Spanish reflexive verbs

A reflexive verb is a verb that refer to a reflexive action, or simply to say, an action that a subject performs on itself. Or, one can explain it as so: the subject of the action and receiver of the action are the same.

Spanish reflexive verbs

Reflexive verbs have the postfix –SE after ending in the infinitive form. Any verb can be reflexive. Conjugation of these verbs is the same as of non-reflexive verbs, but they are accompanied by reflexive pronouns:

PronounReflexive pronoun
Yomemyself
teyourself
Él, ella, ustedseoneself, himself, herself
Nosotrosnosourselves
Vosotrososyourselves
Ellos, ustedessethemselves, yourselves

Llamarse – to call oneself

Me llamoI call myself
Te llamasYou call yourself
Se llamaHe, she calls himself
Nos llamamosWe call ourselves
Os llamáisYou call yourselves
Se llamanThey call themselves

By the way, the expression ME LLAMO also means “My name is” (literal meaning is “I call myself).

  • Some reflexive verbs can be translated to English as “to do something with oneself”, for example:

Cubrir – to cover

Cubrirse – to cover oneself

  • Some reflexive verbs are equivalent of English reflexive construction “to get …”, for example:

Vestir – to dress,

Vestirse – to get dressed.

In English, in this case the word “get” indicates reflexion.

  • And some reflexive verbs have own translation:

Preocuparse – to worry, Irse – to leave (formed from IR), Ponerse – to put on, Quedarse – to stay, Acostarse – go to bed.

  • Here is how to use reflexive verbs in practice:

Ella se viste rápidamente – She gets dressed quickly

Me sentí enfermo ayer – I felt (myself) sick yesterday

No nos preocuparemos – We will not worry

  • When a reflexive verb is used with a modal verb, i.e. with QUERER, TENER QUE, DEBER, NECESITAR, PODER, one can place a reflexive pronoun after the infinitive form of a reflexive verb, or before a verb. Here are two examples:

Tengo que ducharme antes de salir = Me tengo que duchar antes de salir  – I have to take a shower before leaving

Quiero despertarme temprano = Me quiero despertar temprano – I want to wake up early

 

Conjugate these reflexive verbs with all pronouns and build sentences with them:

llamarse – to call oneself

irse – to leave (formed from ir)

encontrarse – to meet

reunirse – to get together

ponerse – to put on

casarse – to get married

preocuparse – to worry

quedarse – to stay

ducharse – to take shower

despertarse – to wake up

lavarse – to get washed

levantarse – to get up

sentirse – to feel oneself

vestirse – to get dressed

acostarse – go to bed

volverse – to become

acostumbrarse – to get used to

emborracharse – to get drunk

Examples

Sofía y Santiago se casaron hace dos años – Sofia and Santiago got married two years ago

Me acostumbré a ir por este camino – I got used to go by this path

Debemos acercarnos a nuestro objetivo cada día paso a paso – We must get closer to our aim everyday step by step

Quiero reunirme con mis amigos en el evento – I want to get together with my friends in the event

¿Cuándo nos tenemos que acostar? – When we have to go to bed?

Su habitación se volvió hermosa despues de reparación – Her room became beautiful after repair

Esta lavadora se rompará pronto – This washing machine will get broken soon

Debemos quedarnos aquí hasta mañana – We must stay here until tomorrow

Ellos están seguros que nunca se equivocan – They are sure that they are never mistaken

Mi hermana se casa con mi amigo – My sister gets married with my friend

¡Cuando el Bitcoin estuvo barato, no nos damos cuenta que lo puede subir un cohete! – When the Bitcoin was cheap, we didn’t realize that it can skyrocket!

Exercises

Conjugate reflexive verbs

  1. ¿Por qué  _________ tanto? (PREOCUPARSE – to worry) – Why do you(vosotros) worry too much?
  2. ¡Quiero _________ con la cobija! (CUBRIRSE – to cover oneself) – I want to cover myself by the blanket!
  3. Esta computadora no _________ (REPARARSE –to get repaired) – This computer doesn’t get repaired (One doesn’t repair this computer)
  4. Mi teléfono  _________ por una hora (CARGARSE – to get charged) – My phone gets charged for one hour
  5. Pienso que tengo que _________ ahora (IRSE – to leave) – I think that I have to leave now
  6. Su madre _________ cuando ella soltó la copa (ENOJARSE – to get angry) – Her mother got angry when she dropped the glass
  7. ¿Cuando ustedes  _________? (CASARSE – to get married) – When you get married?
  8. ¿Cómo _________ usted hoy? (SENTIRSE – to feel oneself) – How do you you feel (yourself) today?
  9. Ella y su compañero _________ para un viaje (PREPARAR – to get prepared) – She and her companion get prepared for a trip
  10. Ayer por la noche                             en la calle (ENCONTRARSE – to meet) – We met in the street at night yesterday
  11.                         en esta silla (SENTARSE – to sit) – You can sit on this chair
  12.                         temprano cada día (DESPERTARSE – to wake up) – We wake up early everyday
  13. ¿Cómo _________ ? (SENTIRSE – to feel) –How do you(tú) feel?
  14. ¿Por qué Ustedes no _________? (ACOSTARSE – to go to bed) – Why you don’t go to bed?
  15. No puedo _________ (DORMIRSE – to fall asleep) – I can’t fall asleep

Answers

1: os preocupáis, 2: cubrirme, 3: se repara, 4: se carga, 5: irme, 6: se enoja, 7: se casan, 8: se siente, 9: se preparan, 10: nos encontrábamos, 11: te puedes sentar, 12: nos despertamos 13: te sientes, 14: se acuestan, 15: dormirme

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