Welcome to our lesson about Reflexive Verbs in Spanish (“Verbos reflexivos”).
We will study the following points:
- What are Reflexive Verbs?
- How to recognize Reflexive Verbs in Spanish
- List of frequent Reflexive Verbs
- Conjugating Reflexive Verbs
- Placement of Reflexive Pronouns in the sentence
- More examples in many Tenses
1. What are Reflexive Verbs?
Reflexive Verbs are verbs whose subject and object are the same. In other words, the subject of the verb does something “to himself”, rather than to something or someone else.
For instance, take the English sentence “I introduce myself”. In that sentence, the person is both the subject and the object of the verb. I introduce someone, and that someone is… myself.
2. How to recognize Reflexive Verbs in Spanish
Reflexive Verbs are easy to recognize: Their infinitive form has the particle “se” attached at the end.
In the following table we have 3 verbs that are reflexive, and 3 verbs that are not reflexive. Notice the particle “se” attached at the end of Reflexive Verbs:
Reflexive Verbs Non-reflexive verbs
3. List of frequent Reflexive Verbs
Here is a list of frequent Reflexive Verbs and their translation to English:
Acordarse to remember
Acostarse to go to bed
Bañarse to bathe
Casarse to get married
Despertarse to wake up
Dormirse to fall asleep
Enterarse to find out
Imaginarse to imagine
Irse to leave
Lavarse to wash oneself
Levantarse to get up
Llamarse to be called
Ponerse to put on
Quedarse to stay
Reunirse to get together
Sentarse to sit down
Sentirse to feel
Volverse to become
Many actions of our daily routine are reflexive (“to get up”, “to shower”…). Click here if you wish to learn more verbs and phrases about daily routine.
4. Conjugating reflexive verbs
In order to conjugate Reflexive Verbs, we first need to learn a Reflexive Pronoun for each person:
Person Reflexive Pronoun
él, ella, usted se
ellos, ellas, ustedes se
For almost all the tenses, you need to place these Reflexive Pronouns right before the conjugated verb.
For example, let’s conjugate «ducharse» in Present tense.
Person Ducharse (Present Tense)
yo me ducho
tú te duchas
él, ella, usted se ducha
nosotros nos duchamos
vosotros os ducháis
ellos, ellas, ustedes se duchan
Following the same logic, here is the conjugation of «ducharse» in Preterite Tense:
Person Ducharse (Preterite Tense)
yo me duché
tú te duchaste
él, ella, usted se duchó
nosotros nos duchamos
vosotros os duchasteis
ellos, ellas, ustedes se ducharon
5. Placement of reflexive pronouns in the sentence
As we have explained, the placement of Reflexive Pronouns is, for most tenses, right before the conjugated verb.
However, there are exceptions where the Reflexive Pronoun goes after the verb, attached to it. These exceptions are:
No puedo concentrarme. = I can’t concentrate
Relajarse aquí es imposible. = It’s impossible to relax here
Estoy lavándome los dientes = I am washing my teeth
Mis padres están vistiéndose = My parents are getting dressed
Affirmative Commands in Imperative Mood:
¡Dúchate! = Go shower yourself!
¡Levantaos! = Get up! (you guys)
Note: When attaching the Reflexive Pronouns «os« at the end of an Affirmative Command, the verb form loses the final «d». That’s why it is «levantaos«, and not «
If you wish to explore the Placement of Personal Pronouns more in detail, click here to read our lesson about Personal Pronouns Placement.
6. More examples in many tenses
Here are more examples of Sentences which include Reflexive Verbs conjugated in different tenses:
Yo me canso muy rápido = I get tired very quickly.
¿Cómo te sientes? = How do you feel?
Hoy nos quedamos en casa = Today we stay home
Marta se ha casado = Marta has got married.
Nos hemos levantado temprano = We have got up early
Yo me fui de la fiesta = I left the party
Mis amigos se emborracharon = My friends got drunk
Cuando éramos jóvenes, nos acostábamos muy tarde = When we were young, we went to bed very late
Me imaginaba algo diferente = I figured something different
¿Te acordarás? = Will you remember?
Os enteraréis de algo increíble = You guys will find out about something incredible.
Affirmative Commands in Imperative Mood
Concéntrate = Concentrate yourself
Poneos la ropa = Put on your clothes (you guys)
Sentaos = Sit down (you guys)
Negative Commands in Imperative Mood
No os preocupéis = Don’t you guys worry
No te quejes = Don’t complain
Sentences containing a Gerundio
Estoy duchándome = I am showering
Estamos lavándonos las manos = We are washing our hands
Sentences containing an Infinitive
Quiero acostarme = I wanna go to bed
No podemos concentrarnos = We can’t concentrate
Mis padres van a quejarse = My parents are going to complain