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Spanish languageSpanish Pronominal Verbs
Pronominal verbs are often incorrectly referred to as reflexive verbs, when in fact the latter are just one type of pronominal verb. The defining characteristic of pronominal verbs is that their subjects are acting upon themselves. Pronominal verbs are much more common in Spanish than in English.

What sets pronominal verbs apart from non-pronominal verbs is that pronominals must be must be conjugated with a reflexive pronoun, which always agrees with the subject. Like object pronouns, the reflexive pronoun is placed directly in front of the verb. Unlike subject pronouns, the reflexive pronoun is required in Spanish.

There are two separate tasks when conjugating pronominal verbs. First, take off the reflexive pronoun se, change it to agree with the subject of the verb, and place it directly in front of the verb. Then, as with all verbs, you must conjugate the infinitive according to whether it's an -ar, -er, -ir, stem-changing, or irregular verb.

Me ducho. I'm taking a shower.
Marco se pone una camisa. Marco is putting a shirt on.
Te lavas la cara. You're washing your face.
Nos quedamos aquí. We're staying here.
Tengo que sentarme. I need to sit down.
Nos casemos. We got married.

You can recognize pronominal verbs by the reflexive pronoun se tacked on to the infinitive: ducharse, ponerse, lavarse, quedarse, etc.

More about pronominal verbs


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