Spanish Subject Pronouns
Pronouns in Spanish
In English, when talking to people or about people, you often use pronouns like I, you, we, they, and them.
Spanish is the same … with a few twists.
|usted (Ud.)||you (polite)|
Be careful! Notice that él is spelled exactly the same as el … except for the accent mark over the e. Make sure that whenever you write ‘he‘ you don’t end up inadvertenly writing ‘the.’
|ustedes (Uds.)||you (polite)|
Which "You" Should You Use?
Ustedes and vosotros are used when you are addressing or talking about other people, not including yourself. It has the same sense in which you would say, “Hey, you guys!”
Ustedes son el futuro del país.
You are the future of the country.
Muchas gracias a todos vosotros por su contribución.
Thank you very much for your contribution.
Ellas no tienen sus boletos de avión.
They (the girls) don't have their plane tickets.
Spain is one of the only countries where you'll hear the pronoun vosotros commonly used. In most of Central and South America, the pronoun ustedes is used for both plural forms of "you."
A Bit of History: Thou and Thee:
Back in the days of Shakespeare, people used the words “thou” and “thee” to address their friends or loved ones (royals were addressed with the more formal “you” and “ye”).
These familiar forms of “you” have fallen out of use in modern-day English, but Spanish has maintained a distinction between familiar and polite forms of “you.”
The familiar tú
Use the “tú” form of “you” to speak to children, friends, family members, or loved ones in a casual, relaxed way.
The polite usted
Use the “usted” form of “you” when you wish to be polite or show respect. You might use it with strangers, the elderly, teachers, or authority figures.
¿De qué país es usted?
What country are you from?
Tú eres muy joven.
You are very young.
Usted tiene el dinero.
You have the money.
Tú no puedes levantar esa pesa.
You can't lift that weight.
¿Adónde va usted?
Where are you going?