Spanish Subject Pronouns: Chart, Sentences and Practice

This lesson covers one of the most important grammar topics in the language: Spanish subject pronouns – Los pronombres personales. This type of pronouns is used in every single conversation that we have. Learning how to use them is fundamental to communicate our ideas accurately. Here, you will find a list of these pronouns, but more importantly, we will teach you how to make meaningful, grammatically correct sentences with personal pronouns. Let’s start…

Introductory video: The basic rules for Spanish Personal Pronouns

Let’s begin by watching a short video showing a list of Spanish personal pronouns and explaining how these pronouns are organized into categories. The video intends to give you a broad idea of what the lesson is all about and includes a few important notes to learn to use subject pronouns in simple sentences and lots of examples too, so please stick until the end of the video.

What are Spanish Subject Pronouns?

The subject in Spanish

The subject is the first part of a sentence, that is, who does something or is affected by an action. Here are a few examples of sentences with the subject in bold:

  1. Alexis es famoso. (Alex is famous)
  2. Carmen y Julio compraron una casa. (two proper nouns make up the subject in this sentence)
  3. La casa vale 100 mil dólares. (here “La casa”, not just “Casa”, is the subject)
  4. Estudia francés y español. (here the subject is implicit, so based on the form of the verb, it could be a guy or a girl)

A list of Spanish subject pronouns – Los pronombres personales

Spanish subject pronouns or personal pronouns are words used to replace a noun (un sustantivo) working as the subject of a sentence. Generally speaking, they give us information about the subject, including its gender (masculine/feminine) and number (singular/plural). The pronoun “Él”, for instance, will replace a man’s name, just as in the sentence “Antonio es alto. Él es inteligente“. The picture below shows a list of subject pronouns and the categories (“personas”) they are often grouped in.

A list of Spanish subject pronouns and their persons

Here are a few sample sentences showing the subject of sentences and which pronoun would replace it:

  1. Juan tiene dos hermanos / Él tiene dos hermanos. (Juan has two brothers.)
  2. Ariel y yo estudiamos juntos. / Nosotros estudiamos juntos. (We are studying together.)
  3. Pedro y Carlos viven en la misma ciudad. / Ellos viven en la misma ciudad. (They live in the same city)

A Chart for Spanish subject pronouns

“Los pronombres personales” are classified into three grammatical persons (PERSONAS) depending on their singular or plural form. It is not necessary to fully understand how to use these “personas” as long as you get the meaning of these pronouns and how to make simple sentences with Spanish subject pronouns. Know that when writing these words, you must add tilde to some of them like “Él” and “Tú”, otherwise you would be making a spelling mistake. Here is a chart for Spanish subject pronouns and their corresponding meaning in English.

1stYoINosotros, nosotrasWe
2ndTú/vosYouVosotros(as) – only used in SpainYou
2ndUsted(formal)YouUstedes – used in Latin AmericaYou

Language tip:

“El pronombre personal VOS” is used in several Latin American countries, although it is quite informal. On the other hand, the pronoun TÚ is more polite and acceptable in many countries, but it always depends on the country’s culture. If you are meeting someone for the first time or want to sound respectful, you’d better use TÚ or USTED.

Using Spanish subject pronouns in sentences and questions

It is time to see these pronouns in use. Spanish subject pronouns are actually very easy to use. We simply need to find a pronoun that agrees in number (singular or plural form) and gender (feminine or masculine form) with the original noun, and also make sure that the selected pronoun corresponds to the form of the verb as well, for example:

  • María (ella)
  • Juan (él)
  • Juan y tú (ustedes/vosotros)
  • Juan y María (ellos)
  • Mis padres / Sus amigos (ellos)

Following this pattern, if we want to refer to a guy named “Carlos”, but we don’t want to repeat his name over and over again, then it may be appropriate to use the pronoun “Él” instead. Notice how each pronoun must agree in number and gender with the noun it replaces in these examples:

  • Carlos es buena persona. Él tiene dos hijos. (Carlos is a good person. He has two children.)
  • Mis amigos y yo somos argentinos. Nosotros hablamos español. (My friends and I are Argentinian. We speak Spanish.)

In some cases, Spanish personal pronouns could be omitted, but regardless of that, we must conjugate the verb as if the subject pronoun would be there. This means that the following sentences are equivalent to one another and grammatically correct:

  • Yo vivo en Miami. /Vivo en Miami. (I live in Miami)
  • Ella es enfermera. / Es enfermera. (She is a nurse.)
  • Vosotros amáis los libros. / Amáis los libros. (You love books.)

Know that we will always place the pronoun at the beginning of the sentence, especially when we need to emphasize who performs the action, and it will be omitted in casual situations or to make a conversation sound more natural.

Examples of sentences using subject pronouns in Spanish

Yo vivo con mi mamá
I live with my mother
¿ tienes un bolígrafo?
Do you have a pen?
¿Vos viste esa película?
Did you see that movie?
Él, ella, usted – Ken está en preescolar. Él es buen estudiante
He, She, You – Ken is attending preschool. He is a good student
Nosotros vamos a casarnos pronto.
We are getting married soon
¿Vosotros podéis ayudarme?
Can you help me?
¿Ustedes quieren trabajar conmigo?
Do you want to work with me?
Ann y Karl son listos. Ellos siempre están trabajando mucho.
Ann and Karl are smart. They are always working hard.

Interactive quiz: Using subject pronouns in Spanish

Subject pronouns in Spanish-speaking countries

Let’s talk about the way people use subject pronouns in some Spanish-speaking countries. In Mexico, people will use “Tú” most of the time, as well as in many other Latin American countries. On the other hand, in countries like Nicaragua and Argentina, it will be more common to hear “Vos”, as well as in some towns in Colombia and other countries in Central America.

  • Mexico: eres mi amigo. (You are my friend)
  • Argentina: Vos sos mi amigo. (You are my friend)

Know that it is totally normal in some countries to use “Vos” and would actually sound a little strange if people started using “Tú” all of a sudden in every sentence, and vice versa. Also, if you want to sound more formal, then use “Usted” instead of “Tú” or “Vos”.

  • Informal: ¿Dónde vives ? (Where do you live?)
  • Formal: ¿Dónde vive usted? (Where do you live?)

Additionally, people from all countries in Latin America will not use the pronoun “Vosotros” as it is mostly used in Spain. We learn to use it in school, but we never use it in daily spoken interactions. Instead, we will use the personal pronoun “Ustedes”. This doesn’t mean one is better than the other, as it all depends on which variation of the language you are interested in:

  • Vosotros estáis estudiando conmigo. (You are studying with me – Spain)
  • Ustedes están estudiando conmigo. (You are studying with me. – LATAM)

Besides, for a mixed group of people, e.g. two girls and one boy, we will use the personal pronoun “Nosotros” or “Ellos” to refer to all of them. According to the rule, it doesn’t matter how many women are part of the group, as long as there is one guy. If the group is entirely made up of girls, then “Nosotras” or “Ellas” is the right choice.

  • María, Juan y yo tenemos el libro. / Nosotros tenemos el libro. (We have the book.)
  • Ana, Carla y Patricia son doctoras. / Ellas son doctoras. (They are doctors.)

Finally, as part of a language custom, when we use the pronoun “YO” in sentences along with other subject pronouns, we must place the other pronouns first and leave “Yo” as the last one, for example:

  • Mis primos y yo fuimos al mar. (My cousins and I went to the sea)
  • Ella, él y yo compramos el libro. (She, he and I bought the book.)

We got the end of the lesson. Hopefully, you found the examples useful. Leave us a comment if you have any doubts about using Spanish subject pronouns to make your own sentences. ¡Hasta pronto!

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