Pronominal verbs are verbs that are used with a reflexive pronoun (me, te, se, nos, os, se).
This type of verbs can be classified into 3 categories:
1. Reflexive verbs
With reflexive verbs, the subject performs some action for or on him/herself. They indicate that the subject is performing the action of the verb upon itself.
- 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.
- Nos abrazamos. We hug each other.
- Se casaron el año pasado. They 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.
- Me acuerdo mucho de ti durante estos días. I remember you a lot during these days. (I have thought 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 using 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 some verbs take the 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.) (With the reflexive pronoun "me" it intensifies the action.)