Spanish pronouns in some ways work quite differently from their English counterparts. Subject pronouns are often omitted, and object pronouns can appear either as proclitics that come before the verb or enclitics attached to the end of it in different linguistic environments. There is also regional variation in the use of pronouns, particularly the use of the informal second-person singular ''vos'' and the informal second-person plural ''vosotros''.

Personal pronouns

Personal pronouns in Spanish have distinct forms according to whether they stand for a subject (nominative), a direct object (accusative), an indirect object (dative), or a reflexive object. Several pronouns further have special forms used after prepositions. Spanish is a pro-drop language with respect to subject pronouns. Like French and other languages with the T–V distinction, modern Spanish has a distinction in its second person pronouns that has no equivalent in modern English. Object pronouns are generally proclitic, and non-emphatic clitic doubling is most often found with dative clitics. The personal pronoun "vos" is used in some areas of Latin America, particularly in Central America, Argentina, Uruguay, Paraguay, Chile, the state of Zulia in Venezuela, and the Andean regions of Colombia, Bolivia, Peru, and Ecuador. The table below shows a cumulative list of personal pronouns from Peninsular, Latin American and Ladino Spanish. Ladino or Judaeo-Spanish, spoken by Sephardic Jews, is different from Latin American and Peninsular Spanish in that it retains rather archaic forms and usage of personal pronouns. 1 Only in countries with ''voseo (''Argentina, Uruguay, Eastern Bolivia, Paraguay, and across Central America: El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, southern parts of Chiapas in Mexico)
2 Primarily in Spain; other countries use ''ustedes'' as the plural regardless of level of formality Note: ''Usted'' and ''ustedes'' are grammatically third person even though they are functionally second person (they express you / you all). See Spanish personal pronouns for more information and the regional variation of pronoun use.

Demonstrative pronouns

* Near the speaker ("this"): ''éste, ésta, esto, éstos, éstas'' (from the Latin ISTE, ISTA, ISTVD) * Near the listener ("that"): ''ése, ésa, eso, ésos, ésas'' (from the Latin IPSE, IPSA, IPSVM) * Far from both speaker and listener ("that (over there)"): ''aquél, aquélla, aquello, aquéllos, aquéllas'' (from the Latin *ECCVM ILLE, *ECCVM ILLA, *ECCVM ILLVD) According to a decision by the ''Real Academia'' in the 1960s, the accents should be used only when it is necessary to avoid ambiguity with the demonstrative determiners. However, the normal educated standard is still as above. Foreign learners may safely adhere to either standard. There is also no accent on the neuter forms ''esto'', ''eso'' and ''aquello'', which do not have determiner equivalents.

Relative pronouns

The main relative pronoun in Spanish is ''que'', from Latin QVID. Others include ''el cual'', ''quien'', and ''donde''.


''Que'' covers "that", "which", "who", "whom" and the null pronoun in their functions of subject and direct-object relative pronouns: * ''La carta que te envié era larga'' = "The letter hatI sent you was long" (restrictive relative pronoun referring to direct object) * ''La carta, que te envié, era larga'' = "The letter, which I did send you, was long" (non-restrictive relative pronoun referring to direct object) * ''La gente que no sabe leer ni escribir se llama analfabeta'' = "People who cannot read or write are called illiterate" (relative pronoun referring to subject) * ''Esa persona, que conozco muy bien, no es de fiar'' = "That person, whom I know very well, is not to be trusted" (non-restrictive relative pronoun referring to direct object) Note from the last example that unlike with other relative pronouns, personal ''a'' does not have to be used with ''que'' when used as a personal direct object.

''El que''

When ''que'' is used as the object of a preposition, the definite article is added to it, and the resulting form (''el que'') inflects for number and gender, resulting in the forms ''el que'', ''la que'', ''los que'', ''las que'' and the neuter ''lo que''. Unlike in English, the preposition must go right before the relative pronoun "which" or "whom": *''Ella es la persona a la que le di el dinero'' = "She is the person hat/whomI gave the money to"/"She is the person to whom I gave the money" *''Es el camino por el que caminabais'' = "It is the path hatyou all were walking along"/"It is the path along which you all were walking" In some people's style of speaking, the definite article may be omitted after ''a'', ''con'' and ''de'' in such usage, particularly when the antecedent is abstract or neuter: *''La aspereza con aque la trataba'' = "The harshness with which he treated her" *''No tengo nada en oque creer'' = "I have nothing to believe in"/"I have nothing in which to believe" After ''en'', the definite article tends to be omitted if precise spatial location is not intended: *''Lo hiciste de la misma forma en que lo hizo él'' = "You did it nthe same way hat/in whichhe did it" (note also how "in" with the word ''forma'' is translated as ''de'' when used directly, but then changes to ''en'' when used with the relative pronoun) *''La casa en que vivo'' = "The house in which I live" (as opposed to ''La casa en la que estoy encerrado'' = "The house inside which I am trapped")

''Lo que''

When used without a precise antecedent, ''lo que'' has a slightly different meaning from that of ''el que'', and is usually used as the connotation of "that which" or "what": *''Lo que hiciste era malo'' = "What you did was bad" *''Lo que creí no es correcto'' = "What I believed is not right"

''El cual''

The pronoun ''el cual'' can replace ''lque''. It is generally more emphatic and formal than ''lque'', and it always includes the definite article. It is derived from the Latin QVALIS, and it has the following forms: ''el cual'', ''la cual'', ''los cuales'', ''las cuales'', and the neuter ''lo cual''. It can be used as a formal, emphatic replacement for ''que'' in non-defining clauses, for both subjects and direct objects, and it can also be used as a formal, emphatic replacement for ''el que'' as the object of some prepositions. Moreover, it is often preferred to ''el que'' entirely in certain contexts. In non-defining clauses, the fact that it agrees for gender and number can make it clearer to what it refers. The fact that it cannot be used as the subject or direct object in defining clauses also makes it clear that a defining clause is not intended: *''Los niños y sus madres, las cuales eran de Valencia, me impresionaron'' = "The children and their mothers, who were from Valencia, impressed me" (''los cuales'' would have referred to the children as well and not just their mothers) When used as a personal direct object, personal ''a'' must be used: *''Esa persona, a la cual conozco yo muy bien, no es de fiar'' = "That person, whom I know very well, is not to be trusted" In such situations as well as with the object of monosyllabic prepositions, the use of ''el cual'' is generally purely a matter of high style. This is used sparingly in Spanish, and foreigners should thus avoid over-using it: *''Es el asunto al cual se refería Vd.'' = "It is the matter to which you were referring" In more everyday style, this might be phrased as: *''Es el asunto al que te referías'' = "It is the matter to which you were referring" After multisyllabic prepositions and prepositional phrases (''a pesar de'', ''debajo de'', ''a causa de'', etc.), however, ''el cual'' is often preferred entirely: *''Un régimen bajo el cual es imposible vivir'' = "A régime under which it is impossible to live" *''Estas cláusulas, sin perjuicio de las cuales...'' = "These clauses, notwithstanding which..." ''El cual'' is further generally preferred entirely when, as the object of a preposition, it is separated from its antecedent by intervening words. The more words that intervene, the more the use of ''el cual'' is practically obligatory: *''Es un billete con el que se puede viajar ..pero por el cual se paga sólo 2€'' = "It is a ticket with which you can travel ..but for which you pay just €2"


The bare form ''cual'' is used as the relative adjective ("in which sense", "with which people", etc.), which only inflects for number: * ''en cual caso'' = "in which case" * ''a cual tiempo'' = "at which time" * ''cuales cosas'' = "which things"


The pronoun ''quien'' comes from the Latin QVEM, "whom", the accusative of QVIS, "who". It too can replace ''lque'' in certain circumstances. Like the English pronouns "who" and "whom", it can only be used to refer to people. It is invariable for gender, and was originally invariable for number. However, by analogy with other words, the form ''quienes'' was invented. ''Quien'' as a plural form survives as an archaism that is now considered non-standard.

For subjects

It can represent a subject. In this case, it is rather formal and is largely restricted to non-defining clauses. Unlike ''el cual'', it does not inflect for gender, but it does inflect for number, and it also specifies that it does refer to a person: *''Los niños con sus mochilas, quienes eran de Valencia, me impresionaron'' = "The children with their rucksacks, who were from Valencia, impressed me" (the use of ''quienes'' makes it clear that ''los niños'' is referred to; ''que'' could refer to the rucksacks, the children, or both, ''los cuales'' would refer to either the children or both, and ''las cuales'' would refer only to the rucksacks)

As the object of a preposition

''Quien'' is particularly common as the object of a preposition when the clause is non-defining, but is also possible in defining clauses: *''Ella es la persona a quien le di el dinero'' = "She is the person to whom I gave the money" *''José, gracias a quien tengo el dinero, es muy generoso'' = "José, thanks to whom I have the money, is very generous"

''Donde'', ''a donde'', ''como'' and ''cuando''

''Donde'' is ultimately from a combination of the obsolete adverb ''onde'' ("whence" or "from where") and the preposition ''de''. ''Onde'' is from Latin VNDE, which also meant "whence" or "from where", and over the centuries it lost the "from" meaning and came to mean just "where". This meant that, to say "whence" or "where from", the preposition ''de'' had to be added, and this gave ''d'onde''. The meaning of ''d'onde'' once again eroded over time until it came to mean just "where", and prepositions therefore had to be added once more. This gave rise to the modern usage of ''donde'' for "where" and ''a donde'' for "to where", among others. Note that all this means that, etymologically speaking, ''de donde'' is the rather redundant "from from from where", and ''a donde'' is the rather contradictory "to from from where". This tendency goes even further with the vulgar form ''ande'' (from ''adonde''), which is often used to mean "where" as well. In the Ladino dialect of Spanish, the pronoun ''onde'' is still used, where ''donde'' still means "whence" or "where from", and in Latin America, isolated communities and rural areas retain this as well. ''Como'' is from QVOMODO, "how", the ablative of QVI MODVS, "what way". ''Cuando'' is from QVANDO, "when".

Location and movement

''Donde'' can be used instead of other relative pronouns when location is referred to. ''Adonde'' is a variant that can be used when motion to the location is intended: *''El lugar en que/en el que/en el cual/donde estoy'' = "The place where I am"/"The place in which I am" *''Voy a lugardonde está él'' = ''Voy al lugar en el que está él'' = "I am going o the placewhere he is" *''Iré l lugaradonde me lleven'' = ''Iré al lugar al que me lleven'' = "I will go wherever they take me"/"I will go to whatever place to which they take me"


''Como'' can be used instead of other relative pronouns when manner is referred to: *''La forma/manera en que/en la que/como reaccionasteis'' = "The way that/in which/how you reacted" (''en que'' is the most common and natural, like "that" or the null pronoun in English; but ''como'' is possible, as "how" is in English) Note that ''mismo'' tends to require ''que'': *''Lo dijo del mismo modo que lo dije yo'' = "She said it the same way hatI did"


''Cuando'' tends to replace the use of other relative pronouns when time is referred to, usually in non-defining clauses. ;Non-defining: *''En agosto, cuando la gente tiene vacaciones, la ciudad estará vacía'' = "In August, when people have their holidays, the town will be empty" ;Defining: *''Sólo salgo los días nque no trabajo'' = "I only go out the days that I am not working" Note that just ''que'', or at the most ''en que'', is normal with defining clauses referring to time. ''En el que'' and ''cuando'' are rarer.


"Cuyo" is the formal Spanish equivalent for the English pronoun "whose." However, "cuyo" inflects for gender and number (''cuyos'' (m. pl.), ''cuya'' (f. sg.), or ''cuyas'' (f. pl.)) according to the word it precedes. For example: *''Alejandro es un estudiante cuyas calificaciones son siempre buenas'' = "Alejandro is a student whose grades are always good" "cuyo" in this example has changed to "cuyas" in order to match the condition of the following word, "calificaciones" (f. pl.) In Old Spanish there were interrogative forms, ''cúyo'', ''cúya'', ''cúyos'', and ''cúyas'', which are no longer used.cúyo
in the ''Diccionario panhispánico de dudas'', 1.ª edición, 2.ª tirada, Real Academia Española.
''¿De quién...?'' is used instead. In practice, ''cuyo'' is reserved to formal language. A periphrasis like ''Alejandro es un estudiante que tiene unas calificaciones siempre buenas'' is more common. ''Alejandro es un estudiante que sus calificaciones son siempre buenas'' can also be found even if disapproved by prescriptivists.cuyo
in the ''Diccionario panhispánico de dudas'', 1.ª edición, 2.ª tirada, Real Academia Española.
''Cuyo'' is from CVIVS, the genitive (possessive) form of QVI.

Notes on relative and interrogative pronouns

Relative pronouns often have corresponding interrogative pronouns. For example: * ''¿Qué es esto?'' = "What is this?" :''Ese es el libro que me diste'' = "That's the book that you gave me" In the second line, ''que'' helps to answer what ''qué'' was asking for, a definition of "this". Below is a list of interrogative pronouns and phrases with the relative pronouns that go with them: *Qué - what, que - that, which *Quién - who, whom (after prepositions), quien - who, whom (after prepositions) :*A quién - whom (direct object), to whom, a quien - whom (direct object), to whom :*De quién - whose, of whom, cuyo - whose, of whom



*Butt, John; & Benjamin, Carmen (1994). ''A New Reference Grammar of Modern Spanish'' (Second Edition). Great Britain: Edward Arnold. *García, Érica C (1975). ''The Role of Theory in Linguistic Analysis: The Spanish Pronoun System''. Amsterdam-Oxford: North-Holland. {{ISBN|0-444-10940-4

External links

*Appendix:Spanish pronouns on Wiktionary. Category:Spanish grammar Category:Pronouns by language