Understanding Spanish Pronouns – Charts and Examples

Lo, la, le, se, me, te, vos! These itty bitty words are confusing. What do they even mean? They end up in the strangest places too, in the front, on a verb, doubled up sometimes. Which one means what? You’ve got to be kidding me. The Spanish pronouns are very confusing and overwhelm language learners from the start.

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Which words are pronouns in Spanish?

A Spanish pronoun can replace any noun. By themselves they are abstract ideas. They have no definition of their own and can only be explained as a grammatical concept. I’m here to help you understand what they mean and how to use them. Plus, I give you strategic tips to avoid the common pitfalls involved with Spanish pronouns.

The best part is I don’t leave you with concepts alone, but also with practical ways to build a solid Spanish foundation with a grammar analysis study system.

Spanish Pronouns and the Parts of Speech

A pronoun is one of the eight parts of speech. Every word fits into one of the following grammar categories. When doing a grammar analysis, these are the labels for each word in a phrase or sentence.

Today, we will see exactly what a pronoun is and how they are used in Spanish. Most importantly, their job as a substitute fits into many parts of a sentence. For each of those places, there is a whole different set of pronouns. Some attach to verbs or disappear entirely from the sentence. Knowing each kind of pronoun will help you understand Spanish and express yourself much clearer.

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What is a pronoun in Spanish?

A pronoun is a word that replaces a noun to avoid repetition.

The English word “pronoun” is translated “pronombre” in Spanish. In a way the suffix explains it best. “Pro-” means substituting for and agreeing with the “nombre” or name. Literally the pronoun substitutes a noun. The personal and demonstrative pronouns agree with their noun in person, gender and number. Here are more grammar words for pronouns in English and Spanish:

Spanish Pronouns in English

— pronombre — pronoun
— sujeto — subject
— objeto — object
— verbo — verb
— personal — personal
demonstrativo — demonstrative
relativo — relative

These are a few of the labels used in grammar analysis. Discover the patterns of words, phrases and sentences, from examples found in reading and listening sources. Then put them into practice using them in real life.

Spanish Personal Pronouns

It should be noted, every who and what (noun) can be replaced with a personal pronoun. We use these special words all the time to not be repetitive, to shorten length and improve our rhythm in speech and print. Every sentence is influenced by the key personal pronouns: subject, direct and indirect object.

The remaining personal pronouns: possessive, prepositional and comitative are equally important. They add more description to a sentence in different ways. I have listed the personal pronoun terms in English and Spanish:

— personal — personal
— sujeto — subject
— objeto directo — direct object
— objeto indirecto — indirect object
— posesivo — possessive
— preposicional — prepositional
comitativo — comitative

Spanish Pronouns Chart

For your reference, all the personal pronouns are listed, one in each column. Continue to learn about each pronoun type below. They all have their unique purposes and specific uses that are different from English.

NumberPersonSubjectDirect ObjectIndirect ObjectPossessivePrepositionalComitative
SingularFirstyomememío, mía, míos, mías
Secondtetetuyo, tuya, tuyos, tuyasti, vos
Thirdél, ella, ellolo or la, sele, sesuyo, suya, suyos, suyas él, ella, ello, usted
PluralFirst nosotros, nosotrasnosnosnuestro, nuestra, nuestros, nuestrasnosotros, nosotras
Secondvosotros, vosotrasososvuestro, vuestra, vuestros, vuestrasvosotros, vosotras
Thirdellos, ellas, ustedeslos or las, seles, sesuyo, suya, suyos, suyas ellos, ellas, ustedescon ellos, con ellas, consigo*
masculine, feminine, formal*reflexive

Spanish Subject Pronouns

Above all the subject pronouns are essential for every sentence. Even though, a pronoun may not be visible, guaranteed indirectly the sentence references one. In time, it may show up or remain implied. This is because, every sentence has a verb conjugation and a subject and underneath them both is a subject pronoun.

What is a Spanish subject pronoun?

A subject pronoun is the subject of the verb.

In simple terms, a subject pronoun is the unstated subject of every sentence. At any time the subject pronoun can replace the subject. Alternatively, it can disappear and the verb ending will tell what the implied subject pronoun is.

What is the purpose of subject pronouns?

Generally speaking, the subject pronouns are handy replacements. Instead of saying the subject over and over again, throw in a subject pronoun in its place. This improves the flow of communication. Because of this the subject pronouns are high on the most frequently used word lists.

That’s the reason they are important basic words to learn. Here are the Spanish subject pronouns:

Spanish Subject Pronouns Chart

NumberPersonSubject PronounEnglish
SingularFirstyoI
Secondyou
Thirdél, ella, ustedhe, she
PluralFirst nosotros, nosotraswe
Secondvosotros, vosotrasyou
Thirdellos, ellas, ustedesthey
masculine, feminine, formal

Tip: Although the Spanish subject pronouns in English are shown, don’t fall into the pitfall of constant translation. They are there to help understand, but leave them and find good examples of sentences in Spanish with subject pronouns.

The verb conjugations use the same chart above. The endings change based on class, mood, tense and characteristics of the subject, such as number, person, gender.

What are the 7 Spanish subject pronouns?

In total there are seven subject pronouns in Spanish, one for each number and person plus one formal. However, if you include all the masculine, feminine, neuter and formal ones, all together there are a total of twelve Spanish subject pronouns.

The 12 Spanish Subject Pronouns

The twelve Spanish subject pronouns are: yo, tú, él, ella, ello, nosotros, nosotras, vosotros, vosotras, ellos, ellas, and ustedes. Again this includes the masculine, feminine, neuter and formal variations. The neuter is only used when the subject is unknown.

What are 1st 2nd and 3rd person pronouns in Spanish?

Typically, the first, second and third person pronouns goes as follows. First person is yo (I). Second person is (you). Third person is él (he) in masculine or ella (she) in feminine genders or rarely ello (neuter, unknown gender).

singular person pronouns in spanish

yo — first singular
— second singular
él, ella, ello (neuter), usted — third singular

What are 3 plural subject pronouns in Spanish?

Regularly, the subject pronouns carry the gender and number of their subject. Plural means there is more than one and they go as follows:

So, first person plural is nosotros (we) in masculine and nosotras (we) in feminine. Second person plural is vosotros (you all) in masculine and vosotros (you all) in feminine, used in Spain. Third person plural is ellos (they) in masculine and ellas (they) in feminine. Also, in third person is ustedes (you all) in formal, instead of vosotros.

Plural person pronouns in spanish

nosotros, nosotras — first plural
vosotros, vosotros — second plural
ellos, ellas, ustedes — third plural

As you can see, some of the subject pronouns end with “-os” when masculine and “-as” when feminine. The rest are not marked for gender. Also, the subject pronoun “ello” is used for an unknown subject. This is the only neuter subject pronoun.

Spanish Subject Pronoun Examples

Yo soy una mujer. — I am a woman.
Soy una mujer — (I) am a woman.

La niña canta. — The girl sings.
Ella canta — She sings.

El gato es gordo. — The cat is fat.
El es gordo. — He is fat.

Cenicienta y sus malvadas hermanastras viven en una casa grande. — Cinderella and her wicked step sisters live in a big house.
Ellas viven en una casa grande. — They live in a big house.

The second sentences are shorter, because the subject pronoun wraps the subject into a smaller single word or disappears. But always the subject pronoun is the subject of the verb.

Do you need to include a subject pronoun in Spanish?

Unlike English, the subject or its pronoun may not appear in a sentence. Often, Spanish sentences lack a stated subject. This means it must be implied from the verb. Once the subject has been named, the subject pronoun is implied in the verb ending. The examples from above are continued here:

Canta. — (He or she) sings.
Es gordo. — (He or she) is fat.
Viven en una casa grande.— (They) live in a big house.

In the first sentence, the subject is stated. Next, a subject pronoun replaces the subject. Finally, in the last sentence, the subject is implied by the verb. We don’t loose subjects in English, but this is perfectly acceptable in Spanish.

four women chatting while sitting on bench

Spanish Direct and Indirect Object Pronouns

Like the subject pronouns, both object pronouns replace their specific type of object. It’s important to understand how the subject and objects work together in a sentence. Some sentences have them, but not always. When there is an object, the verb connects together a chain of events. A sentence can be labelled with these words for direct or indirect objects in Spanish and English as follows:

— pronombre personal — personal pronoun
— el sujeto — subject
— el verbo — the verb
— objeto directo — direct object
— objeto indirecto — indirect object
— verbo transitivo — transitive verb

What are object pronouns used for in Spanish?

Unlike subject pronouns, object pronouns only replace an object in a sentence. The subject pronouns are the subject of the verb. The object pronouns are the objects connected to the subject and verb. Similarly, both replace a noun.

Spanish Direct Object Pronouns

Specifically, direct object pronouns only replace direct objects. It’s important to know about direct objects first. A direct object is object of the subject. Both subjects and objects are types of nouns. The difference is the sentence is about the subject and how it relates to the objects.

This only happens in a sentence with a transitive verb. The verb tells key information about how the subject relates to its objects. The direct object pronouns are as follows:

Spanish Direct Object Pronouns chart

NumberPersonDirect Object PronounEnglish
SingularFirstmeme
Secondteyou
Thirdlo or la, se*him or her
PluralFirst nosus
Secondosyou
Thirdlos or las, se*them
masculine, feminine, *reflexive

Tip: Although the Spanish direct object pronouns in English are shown, don’t fall into the pitfall of constant translation. They are there to help understand, but leave them and find good examples of sentences in Spanish with subject pronouns.

Spanish Direct Object Pronoun Examples

Yo quiero calcetines. — I want socks.
Los quiero. — I want them (socks).

¿Dónde está mi bolsa? — Where is my purse?
La miro aquí. — I see it here.

Tengo el mapa. — (I) have the map.
Lo tengo — I have it (map).

How do you find the direct object?

Once you have labeled the subject and verb, then ask yourself:

¿(Sujeto) (verbo) a quién o qué? — (Subject) (verb) who or what?

The answer will tell you if there is direct object in the sentence. Only some types of sentences do have a direct object. Here are some examples of sentences with direct object pronouns.

happy florist giving bouquet of flowers to lady

Spanish Indirect Object

Secondarily, indirect object pronouns only replace indirect objects. It’s important to know about indirect objects first. An indirect object is a second object of the subject. Both subjects and objects are types of nouns. Both direct and indirect objects are objects of the subject. The difference is the subject relates the direct object to the indirect object through the verb.

Only when the subject has a transitive verb, then objects can be included in a sentence. The verb tells key information about how the subject relates to its objects. The indirect object pronouns are as follows:

Spanish inDirect Object Pronouns chart

NumberPersonIndirect Object PronounsEnglish
SingularFirstmeme
Secondteyou
Thirdle, sehim, her, it
PluralFirst nosus
Secondosyou
Thirdles, sethem
le, les > se before l

Tip: Although the Spanish indirect pronouns in English are shown, don’t fall into the pitfall of constant translation. They are there to help understand, but leave them and find good examples of sentences in Spanish with subject pronouns.

Spanish iNDirect Object Pronoun Examples

¿Hablas a ella? — Do you talk to her?
¿La hablas?– Do (you) talk to her?

Él cocina desayuno para su madre? — He cooks chicken for his mother.
Le cocina desayuno. — (He) cooks her breakfast.

El sol brilla al mundo . — The sun shines on the world.
El sol le brilla. — The sun shines on it.

How do you find the indirect object in Spanish?

Once you have labeled the subject, verb and direct object, then ask yourself:

¿(Sujeto) (verbo) (objecto directo) a quién o qué? — (Subject) (verb) (direct object) who or what?

The answer tells you who or what the indirect object is in a sentence. Only some types of sentences do have an indirect object. Only sentences with transitive verbs can have an indirect object or pronoun.

The best way to learn the correct patterns is by doing grammar analysis. Simply, pull examples from your reading or listening sources and label the parts of speech. See the patterns and use them in your practice time.

An Easy-to-Use Grammar Analysis System

Your step-by-step study system to analyze words, phrases and sentences. This simple spreadsheet helps you label sentences and discover patterns to practice your Spanish language skills. Also, useful for tracking your progress and the grammar rules and exceptions you learn along the way. And so much more… Look inside… or buy now!

Or you can try to do analysis without the quick and easy ultimate system.

Direct vs indirect object pronouns

Did you notice the object pronouns are the same for first and second person, yet third person is different. That means often you’ll use the same pronouns, except when the action is passing to a third party.

Both object pronouns are a noun substitute, but each replace their specific type of word. That is to say, direct objects and indirect objects are replaced by their specific kind of pronoun. You can find both by asking a question.

The Order of Pronouns in Spanish

Naturally, English speakers are confused about where the personal pronouns go in a sentence. This is because the Spanish word order is different. For this reason, learners need to label sample Spanish sentences and practice them.

Spanish Double Object Pronouns

Occasionally, a sentence has both direct and indirect object pronouns. The indirect object comes before the direct object. In this case, the possible combinations are as follows:

me lo, me la, me los, me las — it to me
te lo, te la, te los, te las — it to you
se lo, se la, se los, se las — it to them (or you formal)

All of the double object pronouns have the indirect object pronoun first, followed by the direct object pronoun.

What is the Spanish word for it?

The exact English word for it doesn’t exist in Spanish. Instead, “it” carries gender and number and must be either lo, la, los or las. Occasionally, you might see “ello” which is used when the subject is unknown.

Spanish Double Object Pronoun Examples

Se lo di a ella. — I gave it to her.

Yo compraré la casa. — I will buy the house.
La compraré. — (I) will buy it.

La madre enseña a los niños la ciencia. — The mother teaches the children science.
Ella se la enseña. — She (mother) teaches it to them.
Se la enseña. — (She) teaches it to them.

Pronouns Attached to Verbs

Sometimes, an object pronoun attaches onto the verb.

Piénsalo bien. — Think about it well.
melo tú. — You, tell me about it.

As shown above the object pronouns are handled much differently in Spanish than English. Learning about all the subject pronouns is important part of how Spanish phrases and sentences are put together.

Spanish Reflexive Pronouns

Another type of personal pronoun is the reflexive pronoun. They show up in sentences where the subject and direct object are the same. Simply, the subject of the sentence is doing something to itself. The good news is the reflexive pronouns are the same as the object pronouns, except in third person.

Spanish Reflexive Pronouns

me — first person singular (yo)
te — second person singular (tú)
se — third person singular (él, ella, usted)
nos — first person plural (nosotros, nosotras)
os — second person plural (vosotros, vosotras)
se –third person plural (ellos, ellas, ustedes)

Spanish Possessive Pronouns

The fourth type of pronoun is used to describe who a noun belongs to. Differing from the others these match the number and gender of the object, not the subject.

Spanish Possessive Pronouns Chart

NumberPersonPossessive PronounsEnglish
SingularFirstmío, mía, míos, míasmine
Secondtuyo, tuya, tuyos, tuyasyours
Thirdsuyo, suya, suyos, suyas his, hers
PluralFirst nuestro, nuestra, nuestros, nuestrasours
Secondvuestro, vuestra, vuestros, vuestrasyours
Thirdsuyo, suya, suyos, suyastheirs

Tip: Usted is second person formal, however it uses third person possessive pronouns.

Spanish Possessive Pronoun Examples

Mis calcetines son blancos. — My socks are white.
Los suyos son negros. — Yours are black.

Este libro no es mío. Es tuyo. — This book isn’t mine. It’s yours.

No toques lo mío. — Don’t touch mine. (unspecific object, neuter)

Spanish Prepositional Pronouns

Inside a sentence, inside a prepositional phrase, the object of a pronoun can be substituted with a prepositional pronoun. This kind of phrase begins with a preposition which are a, ante, bajo, cabe, con, contra, de, desde, durante, en, entre, hacia, hasta, mediante, para, por, según, sin, so, sobre, tras, versus, vía. Next comes the object of the preposition or one of the prepositional pronouns, as listed:

Spanish Prepositional Pronouns Chart

NumberPersonPrepositional PronounEnglish
SingularFirstme
Secondti, vosyou
Thirdél, ella, ello, ustedhim, her
PluralFirst nosotros, nosotrasus
Secondvosotros, vosotrasyou
Thirdellos, ellas, ustedesthem, you
masculine, feminine, formal

Spanish Prepositional Pronouns EXAmPLES

La bebida es para ti. — The drink is for you.
Es para ti. — It’s for you.
Podemos ir sin ellos. — We can go without them.
No es mi coche. Es de ella. — It’s not my car. It’s of her.

Spanish Comitative Pronouns

Finally, this last group of personal pronouns are comitative pronouns. These words are instruments of the subject to complete their action. Simply put, they acted together. In the singular, they form a compound word. Similar to the prepositional phrases, they all begin with the preposition “con”.

Spanish CoMITATIVE Pronouns Chart

NumberPersonComitative PronounsEnglish
SingularFirstconmigowith me
Secondcontigo, con vos, con usted, consigo*with you
Thirdcon él, con ella, con ello, consigo*with him, her
PluralFirst con nosotros, con nosotraswith us
Secondcon vosotros, con vosotras, con ustedes, consigo*with you all
Thirdcon ellos, con ellas, consigo*with them
*consigo is reflexive

Spanish CoMITATIVE Pronouns examples

Ven conmigo. — (You) Come with me.
Hablaba consigo misma. — (She) was talking to herself.
Habrá consecuencias, cuenta con ello. — There will be consequences, you can count on it.

Overall, the pronouns are important words for communication in Spanish. Being familiar with them will make Spanish easier to understand and express yourself. Regular skills practice using the different pronouns is part of a complete study plan.

More Grammar Tips

Spanish Nouns – Forms of Nouns and Examples

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