|se himself/herself/yourself formal
|se themselves/yourself plural
Reflexive pronouns are used with a verb to indicate that a person performs an action to or for him/herself. In other words, the subject of the verb and the direct object of the verb are the same person. Therefore, reflexive pronouns match the subject of the verb. For example, in the sentence below, the person tú is the subject of levantar and bañar and is receiving these actions as well, as the object te.
In the morning you got up and you got up to bathe (yourself) in the river.
Compare with the following non-reflexive use of levantar. Here Alma is being lifting up by someone else so she is the direct object me of the verb levantar.Me amarraron muy fuerte para que no regara el veneno a mi cuerpo y me levantaron, inmediatamente para el hospital.
They tied me tightly so that poison wouldn’t flow through my body and they lifted me up, immediately for the hospital.
You might notice how in the translation we don’t always find a reflexive pronoun in English (ex. myself, yourself). That is because Spanish uses reflexive verbs much more frequently than English. You can read more about when reflexive verbs are used and how they compare to English on the reflexive verb page.
There are two places where reflexive pronouns can be placed.
- Before a conjugated verb
- Attached to the end of the verb, ONLY IF the verb is not conjugated, such as infinitives or gerunds or if the verb is an affirmative informal command.
In the following example, the reflexive pronoun me is placed before the conjugated verbs: podía, quedé, movía.Encontré muchísimos soldados y pues, yo no me podía mover, sólo me quedé parada, porque si me movía, pues no había espacio para que ellos caminaran.
I came across tons of soldiers and well I couldn’t move. I just remained standing because if I moved there wouldn’t be enough space for them to walk.
In following example, the reflexive pronoun me, is found attached to the infinitives bañar and marear and before the conjugated verb metí and arrastré.Me metí a bañarme y pues acabé de bañarme, pero empecé a marearme muy feo y entonces me arrastré hacia la puerta.
I got in to take a bath and I finished bathing but I started to get really dizzy and then I dragged myself to the door.