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1.6: Gramática. Los pronombres personales y el verbo "ser"

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    Subject pronouns and the verb "ser"

    Course Objectives:

    At the end of this module the students will be able to:

    1. Identify the Subject Pronouns

    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).

        Singular         Plural    
    1st   yo   I 1st   nosotros, nosotras   we
    2nd   tú, vos*   you (familiar) 2nd   vosotros, vosotras   you [all] (familiar)
    3rd left bracket.png

    usted (Ud.)



    rght bracket.png

    you (formal)



    3rd left bracket.png

    ustedes (Uds.)



    rght bracket.png

    you [all] (formal)

    they (masculine)

    they (feminine)


    (In the following list of observations, all subject pronouns are in bold.)

    • 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.

        Singular           Plural      
    1st   yo   soy I am 1st   nosotros/nosotras   somos we are
    2nd     eres you are 2nd   vosotros/vosotras   sois you [all] are
    3rd left bracket.png




    rght bracket.png


    you are

    he is

    she is

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    you [all] are

    they are

    they 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:

    Math teacher
    Figure \(\PageIndex{1}\): Elisa es profesora de matemáticas.

    Elisa is a Mathematics professor.

    Excellent teacher
    Figure \(\PageIndex{2}\): Elisa es una profesora excelente.

    Elisa es an excellent professor.

    A male student
    Figure \(\PageIndex{3}\): Arturo es estudiante.

    Arturo is a student.

    An intelligent student
    Figure \(\PageIndex{4}\): Arturo es un estudiante inteligente.

    Arturo is an intelligent student.