A ridiculously helpful guide to 9 types of Spanish pronouns

Mastering the Spanish pronouns is no easy feat, but it’s one of the best things you can do to improve your Spanish beyond beginner level.

So, you think you’re ready to finally tackle the pronouns in Spanish?

Of course, you’re probably already familiar with the basic pronouns like yo, , and nosotros, but the world of Spanish pronouns is vast. There are dozens of different pronouns, suitable for all kinds of situations. Mastering them is one of the best things you can do to approach native mastery of the language.

This is an extensive guide meant to cover all the most important pronouns out there. If you think this list is incredibly long, that’s because it was meant to be so! Don’t feel discouraged and don’t think that you’ll never be able to dominate all the pronouns.

This is a comprehensive Spanish topic, and we definitely understand how formidable pronouns can be at first. With enough practice, using all the Spanish pronouns will be second-nature to you. Plus, we’ve included some tips at the end of this blog to help you learn them all!

Now that you’re ready, let’s dive into all the pronouns in Spanish!

What is a Spanish pronoun?

Pronouns help us refer to or call things without actually having to say their name. These nifty words replace nouns so that we don’t have to continue using the noun’s name over and over. You can use pronouns to refer to both people and things, and they are an integral part of everyday speech.

For example, take a look at the following sentences in English.

  • I saw Cynthia the other day. Have you met her? I really like her!
  • I saw Cynthia the other day. Have you met Cynthia? I really like Cynthia!

The first sentence uses pronouns to refer to Cynthia after introducing her once. The second sentence does not use any pronouns to refer to Cynthia. Notice how awkward and unnatural the second sentence sounds?

The same is true for Spanish. You won’t sound normal and natural if you cannot use the Spanish pronouns proficiently. This is why mastering the pronouns in Spanish is so important to continue improving your overall proficiency of Spanish.

How are Spanish pronouns different from English pronouns?

Almost all pronouns have a gender

The biggest difference you’ll notice is that most pronouns are gendered in Spanish. English has a handful of gendered pronouns that we mostly use to refer to other people, like ‘he’ and ‘she.’

In Spanish, however, most pronouns have a gender. This is because all nouns in Spanish are gendered, so the corresponding pronoun has to agree with the gender of the noun it’s replacing.

You have to consider formal vs. informal

Another important difference is that there are certain pronouns that can be classified as formal or informal. You might already be familiar with the difference between and usted. If not, usted is used instead of when you are talking to someone you want to show respect to.

This is the most typical difference in pronoun use depending on the level of respect you are trying to convey. However, there are other situations where you’d have to use a formal pronoun when talking about an important person.

Spanish pronouns can be added merely for emphasis

As you probably already know, Spanish verb conjugation is significantly more complex than English verb conjugation. While this may seem overly complicated for English speakers, Spanish conjugation also helps simplify Spanish sentences quite a bit.

Since verb conjugations include a lot of information about who is doing the action and when, a lot of words become redundant. Because of this, some pronouns can be avoided altogether since the verb conjugation will let you know who is doing the action.

So, because verb conjugations can make pronouns unnecessary, some pronouns are normally left out of the sentence. However, you can use the pronouns in a sentence (even if redundant!) to emphasize who is doing the action.

For example, let’s look at the following examples:

EnglishSpanish without pronounsSpanish with pronouns
He gave it to me.Me lo dió.Él me lo dió.
I bought it.Lo compré.Yo lo compré.
They got here first.Llegaron primero.Ellos llegaron primero.

Both Spanish samples above are correct and mean the same thing. The only difference is that the rightmost column is emphasizing who did the action.

Free downloadable pronoun booklet

Master Spanish pronouns with our free 14 page booklet including the most important types of pronouns. We give you examples on how to use pronouns in everyday life, to improve your Spanish beyond beginner level.

Free Spanish pronouns booklet.

1. Spanish subject pronouns

Subject pronouns are probably the first thing that comes to mind when you think of pronouns. The most common are he, she, we, you, etc., and they help us replace the subject of a sentence with a pronoun.

You can think of the subject as the main character of a sentence. It is the person, place or thing that is doing the action. You conjugate the verb so that it matches the subject of the sentence, and this also applies when you replace the subject with a pronoun.

So, when you use a subject pronoun, you need to be sure that the subject pronoun and the verb agree with each other.

Unlike English, all Spanish nouns have a corresponding gender, so you’ll have to be careful to use the correct subject pronoun, even when describing an inanimate object. In English, you could just use “it” to replace any inanimate object, but with Spanish, you need to be careful to use the right pronoun depending on the gender of the object.

Here are the Spanish subject pronouns along with sample sentences.

EnglishSpanish masculineSpanish feminineSpanish exampleEnglish translation
IYoYoYo te vi.I saw you.
YouVamos a donde quieras.Let’s go anywhere you want.
He / she / itÉlEllaÉl me lo dio.He gave it to me.
WeNosotrosNosotrasNosotras llegamos primero.We got here first.
You (plural + plural formal)Ustedes / Vosotros Ustedes / Vosotras¿Ustedes pidieron esto?Did any of you order this?
TheyEllosEllasNo, creo que ellos lo pidieron.No, I think they ordered it.
You (singular formal)UstedUstedSe lo van a dar a usted.They will give it to you.

2. Spanish direct object pronouns

Direct object pronouns help us replace the object of a sentence. The object is the person, place, or thing that receives the action caused by the subject. In other words, the object is who the verb happens to in a sentence.

A direct object pronoun helps us talk about an object without having to repeat its name over and over again. Once we’ve introduced the object once, we can just use a pronoun to quickly refer to it again!

Sometimes, direct object pronouns can be attached to the verb in question. Keep reading to learn more about when you can attach a direct object pronoun to the verb!

EnglishSpanish masculineSpanish feminineSpanish exampleEnglish translation
MeMeMe¿Puedes acompañarme?Can you come with me?
YouTeTeOye, ¡ayer te vi!Hey, I saw you yesterday.
Him / her / itLoLaAyer vi a Pedro. ¿Tú también lo viste?I saw Pedro yesterday. Did you see him too?
UsNosNosVenimos a ver a la familia González, ya nos conocen.We’re here to see the Gonzalez family, they already know us.
You (plural + plural formal)Les / osLes / osBienvenidos, ya les atienden.Welcome, they will be with you shortly.
ThemLosLasAhí están las flores. ¿Ya las viste?The flowers are right over there. Can you see them?
You (singular formal)LoLaDisculpe señor, alguien lo busca.Excuse me sir, someone is looking for you.

3. Spanish indirect object pronouns

Indirect object pronouns tend to be confused with direct object pronouns. That’s because both direct and indirect objects are affected by the verb of the sentence. Direct objects answer the questions ‘who?’ and ‘what?’, whereas indirect objects answer the questions ‘to whom?’ and ‘for whom?”.

For example, let’s take a look at the following sentences:

  • Amy bought an ice cream.
  • Amy bought an ice cream for you.

In both sentences, ice cream is the direct object as it answers the question “what did Amy buy?’. Only the second sentence answers the question ‘for whom did Amy buy the ice cream?’, so it’s the only one with an indirect object (for you).

So, although direct and indirect object pronouns are very similar, they serve very different purposes. Here’s the Spanish indirect object pronouns:

EnglishSpanish masculineSpanish feminineSpanish exampleEnglish translation
To meMeMe¡Me encanta!¡I love it! (Literally “it enchants me”)
To youTeTeVoy a comprarte un regalo.I’m going to buy you a present.
To him / her / itLeLeCómprale un helado.Buy him/her an ice cream.
To usNosNosTráenos algo de comer.Bring us something to eat.
To you (plural + plural formal)Les / osLes / osYa les dije un par de veces.I already told you a couple of times.
To themLesLesSírveles algo de tomar.Serve them something to drink.
To you (singular formal)LeLeNosotros le servimos.We will be serving you.

4. Reflexive pronouns in Spanish

Reflexive verbs can be more complex to grasp for English speakers as there is no English equivalent. These pronouns are typically used along with reflexive verbs, where actions are done to oneself. So, with reflexive verbs, the subject is both the doer and the receiver of the action.

A great example of a reflexive verb is bañarse (to shower). In most cases, whoever is doing the showering is also receiving the shower (i.e. they are showering themselves). So, they are both the subject and the direct object. To deal with this situation, you have to use a reflexive pronoun.

Let’s take a look at some examples of reflexive pronouns in Spanish.

EnglishSpanish masculineSpanish feminineSpanish exampleEnglish translation
MyselfMeMeMe lastimé. I hurt myself.
YourselfTeTeTe tropesaste?Did you trip (yourself)?
Himself / herself / itselfSeSe¿Cómo se llama?What is her name? (Literally: what does she call herself?)
OurselvesNosNosNos perdimos.We got lost (ourselves).
YourselvesSe / osSe / os¿Se encuentran bien?Are you all okay?
Themselves / YourselvesSeSeMis hijos son pequeños, pero ya se visten solos.My kids are young, but they can already get dressed by themselves.
Yourself (formal)SeSeUsted se sienta en esa sección.You should seat yourself in that section.

5. Possessive pronouns in Spanish

Possessive pronouns help us establish ownership of objects when it’s already clear what you’re talking about. They replace the noun entirely so you simply state whose it is. For example:

  • May I borrow your pen? Mine broke.

In the sentence above, ‘mine’ is replacing ‘my pen.’ Since the context makes it obvious, it’s not necessary to specify that you’re talking about a pen — you simply need to mention what happened to yours.

The same is true for Spanish possessive pronouns.

EnglishSpanish masculineSpanish feminineSpanish exampleEnglish translation
MineEl mío / los míosLa mía / las míasEsta es la mía.This one’s mine.
Yours (singular)El tuyo / los tuyosLa tuya / las tuyas¿Qué le pasó al tuyo?What happened to yours?
His/HersEl suyo / los suyosLa suya / las suyas–¿Se van a ir en mi carro?
–No, nos vamos a ir en el suyo.
–Are you taking my car?
–No, we are taking his.
OursEl nuestro / los nuestrosLa nuestra / las nuestrasEsta mesa es la nuestra.This table is ours.
Yours (plural)El suyo / los suyos / el vuestro / los vuestrosLa suya / las suyas / el vuestro / los vuestros¿Qué van a hacer con el suyo?What are you all doing with yours?
TheirsEl suyo / los suyosLa suya / las suyasLos suyos llegaron muy temprano.Theirs arrived very early.
Yours (singular formal and plural formal)El suyo / los suyosLa suya / las suyasEste es el suyo.This one is yours.

6. Relative pronouns in Spanish

Spanish relative pronouns are a little bit different from the rest as they do not replace a noun but rather help us say additional information about the noun or pronoun. They can help us join two sentences together, such as:

  • The purple book that I bought.
  • Marissa, who is my coworker, brought me cookies.
  • That was Jennifer, the one who said hi to you earlier.

As you can see, English has relative pronouns that work very similarly to Spanish relative pronouns. The only difference is that relative pronouns are optional in English, and can be avoided altogether, whereas they are always mandatory in Spanish.

In the first sample sentence above, you could simply say “The purple book I bought.” and completely bypass the relative pronoun. You cannot do this in Spanish, and must always include a relative pronoun when necessary.

EnglishSpanish masculineSpanish feminineSpanish exampleEnglish translation
That / which / who / whomQueQueEl libro morado que compré.The purple book that I bought.
WhoQuienQuienSu amigo, quien ya había visto la película, me regaló su boleto.His friend, who had already seen the movie, gave me his ticket.
Who (plural)QuienesQuienesMis hijos, quienes nunca han salido del país, están emocionados de ir a México.My kids, who have never left the country, are excited to go to Mexico.
The one / The one who / that whichEl que / los queLa que / Las que¿Has visto mi chamarra? La que te presté la semana pasada.Have you seen my jacket? The one you borrowed last week.
WhoseCuyo / cuyos Cuya / CuyasMi papá, cuyo hermano vive en Ciudad de México, también está contento de visitar a su familia. My father, whose brother lives in Mexico City, was also excited to see his family.

7. Prepositional pronouns in Spanish

Prepositional pronouns in Spanish give us more information about how an object relates to someone or something else. As indicated by their name, these pronouns always follow a preposition, like por, para, de, hacia, etc.

Luckily, there are only two pronouns that you need to be aware of: first person singular and second person singular (informal). These are the only two prepositional pronouns that change! In all other cases, you can simply use the regular subject pronouns.

Keep in mind that there is one preposition that makes things a little different: con. When you’re talking about someone doing something with you, you have to say conmigo. You cannot follow the preposition con with ‘yo’ or ‘mí.’

Similarly, you have to say contigo when using the second person singular. You cannot follow con with ‘tú’ or ‘ti’. The only exception is when using the formal version of the second person singular: usted. So, you would say “con usted” instead of contigo when using the formal version.

EnglishSpanish masculineSpanish feminineSpanish exampleEnglish translation
MeMí / conmigoMí / conmigoEstá sentada enfrente de . She is sitting in front of me.
YouTi / contigoTi / contigo¿Puedo ir contigo?Can I come with you?
Him / herÉlEllaEl libro está en la mesa. Debe estar sobre ella.The book is on the table. It should be on top of it.
UsNosotrosNosotrasEste regalo es de nosotros.This gift is from us.
YouUstedes / vosotrosUstedes / vosotrosMe voy a sentar a lado de ustedes.I’m going to sit next to you all.
ThemEllosEllas¿Van a ir con ellos?Are you all going with them?
You (formal)UstedUstedMe gustaría platicar más con usted.I would like to talk to you some more.

8. Indefinite pronouns in Spanish

Indefinite pronouns in Spanish help us replace a noun that is unknown, undefined, or not that important. These are pronouns like “somebody,” “anybody,” and “nothing.” Who or what we’re talking about is not that important, but we still need a pronoun to mention it.

Spanish indefinite pronouns work very similarly to English indefinite pronouns. The only thing to look out for is the gender distinction in some indefinite pronouns in Spanish. Note that not all indefinite pronouns have a gender distinction, though!

EnglishSpanish masculineSpanish feminineSpanish exampleEnglish translation
Someone / anybodyAlguienAlguienAlguien dejó la luz prendida.Somebody left the lights on.
OneAlgunoAlgunaNecesito un cargador. ¿De casualidad tienes alguno?I need a charger. Do you happen to have one?
Some / some peopleAlgunosAlgunasAlgunos prefieren desayunar tarde.Some people prefer a late breakfast.
SomethingAlgoAlgoAlgo me dice que esto será difícil.Something tells me this will be hard.
NothingNadaNadaPero ¡no hay nada que pueda detenerme!But nothing could stop me!
NobodyNadieNadieNadie lo volvió a ver.Nobody ever saw him again.
NoneNingunoNinguna¿Ninguno de ustedes sabe dónde está la biblioteca?None of you know where the library is?
Anybody / Any oneAlguien / cualquieraAlguien / cualquieraNecesito que alguien me ayude.I need somebody to help me.
EveryoneTodosTodasTodos estamos preocupados por el examen final.Everyone is worried about the final exam.
AllTodoTodaToda la escuela sabe que él es el maestro más difícil.All of my classmates know that he is the toughest teacher.
A few / somePoco / pocosPoca / pocasInvité a más de 100 personas a mi fiesta, pero pocos vinieron.I invited over a hundred people to my party, but only a few showed up.
Many / muchMucho / muchosMucha / muchasNo estoy seguro por qué no vino, pero puedo pensar en muchas razones.I’m not sure why he didn’t come, but I can think of many reasons.
Another oneOtro OtraDisculpa, ¿te podría pedir otra por favor?Excuse me, could I please have another one?
Others / moreOtrosOtrasYo sí recojo mi basura, no como otros.I do pick up after myself, unlike others.

9. Demonstrative pronouns in Spanish

Demonstrative pronouns are used to point out things. Do you like this one or that one? Can you hand me that one over there? Do you have this one in red?

One thing that tends to confuse native Spanish speakers very often is whether these pronouns go with an accent mark or not. Before 2010, demonstrative pronouns like este and esta used an accent mark on the first e when they were completely replacing the noun in question.

For example, you would say “Este café no es mío. El mío es éste.” The use of accent marks in demonstrative pronouns, however, has been discontinued by the Real Academia Española (RAE), which is the institution in charge of regulating Spanish grammar rules.

Now, only the pronouns in the last three rows of our table below may use an accent mark under certain circumstances of ambiguity. However, using the accent marks is not required (or even encouraged!) for any demonstrative pronouns, so you don’t have to worry about that!

If you’re interested in learning more about when demonstrative pronouns can use an accent mark, check out section 3.2.1. here for an in-depth explanation from RAE.

EnglishSpanish masculineSpanish feminineSpanish exampleEnglish translation
ThisEsteEstaEste no me gusta.I don’t like this one.
TheseEstosEstas¿Ya has probado estos?Have you tried these before?
This thing / this topicEstoEstaYa no quiero hablar de esto.I don’t want to talk about this anymore.
That oneEseEsaQuiero ese, por favor.I want that one, please.
ThoseEsosEsas¿Esos no son tus aretes?Aren’t those your earrings?
That thing / that topicEsoEsoEso no me parece gracioso.I don’t think that’s funny.
That oneAquelAquella¿Quién es tu amigo? ¿Aquel de rojo?Who is your friend? That one in red?
Those onesAquellosAquellasMis cosas son aquellas.Those are my things.
That thing / that topicAquelloAquelloYo no quiero hablar de su divorcio. Aquello no me corresponde.I don’t want to talk about her divorce. That is none of my business.

Word order changes with pronoun use

Certain pronouns can flip the entire sentence structure on its head. Spanish word order is difficult enough as is, and using pronouns only makes it even more complicated.

We could talk about how Spanish pronouns affect word order forever, so here are five hard and fast rules to keep in mind when using pronouns:

1. Double pronouns always go together

One of the biggest differences Spanish has with English is that direct and indirect pronouns must go together. When a sentence has both a direct and an indirect pronoun, you cannot split them up.

Let’s take a look at the following example:

  • He gave it to me.

Here, we have a direct pronoun (it) and an indirect (me) pronoun. In Spanish, this sentence would be:

  • Me lo dio.

You cannot split them up in Spanish! Both direct and indirect object pronouns must go together at all times.

2. Subject pronouns always go first

We’ve already covered how subject pronouns are optional most of the time. Since the conjugated verb already includes information about who is doing the action, they’re not necessary in most situations.

However, you may sometimes choose to include the subject pronoun in order to emphasize who is doing the action. For example:

SpanishEnglish
Yo quiero comer un helado.I want to have some ice cream.
¿ le entiendes?Do you understand him?

In these examples, you want to emphasize who is doing the action. If you are choosing to include a subject pronoun, it has to come before anything else in the sentence.

3. Negations go after the subject pronouns, if any

If you are going to use a subject pronoun, then the negation has to come immediately afterwards. If you’re not using a subject pronoun, then the negation has to come first.

This quick rule will save you a lot of time trying to figure out where to put the negation. When in doubt, just put it immediately after the subject pronoun or before anything else!

Let’s use the examples above:

SpanishEnglish
Yo no quiero comer un helado.I don’t want to have some ice cream.
¿Tú no le entiendes?You don’t understand him?

4. People come before things

If you have both a direct object pronoun and an indirect object pronoun, you need to put the indirect object pronoun first. That’s because indirect object pronouns always come before direct object pronouns.

As you already know, a direct object pronoun usually refers to a thing and can sometimes refer to a person. But indirect object pronouns almost always deal with people. With that in mind, you should keep this hard and fast rule in mind: people come before things.

If you can remember this rule, you’ll never forget which pronoun comes first!

EnglishSpanish
Can you give it to me?¿Me lo das?
He / She sold them to us.Nos los vendió.
You missed it.Te lo perdiste.
He / She loaned it to him/her.Se lo prestó.

5. Some pronouns can be attached to the verb

Most pronouns are separate from the verb, but some can (or must) be attached to it. These are always object pronouns, and here are three instances in which you can attach the pronoun to the end of the verb:

Infinitives

Whenever you have two verbs in a sentence and the second verb is in its infinitive form, you can attach the object pronoun to the second verb. You don’t always have to do this, and it’s entirely a matter of personal preference.

Here are some examples, both with and without the pronoun attached to the verb.

EnglishSpanish pronoun unattachedSpanish pronoun attached
I want to see you.Te quiero ver.Quiero verte.
I want to try it.Lo quiero probar.Quiero probarlo.
We are going to get lost.Nos vamos a perder.Vamos a perdernos.

Gerunds

A gerund is a verb that indicates that an action is happening right this moment. In English, most gerunds end in -ing, such as eating, listening, and walking. In Spanish, most gerunds end in -ndo, such as comiendo, escuchando, and caminando.

As with infinitive verbs, you can choose whether or not to attach an object pronoun to the end of a gerund. You don’t have to do it, though, so do whatever makes most sense to you!

EnglishSpanish pronoun unattachedSpanish pronoun attached
I am cleaning it.Lo estoy limpiando.Estoy limpiándolo.
They are waiting for us.Nos están esperando.Están esperándonos.
I am calling you.Te estoy llamando.Estoy llamándote.

Affirmative Commands

This is the one case in which you are required to attach the pronoun to the verb. However, note that this only applies to affirmative commands! Negative commands cannot have the pronouns attached to the verb. Here are some examples.

EnglishSpanish affirmative CommandSpanish negative command
Eat it!¡Cómetelo!No te lo comas.
Go away!¡Vete!No te vayas.
Clean yourself up.Límpiate bien.No te limpies.

FAQs about Spanish pronouns

Why does Spanish not use pronouns?

Spanish uses pronouns much more sparingly than English because Spanish verb conjugations often make pronouns unnecessary. A conjugated verb in Spanish often includes a lot of information about who is doing the action, so most subject pronouns are unnecessary in Spanish.

With that said, you can use pronouns in Spanish even if the information will be redundant. Adding pronouns can help you emphasize who is doing the action in a sentence or phrase.

Are personal pronouns used in Spanish?

Personal pronouns are generally avoided unless you want to emphasize who is carrying out the action. Because of Spanish conjugation rules, personal pronouns are almost always unnecessary. However, you can add them in for clarity or to emphasize.

What’s the difference between and usted?

The difference between these two pronouns can be hard to grasp for an English-speaker. Tú and usted are different pronouns to convey different levels of formality. is used when addressing someone informally, while usted is used to address someone formally.

Since there is no specific formal pronoun in English, this can be complicated at first for native English speakers. However, just keep in mind that usted is not normally used unless there is a clear professional subjugation (for example, when speaking to your boss) or when you have a personal reason to use formal language (for example, when meeting your in-laws).

Tips for mastering the Spanish pronouns

Total immersion

The best way to master the pronouns is by messing up. Over, and over, and over again! There are dozens if not hundreds of pronoun rules out there, but you likely won’t make much headway into your Spanish progress if you have to stop and look up grammar rules every time you want to use a pronoun.

Not only would this be impractical, but it would also be unnatural. Using pronouns correctly needs to become second-nature to you, so using the right one should just feel right to you.

With over 20 Spanish-speaking countries and over 400 million native Speakers all around the world, I can almost guarantee that nobody stops and thinks about pronoun rules before using them. They just come naturally. And the best way to train your brain to pick up what sounds right and what doesn’t is by total immersion!

Make friends online

If you can’t drop everything and move to a Spanish-speaking country right now, your next best bet is to make friends online. Thanks to the internet, you can find and immerse yourself in online communities or meet interesting people for one-on-one conversations all over the world.

There are many forums, apps, and online spaces where you can find a language partner. If you are a native English speaker, then it should be fairly easy for you to find a native Spanish speaker who is looking for someone to correct their English!

That way, you can help people learn English while they help you learn Spanish! You can choose to use Spanish while they use English, or take turns alternating between the languages. Either way, you are sure to learn a lot about pronoun use!

Book one-on-one lessons

If you’d rather not talk to strangers online, then you should take private online Spanish classes with Berlitz. A certified teacher will be able to create a custom study plan for you.

If you are looking to master the pronouns in Spanish, then simply let your instructor know that you’d like the lesson to cover pronouns. You can also ask them to cover different lessons but pay special attention to your pronoun use.

Power through the pronouns for perfect Spanish

If you’ve made it all the way through this article, ¡Felicidades! Tackling the pronouns is one of the hardest parts of every Spanish learner’s journey. We know that Spanish pronouns can be hard to master, but with enough practice, you’ll be able to use them like a pro.

If you found this blog post to be helpful, you’ll surely want to check out our Spanish blog. We publish great new articles about learning Spanish every month, which should complement your Spanish studies very nicely.

We hope you enjoyed this article, and good luck studying all the pronouns! Confiamos en ti! We believe in you!

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