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I have been studying Spanish for some time and I believe I have came a long way but I have still got a serious problem when it comes to using reflexive verbs in a conversation or an essay. I am a native Turkish speaker and we haven't really got a structure similar to reflexive verbs in Spanish.

I believe I am not the only who faces this struggle and I'd be more than delighted if someone could tell me how to comprehend and use the reflexive verbs.

Could you also share with me some of the exercises you have got for reflexive verbs? I have already searched on the internet about it but unfortunately there are only a few.

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I remember starting with reflexive pronouns and it throwing me off. I think I can help you.

First we need to ask the question:

What are the reflexive pronouns?

  1. me myself ------ 4. nos ourselves
  2. te yourself ------ 5. os yourselves
  3. se yourself ------ 6. se yourselves, themselves

Oh wait.. this looks just like our normal conjugation chart for spanish verbs. We can easily take any spanish verb and make it reflexive by using our pronouns. Let's look at an example.

peinar - to comb:

  1. peino ------ 4. peinamos
  2. peinas ------ 5. peinais
  3. peina ------ 6. peinan

peinarse - to comb (oneself):

  1. me peino ------ 4. nos peinamos
  2. te peinas ------ 5. os peinais
  3. se peina ------ 6. se peinan

What is the purpose of a reflexive pronoun?

Reflexive

adjective (of a verb) taking a subject and object with identical referents, as shave in I shave myself.
(of a pronoun) used as an object to refer to the subject of a verb, as myself in I shave myself.

So we generally use reflexive pronouns with reflexive verbs. For example some reflexive verbs you may have seen before:

  • Ponerse - to put on
  • Sentarse - to sit down
  • Preguntarse - to wonder
  • Quedarse - to stay
  • Preocuparse - to worry
  • Sentirse - to feel

Reflexive verbs are used in sentences where the subject and object of the sentence are the same!

Notice how these verbs end with se at the end.

When do we use a reflexive pronoun?

So let's look at some examples of how we can actually use these verbs in a sentence and try to make sense of them.

  1. Me coto mi mano. (I cut my hand.) Here I am stating that I cut my hand (myself).
    I am the subject of this sentence and I am entity receiving the action.

  2. Maria se lava el pelo todas las noches. (She washes her hair every night) Here I am stating that the subject, Maria, washes her hair (herself) every night. Maria is the subject of the sentence and Maria is also the one receiving the action.

  3. Por favor Fernando, vistete. (Please Fernando, dress yourself.) Here I am asking the subject, Fernando, to dress (yourself). Notice how the reflexive pronoun appears after the verb in this case. Remember this happens when we are using the imperative! (Commanding someone)

General Notes:

  • Notice how the reflexive pronoun is placed behind the verb. This is the general placement of reflexive pronouns unless the verb is in the infinitive or imperative. In this case the reflexive pronoun is placed after the verb.

  • The reflexive pronouns are (me, te, se, nos, os, se).

  • We use a reflexive pronoun when the subject and object of the sentence are the same.

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