Subject Pronouns in Spanish (“Pronombres personales de sujeto”) are the pronouns which designate the person who performs the action of the verb.
They are the equivalent to the English words “I, you, he…”
Here is the list of Subject Pronouns. We have included the conjugation of the verb “hablar” for each person:
you (sing. polite)
|you (masc. pl.)|
you (fem. pl.)
you (pl. polite)
“Usted” and “ustedes” are the polite forms of “you” (singular) and “you” (plural).
But if they mean “you”, why are they grouped in the table with the third persons? We will explain it next.
“Usted” and “ustedes”: they mean “you”, but they conjugate the verbs in THIRD person
When using the polite forms “usted” (polite “you” singular” and “ustedes” (polite “you” plural) , we must conjugate the verb in the THIRD persons:
- “Usted” conjugates verbs just like “él” and “ella”
- “Ustedes” conjugates verbs just like “ellos” and “ellas”
Él come. = he eats
Ella come. = she eats
Usted come. = you (polite, singular) eat.
Ellos comen. = they eat.
Ellas comen. = they (feminine) eat.
Ustedes comen. = you (polite, plural) eat.
In Spanish, we don’t need to say the subject pronouns: We CAN, but we DON’T HAVE to
This is a feature of the Spanish language that is different to English.
In English, we never just say, for example, “eats”. We at the very least mention a pronoun before the verb, for example: “he eats”, “she eats”, etc.
But in Spanish we can say just the verb and leave the subject pronoun unsaid.
For example, we have these two options to say “i talk”:
Two options for “we eat”:
How do we decide between the two options?: Very easy: we mention the personal pronoun when we want to emphasize the person. “Hablo” means “I speak”, whereas “Yo hablo” would be more similar to the English “Me, I speak…”, emphasizing the person in that way.
So it is a matter of emphasis. You can say the verb alone, or you can add the subject pronoun for more emphasis.