Verbos Reflexivos

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Students often struggle when they have to conjugate reflexive verbs in different tenses. Here is an easy way of looking at them:

Conjugating reflexive verbs

First of all, reflexive verbs are those that have a se attached at the end of their infinitive form. Here are some examples: levantarse, quedarse, acostarse, irse, dormirse. A lot of them have a “cousin” verb that is basically a non-reflexive version of the same verb (levantar, quedar, acostar, ir, dormir). Keep in mind that these non-reflexive versions are completely different verbs with different meanings:

Reflexive verbs Non-reflexive ‘cousins’
Levantarse – to get up / to wake up Levantar – to raise / to lift
Quedarse – to stay / to remain Quedar – to be left / to arrange to meet
Acostarse – to lie down / to go to bed Acostar – to put someone to bed
Irse – to leave / to go away Ir – to go
Dormirse – to fall asleep Dormir – to sleep
Fugarse – to escape / to break out

For this exercise, we’ll use the last example, fugarse, which doesn’t even have a non reflexive “cousin” (fugar doesn’t exist in modern Spanish).

How do we conjugate it? It’s simple: we’ll conjugate the fictional verb fugar and we’ll add a reflexive pronoun right before the verb:

Presente: fugo, fugas, fuga…
Pretérito perfecto: fugué, fugaste, fugó…
Pretérito imperfecto: fugaba, fugabas, fugaba…
Futuro: fugaré, fugarás, fugará…
Condicional: fugaría, fugarías, fugaría…

Pronombres reflexivos: me, te, se, nos, (os), se

Here are some examples:

He/she escapes Se fuga
They escaped Se fugaron
I will escape Me fugaré
We used to escape Nos fugábamos
You would escape Te fugarías

Easy, right?

Let’s now try with irse: we’ll conjugate the non-reflexive verb ir and we’ll make sure to always add the reflexive pronoun before the verb:

Presente: voy, vas, va…
Pretérito perfecto: fui, fuiste, fue…
Pretérito imperfecto: iba, ibas, iba…
Futuro: iré, irás, irá…
Condicional: iría, irías, iría…

Pronombres reflexivos: me, te, se, nos, (os), se

He/she leaves Se va
They left Se fueron
I will leave Me iré
We used to leave Nos íbamos
You would leave Te irías


Clarence Anglin, Frank Morris y John Anglin se fugaron de la prisión federal de Alcatraz en 1962


Practice – Translate the following sentences into Spanish:

1. I always go to the supermarket on Fridays.
2. I left last night.
3. There are three apples left.
4. We always used to stay at that hotel.
5. The prisoner escaped this morning.
6. She went to bed at 9.
7. He put the kids to bed.
8. Mary slept all day.
9. Peter fell asleep in the train.



Correct answers for Practice – Translate the following sentences into Spanish:
1. Siempre voy al supermercado los viernes. 2. Me fui anoche/ayer por la noche. 3. Quedan tres manzanas. 4. Siempre nos quedábamos en ese hotel. 5. El prisionero se fugó esta mañana. 6. Ella se acostó a las 9. 7. Él acostó a los niños. 8. Mary durmió todo el día. 9 Peter se durmió en el tren.


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