Reflexive Verb

Basically, reflexive verbs are used to indicate that the subject of the sentence and the object are identical.

Yo me miro en el espejo. I see myself in the mirror.

An object has to be in the form of a reflexive pronoun if it is identical to the subject. So, here are the reflexive pronouns.

Me myselfNos ourselves
Te yourselfOs yourselves
Se himself/herself/yourselfSe themselves/yourselves

Here is an example of a reflexive verb, and its conjugation in present indicative.

levantarse to get up (=to lift oneself up)SingularPlural
1st PersonMe levanto I get upNos levantamos We get up
2nd PersonTe levantas You get upOs levantáis You get up
3rd PersonSe levanta He/She/You gets upSe levantan They get up

 

Now, since we know how to form the verb, let´s see in what ways and meanings they can be used.

1. Reciprocal verb

Reciprocal means “each other”, and a reciprocal verb is used when 2 people or things are doing the same thing to each other.

Se miran cuando cantan juntos. They see each other when they sing together.

Nos odiábamos cuando estábamos en la universidad. We hated each other when we were in college.

Os conocéis mucho. You guys know each other so much.

Since they always need plural subject to work reciprocally, only plural subjects can go with a reciprocal verb.

2. To express changes of emotion.

Here is a list of the verbs that have changes in emotion and used as a reflexive verb.

Aburrirse to become bored

Asustarse to become scared

Enamorarse to fall in love

Fastidiarse to get annoyed

Irritarse to get irritated

Alegrarse to become happy

Calmarse to become calm

Entusiasmarse to become excited

Exasperarse to become impatient

Preocuparse to become worried

Sorprenderse to be surprised at

 

Examples

Me alegré de escuchar la buena noticia.

I became happy for the good news.

Me aburrí de cocinar ayer, porque yo estaba muy ocupado.

I got tired of cooking since I was very tired yesterday.

Ellos se enamoraron cuando se vieron.

They fell in love when they see each other.

Ella se calma si escucha la música.

She becomes calm if she listens to music.

Me sorprendí cuando encontré con mi amigo en Francia.

I was surprised at meeting my friend in France.

 

3. Reflexive verbs by nature

Some verbs are just reflexive by nature even though they do not have any specific meaning in it.

atreverse (a) to dare

burlarse (de) to make fun of

caerse to fall down

comportarse (=portarse) to behave

darse cuenta (de) to realize

darse la mano to shake hands

enterarse de to notice

equivocarse to be wrong about

jactarse (de) to brag

quejarse (de) to complain

Usually, reflexive pronouns are placed just before the conjugated verb. However, if a verb is used as an infinitive or progressive form, reflexive pronouns can be right after the infinitive or progressive form of verb.

Voy a levantarme a las 8 mañana. (Me voy a levanter a las 8 mañana.)

Estoy mirándome en el espejo. (Me estoy mirando en el espejo.)

When they are used with an affirmative imperative form of the verb (in command), a reflexive pronoun has to be attached at the end of the verb.

¡Siéntate!    Sit down! (You)

¡Siéntese!    Please sit down! (You guys)

¡Sentaos!     Please sit down! (You guys)

how do you feel about reflexive verbs? Whenever you see a verb with “se” at the end in dictionary, it should be categorized in one of those verbs that I introduced in this post. So please check and see what they mean.


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