Here’s simple trivia question: How countless fingers perform you have actually on your left hand?

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

You deserve to say tú, usted, ustedes, vos or vosotros.

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And lock all mean the exact same thing: You!

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

Ah, that’s the catch: all those words could mean “you,” but they’re every slightly different. i beg your pardon pronoun you usage depends totally on the situation.

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

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

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How to recognize Which Spanish kind of “You” to Use

The idea of multiple methods to to speak “you” can be a strange concept for English-speakers. After ~ all, we only have actually the one lonely “you,” which we use for, well, basically everything. So a class about how come say “you” in English would certainly be quite short: It’s “you.” next lesson!

But in Spanish, over there are 5 words that typical “you,” and also the differences in between them aren’t minor. Each word has a specific duty in the language, and also they’re often not interchangeable. Which type you use counts on:

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

So when choosing which “you” come use, you’ll have to keep in mind whether you’re talking to one human or to many, whether you’re in Spain, Mexico or some various other Spanish-speaking country and also whether you’re addressing friends, acquaintances or human being of a greater social condition than you.

The first two are reasonably straightforward, yet the last one seems to have actually a most wiggle room. How do you know if a case is officially or informal? below are part guidelines to aid you decide:

Age: Addressing someone older than you? that’s a dead giveaway right there. You’d better show deference and use the formal “you.”

If it’s somebody your own age, climate you have an ext leeway. You can speak informally come those younger 보다 you (unless they’re the a higher social status!).

Social status: If you’re speaking to your boss or anyone else greater up on the society ladder than you, then walk formal. If it’s simply your partner or girlfriend horsing around, then informal is perfectly fine.Social distance: If you’re talking to a complete stranger or also an acquaintance, then think about the instance formal. If you’re among friends, many of whom room passed out on the floor… then you have the right to really speak anything girlfriend like, can’t you?

If you’re having difficulty determining the most ideal word come use, err ~ above the next of caution and also use the more formal version.

Still not sure? try the “High-Five Test.” It’s a quick creative thinking exercise i beg your pardon helps recognize whether the situation is officially or not. Look into your mind’s eye and imagine providing the other human a high five, out of nowhere. Simply put it there and slap that hand.

How did that feel in her head? walk the other person also meet her palm? Or did the think you were going come strike him and also protected self instead?

Did it feel weird? Or completely normal?

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

Two important Things come Remember about “You” in Spanish

Zeroing in on the exactly “you” kind is an important to gift understood and not offending anyone. Right here are two an ext really vital facts come remember around these pronouns:

Different creates of “you” have various verb conjugations.

For example, the typical expression “Have a quite day!” will certainly be different depending on whether you’re using  (informal) or usted (formal):

¡Que tú tengas un buen día!

¡Que usted tenga un buen día!

They both mean the same thing, however the accompanying verb forms depend on which “you” is being supplied in the sentence.

(Note: For conversation purposes, notice that we don’t drop the “you.” numerous Spanish speakers often simply autumn the pronoun altogether. So rather of saying, “Tú tienes suerte” , they just say, “Tienes suerte,” which method the exact same thing.)

We all know that verb shortcut is a wealthy field, and luckily, there space plenty of easily accessible resources digital for discovering the ins and outs of it:


The “you” forms change depending on their role in the sentence.

Remember once I said previously that there are 5 “you” develops in Spanish? Well, it is the situation when “you” is the subject of a sentence.

But together a pronoun, “you” have the right to be inserted at various points in a sentence and also can duty as a straight object, indirect object, the object of a preposition, etc. It’s nice versatile!

In English, this doesn’t yes, really matter because “you” is “you” is “you”—regardless of its function in the sentence:

You (subject) room beautiful.

The auto hit you (direct object) at 90 mph.

Jake sent out you (indirect object) flowers.

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

Let’s take tú for example. It alters into te when it’s supplied as an indirect or direct object and into ti when offered as things of the preposition:

Alguien te mandó flores para tu cumpleaños. (Someone sent out you flowers for your birthday.)

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

So the tú is in reality a shapeshifter and also changes depending upon its function in the sentence. And this goes because that the various other four creates as well—usted, ustedes, vos, vosotros.

IPFW has a good chart to assist you view what these readjust into when they take it on different functions in a sentence. This is just something you have to remember, so study that chart!

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To help you memorize which type is provided in i beg your pardon situation, try hearing the native in use on rwandachamber.org.
rwandachamber.org take away real-world videos—like music videos, movie trailers, news and inspiring talks—and turns them right into personalized language finding out lessons.


The immersive, entertain content renders grammar and vocabulary much an ext memorable, so provide it a shot if you’re struggling to wrap your mind around the grammar the things.

That said, let’s look into each the the 5 forms the “you” in Spanish and also learn as soon as to appropriately unleash them.

5 methods to say “You” in Spanish and also How to usage Each Correctly

Tú (Singular, Informal)

Tú is offered when you’re introduce to a solitary person and they’re somebody you’re acquainted with—a friend, a household member, a colleague, someone younger than you or someone your very own age.

If the other person’s checked out you finish off a plate of spaghetti v your face, or if you’re talking to your cousin that borrowed and also never reverted your “Back come the Future” DVDs, you deserve to safely refer to them as tú.

You can additionally use tú with pets, like when you say, “Tú eres mi vida” (You space my life) to your clueless cat.

 is warm and engaging. It’s universally recognized in the Spanish-speaking world: wherever you are, you can use it when talking come an individual you’re nearby with.

Oh, and also don’t forget the accent mark on height of the u. It’s no there come make the word look much more exotic. Tu without the interval mark method “your”… as in, “Your DVDs aren’t comes back.”

Usted (Singular, Formal)

Usted is singular, like tú, which way it’s used when you’re talk to simply one person. The distinction is that usted is much more formal 보다 tú. 

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

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

Usted can it is in used and also is understood in many of the Spanish-speaking world.

Remember once I claimed to always err top top the side of politeness? when you’re originally meeting a person, usage usted. Say:

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

It’s far better to start with usted than to i think familiarity and also later need to walk earlier your tú.

If the other human thinks you’re being too formal, he’ll let you recognize by speak “Puedes tutearme,” which method you can use the  form v them. It’s favor your boss telling you, “Just contact me John” after you’ve been “Mr. Smith-ing” his ears off.

Vos (Singular, Formal and also Informal)

Here’s wherein things obtain fun. In some regions, rather of differentiating in between  and usted, speakers simply use vos when addressing one individual. Vos used to just replace  but it’s increasingly ending up being accepted together a instead of for usted together well.

Voseo, or the use of vos, is used largely in Latin America, in countries like Argentina, Paraguay, Uruguay and some parts of Chile and central America.

One glaring exception for using vos is Spain, which doesn’t use the form. They think they’re as well cool because that it. (Kidding!)

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Happy Hour Spanish has a map the countries in south America that employ vos. Yet honestly, the geographic circulation isn’t at all that tidy. That very complicated to pinpoint exactly which places use it since even in a single country, a an ar may be using vos and just a couple of miles north, increase the mountain or down the valley, you might hear  in conversation instead.

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

Vos sos muy bella. (You are really beautiful.)

Vosotros (Plural, Informal)

Vosotros is offered to informally attend to a team of people. the the “you” in many form, like the “y’all” the a Texan drawl.

For example:

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

If the group you’re addressing is written of women, it i do not care vosotras. If you’re addressing a mixed or entirely male group, the mrs form, vosotros, is used.

Spain might not use vos, yet it definitely uses vosotros. This time, it’s virtually the only country that uses it.

Remember the although the various Spanish-speaking nations basically know each other, it’s crucial to know beforehand which kind of Spanish you especially want come learn.

There space differences between dialects, regions and also countries. therefore think that the people you’ll likely be conversing with in the future. Will they be from Spain, Mexico or south America? plan your research studies accordingly.

You can get an digital tutor indigenous the area, because that example. You’ll not only find out the nuances native the region, you’ll additionally learn the most proper idioms, slang and insights right into the culture.

Ustedes (Plural, Formal and Informal)

In Spain, they usage vosotros for informal situations and ustedes for much more formal ones. But since Latin American nations don’t use vosotros, they just say ustedes for both formal and also informal interactions with teams of people.

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Ustedes is for as soon as you’re addressing two or more people, together in:

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

Which, in landlocked countries like Paraguay and Bolivia, is akin to asking, “Do you desire to go abroad?” the all just goes to present you: context is everything!

Now you know five different ways come say “you” in Spanish! The Spanish language is rich choose that. However don’t issue if it takes time to gain the cave of the nuances. With practice, you’ll ultimately get there.

Best that luck to you! Download: This blog write-up is easily accessible as a convenient and portable PDF that youcan take it anywhere. Click below to obtain a copy. (Download)