Subject Pronouns in Spanish

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  • 0:06 Subject Pronouns
  • 1:54 Singular and Plural
  • 2:31 You Formal and You Familiar
  • 3:02 It, Understood
  • 3:31 El and El
  • 4:04 Masculine and Feminine
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Danielle Geary

Danielle teaches at the Georgia Institute of Technology. She holds a Doctor of Education with research concentration in Study Abroad and Foreign Language Acquisition.

Subject pronouns - we use them all day, every day, to avoid repetition and for quick communication. Instead of saying 'John and Karen' 15 times, for example, we replace their names with 'they' and keep talking. Find out how to do it in Spanish in this lesson.

Subject Pronouns

I, you, he, she, it, we, they, you guys. You probably don't think much about it, but these are subject pronouns, and we use them all day, every day. When we speak, we want quick communication, so what do we do? We remove, we shorten, we change, we use contractions, and we replace words and phrases to keep the conversation speedy. Instead of saying 'John and Karen' 15 times, for example, we replace their names with 'they' and keep moving, right? Right. Spanish speakers do the same in their language.

These are the Spanish subject pronouns:

I yo we nosotros, nosotras
you formal usted they ellos, ellas
you familiar you guys ustedes
he él
she ella
it *understood

Let's say them again. Listen closely.

Singular and Plural

Now, let's talk about some things in the chart, and how about the chart itself? Did you notice that I put all the singular pronouns on the left side and the plural pronouns on the right? Well, I did that on purpose, and I encourage you, as a language learner, to do this for every chart you write. Make the left side singular and the right side plural for consistency and easier memorization. Over time, if you stick with Spanish, you will start to see the chart in your mind and should be able to pick the correct word you need faster and with ease. This takes time, of course, but it's worth it.

You Formal and You Familiar

Secondly, I bet you've noticed there are two 'you's on the chart: you formal and you familiar. In Spanish, there are two ways to address people according to your relationship with them. Generally speaking, 'you formal' is used with people you don't know, people in positions of authority, and people significantly older than you. 'You familiar' is used with your peers and children and family, of course.

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