This is a complete overview of Spanish pronouns. It can be used for reference, or for basic understanding of the different types of pronouns and their use in the language. Follow the links for more detailed explanation, rules, and examples for each group.
Different types of Spanish pronouns
There are five big groups of pronouns in Spanish. They are, in fact, quite similar to the English pronouns:
- Personal pronouns (like the English I, you, me, him, us)
- Reflexive pronouns (myself, yourself, himself)
- Relative pronouns (who, which, that)
- Possessive pronouns (my, your, his)
- Indefinite pronouns (somebody, anyone, nothing)
Spanish personal pronouns
Personal pronouns are the most important group and have several sub-types:
Personal subject pronouns are the most basic and easiest to learn. If you are a complete beginner, start with these. There are 12 subject pronouns in Spanish and they are so important that you should memorize them all:
I = yo
you (familiar) = tú
you (formal) = usted
he = él
she = elle
we = nosotros / nosotras
you (familiar) = vosotros / vosotras
you (formal) = ustedes
they = ellos / ellas
Like French or German, and unlike English, the Spanish language differentiates between familiar and formal form when talking to someone. You address you brother or friend as “tú”, but when talking to a customer or someone you don’t know, you say “usted”. There are no hard and fast rules; the use of formal vs. informal form depends on region and culture. For instance, in Latin America, ustedes is commonly used also with friends and members of your family, while in Spain you address these people vosotros/vosotras.
Moreover, unlike the English we, you, they, the Spanish plural pronouns are different depending on gender of the group. If you are all girls, you say “nosotras”, if all boys (or mixed) you say “nosotros”. Same with vosotros/vosotras, depending on the group you are talking to.
When using personal subject pronouns in a sentence, it is often OK to omit them, because the person is usually clear from the context, especially the form (ending) of the verb. For example, in:
Yo hablo español.
I speak Spanish.
… you can omit the pronoun:
… because it is clear from the verb ending that you are talking about yourself (first person singular).
Vamos a la playa.
We go to the beach.
… it is clear from the verb vamos (first person plural) that it is “we”.
Nosotros vamos a la playa.
… would also be grammatically correct, but less commonly used, unless you want to specifically stress that it is your group going to the beach and not someone else.
Direct object pronouns
Indirect object pronouns
Prepositional object pronouns
Spanish reflexive pronouns
Spanish relative pronouns
Spanish possessive pronouns
Spanish indefinite pronouns