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Course Introduction

1. Nouns & Articles

2. Ser & Estar

3. Nouns & Adjectives

4. Regular Verbs

5. Ser/Estar (Past Tense)

6. Core Irregular Verbs (Present & Past)

7. Imperfect

8. Adverbs

9. Prepositions

10. Stem-changing Verbs - Part 1

11. Stem-changing Verbs - Part 2

12. Imperfect vs. Preterite

13. Syntax: Objects Overview

14. Past Participles & Present Perfect

15. Irregular and Go-verbs (Present)

16. Verbs with Irregular Yo-forms (Past)

17. Direct Object Pronouns

18. Indirect Object Pronouns, Direct & Indirect Object Pronouns Together

19. Reflexive Verbs

20. Verbs like Gustar

21. Present & Past Progressive

22. Past Perfect & Infinitive Constructions

23. Future Simple

24. Conditional

25. The Imperative

Episode #19

Reflexive Verbs

I. Intro

Now that we’ve got a lot of work on objects under our belts, this lesson is going to be a breeze. We’re talking about reflexive verbs - verbs whose subject and object are one in the same. That is, when someone or something “does something to itself.” Sounds simple, and it is, really, except for the fact that Spanish mentions the “to itself” part more often than we do in English. It just takes a little getting used to. It can be helpful to not translate each reflexive phrase word by word and try to digest them as larger units of meaning.

What does this mean? We’ll take a look.

II. Form

To begin, let’s learn the forms of the reflexive pronouns. They’ll look familiar to you, since we use a combination of pronouns you already know:

Reflexive pronouns

yo me nosotros nos
él/ella/usted se ellos/ellas/ustedes se


Carla se lava las manos.
Literally: Carla washes herself the hands.
Meaning: Carla washes her hands.

Darse cuenta de

Adrián se dio cuenta de lo había pasado.
Literally: Adrian gave himself account of what had happened.
Meaning: Adrián realized what had happened.


Los Jiménez se volvieron ricos después de tocar la lotería.
Literally: The Jiménezes returned themselves rich after winning the lottery.
Meaning: The Jiménezes got/became rich after winning the lottery.

III. Reflexive use vs. non-reflexive use

Some verbs can be used with or without their reflexive pronouns, resulting in a change in meaning. Some changes are slight, and others represent a more considerable difference.

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