Verbos reflexivos con emociones


Recognize reflexive verbs that refer to emotions

Reflexive verbs that refer to emotions.

As we learned in the beginning of the chapter, in reflexive verbs the subject does the action to him/her/itself. But there are some reflexive verbs in Spanish that use the reflexive pronoun to show how one is feeling, especially the onset of an emotional or physical state. These are often expressed in English with “to get” + adjective; be very careful not to translate such English idioms literally! Use the reflexive verb instead. Below are common reflexive emotional verbs and their non-reflexive (transitive) forms for comparison:

Play AudioForma reflexiva Play AudioForma no reflexiva
Play Audioaburrirse (to get bored) Play Audioaburrir (to bore someone)
Play Audioalegrarse (to become happy) Play Audioalegrar (to make someone happy)
Play Audioasustarse (to get scared) Play Audioasustar (to frighten someone)
Play Audiocalmarse (to calm oneself down) Play Audiocalmar (to calm someone down)
Play Audiocansarse (to get tired) Play Audiocansar (to tire someone out)
Play Audiocasarse con (to get married) Play Audiocasar (to perform a marriage for someone)
Play Audiodivertirse (to have a good time) Play Audiodivertir (to entertain someone)
Play Audioenojarse (to get angry) Play Audioenojar (to make someone angry)
Play Audiofrustrarse (to get frustrated) Play Audiofrustrar (to frustrate someone)
Play Audiosorprenderse (to get surprised) Play Audiosorprender (to surprise someone)
Play Audiosentirse (e>ie) (to feel, have a feeling) Play Audiosentir (to feel something)


Reciprocal verbs

Reciprocal verbs are used to talk about actions that people do to each other. Reciprocal verbs are formed by the combination of a reflexive pronoun and a verb, very similar to the reflexive verbs. Since reciprocal actions always involve two or more people, only plural pronouns are considered reciprocal:

1a persona plural:  nos (to, for, from, or off ourselves / each other)
2a persona plural:  os (to, for, from, or off yourselves / each other)
3a persona plural:  se (to, for, from, or off themselves, yourselves / each other)

Reciprocal or Reflexive

Sentences with reciprocal actions sometimes look just like sentences with reflexive actions. To differentiate a reflexive action from a reciprocal action, the use of expressions such as “el uno al otro”, “uno a otro”, “mutuamente”, “recíprocamente”, “entre sí”, etc. can be added to a phrase to show that the subjects are performing the action on each other. All these expressions can be roughly translated as “each other”, “one another”, or “mutually”.

To specify that an action is reflexive, we can use phrases like “a sí mismo” (to him/herself) or “a sí mismos” (to themselves).

For example:

  • Play AudioSe aman mutuamente. (They love one another.)
  • Play AudioLos narcisistas se aman a sí mismos. (Narcissists love themselves.)
  • Play AudioSe miran a sí mismos en el espejo.  (They look at themselves in the mirror.)
  • Play AudioSe miran el uno al otro por la ventana. (They look at each other through the window.)

List of Common Reciprocal Verbs

In English you would not need to emphasize that the two people are doing the action together because it is already implied. Therefore, in Spanish try to think about verbs that involve two people and remember that you may need the reflexive pronouns. Below you’ll find a list of verbs that are commonly used to talk about reciprocal actions.

  1. Play AudioAbrazarse (to hug each other)
  2. Play AudioAyudarse (to help each other)
  3. Play AudioBesarse (to kiss each other)
  4. Play AudioCasarse (to marry each other)
  5. Play AudioConocerse (to know each other)
  6. Play AudioDespedirse (to say goodbye to each other)
  7. Play AudioDivorciarse (to divorce each other)
  8. Play AudioMirarse (to look at each other)
  9. Play AudioPelearse (to fight with each other)
  10. Play AudioReunirse (to get together)
  11. Play AudioTurnarse (to take turns)


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