Here’s simple trivia question: How numerous fingers carry out you have actually on your left hand?

That’s how many ways there room to speak “you” in Spanish!

You deserve to saytú,usted,ustedes,vosor vosotros.

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And castle all mean the very same thing: You!

So what’s the difference? What’s the suggest of having actually five different ways to say the exact same thing?

Ah, that’s the catch: all those words might mean “you,” but they’re all slightly different. which pronoun you use depends completely on the situation.

Don’t worry! We’re below to clear points up.

In this post, we’ll take it a closer look right into every way to speak “you” in Spanish, and also we’ll find out when to appropriately use every one.

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How to determine Which Spanish form of “You” come Use

The idea that multiple means to say “you” can be a strange principle for English-speakers. After all, us only have actually the one lonely “you,” i beg your pardon we use for, well, usually everything. For this reason a class around how to say “you” in English would certainly be quite short: It’s “you.” next lesson!

But in Spanish, over there are five words that median “you,” and also the differences in between them aren’t minor. Each word has a specific function in the language, and they’re often not interchangeable. Which type you use depends on:

The number that people you’re talking toThe particular dialect you’re speakingThe formality (or informality) of the situation

So when choosing which “you” to use, you’ll need to keep in mind even if it is you’re talking to one human being or to many, even if it is you’re in Spain, Mexico or some other Spanish-speaking country and whether you’re addressing friends, acquaintances or people of a higher social status than you.

The very first two are fairly straightforward, however the critical one appears to have a most wiggle room. Just how do you understand if a instance is official or informal? here are some guidelines to help you decide:

Age:Addressing somebody older 보다 you? That’s a dead giveaway ideal there. You’d much better show deference and use the formal “you.”

If it’s someone your very own age, then you have much more leeway. You can speak informally to those younger 보다 you (unless they’re the a greater social status!).

Social status:If you’re speaking to your ceo or anyone else higher up on the social ladder than you, then walk formal. If it’s simply your partner or girlfriend horsing around, then informal is perfect fine.Social distance:If you’re talk to a complete stranger or even an acquaintance, then consider the case formal. If you’re among friends, most of whom space passed the end on the floor… climate you have the right to really say anything friend like, can’t you?

If you’re having an obstacle determining the most appropriate word come use, err on the side of caution and also use the much more formal version.

Still not sure? shot the “High-Five Test.”It’s a quick creativity exercise i m sorry helps determine whether the situation is officially or not. Look into your mind’s eye and imagine giving the other human a high five, out of nowhere. Simply put that there and also slap the hand.

How did the feel in your head? go the various other person also meet her palm? Or did that think you to be going to strike him and protected himself instead?

Did it feel weird? Or totally normal?

If you deserve to imagine high-fiving the other person without the the very least bit that awkwardness, climate you deserve to talk come them informally. If not, then it’s probably ideal to attend to them formally.

Two necessary Things come Remember around “You” in Spanish

Zeroing in top top the exactly “you” kind is critical to gift understood and not offending anyone. Here are two an ext really essential facts come remember around these pronouns:

Different forms of “you” have various verb conjugations.

For example, the usual expression “Have a nice day!” will certainly be different depending upon whether you’re using (informal) orusted (formal):

¡Que tú tengas un buen día!

¡Que usted tenga un buen día!

They both mean the exact same thing, yet the accompanying verb develops depend on which “you” is being offered in the sentence.

(Note: For conversation purposes, notification that we don’t autumn the “you.” plenty of Spanish speakers regularly simply drop the pronoun altogether.So rather of saying,“Tú tienes suerte”, they just say, “Tienes suerte,”which means the very same thing.)

We all know that verb link is a affluent field, and also luckily, there space plenty of available resources virtual for learning the ins and outs of it:

The “you” forms change depending ~ above their function in the sentence.

Remember as soon as I said previously that over there are five “you” forms in Spanish? Well, that’s the case when “you” is the subject of a sentence.

But as a pronoun, “you” have the right to be inserted at different points in a sentence and also can function as a direct object, indirect object, the object of a preposition, etc. It’s quite versatile!

In English, this doesn’t really matter since “you” is “you” is “you”—regardless that its role in the sentence:

You(subject) space beautiful.

The auto hit you(direct object) in ~ 90 mph.

Jake sent out you(indirect object) flowers.

In Spanish, though, every of these cases calls for a specific type of the “you.”

Let’s takefor example. It alters intotewhen it’s offered as one indirect or straight object and also intotiwhen supplied as things of the preposition:

Alguiente mandó florespara tu cumpleaños.(Someone sent you flower for her birthday.)

Este flor es para ti.(This flower is for you.)

So the is actually a shapeshifter and also changes depending upon its function in the sentence. And this goes for the other four forms as well—usted, ustedes, vos, vosotros.

IPFW hasa great chart to help you see what these adjust into as soon as they take it on various functions in a sentence. This is just something you need to remember, so research that chart!


To aid you memorize which form is offered in i beg your pardon situation, shot hearing the words in usage takes real-world videos—like music videos, movie trailers, news and also inspiring talks—and transforms them into personalized language discovering lessons.

The immersive, entertain content makes grammar and vocabulary much much more memorable, so give it a try if you’re struggling to wrap your mind around the grammar that things.

That said, let’s look into each that the five forms that “you” in Spanish and also learn as soon as to properly unleash them.

5 ways to to speak “You” in Spanish and How to use Each Correctly

(Singular, Informal)

is used when you’re introduce to a single personand they’resomebody you’re familiar with—a friend, a family member, a colleague, somebody younger than you or who your own age.

If the various other person’s watched you end up off a key of spaghetti with your face, or if you’re talking toyour cousin who borrowed and never returned your “Back come the Future” DVDs, you have the right to safely describe them astú.

You can likewise use with pets, like as soon as you say, “Tú eres mi vida”(You room my life) to your clueless cat.

is warm and engaging. It’s universally known in the Spanish-speaking world: wherever you are, you have the right to use it once talking to an separation, personal, instance you’re close with.

Oh, and also don’t forget the accent mark on optimal of theu. It’s no there to make words look more exotic.Tuwithout the accent mark method “your”… together in, “Your DVDs aren’t comes back.”

Usted(Singular, Formal)

Ustedis singular, liketú,which method it’s usedwhen you’re talking to simply one person. The difference is thatustedis an ext formal than tú.

Use ustedas a sign the deference to people of a higher social condition than you—your boss, elder members of her family, a federal government official, a teacher or a physician (in various other words, any type of person friend respect and/or really wouldn’t desire to upset).

Ustedis a fusion of the old phrase “vuestra merced,” which was used to deal with superiors in the 15th and 16th centuries. It method “your mercy” or “your grace.”

Ustedcan be used and also is construed in many of the Spanish-speaking world.

Remember as soon as I claimed to always err on the side of politeness? once you’re initially meeting a person, usage usted.Say:

¿Cómo se llama usted? (What is your name?)

It’s far better to begin with ustedthan to assume familiarity and later need to walk earlier your tú.

If the other person thinks you’re being too formal, he’ll allow you recognize by saying “Puedes tutearme,”which means you can use the form through them. It’s like your boss telling you, “Just call me John” after ~ you’ve to be “Mr. Smith-ing” his ear off.

Vos(Singular, Formal and also Informal)

Here’s whereby things obtain fun. In some regions, instead ofdifferentiating in between and usted,speakers merely use voswhen addressing an individual.Vosused to just replacebut it’s increasingly ending up being accepted together a instead of forusted together well.

Voseo, or the usage of vos,is used mostly in Latin America, in countries like Argentina, Paraguay, Uruguay and also some components of Chile and central America.

One glaring exception for making use of vosis Spain, i m sorry doesn’t usage the form.They think they’re too cool for it. (Kidding!)

Happy Hour Spanish hasa map of countriesin south America that employ vos. However honestly, the geographic distribution isn’t in ~ all that tidy. It’s very daunting to pinpoint precisely which places use it due to the fact that even in a solitary country, a region may be using vosand just a few miles north, increase the mountain or down the valley, you might hearin conversation instead.

Remember that which kind you usage will readjust the verb’s conjugation. V tú, you’d to speak “Tú eres…”(“You are…”). With vos, you say “Vos sos…”, as in:

Vos sos muy bella.(You are an extremely beautiful.)

Vosotros(Plural, Informal)

Vosotrosis provided to informally deal with a group of people. It’s the “you” in plural form, choose the “y’all” the a Texan drawl.

For example:

He preparado un pastel paravosotros.(I have baked a cake for you all.)

If the group you’re addressing is created of women, it becomes vosotras. If you’re addressing a blended or completely male group, the woman form,vosotros, is used.

Spain might not usage vos, however it definitely uses vosotros. This time, it’s almost the only nation that offers it.

Remember that although the different Spanish-speaking countries basically know each other, it’s necessary to understand beforehand which type of Spanish you particularly want come learn.

There room differences in between dialects, regions and also countries. therefore think of the world you’ll likely be conversing v in the future. Will they it is in from Spain, Mexico or southern America? arrangement your studies accordingly.

You can obtain an virtual tutor from the area, for example. You’ll not only learn the nuances native the region, you’ll additionally learn the most suitable idioms, slang and insights into the culture.

Ustedes(Plural, Formal and Informal)

In Spain, they usage vosotrosfor informal situations and also ustedesfor much more formal ones. But because Latin American nations don’t usevosotros,they just to speak ustedesfor both formal and informal interaction with groups of people.

See more: No Worse For Wear Idiom Definition, The Worse For Wear Idiom Definition

Ustedesis for as soon as you’re addressing 2 or an ext people, as in:

¿Quieren ustedes ir a la playa?(Do you men want to go to the beach?)

Which, in landlocked nations like Paraguay and Bolivia, is akin to asking, “Do you want to walk abroad?” that all simply goes to display you: context is everything!

Now you understand five various ways to say “you” in Spanish! The Spanish language is rich favor that. But don’t worry if it takes time to get the hang of the nuances. V practice, you’ll ultimately get there.

Best the luck come you!

Download: This blog write-up is available as a convenient and portable PDF that youcan take it anywhere. Click here to acquire a copy. (Download)