jueves, 16 de febrero de 2012

El sujeto y los pronombres personales de sujeto

Now that you know that the verb is like a car, you are ready to understand what the subject is.

The subject is the car´s driver! It is the person performing the action of the verb.

Take the sentence: "Peter is reading a book"

What is the action? Reading. The verb is "is reading". It is conjugated in the present continuous tense.

Who is reading? Peter. Peter is the subject.

Let´s learn more about Peter: "He reads every night"

What is the action? Still reading! The verb is "reads". It is conjugated in the present tense.

Who is reading? Still Peter! Although the sentence does not say it, we know it is talking about Peter because he had been introduced to us before. Thus we do not need to repeat his name in every sentence: we can replace his name with the personal pronoun "he".

"He" is a subject personal pronoun.

In Spanish, there are a total of 12 subject personal pronouns: pronombres personales de sujeto.

"Pronombres" because they stand for a "nombre" or name.
"Personales" because they stand for a "persona" or person.
"De sujeto" because they are the subject of the sentence.

There are five singular subject pronouns (only one person is driving the car):

- 1st person:                       Yo            I
- 2nd person, informal:       Tú        You
- 3rd person, masculine:     Él         He
- 3rd person, feminine:        Ella      She

There is also a formal 2nd person, that Spanish people use to show respect. It is typically used to address elders: Usted (shortened as Ud. or Vd.)

There are seven plural subject pronouns (multiple persons driving the car at once!):

- 1st person, masculine: Nosotros We (boys and girls)
- 1st person, feminine: Nosotras We (girls only)
- 2nd person, masculine: Vosotros You all (boys and girls)
- 2nd person, feminine: Vosotras You all (girls only)
- 3rd person, masculine: Ellos They (boys and girls)
- 3rd person, feminine: Ellas They (girls only)

Here too, there is a formal way to address a group of people with respect: Ustedes (shortened as Uds. or Vds.).

Note: in South America, "ustedes" is the only form, used for both informal and formal treatment. "Vosotros/-as" is only used in Spain.

This seems pretty simple, but I noticed that it often leads to confusion. I recommend a little bit of practice: 
Click here to find related activities.

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