If this is the informal way to say such:

Te das un regalo. | You give yourself a gift.

Is this, then, a formal way of the same:

Le das un regalo. | You give yourself a gift.

The above, of course, assumes that the context is well known when this is spoken.

And also, is the following grammatically correct for formal speech:

Les das lo que quieren. | You give yourselves what you all want.

***Update to provide more context to this question***

I'm taking a course on Memrise.com, and came across the following sentences:

Me da un regalo todos los días. | He gives me presents every day.

Le doy un regalo todos los años. | I give her presents every year.

Mi hermano les da un perro todos los años. | My brother gives them a dog every year.

Les damos zapatos todos los años. | We give them shoes every year.

So now I'm endeavoring to help my brain assimilate the various conjugations (present tense) of darse with the various indirect object pronouns by composing my own sentences:

Me doy un regalo. | I give myself a gift.

Te doy un regalo. | I give you a gift.

Me das un regalo. | You give me a gift.

Te das un regalo. | You give yourself a gift.

I come to StackExchange because I'm not sure the sentences I constructed are proper.

Now, here's one that confuses me:

Le das un regalo. | You give him/her/you(formal) a gift.

When addressing someone in 2nd person formal, I'm not sure how to rid the above sentence of ambiguity.

  • 1
    Do you intend to mean the speaker is somehow ordering the 2nd person to give himself a gift? Or is she just asserting that they give themselves a gift? Or is it some kind of hypothetical situation? (like, when you give yourself a gift, you have to spend money)
    – Rafael
    Commented Oct 30, 2016 at 4:17
  • These are not commands. Yes, like when I give myself a gift, you give yourself a gift, etc. Commented Oct 30, 2016 at 4:25

2 Answers 2


Well, there is a number of nuances you may want to keep in mind.

If all you want is to put the plain te das un regalo addessing the recipient in a more polite way (usted), you may write:

Se da un regalo

This adds some ambiguity, since missing some more context it might be interpreted as third person (he gives himself a gift). In order to disambiguate, you can insert an usted:

Se da usted un regalo or Usted se da un regalo

(which, depending on the region, may even be more idiomatic than the previous). Which of both word orders to choose will depend on context: if the phrase is just that, stand alone, I'd choose the second one.

Other option is to make the yourself part more explicit:

Se da un regalo a Ud. mismo or Ud. se da un regalo a sí mismo

(note that Ud. is but the common abbreviation for usted). I'm not sure, but this might sound redundant to the English-speaker. In Spanish this kind of redundance is not always wrong. (As isn't double negation, that may even be the norm in some cases).

As Carlos Vásquez suggests, darse un regalo may sound a little rigid. Other option is darse un capricho (to indulge, treat oneself): [Usted] se da un capricho [a Ud. mismo].

Le das un regalo would actually mean You give him a gift (the verb is still second person, implying a rather than an usted.

Regarding your second question, I see two ways to read the original English sentence: 1) meaning they can give themselves whatever they want, or 2) they can give themselves that one thing we all know all of them want.

The first one might translate to:

Dense lo que quieran,

(Dense is formed by den, plural present imperative of dar plus the reflexive se), while the second one:

Dense eso que quieren or dense lo que quieren

You would notice that the first one uses subjunctive mood (since you don't know what they want), while the second one uses the indicative.

Again, the verb dar alone doesn't sound quite natural. The options that come to my mind involve adding a little context, like tomen lo que quieran (take what[ever] you [pl.] want) or dense ese capricho que quieren.

Hope it helps.

  • 1
    Ahh! After reading you answer several time, I finally get it! I especially appreciate your comment about 'Le das un regalo'. Commented Oct 30, 2016 at 18:00

If you want to say "You give yourself a gift" is like:

Te has regalado un capricho.

I asume, in this context, gift = capricho.


¡Qué chaqueta más bonita! ¿Te has regalado un capricho?

If you want a more detailed explanation, post a example and I will translate it.

  • I have never heard capricho with regalo (in Spain)
    – julodnik
    Commented Apr 25, 2019 at 13:00

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