Despertarse Conjugation: Preterite & Command

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  • 0:00 Despertarse
  • 0:40 Preterite Tense & Uses
  • 1:26 Example
  • 2:26 Command Tense…
  • 3:30 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Yolanda Reinoso Barzallo

Yolanda holds a CELTA Cambridge, a Juris Doctorate, and a Master of Public Administration. She is a published author of fiction in Spanish.

The verb 'despertarse' means 'to wake up'. Since we often use it in conversation to tell others when we woke up and we need it to tell others to wake up, this lesson covers the preterite and command tenses of this verb.


Sonia and Pablo must wake up very early every morning. Not only do they need to get ready to be at work on time, their daily battle is to get their kids to get up. They show us how they use the verb despertarse ('to wake up') in their battle to be on time.

The verb despertarse is a reflexive verb, which means that the action remains entirely with the person who performs it. This is why this verb ends in se, which means its conjugation includes a reflexive pronoun.

But before we observe Sonia and Pablo, let's learn the conjugation of despertarse. Let's wake up and learn!

Preterite Tense & Uses

The preterite tense of despertarse and its uses are as folllows:

Subject Pronoun Reflexive Pronoun Despertarse Conjugation Translation
yo me desperté I woke up
te despertaste You (informal, singular) woke up
él/ella/usted se despertó He/She woke up, you (formal, singular) woke up
nosotros/nosotras nos despertamos We woke up
vosotros/vosotras os despertasteis You (informal, plural) woke up
ellos/ellas/ustedes se despertaron They/You (formal, plural) woke up

We use the preterite tense of despertarse to express the time when we woke up.


To illustrate, let's ask Sonia and Pablo what time they woke up every day of this week.

Nosotros nos despertamos a las cinco de la mañana. (We woke up at 5 in the morning).

Pablo is so used to this schedule that his weekends are not different. Even though the alarm clock is not set to ring at 5am, Pablo still woke up at this time last Saturday and Sunday. So he says:

El fin de semana me desperté temprano. (On the weekend, I woke up early).

Pablo says that Sonia is lucky. Last weekend, she woke up quite late.

Sonia se despertó a las 10 a.m. el fin de semana pasado (Sonia woke up at 10 a.m. last weekend).

Finally, Pablo adds that the kids are the ones who slept the most last weekend:

Los niños se despertaron al mediodía. (The kids woke up at noon).

As we can see, this family pretty much gets to rest on the weekends. Now let's take a look at the command tense of despertarse.

Command Tense Conjugation & Uses

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