Spanish Subject Pronouns

Beginner Spanish - Level A1

Overview

Subject pronouns are the words such as “I”, “you”, “he”, etc. They are the “subject”, as they carry out the verb in a sentence. They are also referred to as personal pronouns because they refer to people. Subject pronouns often replace a subject noun and can be classified several different ways: by person (first, second, or third person), number (singular or plural), gender (male or female), and formality (formal or informal).

language250Asset 173@250x-8

Back to the Course

Hi, you can review other topics from this course level.

Spanish A1

 

Visit the Shop

Visit the Shop

Start classes with one of our professional teachers today.

Visit the Shop

Spanish Subject Pronouns

What are subject pronouns and why do we use them? Subject pronouns in both Spanish and English are words used to replace a proper name. In English these sound like: I, you, he, she, we, they.

While learning Spanish, you will often see the subjects laid out in a chart like the one shown below. These subjects will always “live” in these same boxes in the chart and will never change locations. That way when we begin to work with verbs soon, you will always know which version of the verb belongs with which subject

Memorizing these subject pronouns’ locations on the chart will allow you to know which form of the verb belongs with each subject once we start pairing them. 

 

Spanish Subject Pronouns

Yo = I (**unlike I in English, yo is only capitalized at the beginning of a sentence)

Nosotros = We (masculine, or a mixed gender group)

Nosotras = We (a group of all females)

 = You (this form of “you” is used in informal situations or with people that you know)

Vosotros = You all (this is used solely in Spain) (masculine or a mixed gender group)

Vosotras = You all (a group of all females)

Él = He

Ella = She

Usted = You (this form of “you” is used in formal situations as a show of respect or with strangers)

Ellos = They (masculine, or a mixed gender group)

Ellas = They (all females)

Ustedes = You all


 Did you notice that all singular subjects are on the left side and their plural counterpart is directly across from them on the right?

 

How do Spanish subject pronouns work?

As stated before, these pronouns replace names so that we do not have to keep repeating proper names over and over in conversation. For example:

John is coming to the cookout at 5:00. He is bringing hamburgers.

See how the word “he” replaced the original use of “John”? 

Don't miss out!

Hi there, you are currently not signed in.

CORE Languages students who are signed in get credit for daily engagement while studying. Additionally, save your quiz and test grades by logging in. Even if you are just a language buff wanting to get a bit more studying in, Sign In and receive weekly content updates, access to Free PDF guides and special pricing on online training from our shop.

Additional Activities

Review the unit lesson above and complete additional activities to build your understanding of this topic. For the activities listed below, make sure you are signed in to keep track of your progress, to receive our weekly topics e-mail and special promotions! We are letting you know, you are not signed in. And progress will not be saved.

When is it appropriate and inappropriate to be familiar in Spanish?

As you have learned from previous modules, the Spanish language places an emphasis on formality when addressing specific peers. The lesson on Subject Pronouns briefly went over Tú, Usted, Ustedes, Vosotros, and Vosotras.

We know that they mean “you” … but why do we have to learn this?

In Spanish, the conjugation of verbs directly matches what subject pronoun you choose to use. Since we have not yet discussed verb conjugation, you may not understand this topic in full. You can look at the module on formality or the beginning -ar/-er/-ir conjugations for a more information.

Here two quick abbreviations that you can use to understand what “you” to use:

Usted  -  F.O.R.

F. Formal: when you are in a formal scenario
       Examples: business transaction, work, conference, meeting, etc.

O. Older: when you are speaking to someone older than you
      Examples: grandparents, older adults, senior citizens, etc.

R. Respect: when you are speaking to someone who deserves respect
     Examples: boss, manager, politicians, doctors, people with higher education,
                       people who you look up to, etc.

 - I.S.F.

I. Informal: when you are in an informal scenario
     Examples: hanging out with friends, at dinner, going out, meeting new people, relaxed
                       social settings

S. Similar: when you are of a similar age/ position
     Examples: Meeting strangers that seem your age, talking to your peers, meeting people
                       who have a similar level of achievement as yourself

F. Favorites: when you are around your favorite people
     Examples: Friends, (close family- similar ages), and people you are really close to in
                       general!


Ustedes

Ustedes is the plural conjugation for you all. It identifies a group of individuals as a second person subject. However, unlike usted it can apply to BOTH formal and informal scenarios. The level of formality would depend on who you are talking to. Ustedes is used in many Spanish speaking countries, other than Spain, to identify an informal, plural subject group of “you”.

Vosotros/ Vosotras

People in Spain use the term Vosotros/as to indicate an informal, plural subject group of “you”. It has similar applications as those listed for Tú above. However, Vosotros/as has vastly different verb conjugation rules than tú, usted, or ustedes.

Spanish Subject Pronouns

Below is a list of the Spanish Subject Pronouns. As you can tell, many of the pronouns match in number and gender of the subject. Another layer to correct subject pronoun usage in Spanish, is the understanding of formality.
Spanish Pronouns



Use  when you are talking directly to a child, a relative, a friend, a peer, or a pet, you should use tú, the informal second person singular.

Vos is used instead of tú in some countries, such as Argentina, Paraguay, Uruguay, Nicaragua, and Costa Rica.
In some countries, such as Bolivia, Chile, Honduras, Guatemala, and El Salvador, you may hear both tú and vos.
In some countries, such as Spain, Mexico, Puerto Rico, Cuba, and the Dominican Republic, you will only hear tú.

Usted is used to directly address someone older, a person you do not know, a superior, or someone to whom you would like to show respect.

Nosotros, Nosotras

Use nosotros or nosotras when speaking about a group of which you are a part.

The difference between nosotros and nosotras is gender.

  • Nosotros is used to refer to a group of men only or a group made up of men and women. Even if there are ninety-nine women and only one man in a group, you still use nosotros.
  • Nosotras is feminine and is only used when the entire group is female.

Vosotros, Vosotras

Vosotros and vosotras are used to speak directly to a group of people you are very familiar with.

Vosotros and vosotras follow the same rules for gender as nosotros and nosotras.

Ustedes

In Latin America, ustedes is used to speak directly to a group of people in both formal and informal situations.

In Spain, ustedes is used when talking to a group of people in a formal situation.

Let’s practice!

Replace the following subjects with the appropriate subject pronoun. Be sure to pay close attention to match the gender! Click READ MORE below to see the answer key! 

  1. John
  2. Beth
  3. Sarah and Michelle
  4. Tommy and I (I being a male)
  5. You (informal)
  6. You (formal)
  7. I
  8. Andrew and Garrett
  9. Jane and I (I being a female)
  10. Adam, Suzie and you (this can have two answers – can you name them both?)

Answer key: 1. Él, 2. Ella, 3. Ellas, 4. Nosotros, 5. Tú, 6. Usted, 7. Yo, 8. Ellos, 9. Nosotras, 10. Ustedes, Vosotros

1. El means…
   a. He
   b. The
   c. She
   d. They

2. What subject pronouns are first person?
   a. I
   b. Ella
   c. We
   d. Both a. and c.

3. What subject pronouns are third person, singular?
   a. Él, Ella
   b. Yo, Nosotros
   c. Tú, Usted
   d. Vosotros, Vosotras

4. What subject does Nosotros correspond with?
   a. We, can only ever apply to men
   b. We, can only ever apply to women
   c. We, can apply to a group of men or a mix of men and women
   d. We, can only apply to a group of mixed gendered individuals

5. What subject does Vosotras correspond with?
   a. You all, can only apply to a group of men
   b. You all, can only apply to a group of women
   c. You all, can apply to a group of men or a mixed group
   d. You all, can only apply to a group of mixed gendered individuals

6. Are all subject pronouns applicable in a formal setting?
   a. Yes
   b. No

7. Match the Spanish Subject Pronoun to its English Translation:
   7. Yo               A. She
   8. Él               B. I
   9. Usted         C. You all (formal, plural)
   10. Ustedes   D. He
   11. Ella          E. You (formal, singular)
   12. Nosotros  F. We (masculine)

Answers:

1. b,
2. d,
3. a.
4. c,
5. b.,
6. b, .
7:  7B, 8D, 9E, 10C, 11A, 12.F

1. What subject pronoun can your use the acronym F.O.R for?
   a. Vosotros
   b. Tú
   c. Ellos
   d. Usted

2. What subject pronoun can you use the acronym I.S.F for?
   a. Tú
   b. Ustedes
   c. Vosotros
   d. All of the above

3. Where is the term Vosotros used?
   a. Spain
   b. France
   c. All Spanish speaking countries
   d. Latin America

4. Can ustedes be used informally and formally?
   a. Yes
   b. No

5. Match the Scenario to the Best Form of You in Spanish:
    (Answers can be used more than once.)

5. Your best friend                                                       A. Vosotros
6. A project meeting with your boss                            B. Tú
7. A group of elders                                                     C. Usted
8. A group of people your age in a bar in Panamá      D. Ustedes
9. A group of people your age in a bar in Spain          E. Vosotras
10. A group of girls your age at the mall in Spain

1. d,
2. d,
3. a,
4. a,
5:  5B, 6C, 7D, 8D, 9A, 10E.

We love new fresh content! Find some of our favorite links on this Unit topic below. If any links are expired, please let us know.

What do you know?

You can complete the following quiz to see if you truly understand this unit's content.