Spanish Subject Pronouns: “YO, TÚ, ÉL…”

Subject Pronouns in Spanish (“Pronombres personales de sujeto”) are the pronouns which represent the person who performs the action of the verb.

Of course, Subject Pronouns are one of the very first things we learn in a Spanish course. They are the equivalent to the English words “I, you, he…”, so we need them right from the beginning.

In this lesson, we will go through the following points:

1. Spanish Subject Pronouns: Forms

Here is the list of Subject Pronouns. We have also included the conjugation of the verb “hablar” in Present Tense for each person:

EnglishSpanishverb "Hablar"
Iyohablo
you (sing.)hablas
he
she
you (sing. polite)
él
ella
usted
habla
we (masc.)
we (fem.)
nosotros
nosotras
hablamos
you (masc. pl.)
you (fem. pl.)
vosotros
vosotras
habláis
they (masc.)
they (fem.)
you (pl. polite)
ellos
ellas
ustedes
hablan


2. “Usted” and “ustedes”, with the Verb in 3rd Person

The pronouns “usted” (which means a polite singular “you”) and “ustedes” (which means a polite plural “you”) conjugate the verb like the 3rd persons:

  • “Usted” conjugates verbs just like “él” and “ella”
  • “Ustedes” conjugates verbs just like “ellos” and “ellas”

Examples:

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.


3. We don’t always need to use the subject pronouns

This is a feature of the Spanish language that is different from English. 

In English, we never just say, for example, “eats”. We always need a subject in the sentence: “he eats”, “she eats”, etc. 

On the other hand, in Spanish, we have the option to not say the Subject Pronoun.

For example, both these sentences mean “I talk”:

yo hablo

hablo

And these two sentences mean “we eat”:

nosotros comemos

comemos

We mention the Subject 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.


4. Practice: A Quiz

Take this short Quiz to test your knowledge!:


5. Practice: An Exercise

In the following dialogs and sentences, fill the gaps in your mind or on a piece of paper using Subject Pronouns. Then check the solutions at the end of this post.

– ¿Tú eres María?
– Sí, _____ (1) soy María. 

– ¿Vosotros habláis varios idiomas?
– Sí, _____ (2) hablamos español, inglés y francés.

– ¿Juan tiene dos coches?
– Sí, _____ (3) tiene un Ford y un Jeep.

Señora García, _____ (4. polite singular “you”) tiene un hijo muy inteligente.

Ana y Sara estudian van al mismo colegio. _____ (5) son muy buenas amigas. 

Señores, ¿ _____ (6. polite plural “you”) trabajan?

Solutions to the Exercise: 1 = yo, 2 = nosotros, 3 = él, 4 = usted, 5 = Ellas, 6 = ustedes