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Selecting Subject Pronouns

A subject pronoun is a word used in placed of a subject noun. This pronoun identifies who or what is performing the action of the verb.

 

Gender Spanish English
Masculine or Feminine Yo I
Masculine or Feminine You
Masculine o Feminine Vos You
Masculine o Feminine Usted You
Masculine Él He
Feminine Ella She
Masculine o Feminine Ello It
Masculine Nosotros We
Feminine Nosotras We
Masculine y Feminine Nosotros We
Masculine Vosotros You
Feminine Vosotras You
Masculine o Feminine Vosotros You
Masculine o Feminine Ustedes You
Masculine o Feminine Ustedes You
Masculine Ellos They
Feminine Ellas They
Masculine o Feminine Ellos They

 

 

 

Yo

Unlike the English subject pronoun I, which is always capitalized, the Spanish pronoun yo is capitalized only at the beginning of a sentence.

 

Tú versus Usted

You use the familiar subject pronoun tú to address one friend, relative, child, or pet, because it´s the informal form of you.

You use usted to show respect to an older person or when speaking to a stranger or someone you don´t know well, because usted is the formal, singular form of you.

 

Vosotros (vosotras) versus ustedes

Vosotros and vosotras are informal (familiar) plural subject pronouns expresing you.

The vosotros (vosotras) form is used primarily in Spain to address more than one friend, relative, child, or pet (the informal, plural form of you.

You use vosotros when speaking to a group of males or to a combined group of males and females.

You use vosotras only when speaking to a group of females.

 

Ustedes is a plural subject pronoun that also expresses you.

Ustedes is used throughout the Spanish-speaking world to show respect to more than one older person or when speaking to multiple strangers or people you don´t know well.

Ustedes is the formal, plural form of you and replaces the informal, plural vosotros (vosotras) in Spanish (latin, Central and South).

 

Él versus ella

Él (he) refers to one male person.

Ella (she) refers to one female person.

 

Ellos versus ellas

Ellos (they) refers to more than one male or to a combined group of males and females, no matter the number of each gender present.

Ellas refers to a group of females only.

 

Nosotros and nosotras

When you are talking about someone alse and yourself at the same time, you must use the we (nosotros/nosotras) form of verb.

Nosotros refers to more than one male or to combined group of males and females, no matter the number of each gender present.

Nosotros refers to a group of females only.

 

Omitting subject pronouns

In English, you use subject pronouns all the time to explain who´s doing what. In Spanish, however, you use subject pronouns a lot less frequently because the verb ending generally indicates the subject.