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A verb is reflexive when the subject and the object are the same. I shave myself. subject: I verb: shave object: myself Since the subject and object are the same, the verb is reflexive.

Buena suerte

Un poco de explicaci贸n A verb is used reflexively when the subject of the verb is also its object. As you will soon see, verbs are often used the same way in English. What can make reflexive verbs (sometimes called pronominal verbs) frustrating for beginning Spanish students is that a reflexive verb is often called for in

Spanish when a different way of wording things is used in English.

Sr Gómez

Verbs only used in the reflexive forms Some verbs in Spanish are used only in the reflexive form, and they may or may not be translated to English using a reflexive construction. In dictionaries, such verbs traditionally are listed with a se at the end of the infinitive, as in arrepentirse, which means "to regret." Ejemplos:

• Me abstengo de comer carne. I am abstaining from eating meat. • Rene se arrepentió de sus errores. Rene regretted his errors. • Me resigno a no tener un ipod. I am resigning myself to having an Ipod.

Reflexive usages commonly in a non-reflexive way Some Spanish verbs make perfect sense when understood in a reflexive way, but we typically don't translate them that way into English. For example, levantar means "to lift," while its reflexive counterpart, levantarse, could be understood to mean "to lift oneself," but is usually translated as "to get up." • Quiero bañarme. I want to take a bath. Literally, I want to bathe myself. • ¡Siéntate! Sit down! Literally, seat yourself! • Voy a vestirme. I am going to get dressed. Literally, I am going to dress myself. • Me afeito cada mañana. I shave every morning. Literally, I shave myself every morning. • Alex se acercó a la casa. Alex approached the house. Literally, Patricia brought herself closer to the house. Se llama Eva. Her name is Eva. Literally, she calls herself Eva.

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Sr. Gomez

Adding emphasis with reflexive verbs Some verbs can be used reflexively to add emphasis. The distinction isn't always readily translated to English. For example, "comí la hamburguesa," means "I ate the hamburger," but the reflexive form, "me comí la hamburguesa," could be translated the same way, or perhaps as "I ate up the hamburger" or "I ate the whole hamburger." Similarly, "piénsalo" might be translated as "think about it," whereas "piénsatelo" might be translated the same way or as "think about it thoroughly."



Sr. Gómez (Continued)

Donec interdum

Verbs used reflexively with a change in meaning Making a verb reflexive can change its meaning in ways that aren't always predictable. Sometimes the difference in meaning is subtle. Following are some common examples; not all possible meanings of the verbs are included. Pellentesque: • abonar, to pay money; abonarse, to subscribe (as to a periodical) • abrir, to open; abrirse, to open up (in the sense of confiding in someone) • acordar, to agree, to decide; acordarse, to remember • acusar, to accuse; acusarse, to confess • callar, to be quiet; callarse, to become quiet • combinar, to combine; combinarse (plural forms), to take turns • dormir, to sleep; dormirse, to fall asleep • ir, to go; irse, to go away


• llevar, to carry; llevarse, to take away • poner, to put; ponerse, to put on, to wear salir, to leave; salirse, to leave unexpectedly, to leak

Sed venenatis, augue non


Sr. Gómez

Un poco más sobre reflexivos The "reflexive passive": Often, particularly with inanimate objects, the reflexive form is used to indicate an occurrence without indicating the person or thing responsible for that occurrence. Such uses of the reflexive are typically the equivalent of passive verb forms in English, as in the following examples: • Se cerraron las puertas. The doors were closed. • Se habla español aquí. Spanish is spoken here. • Se venden recuerdos. Souvenirs are sold, or souvenirs for sale.

This e-article was published by Sr Gomez with the help of Ana Golberg and Rene Caracoza

Sr. Gomez Francis Parker School San Diego, California

Verbos Reflexivos  
Verbos Reflexivos  

This is an interactive Spanish tutorial focusing on the reflexive verbs.