In the tenth class of our Absolute Beginner Spanish course we are going to learn a special type of verbs, the so-called pronominal verbs. They are special in the way that they always include a reflexive pronoun.
That means that we must also learn Spanish reflexive pronouns and how they work together with pronominal verbs, both in the infinitive and in the present tense.
Don’t try to understand why these pronouns are reflexive. For now, we just need them for pronominal verbs such as llamarse (as in Me llamo Paco).
The following table includes the already known subject pronouns on the left and the reflexive pronouns on the right:
|él, ella, usted||se|
|ellos, ellas, ustedes||se|
As you can see, the third person both singular and plural are the same: se. Also, notice that nosotros → nos, but vosotros → os, not *vos.
Pronoun and verb
The order of the pronoun and the verb is important. As you can see, llamarse is made from the infinitive llamar and the reflexive pronoun se, all written in the same word.
However, the present tense is formed in another way: first goes the reflexive pronoun, and then the conjugated verb, written separately. So this is the result:
|él, ella, usted||se||llama|
|ellos, ‑as, ustedes||se||llaman|
Notice that the reflexive pronoun agrees with the subject pronoun (both when it is explicit or not), which means that the reflexive pronoun agrees with the verb. Everything agrees!
Unlike the subject pronoun, which is not used often, the reflexive pronoun in pronominal verbs is used every time!
And that’s it! Not so hard, after all! Also, these pronouns will be superuseful in the near future for other very frequent functions.