12 Types of Spanish Pronouns: An Easy Guide

Updated on: March 6, 2024

Learning Spanish pronouns is no simple feat, yet it remains one of the most effective ways to take your Spanish skills beyond the beginner level.

If you feel prepared to finally tackle these tricky pronouns, you likely already know basics like yo, , and nosotros. However, the diverse nature of Spanish pronouns expands far beyond these elementary forms. Conquering pronoun usage brings you significantly closer to sounding like a native Spanish speaker.

What follows is a comprehensive guide to Spanish pronouns, covering some of the most vital Spanish grammar for communication. Yes, the list is long, reflecting the complexity of this linguistic category. Do not lose heart! With committed practice, manipulating all these Spanish pronouns in a sentence will become second nature.

Spanish pronouns 1

Spanish grammar: what is a pronoun?

A pronoun is a word used in place of a noun to avoid repetition and simplify sentences. It can refer to people, objects, places, and even abstract ideas, making communication more efficient and less redundant. Pronouns adapt according to number, gender, and case to align with the nouns they replace, ensuring clarity and coherence in speech and writing.

12 different types of pronouns in Spanish

Spanish pronouns are diverse and multifaceted, each serving a unique role in the language. Here are the main types:

1. Subject Pronouns: These refer to the people or things participating in an action, including the speaker (yo), the listener (tú, usted), and others (él, ella, nosotros, etc.). They vary based on perspective (first, second, third person) and number (singular, plural) and are part of the personal pronouns.

2. Possessive Pronouns: Indicate ownership or possession (mío, tuyo, suyo). They change form to agree with the gender and number of the noun they refer to.

3. Demonstrative Pronouns: Point out specific things or people and vary according to distance from the speaker (este, ese, aquel). They also agree in gender and number with the nouns they replace.

4. Relative Pronouns: Connect a dependent clause to a main clause, providing additional information about a noun without repeating it (que, quien, el cual). They can refer to people, places, things, and times.

5. Interrogative Pronouns: Used to ask questions about people or things (quién, qué, cuál). They are always accented in Spanish.

6. Exclamative pronouns: Express strong emotions or surprise in exclamatory sentences. Examples include "qué" (what) as in "¡Qué sorpresa!" (What a surprise!) and "cuánto" (how much/many) as in "¡Cuánto te he echado de menos!" (How much I've missed you!).

7. Reflexive Pronouns: Indicate that the subject of the verb is also the object (me, te, se). They are used with reflexive verbs to show that the action is performed on oneself.

8. Indirect Object Pronouns: Used to indicate to whom or for whom the action of the verb is performed (me, te, le). They are essential for constructing sentences that involve an action being done to someone or something else.

9. Prepositional Pronouns: Also known in Spanish as Tonic personal pronouns, they include reflexive forms used with the preposition "con" to indicate "with" oneself or others in a familiar or formal context. These include "conmigo" (with me), "contigo" (with you, informal), and "consigo" (with himself/herself/yourself formal/themselves).

10. Direct Object Pronouns: Replace the noun that directly receives the action of the verb (lo, la, los, las). They help avoid repetition and make sentences more concise.

11. Indefinite Pronouns: Are used to refer to nonspecific people or things, allowing for general statements or questions without specifying exact identities. For instance, "alguien" (someone) can be used in a sentence like "Alguien llamó a la puerta" (Someone knocked on the door) to indicate an unknown person.

12. Numeral pronouns: Represent a specific quantity or number without directly naming the noun. Examples include "uno" (one), "muchos" (many), and "algunos" (some), used to quantify or refer to an unspecified set of items or people.

Subject Pronouns in Spanish

Subject pronouns in Spanish are essential for indicating who is performing the action of a verb. Unlike English, where subject pronouns are almost always necessary for clarity, Spanish verbs conjugate uniquely for each subject pronoun, often making the pronoun optional. However, using subject pronouns can add emphasis or clarify who is being talked about, especially in situations where the verb form alone is ambiguous.

Yo (I)NeutralNeutralYo estudio español. (I study Spanish.)
Tú (You)NeutralInformal comes carne? (Do you eat meat?)
Usted (You)NeutralFormalUsted come carne? (Do you eat meat?)
Él (He)MasculineNeutralÉl corre rápido.(He runs fast.)
Ella (She)FeminineNeutralElla canta bien. (She sings well.)
Nosotros (We)MasculineNeutralNosotros vamos al cine.(We are going to the movies.)
Nosotras (We)FeminineNeutralNosotras estudiamos juntas. (We study together.)
Vosotros (You)MasculineInformal (used mainly in Spain)¿Vosotros tenéis hambre?(Are you guys hungry?)
Vosotras (You)FeminineInformal (used mainly in Spain)Vosotras sois muy inteligentes.(You girls are very smart.)
Ellos (They)MasculineNeutralEllos juegan al fútbol.(They play soccer.)
Ellas (They)FeminineNeutralEllas viajan a París. (They are traveling to Paris.)
Ustedes (You)NeutralNeutral¿Ustedes van a la reunión mañana? (Are you going to the meeting tomorrow?)

Spanish possessive pronouns

Spanish pronouns 2

Possessive pronouns in Spanish are used to indicate ownership or possession of something. They replace a noun and its accompanying possessive adjective (e.g., "my book" becomes "mine") to avoid repetition and to express possession more succinctly. Unlike English, Spanish possessive pronouns must agree in gender and number with the noun they replace, not with the possessor.

Mío/Mía/Míos/Mías (Mine)Mío and Míos for masculine nouns, Mía and Mías for feminine nounsEste libro es mío.(This book is mine.) / Estas llaves son mías. (These keys are mine.)
Tuyo/Tuya/Tuyos/Tuyas (Yours)Tuyo and Tuyos for masculine nouns, Tuya and Tuyas for feminine nounsEsa casa es tuya. (That house is yours.) / Esas flores son tuyas. (Those flowers are yours.)
Suyo/Suya/Suyos/Suyas (Yours)Suyo and Suyos for masculine nouns, Suya and Suyas for feminine nouns. Can be formal or informal depending on contextEste problema es suyo. (This problem is his/hers/yours/theirs.) / Estos documentos son suyos.(These documents are his/hers/yours/theirs.)
Nuestro/Nuestra/Nuestros/Nuestras (Ours)Nuestro and Nuestros for masculine nouns, Nuestra and Nuestras for feminine nounsNuestro equipo ganó el partido.(Our team won the game.) / Nuestras ideas fueron aceptadas.(Our ideas were accepted.)
Vuestro/Vuestra/Vuestros/Vuestras (Yours)Vuestro and Vuestros for masculine nouns, Vuestra and Vuestras for feminine nounsVuestra casa es muy grande.(Your house is very big.) / Vuestras respuestas son correctas.(Your answers are correct.)

Key Points to Remember

  • Possessive pronouns must agree in gender and number with the nouns they are replacing, not with the possessor.
  • They are used without articles in Spanish, which is different from the possessive adjectives that often precede the noun.
  • The context and the form of the possessive pronoun indicate the possessor (e.g., "suyo" can mean "his," "hers," "yours," or "theirs" depending on the sentence).

Demonstrative Pronouns in Spanish

Demonstrative pronouns in Spanish are used to point out specific things or people in relation to the position and distance from the speaker. They replace nouns that have already been mentioned or are obvious from the context, and like other pronouns and adjectives in Spanish, they agree in gender and number with the nouns they replace.

Este/Esta/Estos/Estas - This (singular), These (plural)Este and Estos for masculine nouns, Esta and Estas for feminine nouClose to the speakerEste es mi coche. (This is my car.) / Estas son mis llaves.(These are my keys.)
Ese/Esa/Esos/EsasThat (singular), Those (plural)Ese and Esos for masculine nouns, Esa and Esas for feminine nounsClose to the listener or at a moderate distance from the speakerEse es tu libro. (That is your book.) / Esas son sus flores. (Those are her flowers.)
Aquel/Aquella/Aquellos/AquellasThat (singular, far away), Those (plural, far away)Aquel and Aquellos for masculine nouns, Aquella and Aquellas for feminine nounsFar from both the speaker and the listenerAquel es el edificio más antiguo de la ciudad.(That is the oldest building in the city.) / Aquellas montañas son muy altas. (Those mountains are very high.)

Key Points to Remember

  • Demonstrative pronouns replace nouns and must match the gender and number of the noun they are referring to.
  • The choice of demonstrative pronoun depends on the physical or psychological distance of the object or person in relation to the speaker and listener.
  • Unlike English, Spanish makes a distinction between "this/these" (close to the speaker), "that/those" (close to the listener or moderately distant), and another form of "that/those" (far from both the speaker and listener).
  • In some contexts, especially in Latin American Spanish, the neuter forms "esto," "eso," and "aquello" are used to refer to unspecified or abstract ideas, situations, or objects, without indicating number or gender.

Interrogative Pronouns in Spanish

Spanish pronouns 3

Interrogative pronouns in Spanish are essential tools for asking questions about people, places, things, or ideas. They help to inquire about identity, quantity, quality, reason, and more. Like other pronouns in Spanish, some interrogative pronouns must agree in gender and number with the nouns they refer to, but others are invariable.

¿Qué? What?InvariableUsed to ask about things or ideas.¿Qué quieres comer? (What do you want to eat?)
¿Quién?/¿Quiénes?Who?Invariable in gender, variable in numberUsed to ask about people.¿Quién viene esta noche? (Who is coming tonight?) /¿Quiénes son ellos? (Who are they?)
¿Cuál?/¿Cuáles? Which, WhatInvariable in gender, variable in numberUsed to ask for a selection or specific information among a set of options.¿Cuál es tu libro favorito? (What is your favorite book?)/ ¿Cuáles son tus colores preferidos? (What are your favorite colors?)
¿Dónde? Where?InvariableUsed to ask about location or place.¿Dónde está la estación? (Where is the station?)
¿Cuándo? When?InvariableUsed to ask about time or occasion.¿Cuándo es tu cumpleaños? (When is your birthday?)
Cuánto/ Cuan (masculine singular), Cuánta (feminine singular), Cuántos (masculine plural), Cuántas (feminine plural)How much, How manyVariable in both gender and numberUsed to ask about quantity or amount.¿Cuánto cuesta esto?" (How much does this cost?) / ¿Cuántas manzanas compraste? (How many apples did you buy?)
¿Cómo? How?InvariableUsed to ask about manner, condition, or quality.¿Cómo estás?" (How are you?) / ¿Cómo se hace esto? (How is this done?)
¿Por qué? Why?InvariableUsed to ask for reasons or causes.¿Por qué llegaste tarde? (Why did you arrive late?)

For further information you can visit the website of La Real Academia de la Lengua Española RAE (The Royal Academy of the Spanish Language)

Key Points to Remember

  • Interrogative pronouns are always accented in Spanish to differentiate them from relative pronouns or conjunctions that look similar but are used in statements (e.g., "que" vs. "qué").
  • Some interrogative pronouns, like "cuánto/a/os/as," change to agree in gender and number with the nouns they refer to, while others, like "qué," "dónde," "cómo," "cuándo," and "por qué," remain invariable.

Exclamative pronouns in Spanish

Exclamative pronouns in Spanish are powerful linguistic tools used to express astonishment, excitement, or other strong emotions. These pronouns emphasize the intensity or degree of a reaction towards something or someone. 

Qué (What/How)

Used to express surprise, admiration, or disbelief about the quality or quantity of something.

Example: ¡Qué hermoso es este lugar! (What a beautiful place this is!)

Cuánto/a/os/as (How much/How many)

Used to express surprise or admiration about the quantity or extent of something. It agrees in gender and number with the noun it refers to.

Example: "¡Cuántas estrellas hay en el cielo!" (How many stars are in the sky!)

Quién (Who)

Used to express surprise or disbelief about the identity of a person.

Example: ¡Quién lo hubiera dicho! (Who would have thought!)

Cómo (How)

Used to express astonishment or admiration about the manner or way something is done.

Example: ¡Cómo corre ese atleta! (How fast that athlete runs!)

Key Points to remember

  • Context and Emotion: Exclamative pronouns are used to convey strong emotions such as surprise, admiration, disbelief, or excitement. Ensure the context of your sentence matches the intensity implied by these pronouns to effectively communicate your emotional response.
  • Agreement in Number and Gender: When using "cuánto" (how much/many) as an exclamatory pronoun, it must agree in gender and number with the noun it refers to. For example, "¡Cuántas flores!" (How many flowers!) for multiple feminine objects, and "¡Cuánto amor!" (How much love!) for a singular masculine concept.
  • Punctuation: Exclamatory sentences in Spanish begin with an inverted exclamation mark (¡) and end with a regular exclamation mark (!). This punctuation is crucial to differentiate exclamative sentences from interrogative or declarative sentences, especially when using pronouns like "qué" (what/how) and "cómo" (how) that can also introduce questions.

Spanish Reflexive Pronouns

Spanish pronouns 4

Reflexive pronouns in Spanish are used with reflexive verbs to indicate that the subject of the verb is performing the action on themselves. This concept is essential for expressing daily routines, emotional states, and actions where the subject and object are the same.

PronounCorresponding Subject PronounExample
Me (Myself)Yo (I)Yo me lavo las manos.(I wash my hands.)
Te (Yourself)(You, singular informal), Usted (You, singular formal)Tú te cepillas los dientes. (You brush your teeth.)
Se (Himself, Herself, Yourself -formal-, Themselves, Yourselves)Él (He), Ella (She), Usted (You, formal singular), Ellos (They, masculine), Ellas (They, feminine), Ustedes (You, plural)Él se afeita cada mañana. (He shaves every morning.) / Ellas se peinan. (They comb their hair.)
Nos (Ourselves)Nosotros/Nosotras (We)Nosotros nos preparamos para salir. (We get ready to go out.)
OsVosotros/Vosotras (You, plural informal, mainly used in Spain)Vosotros os ponéis los zapatos. (You put on your shoes.)

Key Points to Remember

  • Reflexive pronouns are placed before conjugated verbs or attached to the end of infinitive verbs, gerunds, or affirmative commands.
  • The use of reflexive pronouns changes the meaning of the verb to indicate that the action reflects back on the subject.
  • In reflexive constructions, the action is both performed and received by the subject, making it essential to use the reflexive pronoun that corresponds to the subject pronoun in number and person.
  • Reflexive pronouns are also used in Spanish to express actions that are done routinely or emphasize the action being performed on oneself.

Spanish Indirect Object Pronouns

Indirect object pronouns in Spanish are used to indicate to whom or for whom an action is performed. They play a crucial role in sentences where the action is being done for someone else or something is being given or said to someone

PronounCorresponding Subject PronounExample
Me (to/for) MeYo (I)Mi amigo me envió una carta. (My friend sent me a letter.)
Te (to/for) You(You, singular informal), Usted (You, singular formal)Te compré un regalo.(I bought you a gift.)
Le (to/for) Him, (to/for) Her, (to/for) You (formal)Él (He), Ella (She), Usted (You, formal singular)Le dije la verdad. (I told him/her/you the truth.)
Nos (to/for) UsNosotros/Nosotras (We)El profesor nos explicó la lección. (The teacher explained the lesson to us.)
Os (to/for) You allVosotros/Vosotras (You, plural informal, mainly used in Spain)Os escribí un correo. (I wrote you all an email.)
Les (to/for) Them, (to/for) You allEllos (They, masculine), Ellas (They, feminine), Ustedes (You, plural)Les mandé una invitación." (I sent them/you all an invitation.)

Key Points to Remember

  • Indirect object pronouns are usually placed before a conjugated verb or attached to an infinitive, gerund, or affirmative command.
  • In sentences with both direct and indirect object pronouns, the indirect object pronoun always comes first.
  • The indirect object pronoun "le" can change to "se" when it precedes the direct object pronouns "lo," "la," "los," or "las" to avoid the tongue-twisting effect of two similar-sounding pronouns in a row (e.g., "Se lo dije" instead of "Le lo dije").
  • The use of indirect object pronouns is often accompanied by a clarification or emphasis phrase starting with "a" (e.g., "Le di el libro a Juan" to clarify who "le" refers to).

Prepositional Pronouns

Prepositional pronouns in Spanish are used after prepositions to refer to people and are essential for constructing sentences that indicate relationships or directions involving actions. These pronouns must match the subject in terms of person and number, and some change form when used after prepositions. 

1. Yo (I) becomes (me) after prepositions.

   - Example: Para mí, es importante. (For me, it's important.)

2. (You, singular informal) becomes Ti (you) after prepositions.

   - Example: Es para ti. (It's for you.)

Él/Ella/Usted (He/She/You, singular formal), Nosotros/Nosotras (We, masculine/feminine), Vosotros/Vosotras (You, plural informal, masculine/feminine), Ellos/Ellas/Ustedes (They/You, plural formal, masculine/feminine)  remain unchanged after prepositions.

Special Reflexive Forms with "Con" (With)

  • Conmigo (With me): Ven conmigo." (Come with me.)
  • Contigo (With you, singular informal): "Quiero ir contigo." (I want to go with you.)
  • Consigo (With himself/herself/yourself formal/themselves): "Lleva el libro consigo. (He/She carries the book with him/her.) - Used for third person singular and plural, indicating something is with the person or people mentioned.

Key points to remember

  • Matching the Preposition: Ensure the prepositional pronoun follows the correct preposition and accurately reflects the intended relationship, such as direction, location, or possession (e.g., "para mí" for "for me").
  • Special Reflexive Forms: Be mindful of special reflexive forms used with "con" (with), such as "conmigo" (with me), "contigo" (with you, informal), and "consigo" (with himself/herself/themselves), which are exceptions to the regular forms.
  • No Gender or Number Change: Most prepositional pronouns do not change according to gender or number, except for the reflexive forms mentioned above, making them relatively straightforward to use in sentences.

Direct Object Pronouns in Spanish

Direct object pronouns in Spanish are used to replace a noun that directly receives the action of the verb, simplifying sentences and avoiding repetition. They are crucial for making conversation flow more smoothly and for adding clarity and efficiency to communication.

Me (Me)Él me vio en el parque. (He saw me in the park.)
Te You (singular, informal)Te llamé anoche. (I called you last night.)
Lo/La Him It (for masculine nouns); Her, It (for feminine nouns)Lo encontré muy interesante. (I found it very interesting.) / La vi en la ciudad. (I saw her in the city.)
Nos (Us)El profesor nos evaluó ayer. (The teacher evaluated us yesterday.)
Os You (plural, informal, mainly used in Spain)Os escuché hablar de eso. (I heard you talking about that.)
Los/Las Them; You (plural, formal or informal)Los invité a mi fiesta.(I invited them to my party.) / Las compré ayer. (I bought them yesterday.)

Key Points to Remember

  • Direct object pronouns are typically placed before a conjugated verb. In sentences with an infinitive, gerund, or affirmative command, they can either precede the conjugated verb or be attached to the end of the infinitive, gerund, or command.
  • The choice between "lo" and "la" as direct object pronouns depends on the gender of the noun being replaced, not on the gender of the person it refers to. For example, "el mensaje" (the message) is masculine, so you would say "Lo recibí" (I received it), regardless of who sent the message.
  • In sentences with both direct and indirect object pronouns, the direct object pronoun comes after the indirect object pronoun (e.g., "Me lo dio" - He/She gave it to me).
  • The use of direct object pronouns can sometimes lead to ambiguity, especially with "lo," "la," "los," and "las," since they can refer to any number of previously mentioned or understood objects or people. Context usually clarifies the meaning.

Indefinite pronouns 

These pronouns are versatile words that refer to unspecified elements, enabling speakers to convey information without needing to identify specific details. These pronouns can relate to people, things, or quantities, and their usage is widespread in everyday communication. 

Alguien (ahl-gee-EHN) - Someone¿Hay alguien aquí? (Is there someone here?)
Algo (AHL-goh) - SomethingQuiero decirte algo.(I want to tell you something.)
Nadie (NAH-dyeh) - NobodyNo hay nadie en casa. (There is nobody at home.)
Nada (NAH-dah) - NothingNo quiero nada. (I want nothing.)
Cualquiera (kwahl-kyeh-rah) - Anyone or AnyPuede ganar cualquiera. (Anyone can win.)
Todos (TOH-dohs) - EveryoneTodos están invitados. (Everyone is invited.)

Key Points to Remember

  • Agreement and Context: Unlike some other pronouns, most indefinite pronouns in Spanish do not change for gender or number. However, understanding the context in which they are used is crucial for selecting the appropriate pronoun. For instance, "alguien" always refers to a person, while "algo" refers to a thing.
  • Negation: When using negative indefinite pronouns like "nadie" (nobody) or "nada" (nothing), ensure the sentence structure supports negation. For example, "No vi a nadie" translates to "I didn't see anyone," where "no" negates the verb, and "nadie" reinforces the negation.
  • Formality and Clarity: Choose the indefinite pronoun based on the desired level of formality and clarity. For instance, "cualquiera" can mean "anyone" or "whichever," and its use might vary in formal written Spanish compared to casual conversation. 

Numeral pronouns

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Numeral pronouns in Spanish are used to indicate quantity or order without explicitly mentioning the noun they refer to. These pronouns can be cardinal (indicating quantity), ordinal (indicating order), or partitive (indicating a part of a whole).

Numeral pronounDescriptionExample
Cardinal Numeral PronounsRefer to a specific number of items or peopleTengo tres, ¿y tú cuántos tienes? (I have three, how many do you have?)
Ordinal Numeral PronounsIndicate the position or order of something in a sequence.Él fue el primero en llegar. (He was the first to arrive.)
Partitive Numeral Pronouns (Fractions and Quantities)Used to talk about parts of a whole or unspecified quantities.Quiero más, pero solo un poco. (I want more, but only a little.)
Indefinite Numeral PronounsRefer to an indefinite number or amount.Algunos vendrán mañana. (Some will come tomorrow.)
Collective Numeral PronounsRefer to a group or collection of items or people as a wholeLa mayoría está de acuerdo." (The majority agrees.)

Key points to remember

  • Contextual Clarity: Ensure the context of your conversation or text makes it clear what the numeral pronouns are referring to. 
  • Agreement in Gender and Number: While many numeral pronouns are invariable, some (like "uno" becoming "una" when referring to a feminine noun) can change form to agree in gender and number with the nouns they replace or imply. 
  • Use of Articles: In some cases, numeral pronouns can be accompanied by articles ("el", "la", "los", "las") to emphasize the noun they replace or to fit grammatically into the sentence structure, such as "el uno" (the one) or "las dos" (the two).

Spanish Pronouns: Conclusion

In summary, mastering Spanish pronouns is crucial for effective communication in the language. Each type, from personal to possessive, demonstrative, interrogative, exclamative, reflexive,  direct and indirect object pronouns, numeral, prepositional, plays a vital role in sentence structure and clarity. 

Understanding their correct usage is key to constructing clear, concise sentences and engaging in fluent Spanish conversations. As learners familiarize themselves with the various pronouns and their applications, they'll find their Spanish communication skills greatly enhanced.


What are the different types of Spanish pronouns?

Spanish pronouns include personal, possessive, demonstrative, interrogative, reflexive, direct object, and indirect object pronouns. Each type serves a unique function in communication, from indicating the subject of a sentence to expressing ownership or the object of an action.

How do Spanish possessive pronouns work?

Spanish possessive pronouns indicate ownership and must agree in gender and number with the nouns they refer to. They replace a noun and its possessive adjective to show possession, such as "mío" for "mine" and "tuya" for "yours (feminine)."

When do I use 'ser' and 'estar' with Spanish pronouns?

"Ser" and "estar" are both Spanish verbs for "to be," used with pronouns based on the context. "Ser" is used for permanent or defining attributes (e.g., "Yo soy profesor"), while "estar" is for temporary states or locations (e.g., "Ella está cansada").

Can Spanish direct and indirect object pronouns be used together?

Yes, direct and indirect object pronouns can be used together in Spanish to streamline sentences. The indirect object pronoun comes first, followed by the direct object pronoun (e.g., "Te lo doy" meaning "I give it to you").

What is the difference between 'tú' and 'usted' in Spanish pronouns?

"Tú" and "usted" both mean "you" in English, but "tú" is informal, used with friends, family, or peers, while "usted" is formal, used in respectful contexts or with strangers. The choice between the two affects verb conjugations and the level of formality in a conversation.

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Paula is an accomplished content strategist, communicator, and journalist with over 7 years of experience creating materials for language learners. Having worked on language curriculums and learning platforms in Colombia, Spain, and Australia, Paula offers an international perspective on second language acquisition. Her background in journalism and brand messaging allows her to develop content that informs and engages language learners across diverse platforms and learning styles.