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Reflexive Verbs

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Infographics of Reflexive Verbs

Definition of Reflexive Verb

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The concept of reflexive verbs can be easily understood if we imagine this type of verb as a mirror that reflects the action of who performs it, in other words, the subject also becomes an object in the sentence. As you can see in the chart below, each pronoun has a reflexive form which serves as a complement to it. 


SubjectReflexive pronounsVerbTranslation
YomeamoI love myself
teamasYou love yourself
UstedseamaYou love yourself (formal)
Él/ Ella/ EsoseamaHe loves himself/ She loves herself/ It loves itself
NosotrosnosamamosWe love ourselves
UstedesseamanYou love yourselves
VosotrososamáisYou love yourselves
Ellos/ EllasseamanThey love themselves

  • Divertirse =To have fun

  • Enojarse =To get mad

  • Despertarse =To wake up

  • Probarse =To try on

Definition of Reflexive Pronouns

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Depending on the type of sentence we are writing the reflexive pronouns can vary their position as long as they match the person and number of the subject:

The most common way for them to be placed is before the verb:

  • Mi hermana se pinta las uñas de azul. (My sister paints her nails blue.)
  • ¿Vosotros no os habláis? (You don’t talk to each other?)

They can also be placed before the verb when the sentence is an imperative negation; and after the verb when the imperative is positive.

  • ¡No te comas mi helado! (Don’t eat my ice cream!)
  • ¡No se peleen! (Do not fight!)
  • ¡Dúchate rápido! (Shower fast!)
  • ¡Váyase ya! (Go now!)

They can be placed before or after a verbal periphrasis (two verbs that work as one):

  • Ella se está aburriendo/Ella está aburriéndose. (She is getting bored)
  • Me voy a comprar eso/Voy a comprarme eso. (I’m going to buy that for myself)


  • Ducharse =To shower

  • Mirarse =To look at oneself

Using Reflexive Verbs

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Reflexive verbs in English can be found in sentences were the word get is used like I get dressed (Yo me visto) or He got sick (Él se enfermó). Similarly one understands as reflexive the sentences that use the reflexive pronouns with the particle self, as in myself (yo mismo), yourselves (ustedes mismos), itself (eso mismo), oneself (uno mismo), etc.


In Spanish, most reflexive verbs can be easily spotted because when they are in the infinitive, unconjugated form they end with the particle se, such as the following:


Divertirse (to have fun)Enojarse (to get mad)Despertarse (to wake up)
Probarse (to try on)Ducharse (to shower)Mirarse (to look at oneself)
Vestirse (to get dressed)Volverse (to become)Cuidarse (to take care of oneself)
Aburrirse (to get bored)Sentarse (to sit down)Peinarse (to brush one’s hair)
Cansarse (to get tired)Alegrarse (to be glad)Acostarse (to go to bed)
Irse (to leave)Amarse (to love oneself)Maquillarse (to put makeup on)
Preocuparse (to worry)Levantarse (to get up)Perderse (to get lost/ to miss)


  • Vestirse =To get dressed

Placng Reflexive verbs in Sentences

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Now that we know what reflexive verbs are we can learn some common ways for using them. 

There is a certain type of reflexive verbs called reciprocal verbs, which are used when the action is performed by two or more people to each other. In English, reciprocal sentences often include words such as each other, mutually, or one another at the end of the sentence to make it clear that the action is being shared, these expressions can be translated as el uno al otro, mutuamente or entre sí. Let’s see a few examples:


Ana y Eric se ayudan el uno al otro con la tarea.Ana and Eric help each other with their homework.
¿Vosotros os conocéis?Do you guys know each other?
Nosotros nos casamos ayer.We married (one another) yesterday.


As you can see, only plural reflexive pronouns can be used as reciprocal pronouns.

  • Ana y Eric se ayudan el uno al otro con la tarea. =Ana and Eric help each other with their homework.

  • ¿Vosotros os conocéis? =Do you guys know each other?

Related Lessons in Expert Course, to further your understanding.

UtterBug Benefits

The Future Tense

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The Conditional

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The Preterite

UtterBug Benefits

The Imperfect Tense

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