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An Introduction to Spanish Reflexive Verbs

Aug 21, 2008
In order to be able to understand the use of Spanish reflexive verbs, you must know what a reflexive verb is. A reflexive verb is one in which the subject and the object of the sentence refer to the same thing. In the sentence ?She washes herself?she and herself refer to the same person, so washes is a reflexive verb. In the sentence he washes the baby? the subject he?and the object aby?are not the same and therefore the verb is not reflexive.

There is an easy way in which you can recognize when a verb is reflexive in Spanish. In its infinitive form, the verb will end in the letters?rather than ar, er or ir. The verb to wash is lavar, but in the reflexive form meaning to wash oneself it is averse? One of the most commonly used reflexive verbs in the Spanish language is lamarse? This means to call oneself and you use it whenever you tell someone your name. name is Jim?is ellamo Jim??I call myself Jim.

The conjugation of reflexive verbs is the same as that of regular verbs with an additional pronoun. You have to include reflexive pronouns in the conjugation to denote that you are using this form of verb. To illustrate this take a look at how the verb to wash is conjugated as a regular verb and how it is conjugated as a reflexive verb.

Regular conjugation of lavar:

I wash ?yo lavo

You wash ?lavas

You wash ?usted lava

He/She/It washes ?ella lava

We wash ?nosotros lavarnos

You wash ?vosotros lavais

You wash ?ustedes lavan

They wash ?ellos/ellas lavan

Reflexive conjugation of lavar:

I wash myself ?yo me lavo

You wash yourself ?te lavas

You wash yourself ?usted se lava

He washes himself ? se lava

She washes herself ?ella se lava

We wash ourselves ?nosotros nos lavarnos

You wash yourselves ?vosotros nos lavais

You wash yourselves ?ustedes se lavan

They wash themsleves ?ellos/ellas se lavan

The pronouns that you add in between for the reflexive verb conjugations are object pronouns, rather than subject pronouns. This is to show that the object and the subject are one and the same. Just about every verb can be transformed into the reflexive by adding an object that is the same as the subject. When you take a course in Spanish, you will have lessons devoted entirely to the use of reflexive verbs complete with speaking passages, worksheets and quizzes to make sure you fully understand the concept.

When you first start using this concept, you may wonder why people look at you with a puzzled look if you forget to use the object pronoun. For example, if you wanted to tell someone you name and you forget to use the object pronoun, that person may think that instead of telling him/her who you are you were going to call someone to come and help you. It does take practice getting used to using this form of the verb in conversation. But once you practice and get the hang of inserting the pronouns you won have any problems.
About the Author
For more information on Spanish reflexive verbs,Spanish vocabulary and Spanish prepositions visit http://www.Spanish-Kit.net
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