Subject pronouns and the verb "ser"
In Spanish, pronouns are used to clarify or emphasize the subject. In most cases, they are optional because you can tell what the subject is by looking at the verb conjugation (ending).
|2nd||tú, vos*||you (familiar)||2nd||vosotros, vosotras||you [all] (familiar)|
you [all] (formal)
(In the following list of observations, all subject pronouns are in bold.)
- Tú is a familiar pronoun used for people you address by first name or whom you know well. *Vos is used instead of tú in Argentina, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Paraguay, Uruguay, and elsewhere in Spanish Speaking countries.
- Usted (Ud.) is a formal pronoun used for people you address by title, by last name, a figure with authority, or whom you don't know well.
- Vosotros and vosotras is a familiar plural pronoun used only in Spain for people you address by first name.
- Ustedes (Uds.) is a formal plural pronoun in Spain. In other Spanish speaking countries, it is formal or informal and designates only the plural.
- Nosotros, vosotros, and ellos are used when referring to all male groups or groups that have at least one male person.
- Nosotras, vosotras, and ellas are used when referring to all female groups.
This is the term used to emphasize who is the "doer" of the action. Unlike English, all Spanish verbs have six conjugations.
|1st||yo||soy||I am||1st||nosotros/nosotras||somos||we are|
|2nd||tú||eres||you are||2nd||vosotros/vosotras||sois||you [all] are|
you [all] are
There are two different mnemonic devices to help you remember the uses of "ser". Use the acronyms DOCTOR, or POTIONS to remember the different uses of the verb "ser".
In the following list, all the words referring to the acronyms above are in bold.
- Date and day: "Hoy es el veinte de mayo." "Mañana es martes." ("Today is May 20th." "Tomorrow is Tuesday.")
- Occupation: "Juan es estudiante." "Daniel es profesor." ("Juan is a student." "Daniel is a professor.")
- Characteristics (how someone is like): "Hugo es alto." ("Hugo is tall."), People, Substance (what something is made of): "La computadora es de plástico." ("The computer is made of plastic.")
- Time: "Es la una en punto." "Son las cuatro menos cuarto." ("It is one o'clock." "It is three forty five.")
- Origin or Nationality: "Yo soy del Perú." "Ellos son ecuatorianos." ("I am from Peru." "They are Ecuadorians.")
- Relation: "Ella es mi madre." "El señor Pérez es mi profesor de español." ("She is my mother." "Mr. Pérez is my Spanish professor.")
- Things: "El libro es nuevo." "La clase de español es importante." ("The book is new." "Spanish Class is important.")
- Identity: "-¿Eres Mauro? -No, soy Sergio." ("-Are you Mauro? -No, I am Sergio.")
- When describing someone or something with more than one adjective, the adjectives are connected with "y" (and). "Tito es guapo y alto." ("Tito is handsome and tall.")
- If the word "y" appears before a word that starts with "i-" or "hi-", "y" changes to "e". " "Alicia es bonita e inteligente." ("Alicia is pretty and intelligent.")
- Possession: The verb ser is also used to talk about something that belongs to someone. The preposition used is "de". When used with the masculine article "el": "de + el" will contract to "del". Example: "Los libros son del profesor Martínez." BUT "Los libros son de la profesora Jiménez." To ask to whom something belongs to in Spanish, we say: "¿De quién/quiénes son los libros?"
¡Ojo! Unlike English, Spanish does not use the article (definite or indefinite) with a profession. The indefinite article is only used when there is an adjective describing the profession. Compare the following two sentences: