Wednesday, November 5, 2008

7.Subject Pronouns

Well, hello again people. I am a bit sad seeing that nobody has donated anything yet, but it's okay, we've just started anyway, so let's move on.
Today i will teach you about
Subject Pronouns

A verb is an action word.

  • run

The main form of a verb is called the infinitive. In English, infinitives include the word "to."

  • to run
    to sit
    to eat
    to sink
    to swim
    to study

The infinitive is the pure form of a verb. The infinitive is like a lump of clay that can be molded to match the subject of the sentence it is used in:

  • I speak
    you speak
    he/she speaks

    we speak
    you-all* speak

    they speak

Note: The above forms are called conjugations of the infinitive to speak.

Regarding the form "you-all": this usage is not considered to be standard English. In standard English, the same word is used for both the singular you and the plural you. That is, each of the following is correct:

  • You have a tail light out, ma’am.
    You (kids) have soccer practice at four.

In the first sentence, "you" refers to the singular ma’am. In the second sentence, "you" refers to the plural kids. To avoid confusion between you (singular) and you (plural), we will employ the non-standard English usage "you-all" to indicate you (plural). This will be very beneficial to y'all, particularly at the beginning of your studies.

The words I, you, he, she, we, you-all, and they are called subject pronouns. Spanish has corresponding subject pronouns. Here’s a list of the English subject pronouns and their Spanish equivalents:

  • yo







Spanish subject pronouns are both similar to and different from their English counterparts. Let’s examine some of the differences. Look more closely at the English word you. You have just seen that this can be translated into Spanish as usted. But there is also a second way it can be translated. There are two ways the English word you can be expressed in Spanish:

  • usted


Spanish has a formal and an informal form of the word you. Usted is more formal and is generally used to express respect. Tú is more familiar and is used among friends, coworkers, relatives, or when addressing a child.

  • Speaking to your boss: usted
    Speaking to your daughter:
    Speaking to your teacher: usted
    Speaking to your friend:

    you formal

    you informal (familiar)

This same distinction with regard to degree of formality occurs in the plural form as well. When referring to "you-all," there are two choices in Spanish:

  • ustedes
    you-all formal

    you-all familiar

Once again, the difference lies in the degree of formality conveyed by the speaker. However, the vosotros form is only used in Spain. Throughout Latin America, "ustedes" is used in both formal and informal situations to refer to "you-all."

  • Speaking to a group of children
    (in Spain): vosotros

    Speaking to a group of children
    (in Latin America): ustedes

    Speaking to a group of strangers
    (in Spain): ustedes

    Speaking to a group of strangers
    (in Latin America): ustedes

Note: usted can be abbreviated Ud. or Vd. ; ustedes can be abbreviated Uds. or Vds.

In many ways, Spanish is more gender-specific than English. We find evidence of this in the subject pronouns. First, look at the word "nosotros." This means "we" in the sense of a group containing at least one male. If the group contains only females, the word "nosotras" is used. So, in Spanish, there are two ways to say "we":

  • nosotros
    we (masculine or mixed group)

    we (feminine)

This same idea applies to the English word "they":

  • ellos
    they (masculine or mixed group)

    they (feminine)

This same idea also applies to the "vosotros" form:

  • vosotros
    you-all familiar (masculine or mixed group)

    you-all familiar (feminine)

Note: These forms are only used in Spain.

Finally, don't get confused over the difference between talking to a group or talking about a group. Consider the following statement, which could have been made by your Spanish teacher, while standing before the class:

  • "You-all need to study your Spanish. Those students in the other class don't need to study Spanish. They are studying French. You-all can practice Spanish in Spain. They can practice French in France."

The teacher is talking to the Spanish students and about the French students.

  • Talking to a group, use "you-all":


    Talking about a group, use "they":


Here's the complete list of Spanish subject pronouns:


  • yo - I

    - you (familiar)

    él - he

    ella - she

    usted - you (formal)


  • nosotros
    we (masculine or mixed gender)

    we (feminine)

    you-all (familiar, Spain, masculine or mixed gender)

    you-all (familiar, Spain, feminine)

    they (masculine or mixed gender)

    they (feminine)

    you-all (formal in Spain, formal and familiar in Latin America)

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