Recognize reflexive verbs that refer to emotions
Reflexive verbs that refer to emotions.
As we learned in the beginning of the chapter, in reflexive verbs the subject does the action to him/her/itself. But there are some reflexive verbs in Spanish that use the reflexive pronoun to show how one is feeling, especially the onset of an emotional or physical state. These are often expressed in English with “to get” + adjective; be very careful not to translate such English idioms literally! Use the reflexive verb instead. Below are common reflexive emotional verbs and their non-reflexive (transitive) forms for comparison:
Reciprocal verbs are used to talk about actions that people do to each other. Reciprocal verbs are formed by the combination of a reflexive pronoun and a verb, very similar to the reflexive verbs. Since reciprocal actions always involve two or more people, only plural pronouns are considered reciprocal:
1a persona plural: nos (to, for, from, or off ourselves / each other)
2a persona plural: os (to, for, from, or off yourselves / each other)
3a persona plural: se (to, for, from, or off themselves, yourselves / each other)
Reciprocal or Reflexive
Sentences with reciprocal actions sometimes look just like sentences with reflexive actions. To differentiate a reflexive action from a reciprocal action, the use of expressions such as “el uno al otro”, “uno a otro”, “mutuamente”, “recíprocamente”, “entre sí”, etc. can be added to a phrase to show that the subjects are performing the action on each other. All these expressions can be roughly translated as “each other”, “one another”, or “mutually”.
To specify that an action is reflexive, we can use phrases like “a sí mismo” (to him/herself) or “a sí mismos” (to themselves).
- Se aman mutuamente. (They love one another.)
- Los narcisistas se aman a sí mismos. (Narcissists love themselves.)
- Se miran a sí mismos en el espejo. (They look at themselves in the mirror.)
- Se miran el uno al otro por la ventana. (They look at each other through the window.)
List of Common Reciprocal Verbs
In English you would not need to emphasize that the two people are doing the action together because it is already implied. Therefore, in Spanish try to think about verbs that involve two people and remember that you may need the reflexive pronouns. Below you’ll find a list of verbs that are commonly used to talk about reciprocal actions.
- Abrazarse (to hug each other)
- Ayudarse (to help each other)
- Besarse (to kiss each other)
- Casarse (to marry each other)
- Conocerse (to know each other)
- Despedirse (to say goodbye to each other)
- Divorciarse (to divorce each other)
- Mirarse (to look at each other)
- Pelearse (to fight with each other)
- Reunirse (to get together)
- Turnarse (to take turns)