Whenever the subject of the sentence (the doer of the action) and the object of the sentence (the receiver of the action) refer to the same person, we use the reflexive form of the verb. They are always accompanied by a reflexive pronoun.
- I dress myself every morning. (Reflexive)
- I dress my son every morning. (Non-reflexive)
When the action remains in the verb itself and it uses a reflexive pronouns, we call it quasireflexive verbs. The infinitive form of a reflexive/quasireflexive verb is written with the reflexive pronoun "se".
lavarse - to wash oneself
bañarse - to shower
peinarse - to comb one's hair
Example sentences using reflexive and quasireflexive verbs:
Él se lava.
He washes himself.
Me llamo Jennifer.
My name is Jennifer.
Se llama Rebecca.
Her name is Rebecca.
Ustedes se quedan en casa.
You all stay home.
Tú te acuestas.
You lay down.
Nosotros nos peinamos.
We comb ourselves.
Yo me lavo los dientes.
I brush my teeth.
Ella se baña con agua fría.
She showers with cold water.
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Whenever the subject of the sentence (the doer of the action) and the object of the sentence (the receiver of the action) refer to the same person, we use the reflexive form of the verb. In English this is shown by the use of words such as myself, yourself, himself, herself, etc. The important fact is that the doer and the receiver of the action of the verb is the same person.
The table below shows how to conjugate the reflexive verb afeitarse (to shave) in the present tense.
Present Tense - afeitarse
||(I shave myself)
||(you shave yourself)
||(he shaves himself)
||(we shave ourselves)
||(you guys shave yourselves)
||(they shave themselves)
You always know when a verb is reflexive in Spanish because the infinitive form is written with the reflexive pronoun "se" (e.g., afeitarse, lavarse, levantarse, llamarse, etc.).
In English we sometimes drop the reflexive pronoun in regular speech, but in Spanish every reflexive usage requires a reflexive pronoun. For example, in English we can say "I shave every morning" or "I shave myself every morning." In Spanish there is only one option:
Yo me afeito todas las mañana. - I shave myself every morning.
The reflexive pronoun is placed before the conjugated verb. The following examples show how reflexive pronouns are used with the verb "afeitarse".
Yo me afeito.
I shave myself.
Tú te afeitas muy rápido.
You shave yourself very quickly.
Guillermo se afeita muy despacio.
Bill shaves himself very slowly.
Nosotros nos afeitamos toda las mañanas.
We shave ourselves every morning.
Ellos se afeitan cada noche.
They shave themselves every evening.
A Few Examples of Reflexive Verbs
afeitarse - to shave
alegrarse - to become happy
animarse - to become encouraged
asustarse - to become frightened
atrasarse - to get behind or delayed
callarse - to become quiet
cansarse - to become tired
confundirse - to become confused
desesperarse - to become disappointed
emocionarse - to become excited or emotional
enamorarse - to fall in love
enfadarse - to become angry
fastidiarse - to become annoyed
hartarse - to get tired of something
irritarse - to become irritated
mejorarse - to improve
molestarse - to become upset
nublarse - to become cloudy
ofenderse - to become offended
perderse - to become lost
secarse - to become dry
sorprenderse - to become surprised
Nos perdemos en los mercados de Guatemala.
We get lost in the markets of Guatemala.
Su condición se ha mejorado desde ayer.
His condition has gotten better since yesterday.
Me harté de hacer la misma cosa todos los días.
I got tired of doing the same thing everyday.