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.)
"Hola, amigos. Buenos dias." If you understood this greeting, you already have a good start for today's lesson. Today, we're going to talk about greetings and goodbyes in Spanish. As you just saw, it's very common to greet someone by saying "Hola" just about any time of the day, usually in situations that are a little more informal. Remember that it’s said “Hola,” without pronouncing the "h." We don't say “Hhhola.” The “h” is always silent in Spanish.
If you want to greet somebody like your boss, or maybe somebody a little bit older, or politely greet a stranger, we have different options depending on the time of day. In the morning we can say "Buenos dias", which translates to roughly "Good day" or "Good morning." We can say "Buenas tardes" in the afternoon, which, of course, means, "Good afternoon," And finally, "Buenas noches" when it's already dark outside, which would translate into English as "Good evening."
After this initial greeting, you can ask a polite question of courtesy to see how the other person is, meaning how they feel in that moment, or if they have any significant news that they would like to share. If you're talking with a friend you can say simply “¿Cómo estás?” And if it's a little more formal, you would say “¿Cómo está Ud.?” These mean simply "How are you?"
To ask "How’s it going” you can say "¿Cómo te va?” if the situation is informal and "¿Cómo le va?” if the situation is formal. This means, "How are things? How is life going for you?" in that moment.
“¿Qué pasa?” means something like “What’s up?” or “What’s going on?” and “Qué hay de nuevo?” means something like "What's new?" Just like in English, if somebody asks you one of these questions in Spanish, you don’t really have to answer with a literal answer. You can politely respond with something simple like "Nada," which means "nothing." Or you can give a little more detail if you want to share some more information about what's going on at that moment.
Return the question by saying “¿y tú?” if it's a friend or “¿y Ud.?" if it's somebody more formal. This would equate to something like "And you?" in English to ask that person the same question.
And now that we're finishing up today's lesson, it's a good time to practice the goodbyes, or "las despedidas" in Spanish. A common way to say "Goodbye," which you probably already know is, of course, "Adiós," which is maybe a little more formal. It's very common to hear the alternative of simply "Chao." Or, of course, you can use one of the many phrases with "hasta." You can say "Hasta mañana," "Hasta luego," "Hasta pronto," or "Hasta la vista, baby! "
See you in the next lesson!