Spanish Subject Pronouns

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).

Your KEY to the German Pronoun Puzzle

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 only 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 only females)
Él = He Ella = She Usted = You (this form of “you” is used in formal situations as a show of respect or with strangers; it is often abbreviated “ud.”)Ellos = They (masculine, or a mixed gender group) Ellas = They (all females) Ustedes = You all (often abbreviated “uds.”)
 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”? 

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Common European Framework of Reference for Languages

The CEFR is an international standard used to describe language ability. Here are specific details of the CEFR for this topic.

General Explanation:
Can understand and use familiar everyday expressions and very basic phrases aimed at the satisfaction of needs of a concrete type. Can introduce him/herself and others and can ask and answer questions about personal details such as where he/she lives, people he/she knows and things he/she has. Can interact in a simple way provided the other person talks slowly and clearly and is prepared to help.
Specific Capabilities at this Level
Writing:
I can write a short, simple postcard, for example sending holiday greetings. I can fill in forms with personal details, for example entering my name, nationality and address on a hotel registration form.
Spoken Production:
I can use simple phrases and sentences to describe where I live and people I know.
Spoken Interaction:
I can interact in a simple way provided the other person is prepared to repeat or rephrase things at a slower rate of speech and help me formulate what I’m trying to say. I can ask and answer simple questions in areas of immediate need or on very familiar topics.
Reading:
I can understand familiar names, words and very simple sentences, for example on notices and posters or in catalogues.
Listening:
I can recognize familiar words and very basic phrases concerning myself, my family and immediate concrete surroundings when people speak slowly and clearly.