Hello, readers! This time we’ll learn the personal pronouns of Spanish….not so fast….what a pronoun is? Pronoun etymologically It comes from the Latin. The prefix «pro-«, which is equivalent to «before», and the noun «nomen» «Name». So, we can deduce the pronoun are always before the noun. Other translation would be «instead of the noun» and makes sense cause these can replace the noun we are talking about. There are a lot of different types of pronouns but here we’ll just focus on the personal pronouns. These pronouns serve as the subject of the sentence. They replace the names of the people involved in the speech act. The people in the speech are 3:
- (first person) YO
- (Second person) TÚ–> LA PERSONA A QUE SE HABLA
- (Third person) ÉL/ELLA –> LA PERSONA QUE NO ES YO NI TÚ.
So far, so good. Now, we’ll add a freak point. There are two kinds of pronouns: tonic personal pronouns and unstressed personal pronouns… here’s when the confusion arrives.
As we studied in the picture above, those are tonic pronouns …¡yes! which you commonly memorize at school in the first lessons. The unstressed personal pronouns are those that work as a complement of the direct and indirect object. (ME-TE-NOS-LE-LES-SE) alike as they are used with pronominal verbs (those verbs that require the pronoun to exist).
The unstressed personal pronouns in pronominal verbs
These special verbs are always used with a unstressed personal pronoun (ALWAYS) (me, te, se, nos, os, se)
Now, wich one are the pronominal verbs and how can we identify them? ….good question!
It’s well known that the verbs corresponding to the routine are pronominal because
they are «reflective» in nature. We’ll have in the left some examples: to wake up, to comb, o get ready, etc.
In Spanish, All those need an unstressed pronoun before the verb. look at the following examples: «Me desperté muy temprano esta mañana», «¿A qué hora te duermes?«, «¡ellos se visten siempre muy bien!»
We use also with verbal periphrasis. the equivalent to «going to» (of course with this type of verbs. In that grammatical structure you can find the pronoun before or after the main verb:
- «Me voy a despertar temprano = Voy a despertarme temprano.»
- «Ella va a peinarse para el evento=ella se va a peinar para el evento»
- «Nos vamos a preparar para el concurso= Vamos a prepararnos para el concurso»
Other verbs that need the unstressed personal pronouns are those called «Verbos de gusto y disgusto» (likes and dislikes)
The unstressed personal pronouns as a complement of the direct and indirect object
Remember that each one of the personal pronouns of Spanish has an unstressed personal pronoun form. The picture on your right shows you which one they are.
In case that you’re studyng the direct and indirect object, you’ll bump into them …again!
And just in case you have both (indirect and direct object) you’ll have to replace one of those pronouns and add to our list the beautiful particle «SE».
Examples of this are:
- ¿Me lo compras?
- Le regalé un libro y nunca lo leyó!
- ¡Cómanselo todo!