronouns in Spanish

Spanish possessive pronouns are used to replace the noun of an item that’s owned by someone or something. They answer the question, “Whose is it?” In English, this equates to mine, yours, his, hers, theirs, or ours. Using possessive pronouns in Spanish is similar. They’re often only used when it’s clear what the item is, but many people also use them in person when indicating a specific item or pointing at something they own.

The primary difference between English and Spanish possessive pronouns is that in Spanish, you need to include the definite article (the) when being used and, like always, it needs to match gender and number. The possessive pronouns in Spanish are as follow:

English Possessive PronounSpanish Possessive Pronoun (masculine, singular)Spanish Possessive Pronoun (masculine, plural)Spanish Possessive Pronoun (feminine, singular)Spanish Possessive Pronoun (feminine, plural)
mineel míolos míosla míalas mías
yoursel tuyolos tuyosla tuyalas tuyas
his/hers/itsel suyolos suyosla suyalas suyas
oursel nuestrolos nuestrosla nuestralas nuestras
yours (plural)el vuestrolos vuestrosla vuestralas vuestras
theirsel suyolos suyosla suyalas suyas

One distinction that should be made is that possessive pronouns in Spanish are not the same as possessive adjectives in Spanish. An easy way to help differentiate the two is to remember that possessive adjectives will always be paired with a noun while possessive pronouns in Spanish are used to replace the noun. For example:

  • Esto es tuyo — This is yours (pronoun)

  • Este es tu libro — This is your book (adjective)

Direct Object Pronouns in Spanish

Direct object pronouns in Spanish are used to replace a noun in a sentence so it’s not repeated more than once. They replace the subject that’s receiving the action of the verb being used. Direct object pronouns can come either before the verb or attached to the verb’s ending interchangeably, but some complex sentences require either one form or the other to accommodate other grammatical indicators. You can replace the direct object in a sentence once the noun in question has been established. A list of Spanish direct object pronouns is as follows:

English Direct Object PronounsDirect Object Pronouns in Spanish
you (informal)te
him, it, or you (formal) masculine lo
her, it, or you (formal) feminine la
you all (informal)os
them, or you all (formal) masculine los
them, or you all (formal) feminine las

Indirect Object Pronouns in Spanish

Conversely, indirect object pronouns in Spanish are used when describing to whom or for whom an action is done. They’re the receivers of the action of the verb when used in a sentence—the indirect object pronoun describes to who/what the action is being done to.

They can be used at any time to help simplify or shorten a sentence. Verbs that require a Spanish indirect object pronoun are those that imply a recipient, or an action that needs to be done to or for someone. For a review of the indirect object pronouns in Spanish, use the following table:

Indirect Object Pronouns in EnglishIndirect Object Pronouns in Spanish
to/for meme
to/for you (informal)te
to/for him, her, it, or you (formal) lo
to/for usnos
to/for you all (informal)os
tto/for them, or you all (formal) les

Spanish pronouns

Spanish Prepositional Pronouns

When prepositions are used in a sentence, they can affect the pronouns as well. However, this only applies for the Spanish prepositional pronouns “I” and “you,” yo and respectively. Remember, prepositions are words that govern a noun or pronoun or help to express the relation to another word in the sentence. Common prepositions include after, around, on, of, in, at, etc. When yo or are used after a preposition in Spanish, they change. All the other Spanish pronouns remain the same.

  • yo becomes
  • becomes ti

The only exception to this change is when the preposition “with” is used, or con. In this instance, yo becomes conmigo and becomes contigo.

Reflexive Pronouns in Spanish

Reflexive pronouns in Spanish are used when an action is being done to oneself. These are unique to Spanish, so it’s important to practice them often. While it can seem a little overwhelming to try and remember all of these rules, one of the best ways to make them feel more natural is to practice. To strengthen your understanding of different Spanish pronouns, download Tandem, match with a native Spanish speaker, and improve your fluency today.

While some Spanish verbs are naturally reflexive, others can be transformed into a reflexive verb simply by adding the ending -se. When you conjugate this, you’ll move the ending -se to the front and change it to the appropriate gender and number—thus reflecting the verb to match. Spanish reflexive pronouns may appear similar to object or indirect object pronouns, but they do have a different meaning. The list of reflective pronouns in Spanish is as follows:

English Reflexive PronounSpanish Reflexive Pronoun
myselfme (“meh”)
themselves/yourselves (formal)se

Spanish Relative Pronouns

Spanish relative pronouns are used to relate Spanish nouns to one another in a sentence. They connect different phrases using words like who, where, when, which, and that. Unlike other types of Spanish pronouns, you cannot omit Spanish relative pronouns without changing the meaning of the sentence. The two most commonly used relative pronouns in Spanish are que and quien.

Que is versatile and can be used to replace that, which, who, or whom in a sentence. The main thing to remember is that it’s used to connect different nouns. When using quien, it refers to who or whom and will always follow a preposition.

Other Spanish reflective pronouns include cual, cuyo, el que, donde, cuando, and more.

Indefinite Pronouns

Spanish indefinite pronouns are used to refer to a non-specific entity, like “someone” or “anyone.” They’re pronouns that apply to the unknown, non-specific, or irrelevant. Some indefinite pronouns in Spanish change to reflect gender and number, but not all. Here are the most commonly used indefinite pronouns in Spanish:

English Indefinite PronounSpanish Indefinite Pronoun
one/some/some peoplealguno/alguna, algunos/algunas
nobody/no onenadie
nobody/none/no oneninguno/ninguna
everybody/everyonetodo/toda, todos/todas
one, someuno/una, unos/unas
little/little bit or a few/fewpoco/poca, pocos/pocas
many/much/a lotmucho/mucha, muchos/muchas
others/another one/other oneotro/otras, otros/otras

Demonstrative Pronouns in Spanish

Last but not least, demonstrative pronouns in Spanish are used to reference something that’s in your visual field. They’re used when you point at something to clarify which object or person you’re talking about in conversation. The list of demonstrative pronouns in Spanish is as follows:

English Demonstrative PronounSpanish Demonstrative Pronoun
this/these oneseste/esta, estos/estas
this thing/this matter/this topicesto
that/that one, those onesese/esa, esos/esas
that thing/that matter/that topiceso
that one over there/those ones over there (far away objects/people)aquel/aquella, aquello/aquellas
that thing/that matter/that topic (far away)aquello

Be careful not to mix demonstrative pronouns with demonstrative adjectives in Spanish. They may look similar, but they’re used for different purposes. Adjectives will always be paired with the noun that they’re describing, while demonstrative pronouns in Spanish replace the noun entirely.

Digesting all of the information surrounding Spanish pronouns can be a lot of work. There are several different types of pronouns, all of which need to be used in different circumstances. To help you master each of the nine types of Spanish pronouns, download Tandem. Tandem is a worldwide community that connects millions of like-minded individuals with native speakers for a mutually beneficial language exchange. Through Tandem’s one-of-a-kind language learning experience, you’ll gain access to thousands of native Spanish speakers, meet friends, and work towards fluency together. Our goal is to help users foster a deeper understanding of language while improving fluency and building long-lasting friendships. To join our community and work on your Spanish skills, sign up for Tandem today.

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