'Vamos' or 'VĂ¡monos'?: Learning How to Conjugate Reflexive Spanish Verbs Part 'Dos'
Wednesday, April 28, 2010 at 9:45AM
Jeanne Bielejeski in Latin Grammys, Reflexive Spanish verbs, Spanish verb conjugation, Spanish verbs

If you missed 'Part Uno' which covers the basics to reflexive Spanish verbs, feel free to read it here:
"Se Habla Español 'Se' What?: Learning How to Conjugate Reflexive Spanish Verbs"

Reflexive Spanish Verbs Case in Point: IR and IRSE
Have you ever noticed the difference between the commands “vamos” and “vámonos”? The reason for this variation comes from the difference between the non-reflexive verb "ir" (to go) and it’s reflexive counterpart, “irse” (to leave). 

“Vamos” is the first person plural command of the verb “ir” which means “let’s go” (let us go); and “vámonos” is the first person plural command of the verb “irse” which means “let’s leave” (let us leave). If you're wondering, the first person plural form is the nosotros form (nosotros = we/us).

In the case of "vámonos," it’s important to note: when you use a reflexive verb as an affirmative command, you have to attach the reflexive pronoun to the end of the verb. In this case it is the first person plural reflexive pronoun "nos" that is attached. To illustrate:

From Appendix A: The Basics to Use Commands, page 340 of The Spanish Verb Conjugator:

10.  Regular and irregular affirmative nosotros/as commands with reflexive pronouns drop the letter “s"
       of the conjugation when “nos” is attached to the command.

                               irse:  vámonos = “vamos” - “s” + “nos”

       (Note that an accent mark is added to preserve the appropriate stress of the verb.)

Another way of looking at it would be to leave the "s" there. "Vamosnos" just doesn't sound right.

Now let’s backtrack and review the conjugations of the present, preterit, and imperfect tenses of the verb “ir” and “irse” through the following sample verb chart from The Spanish Verb Conjugator: The Beginner's Guide to Mastering Spanish Verbs.

To help the beginner become familiar with those verbs that are used both non-reflexively and reflexively, the reflexive Spanish verb charts of The Spanish Verb Conjugator present the reflexive pronouns in parenthesis indicating that they may or may not be used according to the definition needed. (Side note: the Spanish verbs  that are most often used reflexively will not have reflexive pronouns in parenthesis.)

Reflexive Spanish Verbs: More Examples
It’s important to be able to understand the subtle difference between the verbs “ir” and “irse.” Perhaps by using this common verb as an example, it will lead to a greater understanding of reflexive verbs in general.

There are some Spanish verbs that are primarily used in the reflexive; for example, acostarse, despertarse, divertirse, etc. (Re: previous side note: so within the SVC, they will not have parenthesis around the reflexive pronouns). I designed the The Spanish Verb Conjugator to make this distinction for you without digging into the linguistic reasons why. It’s easier for beginners to just try and remember which verbs are used reflexively and which verbs can be used both reflexively and non-reflexively, as dictated by the verb's definition.

Here are some examples of verbs that change meaning when used reflexively, and that are included in the core group of 110 Irregular verbs from A to Z of The Spanish Verb Conjugator:

                         acordar:  to agree                   acordarse:   to remember
                         caer:       to fall                        caerse:        to fall down
                         poner:     to put                       ponerse:      to become, to put on clothes, to set (sun)
                         probar:    to test, to prove       probarse:     to try on clothes
                         sentir:     to feel, to regret       sentirse:       to feel and emotion, ill/well

(Re: previous side note: so within the SVC, the verbs above will have parenthesis around the reflexive pronouns because they are used both reflexively and non-reflexively; to reiterate, the verbs that are most often used reflexively will not have parenthesis around the reflexive pronouns because that is their most natural state. In this way, the SVC trains the beginner to make this distinction between all reflexive Spanish verbs.)

Reflexive Spanish Verb IRSE In Context: Latin Grammy Nominee “Me Fui”
When I was a student in Costa Rica, it confused me when I heard someone say, “me voy” (I’m leaving) when they were called from another room, or someone was waiting for them outside. This frequently used reflexive verb (irse) was overlooked in my own Spanish classes, and it wasn't included in any of the textbooks that were available when I taught high school Spanish. So I felt it was important to include in my verb guide and in today's post.

"Me voy" is the present tense yo form of "irse." So that would make "me fui" the preterit past tense yo form of “irse,” which means “I left.” To put this common reflexive Spanish verb in context, here is an excellent example: the song “Me fui” by Bebe & Carlos Jean (songwriter Bebe) which was nominated for 'Song of The Year' at the 10th Annual Latin Grammy Awards in 2009.

The following links below will bring you to the Official Video (that is not available for embedding), and lyrics in Spanish and the English translation. I have also embedded a video below the links that gives a little background info on the artist, Bebe, I think she is very interesting and very unique. Enjoy! / ¡Qué disfruten!

 Click here for the "Me fui" YouTube Video Official

Click here for "Me fui" lyrics in Spanish with English translation.


Article originally appeared on Free Spanish Verb Charts (http://thespanishverbconjugator.com/).
See website for complete article licensing information.