What are Spanish reflexive verbs?

Sep 1, 2020 | Spanish Grammar

What are Spanish reflexive verbs and how can I use them correctly?

The correct use of Spanish reflexive verbs isn’t that difficult if you know the basic rules. It’s an essential part of Spanish grammar, and you won’t be able to avoid it. So get into it and be prepared for your next Spanish class!

In this post, we would like to give you a general idea of using Spanish reflexive verbs. If you need more practice, please click here to try our free online exercises.

Mónica (our virtual Spanish teacher) will provide you with an answer to the question: What are Spanish reflexive verbs? Also, we have some hints and a list of Spanish reflexive verbs that will help you.

If you have any questions, feel free to leave a comment below or write us a message.

Mónica explains: What are Spanish reflexive verbs?

If you liked this video, you can find more on our YouTube-Channel here.

What are Spanish reflexive verbs?

You can easily recognize Spanish reflexive verbs because of the syllable “se” at the end (if it is in the infinitive). Examples:

what are spanish reflexive verbs

If the subject in a sentence acts on itself, then the Spanish verb is usually reflexive, and the pronoun used to receive the action is reflexive.

The problem is that in English, the same verb might not be reflexive, while it is reflexive in Spanish. In German, for example, you would always use a “Reflexivpronomen”: sich hinlegen. That makes it a bit easier for you if you are a German native speaker.

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Also, it’s important to mention that the meaning of a Spanish verb can change if it’s reflexive.

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Finally, some Spanish verbs are always reflexive: arrepentirse, for example (to regret). They don’t exist in a “non-reflexive” form.

Some general hints about Spanish reflexive verbs

To use Spanish reflexive verbs correctly, you will have to practice and study them. Some of them are irregular (as you might have seen in the video before).

Second, we recommend you to learn the essential Spanish reflexive verbs first. These are verbs of the daily routine and the ones you frequently use: llamarse, for example. After that, you will get used to the correct use of the Spanish reflexive verbs pretty fast.

Third, it’s important to mention that it’s necessary to learn the reflexive pronouns (los pronombres reflexivos):

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Examples of Spanish reflexive verbs placement

We want to explain to you the correct placement of the reflexive verbs with some examples. Let’s have a look  at “ponerse” (to put on):

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Depending on what you want to say (and which grammar structure you are using), the pronoun’s placement can be before or after the Spanish reflexive verb.

You put the reflexive pronoun before the verb when the verb is conjugated (as seen above). But you place it after (and connected to) the verb when the verb is in the infinitive or imperative (giving an order).

In the case of the “gerundio” (the Spanish “gerund”), you mostly have two (correct) options of using Spanish reflexive verbs. “Estoy poniendome los guantes.” is as correct as “Me estoy poniendo los guantes.”

List of the 37 most important Spanish reflexive verbs

Finally, we would like to give you an list of essential Spanish reflexive verbs. Use it as a foundation to build up some basic Spanish vocabulary. It’s not complete, but we decided to choose the most important ones to give you an orientation first.

If you found your answer to your question, “What are Spanish reflexive verbs?”, please recommend this post to your friends or leave a comment!

Thanks a lot!



Spanish reflexive verbs

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