A reflexive verb is a verb used with a reflexive pronoun to link the action of the verb to the subject of the verb. We use reflexive pronouns, words that end in -self or -selves, to show that the action of the verb is done to the subject. The word reflexive gives us a clue that the action of the verb is “reflected” back to the subject. In other words, the subject is both the doer and the receiver of the action. Here are some examples that illustrate this concept:
- I burned myself on the stove.
- We congratulated ourselves on a job well done.
- He looked at himself in the mirror.
In Spanish, as we’ll see, there are number of verbs that are usually used reflexively, and need to be memorized along with their reflexive pronoun. We’ll discuss this in more detail shortly. In the meantime, let’s listen to a song by the classic Puerto Rican salsa orchestra El Gran Combo (as animated by El señor Lafontant).