Verbos pronominales

Pronominal verbs

Pronominal verbs are verbs that are used with a reflexive pronoun (me, te, se, nos, os, se).

These verbs can be classified into 3 categories:

1. Reflexive verbs

With reflexive verbs, the subject performs the action of the verb for or on him/herself.

For example:

  • Me despierto a las ocho todas las mañanas.  I wake up at eight every morning.
  • Te lavas la cara después de desayunar.  You wash your face after having breakfast.

2. Reciprocal verbs

With reciprocal verbs, two subjects perform the same action on or to each other.

For example:

  • Nos abrazamos.  We hug each other.
  • Se casaron el año pasado. They got married last year.

3. Idiomatic pronominal verbs

Some verbs require a reflexive pronoun but are neither reflexive nor reciprocal. These verbs use the reflexive pronoun to create a meaning different from (though often related to) the meaning of the non-pronominal version.

For example:

  • Me acuerdo mucho de ti durante estos días.  I remember you a lot these days. (I think about you a lot these days)
  • Acordamos pagar una indemnización.  We agreed to pay compensation.
  • No te olvides de llamar a tu primo.  Don't forget to call your cousin.
  • Me llamo Marta.  I am called Marta. (My name is Marta)
  • Voy a salir con mis amigos esta tarde.  I am going out with my friends this evening.
  • Consiguió salirse del problema.  He managed to find a way out of the problem.

Here are other examples where verbs change their meanings depending on whether they use a reflexive pronoun or not:

  • abonar (to pay) / abonarse (to subscribe)
  • hacer (to do/make) /  hacerse (to become)
  • convertir (to convert) / convertirse (to become/turn into)
  • ir (to go) / irse (to go away/leave)
  • dormir (to sleep) / dormirse (to fall asleep)

Sometimes verbs use reflexive pronouns in order to intensify the meaning of the verb, for example:

  • Quiero leer este libro. (I want to read this book.)
  • Me quiero leer este libro. (I want to read this book.) (The reflexive pronoun "me" intensifies the action.)
  • Han bebido mucho. (They drank a lot.)
  • Se han bebido toda la botella. (They drank the whole bottle.) (The reflexive pronoun "se" intensifies the action.)
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