Spanish reflexive verbs: how to use reflexive verbs in Spanish

Spanish reflexive verbs

Reflexive verbs are those verbs whose subject and object are the same. This basically means that the subject of the verb is doing an action to itself.

For Example:

Me lavo la cara. I wash my face.

Nos cepillamos los dientes dos veces al día. We brush our teeth twice a day.

No me gusta peinarme el peloI don’t like brushing my hair.

Reflexive verbs are conjugated with reflexive pronouns in addition to the end change.

Subject pronoun Reflexive pronoun Verb
yo me cepillo
te cepillas
él, ella, usted se cepilla
nosotros nos cepillamos
vosotros os cepilláis
ellos, ellas, ustedes se cepillan

Reflexive pronouns are generally placed directly before the verb.

Normalmente los niños se acuestan tempranoNormally kids go to bed early.

Siempre me ducho por las mañanasI always shower in the morning.

When verbs are in the infinitive, the reflexive pronouns can either go before the conjugated verb or attached to the infinitive.

Tenemos que levantarnos temprano los lunes. or Nos tenemos que levantar tempranos los lunes. We have to get on early on Mondays.

¿Prefieres lavarte la cara por la mañana o por la noche? or ¿Te prefieres lavar la cara por la mañana o por la noche? Do you prefer to wash your face in the morning or night?

Spanish reflexive verbs use the definite article to refer to body parts, not possessive adjectives as in English.

Mi papá se afeitó la barba. My dad shaved his beard.

Uds. deben vestirse los abrigosYou guys should put on your coats.

Many Spanish verbs can have different meanings when used reflexively.

acostarse to go to bed acostar to put to bed
dormirse to fall asleep dormir to sleep
irse to go away ir to go
levantarse to get up levantar to lift
ponerse to put on poner to put
quitarse to take off quitar to remove

Me acosté a las 9 anoche. I went to bed at 9 last night.

Acosté a mi hija a las 9 anoche. I put my daughter to bed at 9 last night.

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