SER and SUBJECT PRONOUNS Do you know what’s meant by 1st person, 2nd person, 3rd person? 1st person is the person who is speaking – I 2nd is the person to whom one is speaking – you 3rd is the person about whom one is speaking -- he, she, it I, you, he, she, it are all singular pronouns. Each refers to one person. But we also have plural pronouns: 1st person plural = I + another person = we 2nd person plural = you + another person = y’all 3rd person plural = he/she/it + another person = they These pronouns are called SUBJECT PRONOUNS: I we you y’all he, she, it they What that means is that these pronouns are used as the SUBJECT of the sentence: I read a book. (Not *Me read a book.) You read a book. (Not *Your read a book.) He reads a book. (Not *Him reads a book.) singular plural 1st person I we 2nd person you y’all 3rd person he, she, it they Pronouns are always, always, ALWAYS in this order. When you learn pronouns in any language, this is the order in which you’ll find them. When you learn the verbs that go with the pronouns, the verbs will always, always, ALWAYS be in this order. singular plural 1st person _____ ______ 2nd person _____ ______ 3rd person _____ ______ Question: How often are pronouns found in this order? Answer: Always, always, ALWAYS. Click here to go to a brief practice exercise. Following are the Spanish subject pronouns: yo nosotros tú vosotros él, ella ellos They correspond to the English subject pronouns: I we you y’all he, she they Spanish has two additional pronouns: usted (Ud.) and ustedes (Uds.). “Ud.” means “you.” “Uds.” means “y’all.” “Ud.” is used with people to whom you should show respect, people who are older than you are or in a position of authority. It’s pretty safe to say that if you call the person Mr./Mrs./Ms./Miss/Dr./Prof. + last name rather than by his first name, you should use “Ud.” rather than “tú.” If you call the person by his first name, you should probably use “tú” with him. “Uds.” is used in Spain to show respect just like Ud. is. However, “vosotros,” the familiar form you use with friends (people you address by their first name), doesn’t exist in Latin America, and they use “Uds.” no matter who they’re talking to. In spite of the fact that “Ud.” means the same thing “tú” does (“you”), it’s treated like a third person pronoun: yo nosotros tú vosotros él, ella, Ud. ellos What that means is that anything that applies to the third person (like verb endings and OBJECT pronouns) also applies to “Ud.” The same is true of “Uds.” Even though it means the same thing as “vosotros” (“y’all”), it goes with the 3rd person plural: yo nosotros tú vosotros él, ella, Ud. ellos, Uds. One more note about subject pronouns: the -os in three of them can change to –as if every member of the group is female: yo nosotros, nosotras tú vosotros, vosotras él, ella, Ud. ellos, ellas, Uds. SER “Ser” means “to be.” It’s the most irregular verb there is in both English and Spanish. am are are are is are soy somos eres sois es son I we am are you y’all are are he, she they is are yo nosotros soy somos tú vosotros eres sois él, ella ellos es son Just as “I” takes the verb that’s in its position (“am”), “yo” takes the verb that’s in its position (“soy”). In other words, “yo soy” is “I am,” “tú eres” is “you are,” etc. However, you don’t have to use the pronouns. Look at the Spanish forms of “ser”: soy somos eres sois es son All of them are different. So “soy” all by itself means “I am.” “Soy alto” means “I am tall.” “Eres” all by itself means “you are.” “Soy” can never mean anything but “I am,” and “eres” can never mean anything but “you are.” You never have to use a subject pronoun in Spanish, because when you look at the verb, you know what the subject has to be. If you say “yo soy,” it doesn’t mean “I am”; it means “I am.” In other words, it emphasizes the pronoun. However, you can say “él es” or “ella es” or “Ud. es” or “ellos son” or “Uds. son” to clarify the subject. That is, “soy” can mean only “I am,” so the only time you use “yo” is if you want to emphasize it, but “es” can mean “he is,” “she is,” or “you are,” so you can use the pronoun to show whether you mean “he,” “she,” or “you.” In your homework, I’ll give you a subject and a blank. You’ll put in the correct form of “ser”: son Ellos _______ es Juan _______ (Note: “Juan” is the same as “él.”) somos Elena y yo ______ (Note: “Elena y yo” is the same as “nosotros.”) es Ud. ___________ eres Tú ___________ Click here to go to your “ser” homework.
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