Reflexive verbs in Spanish

The Spanish language has 69 reflexive verbs. An indicator for a reflexive verb is that the verb (the infinitive) always ends in -se.

What is a reflexive verb?

A verb is reflexive when the subject and object are the same. Meaning when the person doing the action and the receiver of that action are the same. For example:

Non reflexive:

SubjectVerbObject
Iwashthe car
Youwashthe laundry
Non reflexive examples

Reflexive:

SubjectVerbObject
Iwashmyself
Youwashyourself
Reflexive examples

In the tables above you can easily see when a verb is used in a reflexive way. In the first table the subject and object are not the same, therefore the verb is non-reflexive. In the second table the subject and object are the same and therefore we use a reflexive verb.

In the example of washing there are two ways to conjugate the verb. The verb “to wash” is “lavar”. The verb “to wash itself”, the reflexive version is “lavarse”. All reflexive verbs have a non-reflexive version of the verb as well. You can tell them apart because a reflexive verb always ends in -se.

How to conjugate a Spanish reflexive verb:

Reflexive verbs are one of the most difficult verbs to conjugate. You most likely will need a lot of practice before it will start to feel natural to conjugate them. First you will need to know the reflexive object pronouns. This is the -se part of the verb that will tell what the object or receiver of the action is. Remember that when a verb is reflexive the subject and object are always the same:

SubjectReflexive pronoun
yome
te
él/ella/ustedse
nosotros  nos
vostrosos
ellos/ustedesse
reflexive object pronoun

The way to conjugate in the present tense for the verb lavarse:

Yo me lavo
te lavas
Él/ella/usted se lava
Nosotros nos lavamos
Vosotros os laváis
Ellos/Ellas/Ustedes se lavan

Click here to see the full conjugation chart for the verb lavarse

The way to conjugate in the present tense for the verb acostarse:

Yo me acuesto
te acuestas
Él/ella/usted se acuesta
Nosotros nos acostamos
Vosotros os acostáis
Ellos/Ellas/Ustedes se acuestan

Click here to see the full conjugation chart for the verb acostarse

10 most commonly used reflexive verbs:

Here is a short list of reflexive verbs used in daily life.

Reflexive verbEnglish translation
Acostarseto go to bed
Dormirseto go/fall asleep
Lavarseto wash
Levantarseto get up (out of bed)
Llamarseto call
Sentarseto sit down
Ducharseto shower
Quedarseto stay
Sentirseto feel
Vestirseto get dressed
most commonly used reflexive verbs in Spanish