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Pronominal Verbs in Spanish

A large number of transitive verbs have pronominal intransitive counterparts. 

acostar: to put someone to bed / acostarse: to go to bed 

SpanishEnglish
Ella acostó al niño en mi camaShe put the child on my bed.
Ella se acostó tempranoShe went to bed early 

casar to marry (transitive) casarse: to get married

SpanishEnglish
¿Te quieres casar conmigo?Do you want to marry me?
Ella se casó ayer (pronominal)She got married yesterday

Verbo pronominal ABRIRSE

 abrir: to open (transitive) abrirse: to open (intransitive) pronominal verbs

SpanishEnglish
Debes abrir la puerta You should open the door
La puerta se abrió solaThe door opened by itself

Someone opened the door. The door was opened by someone. 

acabar: to finish (transitive) acabarse: to end (intransitive) 

SpanishEnglish
Él acabó la salsa de tomateHe finished the ketchup
La salsa de tomate se acabóThe ketchup is finished.

 cerrar: to close (transitive) cerrarse to close (intransitive)

SpanishEnglish
Ellos cerraron la puertaThey closed the door
La puerta se cerró.The door closed by itself.

 despertar: to wake someone up / despertarse: to wake up

SpanishEnglish
Ellos despertaron MaríaThey woke María up
Ellos se despertaron tardeThey woke up late

dormir: to put somebody to sleep / dormirse: to go to sleep (also ‘to sleep’)

SpanishEnglish
Ellos duermen al bebeThey put the baby to sleep
Ellos se durmieron tardeThey went to sleep late

Verbo to fall in love

enamorar: to make someone fall in love / enamorarse: de: to fall in love with 

SpanishEnglish
Él enamoró a MaríaHe made Maria fall in love
Me enamoré de María (pronominal)I fell in love with María

meter: to put in / meterse: to get in, to interfere

SpanishEnglish
No metí la comida en la cajaI didn’t put the food in the box
No te metas en asuntos ajenos. Don’t interfere with other people’s affairs. 

perder: to lose / to miss / perderse: to get lost 

SpanishEnglish
Perdí la citaI missed the appointment
Ella se perdió en la escuelaShe got lost at school

preocupar: to worry somebody / preocuparse to worry

Me encanta preocupar a mi mamá / I love to worry my mum

Me preocupo por mi hija / I worry for my daughter

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 presentar: to introduce people / presentarse: to appear unexpectedly 

Les presento a Jose / Let me introduce Jose

José se presentó en la reunión / José appeared unexpectedly at the meeting.

Presentarse: introduce yourself (pronominal)

Puede presentarse, por favor / Could you introduce yourself, please?

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tirar: to throw, to pull / tirarse: to jump

Tiró el balón. 

He threw the ball. 

Se tiró del balcón. 

He jumped off the balcony. 

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vaciar to empty (transitive) vaciarse to empty (intransitive) 


vacié la cuenta. 

I emptied the account. 

Esta aspiradora se vacía sola.
This hoover empties itself. 

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Sometimes the pronominal form of the verb is radically different in meaning: 

VERBOS QUE CAMBIAN DE SIGNIFICADOS

cambiar: to change / cambiarse de: to change clothes, house

 correr: to run / correrse: to be ashamed /to’ come’ (taboo, vulgar; Spain)

desenvolver:  to unwrap / desenvolverse: to get ahead, to be good at something.

despedir: to see someone off, to fire, to sack / despedirse: to say goodbye, to take one’s leave.

empeñar: to pawn, to pledge / empeñarse: to insist on doing something

gastar: to spend / gastarse: to wear out 

llevar: to take, to wear / llevarse: to take with one / to steal / to get along

mudar: to change  / mudarse: to move house

negar: to deny  / negarse a: to refuse to do something 

oponer:  to contrast two views / oponerse: to oppose

Si deseas aprender sobre el gerundio, dale clic a la siguiente imagen:

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