1.1 Subject Pronouns
Welcome to your first Spanish grammar lesson with Idioma PRO. Today we’re going to start off by talking about subject pronouns. What exactly is a subject pronoun? A subject pronoun is the star, or the protagonist, of a sentence. It tells you who does the action of the verb.
The first subject pronoun we’re going to discuss is “yo”. “Yo” in English is “I”. To talk about “you”, we use the pronoun “tú.” In Spanish, there is another pronoun that also means “you.” “usted” also means “you.” So we have two ways to say “you.” We’re going to talk more about that later on. To say “he” we use the pronoun “él.” And “she” we use the pronoun “ella.” These are the singular pronouns.
So, I just mentioned that both “tú” and “used” would translate into English as “you.” How do we know when to use which one? Well, we use “tú” in situations that are informal, such as to greet a friend or somebody that you know very well. “Usted” we use to show respect to somebody that may be a little bit older or could just be a stranger. If you’re not sure which one to use, it’s better to use “usted.”
Moving on to the plural subject pronouns, as you can see in the chart here, each singular subject pronoun has a plural equivalent. “Nosotros” means “we,” “vosotros” means “you,” as in the sense of “you all,” talking to a group. “Ustedes” again, the same thing, also means “you all.” We’ll talk about the difference in a minute. “Ellos” means “they” referring to a group of boys and “ellas” means “they” referring to a group of girls.
Once again we have a difference between informal and formal situations. “Vosotros” is used when you are talking to a group of people informally. “Ustedes” is used to talk to a group of people formally, such as coworkers or a group of people that may be older than you. The trick is, “vosotros” is only used in Spain. So if you’re studying the Spanish of Latin America, it doesn’t matter if it’s a formal or informal situation, you’re always going to stick with “Ustedes.”
And there you have a basic introduction to subject pronouns in Spanish. If you’re watching this video on our website, idiomaPRO.com, you can review everything I’ve just said in transcription form underneath this video. Make sure to also check out the quiz we have on the website to verify how well you’ve learned the lesson.
See you in the next lesson!
Subject Pronouns are the "star" of a sentence. They say who does the action of the verb.
1. The "tú" form means "you" and is used to talk to a friend or close relative in informal situations.
2. "Usted" also means "you" but is used in formal situations, like when you want to show respect to an older person or stranger.
3. "Vosotros" is used only in Spain to talk to a group of people informally. In Latin America, "Uds." is always used to talk to a group of people (it doesn't matter if it's formal or informal.)
Open Summary & Exercises (PDF)