Spanish Language Blog

Spanish Lesson Beginner 22 Reflexive Spanish verbs Posted by on Sep 14, 2011 in Spanish Grammar, Spanish Vocabulary, Videos

¡Hola a todos!

Today, we are going to see some useful Spanish verbs that are reflexive. With Reflexive Spanish Verbs the action is done by the same person who receives the action. For example, you can shower your baby, or you can shower yourself. To shower your baby is not reflexive because the person who does the action is you and the person who receives it is the baby. However, if you shower yourself, that action is reflexive, because you are the person who does the action of showering and also the person who receives the shower.

Let´s see now some other reflexive Spanish verbs:

• Despertarse: To wake up
• Levantarse: To get up
• Ducharse: To have a shower
• Lavarse: To wash yourself
• Lavarse el pelo/los dientes … : To wash your hair/teeth …
• Vestirse: To get dressed
• Peinarse: To comb your hair
• Ponerse: To put something on
• Quitarse: To take something off
• Acostarse: To go to bed

As you see, all the reflexive verbs in their original form finish in –se (despertarSE, levantarSE, ducharSE, lavarSE, vestirSE…). To use them in the present tense, you need to look at the two letters before that –SE, which will be -AR, -ER and –IR. The ending for each person will be the same as that with the regular verbs we have already learned.

In the present tense Levantarse (to get up), for example, is be: yo levanto, tu levantas, el/ella/usted levanta etc… because it is an –AR ending verb. To make this verb reflexive you need to add a reflexive pronoun before the verb which is different for each person.

Let´s see how to conjugate the reflexive verb Levantarse for all persons:

• (Yo) me levanto: I get up
• (Tú) te levantas: You get up (friendly)
• (Usted) se levanta: You get up (formal)
• (Él/ella) se levanta: He/she gets up
• (Nosotros/as) nos levantamos: We get up
• (Vosotros/as) os levantáis: You get up (group/friendly)
• (Ustedes) se levantan: You get up (group/formal)
• (Ellos/as) se levantan: They get up

We will see now some examples of questions and answers with reflexive Spanish verbs:

• ¿Cuándo te duchas?: When do you shower? (informal)
• ¿Cuándo se ducha?: When do you shower? (formal)
• Me ducho por la mañana: I shower in the morning

• ¿Cuándo os ducháis?: When do you shower? (group/informal)
• ¿Cuándo se duchan?: When do you shower? (group/formal)
• Nos duchamos por la mañana: We shower in the morning

• ¿Cuándo se ducha Antonio?: When does Antonio shower?
• Antonio se ducha por la mañana: Antonio showers in the morning

• ¿Cuándo se duchan Antonio y Carmen?: When do Antonio and Carmen shower?
• Antonio y Carmen se duchan por la mañana: Antonio and Carmen shower in the morning

• ¿A qué hora te acuestas ?: At what time do you go to bed? (informal)
• ¿A qué hora se acuesta ? At what time do you go to bed? (formal)
• Me acuesto a las once de la noche: I go to bed at eleven at night

• ¿A qué hora os acostáis? At what time do you go to bed? (group/informal)
• ¿A qué hora se acuestan? At what time do you go to bed? (group/formal)
• Nos acostamos a las once de la noche: We go to bed at eleven at night

• ¿A qué hora se acuesta Antonio?: At what time does Antonio go to bed?
• Antonio se acuesta a las once de la noche: Antonio goes to bed at eleven at night

• ¿A qué hora se acuestan Antonio y Carmen? At what time do Antonio and Carmen go to bed?
• Antonio y Carmen se acuestan a las once de la noche: Antonio and Carmen go to bed at eleven at night

This is all for today. I hope you have understood what a reflexive verb is and how it works. Getting your head around reflexive Spanish verbs can be a little tricky at first, but they are of fundamental importance and it is best to get stuck straight into learning and practicing with them. Try making questions and answers like the examples I have given to memorise the verbs and the reflexive pronouns and try to hunt out any possible opportunity to speak with or listen to native Spanish speakers. By the way, to know if a verb is reflexive you just look for it in the dictionary and if it finishes in –SE it is reflexive.

Have a wonderful week and see you next time with more Spanish.

¡Hasta luego!

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About the Author: Laura & Adam

Laura & Adam have been blogging and creating online Spanish courses for Transparent Language since 2010. Laura is from Bilbao in northern Spain and Adam is from Devon in the south of England. They lived together in Spain for over 10 years, where their 2 daughters were born, and now they live in Scotland. Both Laura & Adam qualified as foreign language teachers in 2004 and since have been teaching Spanish in Spain, the UK, and online.