Yolanda holds a CELTA Cambridge, a Juris Doctorate, and a Master of Public Administration. She is a published author of fiction in Spanish.
Great Moment of the Day
You are tired after a busy day and it's time to go to bed. This moment often reminds you of your mom's advice: 'I hope that you go to bed early enough.'
Or it is just the middle of the day and you have a break to rest. Although you can't really go to bed to sleep, you can always lie down. You remember doctors often say 'It is recommended that you go to bed early to feel rested.'
The Spanish verb acostarse (ah-kohs-TAHR-seh) means: 'to go to bed'. As you see, it ends in se, which means it is a reflexive verb. 'Reflexive' means that the action of going to bed is done by and for the person who does the action.
Now, when your mom says 'I hope that you go to bed' or your doctor tells you 'It is recommended that you lie down', we have in these expressions the present subjunctive. In Spanish, however, the subjunctive verb form is not exactly the same as the present tense. The form changes, which is why we learn the conjugation of acostarse in the present subjunctive.
Present Subjunctive Use and Conjugation
The present subjunctive expresses a wish, a hope, or a doubt. In the case of acostarse, you can use it to tell someone that you hope, wish, want, or doubt that they go to bed. Also, the present subjunctive is when you tell someone that it is necessary, good, recommended, etc. that they go to bed. Some common expressions are:
- Espero que... (ehs-PEH-roh keh) means 'I hope that...'
- Deseo que... (deh-SEH-oh keh) means 'I wish that...'
- Quiero que... (kee-EH-roh keh) means 'I want that...'
- Es necesario que... (ehs neh-seh-SAH-reeoh keh) means 'It is necessary that...'
- Es bueno que... (ehs BWEH-noh keh) means 'It is good that...'
- Es recomendable que... (ehs reh-koh-mehn-DAH-bleh keh) means 'It is recommended that...'
- Es importante que... (ehs eem-pohr-TAHN-teh keh) means 'It is important that...'
- Dudo que... (DOO-doh keh) means 'I doubt that...'
To these expressions, you would add the appropriate present subjunctive conjugation of acostarse, which includes a reflexive pronoun because it is a reflexive verb:
|Subject Pronoun||Reflexive Pronoun and Acostarse in Present
|yo||me acueste||meh ah-KWEHS-teh||I go to bed|
|tú||te acuestes||teh ah-KWEHS-tehs||You (informal, singular) go to bed|
|se acueste||seh ah-KWEHS-teh||He/She you (formal, singular) go(es) to bed|
|nos acostemos||nohs ah-kohs-TEH-mohs||We go to bed|
|os acostéis||ohs ah-kohs-TEH-ees||You (informal, plural) go to bed|
|se acuesten||seh ah-KWEHS-tehn||They/You (formal, plural) go to bed|
As a tip for you to sound more fluent: you don't need to say the subject pronoun for yo, tú, nosotros/as, and vosotros/as, because their respective reflexive pronoun already indicates who the subject pronoun is. In the case of él, ella, usted and their plural forms, since they all share the same reflexive pronoun, you would specify who the subject pronoun is.
Real Life Examples
Now, let's put together both the expressions and the conjugation table to look at some examples.
Situation One: Priscila leaves her child with a nanny and advises the child before leaving:
- Espero que te acuestes a las 8:30 p.m. (I hope that you go to bed at 8:30 p.m.)
Situation Two: The doctor recommends you to go to bed right after you take your medication because it will make you dizzy:
- Es necesario que usted se acueste inmediatamente después de tomar el medicamento. (It is necessary that you go to bed immediately after you take your medication)
Situation Three: You and your friends get home from a party and the only key to the apartment breaks inside the keyhole. You call for help but will have to be patient to solve the problem. You think:
- Dudo que nos acostemos dentro de una hora. (I doubt that we (will) go to bed within an hour.)
Situation Four: Your friends are workaholics and they always go to bed late. You tell them:
- Es recomendable que os acostéis temprano. (It is recommended that you go to bed early)
Note that you would use vosotros in Spain because this is the pronoun that people use to refer to a group of friends/family. However, in Latin America people use ustedes instead, so they would say:
- Es recomendable que se acuesten temprano. (It is recommended that you go to bed early)
Finally, sometimes you may want to form a negative sentence with expressions such as 'I don't want that...', I don't doubt that...', 'It is not important that...'. In such case, any of the expressions we use with the subjunctive become negative if you add no in front. For example:
- No es necesario que te acuestes temprano hoy. (It is not necessary that you go to bed early today)
The present subjunctive of acostarse (to go to bed) expresses a hope, desire, a need, etc. that someone goes to bed. The present subjunctive includes common expressions such as:
- Espero que...
- Deseo que...
- Es recomendable que...
- Es importante que...
- Dudo que...
To make these expressions negative, all you have to do is add no in front.
The conjugation of acostarse in the present subjunctive includes a reflexive pronoun:
|Reflexive Pronoun and
Acostarse in Present
Remember that in Spain vosotros is used for family and friends, while in Latin America ustedes is used.
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