Can all reflexive verbs be used as reciprocal verbs and vice versa?

When I try to think of a sentence involving each other I can always reconstruct it using myself even if it isn't very logical.


We got married to each other.

I will marry myself.

When it comes to reflexive verbs and reciprocal verbs, I find that context doesn't help. Should I always use phrases like uno al otro or sí mismo or should I get used to them not being used?

2 Answers 2


What about this one


  1. prnl. Quitarse voluntariamente la vida.

I guess this is an example of a reflexive that can't be reciprocal, so this would be a counterexample for the "all reflexive verbs can be reciprocal" statement.

For the "all reciprocal verbs can be reflexive", I guess that if I can do it to others I should be able to do it to myself.

Of course, as you say in the question, you can always treat a reciprocal like a reflexive and viceversa if you don't really care about the meaning (Me caso conmigo mismo. Te suicido).

So, the answer to your questions could be a "probably yes, but as with every rule there's always a few exceptions".


Not all - there are a number of verbs which have a subtle difference in meaning when used reflexively. Some examples:


  • abanicar (to fan) / abanicarse (to fan oneself)

Subtle semantic difference

  • acusar (to accuse) / acusarse (to confess)

Subject is object, but action is passive, not active

  • aburrir (to bore) / aburrirse (to get bored)
  • enojar (to anger) / enojarse (to get angry)
  • entristecer (to sadden) / entristecerse (to get sad)
  • rendir (to defeat) / rendirse (to surrender "to be defeated")


  • abanar (to pay) / abanarse (to subscribe)
  • comer (to eat) / comerse (to eat up)

Body parts

  • peinar (to comb) / peinarse (to comb one's hair)
  • cortar (to cut) / cortarse (to cut [one's hair, nails])
  • quebrar (to break) / quebrarse (to break [a bone])
  • But many of those can still be used reciprocally, although it may require the addition of los unos a lot otros to make that interpretation clear. Jan 4, 2019 at 15:17

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