Here’s an easy triusing question: How many type of fingers do you have on your left hand?

That’s just how many means there are to say “you” in Spanish!

You can say tú, usted, ustedes, vos or vosotros.

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And they all suppose the very same thing: You!

So what’s the difference? What’s the allude of having actually 5 various methods to say the same thing?

Ah, that’s the catch: All those words can expect “you,” but they’re all slightly various. Which pronoun you usage counts entirely on the situation.

Don’t worry! We’re right here to clear points up.

In this short article, we’ll take a closer look right into eextremely way to say “you” in Spanish, and we’ll learn when to properly usage each one.

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How to Determine Which Spanish Form of “You” to Use

The idea of multiple means to say “you” could be a stvariety principle for English-speakers. After all, we just have the one lonely “you,” which we usage for, well, basically everything. So a course about just how to say “you” in English would certainly be pretty short: It’s “you.” Next lesson!

But in Spanish, tbelow are five words that intend “you,” and also the distinctions between them aren’t minor. Each word has a certain function in the language, and also they’re regularly not interchangeable. Which form you usage depends on:

The number of people you’re talking toThe specific dialect you’re speakingThe formality (or informality) of the situation

So as soon as picking which “you” to usage, you’ll have to store in mind whether you’re talking to one perkid or to many, whether you’re in Spain, Mexico or some other Spanish-speaking country and whether you’re addressing friends, acquaintances or people of a higher social condition than you.

The first two are fairly straightforward, but the last one appears to have most wiggle room. How perform you understand if a case is formal or informal? Here are some guidelines to help you decide:

Age: Addressing somebody older than you? That’s a dead giveameans right tbelow. You’d much better display deference and usage the formal “you.”

If it’s somebody your own age, then you have actually even more leemethod. You deserve to sheight informally to those younger than you (unmuch less they’re of a higher social status!).

Social status: If you’re speaking to your boss or anyone else higher up on the social ladder than you, then go formal. If it’s simply your colleagues or friends horsing roughly, then informal is perfectly fine.Social distance: If you’re talking to a finish stranger or also an acquaintance, then take into consideration the instance formal. If you’re among friends, a lot of of whom are passed out on the floor… then you can really say anything you choose, can’t you?

If you’re having actually obstacle determining the most correct word to use, err on the side of caution and use the even more formal variation.

Still not sure? Try the “High-Five Test.” It’s a quick creative thinking exercise which helps identify whether the instance is formal or not. Look right into your mind’s eye and imagine providing the various other perboy a high five, out of nowhere. Just put it tbelow and also slap that hand also.

How did that feel in your head? Did the various other perboy even meet your palm? Or did he think you were going to strike him and also defended himself instead?

Did it feel weird? Or entirely normal?

If you can imagine high-fiving the other perkid without the leastern bit of awkwardness, then you have the right to talk to them informally. If not, then it’s probably ideal to deal with them formally.

Two Important Things to Remember About “You” in Spanish

Zeroing in on the correct “you” form is vital to being construed and not offending anyone. Here are 2 more really essential facts to remember around these pronouns:

Different creates of “you” have various verb conjugations.

For instance, the common expression “Have a nice day!” will be various relying on whether you’re using  (informal) or usted (formal):

¡Que tú tengas un buen día!

¡Que usted tenga un buen día!

They both mean the same thing, however the accompanying verb creates depfinish on which “you” is being offered in the sentence.

(Note: For discussion purposes, alert that we don’t drop the “you.” Many Spanish speakers regularly sindicate drop the pronoun altogether. So instead of saying, “Tú tienes suerte” , they simply say, “Tienes suerte,” which means the exact same thing.)

We all understand that verb conjugation is a wealthy field, and luckily, there are plenty of obtainable resources digital for finding out the ins and also outs of it:

The “you” forms readjust depending upon their attribute in the sentence.

Remember when I said previously that there are five “you” forms in Spanish? Well, that’s the instance when “you” is the subject of a sentence.

But as a pronoun, “you” can be placed at various points in a sentence and also have the right to feature as a direct object, indirect object, the object of a preplace, and so on It’s pretty versatile!

In English, this doesn’t really issue because “you” is “you” is “you”—regardless of its feature in the sentence:

You (subject) are beautiful.

The automobile hit you (straight object) at 90 mph.

Jake sent you (indirect object) flowers.

In Spanish, though, each of these cases calls for a particular develop of the “you.”

Let’s take tú for instance. It transforms into te as soon as it’s supplied as an instraight or straight object and also into ti as soon as provided as an object of the preposition:

Alguien te mandó flores para tu cumpleaños. (Someone sent out you flowers for your birthday.)

Este flor es para ti. (This flower is for you.

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So the tú is actually a shapeshifter and also alters depending on its feature in the sentence. And this goes for the other four develops as well—usted, ustedes, vos, vosotros.

IPFW has an excellent chart to help you view what these readjust right into once they take on different functions in a sentence. This is just something you should remember, so research that chart!


To help you memorize which create is used in which case, try hearing the words in use on