Piece of Spanish Cake

Subject Pronouns


The usage of subject pronouns is similar in English and Spanish. We will show the differences between the two languages, and explain how Spanish relates to each individual pronoun.






Tú (Vos )




















* Only in Spain (not in Latin America)


The formal form

Usted (Ud.*)

You (singular)

Ustedes (Uds.**)

You-all (plural)


* ‘Ud.’ is the abbreviation in written Spanish.
** ‘Uds.’ is the abbreviation in written Spanish.


Special Pronouns

The ‘Vos’ Pronoun

The pronouns ‘Tú’ and ‘Vos’ are grammatically similar, and both relate to the second-person singular form – you (m/f). The usage of ‘Vos’ is common only in Argentina, Uruguay and some areas in Colombia, therefore we will use the pronoun ‘Tú.’


The ‘Vosotros/Vosotras’ Pronouns

One of the substantial difference between the Spanish of Spain and the Latin American Spanish is that in Latin America there is NO usage of the ‘Vosotros/Vosotras’ (you all– m/f) pronoun. Therefore, all conjugations having to do with the second-person plural form are not used in Latin America. We will indicate conjugations having to do with second-person plural form, but we will not make use of them (in the examples). The form is included to familiarize the student with it, though its usage is limited (by limited usage we mean in conversation with Spanish from Spain or in reading the New Testament in Spanish). The Latin American substitute for the ‘Vosotros/ Vosotras’ pronouns is ‘Ustedes’ (formal you-all).


The Formal Form

Singular Form:

Spanish has a formal and an informal form of the singular ‘You’: ‘’ is more familiar and is used among friends, when addressing young people, children, etc. ‘Usted’ is formal and is generally used to express respect, used commonly when addressing an older person, a duty-worker, or even a stranger. Note that grammatical usage of ‘Usted’ is like that of a third-person singular form (He/She).


Plural Form

When referring to ‘you-all’, there are two choices in Spanish. In an informal address we use the ‘Vosotros/Vosotras’ (you-all m/f). However, the ‘Vosotros/as’ form is used primarily in Spain. Throughout Latin America ‘Ustedes’ is generally used in both formal and informal situations to refer to‘you-all’. Note that the grammatical usage of ‘Ustedes’ is like that of the third-person plural form (They.)



Verb conjugation will be practiced when learning the auxiliary verbs ‘Ser’ and ‘Estar’ (see the Chapter regarding ‘Ser y Estar’.) At this point it is important to comprehend the logic behind the singular and plural forms of the formal addresses. Singular form has two options: ‘Tú’ and ‘Usted’. When using ‘Usted’ the sentence should be constructed to accommodate the third-person singular form, as if we were talking about a ‘he’ or a ‘she’. Plural form has only one option: ‘Ustedes’, therefore the sentence should be constructed as if we were talking about ‘they’ (as opposed to talking about ‘you-all’.)

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