Various ways to say “You” in Spanish

January 3, 2017

As you might now, there are many ways to express the 2nd personal pronoun “you” in Spanish and as well as many other languages because they have the formal, informal, and plural “you” in different forms. I listed all forms of “you” in Spanish below, and you can see how they differ each other.

Tú is a informal “you” and usually people learn this word as an English singular “you”. “tuteo” means to use “tú” as a second singular personal pronoun. Basically, you would use “tú” to people who are younger than you, around the same age with you or your family members. However, you would not want to use it with older people or professors.


Usted is a formal “you”. It is common to use it to the professors or older people, and “ustedeseo” means to use “usted”. However, in some regions in Colombia or Costa Rica where are exclusively ustedeseo, they would only use usted to refer anyone, regardless of their social status with a speaker, including techers, parents, friends or strangers. People in Spain use “usted” since there are no other formal singular “you” in Spanish.

This word “usted” is actually came from “vuestra merced” (your mercy), which Spanish speaking people in America used to use it refer to Spanish people who had higher social status.Vuestra merced became vusted then eventually usted.

although vusted is the older version of usted, people seem to use them in isolated are of Colombia and Venezuela.


Vos is actually used in many different coountries, especially in central america and southern part of south america. And they use it in many different forms, ways and meanings, so there are a lot of variations in “voseo”, which obviously refers to the usage of “vos”. thus, I made a whole different post about it.


Finally, I would like to talk about “vosotros” which is mainly used in Spain. It is a plural “you” and you would not see this word outside of Spain unless you read very formal documents. Usually people use ustedes instead.

I think those “you” difference is very interesting because this is not something that English language has now, and these differences especially tú and usted become clear as you hear them in actual speaking.