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Reflexive verbs

Reflexive verbs are used very often in Spanish and they are mainly related to action that you do or someone does on themselves, such as “to have a shower”, “to wash the face”, “to get dress”….

Some normal verbs can be in some circumstances reflexive and in others not. The context will always give you the answer to what type of verb is.

For example:

Verb LAVAR = to wash

Maria lava la cara del bebé (Maria washes the baby´s face).

In this case it is not a reflexive  because the action doesn´t fall on Maria but on the baby.

If we change LAVAR to LAVARSE, then we are turning it into a reflexive verb.

Maria se lava la cara todos los días en el cuarto de baño. (Maria washes her face every day in the bathroom).

How do we identify a reflexive verb?

The infinitive of a reflexive verb always finishes with SE. Let’s study few examples:

DUCHAR(to shower) – DUCHARSE

PEINAR (to comb) – PEINARSE

CEPILLAR (to brush) – CEPILLARSE

How do we conjugate them?

The reflexive verbs always need some pronouns to have their full meaning and when we conjugate them we have to keep thinking that we’ll need to use the endings of the three conjugations that we already know.

LAVARSE

SE is telling us that it is a reflexive verb.

AR is telling us that we need to use the endings of the first conjugation.

LAV is the root of the verb.

The following is the list of the pronouns and the endings for the simple present:

SUBJECT

REFLEXIVE PRONOUNS

AR

ER

IR

yo

me

o

o

o

te

-as

-es

-es

él, ella, usted

se

-a

-e

-e

nosotros

nosotras

nos

-amos

-emos

imos

Vosotros

vosotras

os

-áis

-éis

-ís

ellos,ellas

ustedes

se

-an

-en

-en

 

 

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