Ronnie_Coleman_8_x_Mr_Olympia_-_2009_-_7
—Ronnie, ¿Cuándo vas al gimnasio? —Voy al gimnasio cada día. —¿A qué hora llegas al gimnasio? —Llego al gimnasio a las 8 de la mañana. —¿A qué hora te vas del gimnasio? —Me voy del gimnasio a las 8 de la noche. / http://www.localfitness.com.au – CC BY-SA 3.0

What’s the difference between ir and irse?

Well, they are basically different verbs. In the same way that to get and to get up are two different verbs in English, ir (to go) and irse (to leave) also mean different things, even though they are based on the same conjugation.

Let’s conjugate both to get and to get up in English:

To get

To get up

I get

I get up

You get

You get up

He/She gets

He/She gets up

We get

We get up

They get

They get up

And let’s use them in sentences:

I always get bad grades.
I always get up at seven.

Of course, we cannot use get up when we should be using get, and we cannot use get when we should be using get up:

* I always get up bad grades. (?)
* I always get at seven. (?)

The same thing happens in Spanish with ir and irse. Let’s conjugate them:

Ir (to go)

Irse (to leave)

Yo voy

Yo me voy

Tú vas

Tú te vas

Él/Ella/Usted va

Él/Ella/Usted se va

Nosotros/as vamos

Nosotros/as nos vamos

Ellos/Ellas/Ustedes van

Ellos/Ellas/Ustedes se van

Additionally, verbs ir and irse also use different prepositions in Spanish:

We go “to” places: Yo voy a la cafetería. (I go to the coffee-shop.)
We leave “from” places: Yo me voy de mi trabajo. (I leave work.)

Here are some examples:

I go to the movies.

Yo voy al cine.

She goes to work.

Ella va al trabajo.

We go to a restaurant.

Nosotros vamos a un restaurante.

When do you go to the gym?

¿Cuándo vas al gimnasio?

I leave my house.

Me voy de mi casa.

She leaves the office

Ella se va de la oficina.

What time do you usually leave?

¿A qué hora te vas normalmente?

We hope it’s more clear now!

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