Spanish Reflexive Verbs – Learn and Practice Them!

Spanish Reflexive Verbs, Learn them and Practice with Exercises

Welcome to our grammar lesson about Spanish Reflexive Verbs (“Verbos reflexivos”), where we will learn and practice this type of verbs.

Reflexive Verbs are those where the subject and object are the same. In other words, the subject does something “to himself”, rather than to something or someone else.

In this lesson we’ll explain everything about Spanish Reflexive Verbs and how to use them, providing many examples.

At the end you’ll find a Quiz and Exercises for practice.

How to recognize Reflexive Verbs

Reflexive Verbs are easy to recognize: their infinitive has the particle “se” attached at the end.

The following table shows 3 reflexive verbs and 3 non-reflexive verbs. Notice the particle se” attached at the end of Reflexive Verbs:

Reflexive VerbsNon-reflexive verbs
ducharsehablar
levantarsecomer
concentrarsetrabajar

List of Spanish Reflexive Verbs

Here is a list of frequent Spanish Reflexive Verbs and their translation:

SpanishEnglish
acercarseto get closer
acordarseto remember
acostarseto go to bed
alejarseto move away
afeitarseto shave
atreverseto dare
bañarseto bathe
casarseto get married
concentrarseto concentrate
desvestirseto get undressed
despertarseto wake up
dormirseto fall asleep
ducharseto shower
enfadarseto get angry
enterarseto find out
expresarseto express oneself
imaginarseto imagine, to figure
irseto leave a place
lavarseto wash oneself
levantarseto get up
llamarseto be called
ponerseto put clothes on / to become
preocuparseto worry
preguntarseto wonder
quedarseto stay
quitarseto take clothes off
reunirseto get together
sentarseto sit down
sentirseto feel some way
volverseto become
vestirseto get dressed

We express many actions of our daily routine with Reflexive verbs (“to get up”, “to shower”…). Click here to learn more verbs about daily routine.

Conjugating Reflexive Verbs

In order to conjugate Reflexive Verbs, we need to learn a set of Reflexive Pronouns, one for each person.

The pronouns are shown in the following table:

Reflexive Pronouns

PersonReflexive Pronoun
yome
te
él, ella, ustedse
nosotrosnos
vosotrosos
ellos, ellas, ustedesse


For most verb tenses, you need to place Reflexive Pronouns right before the verb.

For example, this is the conjugation of ducharse in Present tense.

 ducharse (Present Tense)
yome ducho
te duchas
él, ella, ustedse ducha
nosotrosnos duchamos
vosotrosos ducháis
ellos, ellas, ustedesse duchan

And here is the conjugation of ducharse in Preterite Tense:

 ducharse (Preterite Tense)
yome duché
te duchaste
él, ella, ustedse duchó
nosotrosnos duchamos
vosotrosos duchasteis
ellos, ellas, ustedesse ducharon

Placement of Reflexive Pronouns in the sentence

For most tenses: right before the verb

As we just explained, for most tenses, we place Reflexive Pronouns right before the verb.

Examples:

Present Tense:

Siempre me ducho por la mañana.
I always shower in the morning.

¿Cuántas veces al día te lavas los dientes?
How many times a day do you brush your teeth?

Ella se acuesta temprano.
She goes to bed early.

Nosotros nos cansamos muy rápido.
We get tired very quickly.

¿Cómo os sentís?
How do guys feel?

Hoy se quedan casa.
Today they stay home.


Present Perfect:

Marta se ha casado.
Marta has got married.

Nos hemos levantado temprano.
We have got up early.


Preterite Tense:

Yo me fui de la fiesta.
I left the party.

Mis amigos se emborracharon.
My friends got drunk.


Imperfect Tense:

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.


Simple Future:

¿Te acordarás?
Will you remember?

Os enteraréis de algo increíble.
You guys will find out about something incredible.


Negative Commands:

No os preocupéis.
Don’t you guys worry.

No te quejes.
Don’t complain.


With Infinitive, Gerundio or Affirmative Commands: Attached at the end of the verb


There are 3 tenses where we must place Reflexive Pronouns attached at the end of the verb: Infinitive, Gerundio and Affirmative commands.

Infinitive:

No puedo concentrarme.
I can’t concentrate.

Relajarse aquí es imposible.
Relaxing here is impossible.

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.


Gerundio:

Estoy lavándome los dientes.
I am brushing my teeth.

Mis padres están vistiéndose.
My parents are getting dressed.

Estoy duchándome.
I am showering.

Estamos lavándonos las manos.
We are washing our hands.

Gerundios always get an accent mark when we attach a reflexive pronoun.


Affirmative Commands (Imperative Mood):

¡Dúchate!
Go shower!

¡Levantaos!
Get up! (you guys)

Concentraos.
Concentrate yourselves.

Ponte la ropa.
Put on your clothes.

Sentaos.
Sit down. (you guys)

Affirmative commands get an accent mark only whet the attached pronoun is “te” and the resulting word is rather long.

Note: When we attach “os” at the end of an Affirmative Command, the verb form loses the final “d”. That’s why it is “levantaos, and not levantados.


Placement with a combination of 2 verbs: Either before the first or attached after the second

In the case where we have 2 verbs combined as a “team”, with the second verb (the reflexive one) being in Infinitive or Gerundio, we have the freedom to choose:

We can either place the Reflexive Pronoun before the first verb, or attached at the end of the second verb.

Examples:

Me quiero duchar.
Quiero ducharme.
Both sentences mean “I want to shower”.


Te estás lavando los dientes.
Estás lavándote los dientes.
Both sentences mean “You are brushing your teeth”.

Practice Spanish Reflexive Verbs

Quiz

Take this short Quiz to test your knowledge about Spanish Reflexive Verbs:

Exercise 1

Which of the following verbs are reflexive? (Solutions below)

bailar
trabajar
relajarse
moverse
continuar

Solution: the only reflexive verbs in the list are “relajarse” and “moverse”


Exercise 2

In this exercise we practice the case where the reflexive pronoun goes before the verb.

Fill the gaps using the Reflexive Verbs in brackets in Present Tense:

Mis amigos siempre _______ 1.(lavarse) los dientes después de comer.
Nosotros _______ 2.(reunirse) todos los viernes.
A veces, tú _______ 3.(acostarse) tarde.
María ________ 4.(sentirse) bien hoy.

Solutions: 1) se lavan 2) nos reunimos 3) te acuestas 4) se siente


Exercise 3

In this exercise we practice the case where the reflexive pronoun goes attached at the end of the verb:

No sé qué me pasa, no puedo ________ 1.(dormirse).
“¿Qué estáis haciendo?” – “Estamos _________ 2.(bañarse)
Vosotros vais a _______ 3.(lavarse) la cara.
Antonio, ¡________ 4.(levantarse)! ¡Es una orden!

Solutions: 1) dormirme 2) bañándonos 3) lavaros 4) levántate


Exercise 4

A child talks about his and his family’s daily routine.

In this exercise we have included cases where the reflexive pronoun goes before the verb, and cases where it goes attached at the end:

Todos los días entre semana, mis padres _____ 1.(levantarse) a las seis y yo _____ 2.(levantarse) a las siete.
Yo _____ 3.(ducharse) con agua caliente. En cambio, mi hermano prefiere ______ 4. (ducharse) con agua fría. ¡Dice que le gusta más así!
A las ocho, mi hermano y yo _____ 5.(irse) juntos al colegio en autobús.
Por la noche, normalmente yo _____ 6.(acostarse) bastante temprano, pero hoy es diferente: Hoy todos vamos a _____ 7.(acostarse) a las doce, porque tenemos una cena familiar. 

Solutions: 1) se levantan 2) me levanto 3) me ducho 4) ducharse 5) nos vamos 6) me acuesto 7) acostarnos