Grammar - Subject Pronouns: Understanding Masculine and Feminine
This Spanish Easy Review grammar quiz takes a look at subject pronouns: understanding masculine and feminine. It is important to note that in Spanish, the masculine form of the pronoun is used to describe a group of people when that group of people includes both girls (women) and boys (men). For example, if your father (padre) was going to the store, you would use the pronoun él to say: He is going to the store. If your mother (madre) was going to the store, you would use the pronoun ella to say: She is going to the store. But if both your father and mother were going to the store, you would use the pronoun ellos to say: They are going to the store. (Includes a man and a woman.)
If, however, you were to say your sisters are going to the store, then you would use the pronoun ellas to say: They are going to the store. (Includes only girls.)
Spanish vocabulary makes a distinction between masculine and feminine throughout so one thing you must always keep in mind is whether a word is considered a masculine word or a feminine word. In many instances a masculine word will end in an 'o' and a feminine word will end in an 'a' but that is not in every case. However, for now, let’s just focus on learning the pronouns.
Take a look at the list of pronouns below.
|English (Singular)||Spanish (Singular)||Pronounced As|
|you||usted (formal)||oo-sted (oo as in boo)|
|English (Plural)||Spanish (Plural)||Pronounced As|
|you||vosotros (masculine) (familiar)||vō-sō-trōs|
|you||vosotras (feminine) (familiar)||vō-sō- trăs|
|you||ustedes (formal) (mix of males and females)||oo-sted-es|
Did you notice how the pronoun 'you' has many different variations in Spanish? In English, the pronoun 'you' is used when it describes anyone, male, female or a group of people. In Spanish this is not so. The word 'you' is written in 5 different ways. The word 'we' is written in 2 different ways, and the word 'they' is also written in 2 different ways. That is because in Spanish you can address someone who is familiar to you (your mother, father, sister, brother, best friend, close relative) or you can address someone who is more formal to you, meaning you don’t know them very well or you are not really close to them (your boss at work, the clerk at the store, a person you just met, a bus driver, etc.). In the singular form, tú is used in a familiar manner. When you are speaking to people you do not know or who you are not as familiar with, then you use the formal version of the word which is usted. Both tú and usted are used when talking to a male or female. When you are talking to more than one person (meaning many people you are very familiar with), if everyone is female then you use the pronoun vosotras. If all are males then vosotros and if a mixture of males and females then you use vosotros. If you are talking with or about a group of people you are not as familiar with then you use the pronoun ustedes which covers both males, females and a mixture of both.
When using the pronoun 'they', if there is a group of females then you use the pronoun ellas. If it is a group of males then you use ellos and if it is a mixture of males and females you use the pronoun ellos as well. The masculine form always takes the lead when a grouping of people includes both sexes.
Finally, did you notice the little tick mark on the 'u' in tú and the 'e' in él? This mark is called an 'accent mark'. Whenever you see an accent mark above a letter (a vowel), it means you give that letter a little more strength or a harder sound. You will notice this accent mark on many Spanish words.
This can all be very confusing at first so don’t rush through this quiz. Practice saying the pronouns (pronouncing them correctly). While doing this, it’s time to start getting your mind to think masculine/feminine because that is a critical part of learning the Spanish language. Once you feel comfortable with the pronouns, take the quiz and see how many of them you can answer correctly.
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