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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 pronounReflexive pronounVerb
yomecepillo
tecepillas
él, ella, ustedsecepilla
nosotrosnoscepillamos
vosotrososcepilláis
ellos, ellas, ustedessecepillan

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.

Reflexive
Nonreflexive
acostarseto go to bedacostarto put to bed
dormirseto fall asleepdormirto sleep
irseto go awayirto go
levantarseto get uplevantarto lift
ponerseto put onponerto put
quitarseto take offquitarto 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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