Spanish Reflexive Verbs

At last, you've come to the final section on pronouns. This is one of the more complicated sections (but no more complicated than the last section!). In Spanish, when you talk about an action being performed on yourself, you show the reflexive nature of the action with a reflexive verb.

Spanish Reflexive Verbs: Actions You Perform on Yourself

Reflexive verbs indicate that the subject of the sentence has performed an action on itself. In other words, in a reflexive sentence the subject is the same as the object. Examples of reflexive actions are the following:
• José got up
• He put his shoes on
• Eva got sick
• I asked myself a question
• The girl brushed her teeth

You may look at the last example and say, "But the object is teeth! Why should that verb be reflexive?"

In Spanish, parts of the body are never preceded by personal pronouns. In other words, you never talk about "my teeth"—you talk about "the teeth," with a reflexive verb preceding it.

For example, in English you would say:
• I comb my hair
• I wash my face
• I scratch my arm

In Spanish, you would say:
• Me peino el pelo
• Me lavo la cara
• Me rasco el brazo

All reflexive verbs are preceded by reflexive pronouns.

Subject
Reflexive Pronoun
Example
Translation
Download
yo
me
Me peino el pelo.
I comb my hair
Download
te
Te peinas el pelo.
You comb your hair.
Download
Ud., él, ella
se
Ella se peina el pelo.
She combs her hair.
Download
nosotros/as
nos
Nos peinamos el pelo.
We comb our hair.
Download
vosotros/as
os
Os peinais el pelo.
You comb your hair.
Download
Uds., ellos, ellas
se
Ellos se peinan el pelo.
They comb their hair.
 
 
 
 

Understanding Spanish reflexive verbs: When a verb is reflexive?

If you are reading Spanish, you will know that a verb is reflexive by the ending –se tacked onto its infinitive form. Below is a list of some common reflexive verbs. Note the common –se ending.

A verb is not reflexive if it does not have this ending. For example, compare:

Me despierto. with Te despierto.

The first example is reflexive, but the second one is not! In the first example, the subject is performing the action on his/herself (e.g., I wake myself up), and the verb is despertarse. In the second example, the subject is performing the action on someone else (e.g., I wake you up), and the verb is despertar.

Now compare:

Te enojaron. with Nos enojamos.

Can you guess which example uses a reflexive verb and which does not?
• The first example is not reflexive (They made you angry) and uses the verb enojar.
• The second example is reflexive (We got angry) and uses the verb enojarse.

Some verbs are ALWAYS reflexive, like enfermarse.

Por ejemplo:

Download
Maria se peina el pelo todas las noches.
Mary combs her hair every night.
Download
Me lavo la cara todas las mañanas.
I wash my face every morning.
Download
Mis padres se enojan cuando no los llamo.
My parents get angry when I don’t call them.
Download
Francisco se cortó la mano.
Francis cut his hand.
Download
Los niños se quemaron con los juegos pirotécnicos.
The children burned themselves with the fireworks.

Using Spanish reflexive verbs to show emotion

When a person becomes emotional, the verb used will often be reflexive. For example, if you get angry, become sad, or feel happy for someone, you will need to express yourself using a reflexive verb.

This can seem a bit confusing at first. You've learned how to use estar with descriptive adjectives to express emotions. Estoy enojado... I am angry. Estoy feliz... I am happy.

Estoy triste... I am sad.

When you say how you feel in this way, you're expressing your emotional state at that moment.

However, when you want to describe how your emotional state has changed over time or as a result of something, estar simply won't do. You'll need a reflexive verb.
• I quickly got angry. Me enojé rápidamente.
• It made me sad. Me puso triste.
• It makes me happy to hear your voice. Me alegro oír tu voz.

Don't worry too much about this nuance of reflexive verbs! The more you hear verbs in action, the more you'll naturally pick up which verbs are used reflexively and which are not.

Testing!

Test yourself with the Rocket Spanish testing tools! Improve your knowledge of Spanish and earn points for your badges along the way!

Note that the tests below are listed from easiest to hardest. Also, when a test is successfully rated the rating icon will at the top right of this page will show that rating.

Hola, my name’s Mauricio Evlampieff, I’m the host of Rocket Spanish.

I come from the beautiful country of Chile, which means Spanish is my native language. But I know how hard it can be to learn a new language, because I’ve been there.

Together with my English speaking colleague, Amy, I want to help you to speak and understand Spanish while cutting your learning time in half with my Rocket Spanish online course.

I've travelled the world over, and have found that languages are a great way to meet people and discover new things. I really want to make your Spanish learning experience rewarding and fun!

Speak Spanish...
  • With over 30 fully downloadable Interactive Audio Lessons. Based on actual everyday Spanish conversations, these lessons average over 25 minutes each, giving you more than 12 hours of real Spanish conversation!

Try one for yourself today! Here is the very first Interactive Audio Lesson from Rocket Spanish

Listen to the FULL Audio

Understand Spanish...

There are just 3 steps to dramatically improving your understanding of Spanish!

  • Learn to understand exactly how Spanish works by exploring over 30 Language & Culture Lessons
  • Train your ear with Hear It Say It !, the self-testing tool that perfects your pronunciation by harnessing the power of our Rocket Record voice comparison technology.
  • Put yourself on the spot by testing how accurately you can translate randomly selected phrases using Rocket Record and the Know It! self-testing tool.
Cut your learning time in half...
  • By checking out our Advanced Learning Techniques; making the most of My Forum, our 24/7 online learners space, and making learning fun with the Language Master Games.
  • Plus you can see just how quickly you language skills are growing with My Level, our self-testing tool.

And that’s not all!

So, if you’re ready to speak and understand Spanish while cutting your learning time in half, then Rocket Spanish is just what you need...!

Like This Resource? Please Share!

Like Our Site? Follow Us!

Click here to
improve your Spanish,
get a free trial, a
free report and more...
Rocket Spanish Host - Mauricio Evlampieff
PC Mag PC mag editor rating

“Rocket Languages is our Editors’ Choice for language-learning.”

Bessie Awards

More Learn Spanish resources

Rocket Spanish Premium

This beginner level course for new learners contains some amazing features that will really get your Spanish language skills moving.

Click Here to Learn More


Click here to take a tour of Rocket Spanish Premium


Rocket Spanish Premium Plus

-Intermediate Course

This course is perfect if you have some Spanish skills already and you're ready to step up to the next level

Click Here to Learn More


Rocket Spanish Platinum

-Advanced Course

If you're ready to become a fluent, natural, confident Spanish speaker then this advanced level course is for you.

Click Here to Learn More


Learn Spanish Forum

This Spanish language forum is where you go to get feedback and to connect with other learners. Interacting with teachers and peers will really help develop your understanding!

Click Here to Learn More


Learn Spanish Blog

Rocket Languages
Reviews

How satisfied are you with your Rocket Languages experience?

How likely are you to buy again?

Are you happy with the price?

Would you recommend to a friend?

How was the Customer Service?


Shawn Graves - Tennessee, USA - Rocket Spanish

"This product has allowed me to learn a new language and to speak it with confidence."

Read More

Shawn Graves

Tennessee, USA

"This product has allowed me to learn a new language and to speak it with confidence."

Overall
How satisfied are you with your Rocket Languages experience?
How likely are you to buy again?
Are you happy with the price?
Would you recommend to a friend?
How was the Customer Service?

I went on a mission trip to the Dominican Republic. I knew what I thought was ‘a little Spanish’. When I got there and started interacting with the nationals, I realized I did not know enough to help me cross the street. As I worked with the locals, ministered to them, and tried to give them medical attention, I realized how restricted I was in helping them. I thought to myself, “I could do so some much more if I could effectively communicate with them”.

That entire week, I wished so many times that I could understand what they needed – I could have done so much more. I made a promise to myself that the next time I returned, I would know how to communicate with these people. I felt so helpless and powerless at times because there was this language barrier I had to deal with. When I got back to the States, I began to research and compare audio language software products. Website after website kept giving Rocket Spanish great reviews.

I was reluctant at first, but I purchased it and gave it a shot – Wow! I am almost through all the lessons and what a world of difference this product has made. I am now conversing with several of the nationals in the Dominican Republic, preparing for the next trip. Get this – I am conversing with them in their native language! I feel so much more empowered to take this next trip and make a bigger difference. I will be able to walk the streets of these villages and converse with the locals at will, removing the communication barrier. I was doubtful that I could learn Spanish, especially so quickly. But, this is a great way – you listen and repeat the lessons and the way they are presented is so easy to follow. This product has allowed me to learn a new language and to speak it with confidence. This has also worked out very well at my job - I am now able to take phone calls and emails from Spanish speaking customers - an added bonus!


Gail Witten - USA - Rocket Spanish

"The audio lessons are thorough, well organized and enjoyable, I like listening to the audio, guessing at the new meaning of phrases and repeating sentences after Mauricio"

Read More

Gail Witten

USA

"The audio lessons are thorough, well organized and enjoyable, I like listening to the audio, guessing at the new meaning of phrases and repeating sentences after Mauricio"

Overall
How satisfied are you with your Rocket Languages experience?
How likely are you to buy again?
Are you happy with the price?
Would you recommend to a friend?
How was the Customer Service?

I bought Rocket Spanish three and a half months ago after researching courses on the Internet. I chose it because it was a well rounded course with lots of content at a very good price. I just finished it last night and I definitely recommend this course to others. I was a beginner with only a few words of Spanish and quickly was given some key words and phrases to work with.

The course moved along at a satisfying pace and provided lots of reinforcement and review in a natural conversational way.

My husband who has studied Spanish before eventually joined me for some of the lessons. And we found the course worked well for both our levels and learning styles.

The audio lessons are thorough, well organized and enjoyable, I like listening to the audio, guessing at the new meaning of phrases and repeating sentences after Mauricio, with my best attempt at good Spanish pronunciation.

My husband spent more time memorizing conjugating verbs, doing reflexive, details of grammar, etc... I didn't memorize as much because it was just too much new content for me, but I was still able to go through all the lessons with increasing confidence and satisfaction.

Because of the way the course continued to build, review and reinforce the content. I've gone from having virtually no Spanish, to having a basic understanding of the language.

Because it's all so new I need to listen, listen, listen, so I can begin to express myself better. The phrases I need don't always come to my mind yet, because it is all too new, so I plan to burn the lessons on CD and listen to them on the car. I also purchased Rocket Spanish Premium Plus (Level 2) and look forward to continuing my studies.

I think the biggest benefit of this course is that it made learning enjoyable, the audios are a pleasure to listen to and suit our different learning levels and learning styles.


John Vaughan - United States - Rocket Spanish

"Excellent! Easy to use and fun. I'm not the best when it comes to learning any language (even my own). But this product has made it easy for me and once I finish with Spanish, I'm going to try another"

Read More

John Vaughan

United States

"Excellent! Easy to use and fun. I'm not the best when it comes to learning any language (even my own). But this product has made it easy for me and once I finish with Spanish, I'm going to try another"

Overall
How satisfied are you with your Rocket Languages experience?
How likely are you to buy again?
Are you happy with the price?
Would you recommend to a friend?
How was the Customer Service?

Excellent! Easy to use and fun. I'm not the best when it comes to learning any language (even my own). But this product has made it easy for me and once I finish with Spanish, I'm going to try another. I plan on doing some traveling and I want to be able to know what is being said about the old gringo.


Stephanie Miller - USA - Rocket Spanish

"Not only does the style of teaching makes sense, but it's easy to follow and its actually pretty fun..."

Read More

Stephanie Miller

USA

"Not only does the style of teaching makes sense, but it's easy to follow and its actually pretty fun..."

Overall
How satisfied are you with your Rocket Languages experience?
How likely are you to buy again?
Are you happy with the price?
Would you recommend to a friend?
How was the Customer Service?

Hello Rocket Spanish. My name is Stephanie Miller and I just wanted to take a few minutes and tell you how much I've been enjoying the program. I've been using Rocket Spanish lessons for little over a month now and I'm really impressed by them. Not only does the style of teaching makes sense, but it's easy to follow and its actually pretty fun.

I've always wanted to learn Spanish; actually for a few years now I've been working on it. I've purchased and rented various programs to get started. I've spent hours and hours searching for online Spanish tutorials. I've even found some free websites that had some free videos and lessons to watch and some games to play, but they can only take you so far, and without the context and hearing it in the conversation it's hard to grasp. You know, someone can tell you something is the way it is over and over but until you actually apply the rule in practice you won't really get it, and that's what's so great about Rocket Spanish.

It's full of practical applications and ways to practice conversational Spanish. And in addition to that, it's convenient to use, portable, accessible from any PC. I can listen to it in my car, login and listen at work, or at home.

I would most definitely recommend the Rocket Languages to anybody just for the convenience, accessibility and the plain fun that it provides in learning a new language. Within the first few weeks I was thrilled about what I had already grasped. I'm confident that it will provide the same effect for others.

I think it's a worthy investment for somebody who really wants to learn a foreign language and I thank you very much for everything that you guys have done.

Your customer service is excellent as well. Thanks a lot.


Dan Henderson - United States - Rocket Spanish

"...Rocket Spanish has kept me engaged and looking forward to each day's lesson, which I think is one of its advantages. I am glad that I found Rocket Languages, and I think it is a great value..."

Read More

Dan Henderson

United States

"...Rocket Spanish has kept me engaged and looking forward to each day's lesson, which I think is one of its advantages. I am glad that I found Rocket Languages, and I think it is a great value..."

Overall
How satisfied are you with your Rocket Languages experience?
How likely are you to buy again?
Are you happy with the price?
Would you recommend to a friend?
How was the Customer Service?

I have wanted to learn Spanish for many years, and have started several other programs but was unsuccessful. I purchased Rocket Spanish one year ago and have been studying faithfully and diligently nearly every day since. I thought that I would be fluent in a year or so. I now see how optimistic, actually unrealistic, that goal was. Learning another language is difficult, and it is a long term process. However, Rocket Spanish has kept me engaged and looking forward to each day's lesson, which I think is one of its advantages. I am glad that I found Rocket Languages, and I think it is a great value for the price.


FREE TRIAL