Monday, 11 February 2013

Tell Me, Who Did Your Friend Phone?


SCENARIO
Imagine you are talking to a relative, a friend or a colleague. You are telling that person what happened to another friend of yours recently. Crucial to the eventual outcome was a telephone call. At some point, the other person appears to want to clarify some details about that telephone call and says to you something like: "tell me, who did your friend phone?".

In Spanish, he/ she could choose to be less formal and say to you:
Dime, ¿a quién llamó por teléfono tu amigo?

On the other hand, he/ she could choose to be more formal and say to you:
Dígame, ¿a quién llamó por teléfono su amigo?


OUR TIP
The question is an invitation for you to identify the person your friend called on the phone. When identifying another person, you may need to consider different levels of formality for you reply. That is specifically so when the person you are talking to is referenced in your answer, either as an individual or as part of a group. In such cases, you will have to choose between a less formal/ familiar answer and a more formal answer. The examples below illustrate those choices

Here are some examples of how you could reply:
  • Mi amigo me* llamó por teléfono a mi (my friend phoned me);
  • Mi amigo te* llamó por teléfono a ti, ¿no? (my friend phoned you, didn't he?- familiar);
  • Mi amigo le* llamó por teléfono a usted, ¿no? (my friend phoned you, didn't he?- formal);
  • Mi amigo llamó por teléfono a mi primo Pedro (my friend phoned my cousin Pedro);
  • Mi amigo llamó por teléfono a mi prima María (my friend phoned my cousin Maria);
  • Mi amigo nos* llamó por teléfono a nosotros (my friend phoned us);
  • Mi amigo os* llamó por teléfono a vosotros, ¿no? (my friend phoned you- plural, didn't he?- familiar);
  • Mi amigo les* llamó por teléfono a ustedes, ¿no? (my friend phoned you- plural, didn't he?- formal);
  • Mi amigo llamó por teléfono a sus padres (my friend phoned his parents);

Now you should practise replying to someone who says to you:
Dime, ¿a quién llamó por teléfono tu amigo?

*Please see grammar below

Grammar-Personal Pronouns
Spanish personal pronouns fall into four distinct category groups as follows:

    1. Subject Pronouns
Subject pronouns are those personal pronouns which are the subject of a verb/ action word. Subject pronouns are used in Spanish in much the same away as in English. Perhaps the main difference being that, whereas in English the subject pronoun needs to be present in a sentence, in Spanish the subject pronoun may be omitted and is very often omitted.

Spanish subject pronouns are as shown in Table 1 below:


Gender
Subject Pronoun
I

yo
you (familiar)


vos*
you (formal)

usted
he

él
she

ella
it

ello**
we
Masculine
nosotros***
Feminine
nosotras****
you- plural (familiar)
Masculine
vosotros***
Feminine
vosotras****
you- plural (formal)

ustedes
they
Masculine
ellos***
Feminine
ellas****

Table 1 - Subject Pronouns

  • Some examples of the use of subject pronouns are*****:
    • (Yo) estudio español (I study Spanish);
    • () estudias español, ¿no? (you- familiar study Spanish, don't you?);
    • (Vos) estudiás español, ¿no? (you- familiar study Spanish, don't you?);
    • (Usted) estudia español, ¿no? (you- formal study Spanish, don't you?);
    • (Él) estudia español (he studies Spanish);
    • (Ella) estudia español (she studies Spanish);
    • Es bueno que estudiemos español (it is good that we study Spanish);
    • (Nosotros) estudiamos español (we study Spanish)***;
    • (Nosotras) estudiamos español (we study Spanish)****;
    • (Vosotros) estudiáis español, ¿no? (you- familiar/ plural study Spanish, don't you?)***;
    • (Vosotras) estudiáis español, ¿no? (you- familiar/ plural study Spanish, don't you?)****;
    • (Ustedes) estudian español, ¿no? (you- formal/ plural study Spanish, don't you?)
    • (Ellos) estudian español (they study Spanish)***;
    • (Ellas) estudian español (they study Spanish)****;

*NB An old form of subject pronoun still widely used in some parts of Latin America- Argentina in particular.
**NB The neuter form of the pronoun it is almost always omitted in Spanish. A good example is, if you excuse the pun, the sentence “it is not necessary”, which in Spanish could be simply, “no es necesario”.
***NB Referring to a group comprising only males or a mixed group ( a group which includes both males and females).
****NB Referring to a group comprising only females.
*****NB Spanish subject pronouns are shown (in brackets) in order to emphasise that they may be omitted.

    2. Direct Object Personal Pronouns
Direct object pronouns are those personal pronouns which are the direct object of a verb/ action word. Direct object pronouns are used in Spanish in much the same away as in English. However, whereas English direct object pronouns are placed after the verb, Spanish direct object pronouns could be placed before or after the verb. The choice of where to place direct object pronoun is given by the verb tense, as follows:
  • Infinitive, imperative and gerund.- The direct object pronoun is appended to the verb- examples:
    • ¿Vas a llamarme cuando llegues? (are you going to call me when you arrive?);
    • Llámame cuando llegues (call me when you arrive);
    • ¿Estabas llamándome? (were you calling me?);

  • All other verb tenses.- The direct object pronoun is placed before the verb for example:
    • Pedro me llamó ayer (Pedro called me yesterday);

Spanish direct object pronouns are as shown in Table 2 below:


Direct Object Pronoun
me
me
you (familiar)
te
you (formal)
le
him
le/ lo
her
la
it
lo
us
nos
you- plural (familiar)
os
you- plural (formal)
les/ los
them
les/ los

Table 2 – Direct Object Pronouns

  • Some examples of the use of direct object pronouns are:
    • Me llamó Pedro (Pedro called me);
    • Te llamó Pedro, ¿no? (Pedro called you, didn't he?- familiar);
    • A usted le llamó Pedro, ¿no? (Pedro called you, didn't he?- formal);
    • A Pedro le llamé ayer (as for Pedro, I called him yesterday);
    • A Pedro lo llamé ayer (as for Pedro, I called him yesterday);
    • A María la llamé ayer (as for Maria, I called her yesterday);
    • Ese libro lo compré hoy (as for that book, I bought it today);
    • Nos llamó Pedro (Pedro called us);
    • Os llamó Pedro, ¿no? (Pedro called you-plural. didn't he?- familiar);
    • A ustedes les llamó Pedro, ¿no? (Pedro called you- plural, didn't he?- formal);
    • A ustedes los llamó Pedro, ¿no? (Pedro called you- plural, didn't he?- formal);
    • A Pedro y María les llamé ayer (as for Pedro and Maria, I called them yesterday);
    • A Pedro y María los llamé ayer (as for Pedro and Maria, I called them yesterday);

3. Indirect Object Personal Pronouns
Indirect object pronouns are those personal pronouns which are the indirect object of a verb/ action word. Indirect object pronouns are used in Spanish in much the same away as in English. However, whereas English direct object pronouns are placed after the verb, Spanish direct object pronouns could be placed before or after the verb. The choice of where to place indirect object pronouns is given by the verb tense, as follows:
  • Infinitive, imperative and gerund.- The indirect object pronoun is appended to the verb- examples:
    • ¿Vas a escribirme una carta cuando llegues? (are you going to write me a letter when you arrive?);
    • Escríbeme una carta cuando llegues (write me a letter when you arrive);
    • ¿Estabas escribiéndome una carta? (were you writing me a letter?);

  • All other verb tenses.- The indirect object pronoun is placed before the verb, for example:
    • Pedro me escribió una carta (Pedro wrote me a letter);

Spanish indirect object pronouns are as shown in Table 3 below:



Indirect Object Pronoun
me
me
you (familiar)
te
you (formal)
le
him
le
her
le
it
le
us
nos
you- plural (familiar)
os
you- plural (formal)
les
them
les

Table 3 – Indirect Object Pronouns

  • Some examples of the use of indirect object pronouns are:
    • Pedro me escribió una carta (Pedro wrote me a letter);
    • Pedro te escribió una carta, ¿no? (Pedro wrote you a letter, didn't he?- familiar);
    • Pedro le escribió una carta, ¿no? (Pedro wrote you a letter, didn't he?- formal);
    • A Pedro le escribí una carta (as for Pedro, I wrote him a letter);
    • A María le escribí una carta (as for Maria, I wrote her a letter);
    • A ese libro le faltan páginas (as for that book, it has pages missing);
    • Pedro nos escribió una carta (Pedro wrote us a letter);
    • Pedro os escribió una carta, ¿no? (Pedro wrote you- plural a letter, didn't he?- familiar);
    • Pedro les escribió una carta, ¿no? (Pedro wrote you- plural a letter, didn't he?- formal);
    • A Pedro y María les escribí una carta (as for Pedro and Maria, I wrote them a letter);

4.- Reflexive Pronouns
Reflexive pronouns are special forms of direct object pronouns which are used with reflexive verbs/ action words. A verb is deemed to be reflexive when the subject and direct object of the verb are the same. Again, the choice of where to place reflexive pronouns is given by the verb tense, as follows:
  • Infinitive, imperative and gerund.- The reflexive pronoun is appended to the verb- examples:
    • ¿Vas a levantarte? (are you going to get up?);
    • Por favor, levántate (get up, please);
    • Estaba levantándome (I was getting up);

  • All other verb tenses.- The reflexive pronoun is placed before the verb, for example:
    • Pedro se levantó (Pedro got up);

Spanish reflexive pronouns are as shown in Table 4 below:


Reflexive Pronoun
myself
me
yourself (familiar)
te
yourself (formal)
se
himself
se
herself
se
itself
se
ourselves
nos
yourselves (familiar)
os
yourselves (formal)
se
themselves
se

Table 4 – Reflexive Pronouns

  • Some examples of the use of reflexive pronouns are:
    • Me lavo (I wash- myself);
    • Te lavas (you wash yourself,- familiar);
    • Usted se lava (you wash yourself- formal);
    • Pedro se lava (Pedro washes- himself);
    • María se lava (Maria washes- herself);
    • El motor se acelera (the engined revs up- itself);
    • Nos lavamos (we wash- ourselves);
    • Os lavais (you wash yourselves- familiar);
    • Ustedes se lavan (you wash yourselves-formal);
    • Pedro y María se lavan (Pedro and Maria wash- themselves);


    5.- Disjunctive Pronouns
As is the case in English, Spanish personal pronouns may also be paired up with prepositions. Spanish preposition-pronoun pairs are also very similar to their English counterparts in that the preposition is placed before the pronoun. Examples of such English pairs could be: “with me”, “for you”, “against us”, etc. In Spanish, some personal pronouns take a different form when used with prepositions. These forms of personal pronouns are what is commonly known as disjunctive pronouns.

Spanish disjunctive pronouns are as shown in Table 5 below:


Gender
Disjunctive Pronoun
me

mi/ conmigo*
you (familiar)

ti/ contigo**

vos
you (formal)

usted/ consigo***
him

él
her

ella
it

ello
himself

sí/ consigo***
herself

sí/ consigo***
itself

sí/ consigo***
we

nosotros****

nosotras*****
you- plural (familiar)
Masculine
vosotros****
Feminine
vosotras*****
you- plural (formal)

ustedes/ consigo***
they
Masculine
ellos****
Feminine
ellas*****
themselves

sí/ consigo

Table 5 – Disjunctive Pronouns

  • Some examples of the use of disjunctive pronouns are:
    • Ese regalo es para mi, ¿no? (that present is for me, isn't it?);
    • Quien no está conmigo está contra mi (he who is not with me is against me);
    • Este regalo es para ti (this present is for you/ familiar);
    • Este regalo es para vos (this present is for you/ familiar);
    • Este regalo es para usted (this present is for you/ formal);
    • Pedro estaba hablando contigo, ¿verdad? (Pedro was talking to you- familiar, wasn't he?);
    • Pedro estaba hablando con vos, ¿verdad? (Pedro was talking to you- familiar, wasn't he?);
    • Pedro estaba hablando con usted, ¿verdad? (Pedro was talking to you- formal, wasn't he?);
    • Usted estaba hablando consigo mismo, ¿verdad? (you were talking to yourself- formal, weren't you?);
    • Los amigos de Pedro están con él (Pedro's friends are with him);
    • Los amigos de María están con ella (Maria's friends are with her);
    • Siempre has sido un buen amigo y es por ello por lo que te escucho (you have always been a good friend and it is for that reason that I listen to you);
    • Pedro lleva el pasaporte consigo (Pedro is carrying his passport with him);
    • María lleva el pasaporte consigo (Maria is carrying her passport with her);
    • El otoño trae consigo frío y lluvia (the autumn brings along with itself cold and rainy weather);
    • Ese regalo es para nosotros, ¿no? (the present is for us****, isn't it?);
    • Ese regalo es para nosotras, ¿no? (the present is for us*****, isn't it?);
    • Ese regalo es para vosotros, ¿no? (the present is for you- plural/ familiar****, isn't it?);
    • Ese regalo es para vosotras, ¿no? (the present is for you- plural/ familiar*****, isn't it?);
    • Ese regalo es para ustedes, ¿no? (the present is for you- plural/ formal, isn't it?);
    • Ustedes estaban hablando consigo mismos, ¿verdad? (you were talking to yourselves- formal, weren't you?);
    • Pedro y Antonio saben que el regalo es para ellos, ¿no? (Pedro and Antonio know that the present is for them****, don't they?);
    • Pedro y María saben que ese regalo es para ellos, ¿no? (Pedro and Maria know that the present is for them****, isn't it?);
    • Ana y María saben que el regalo es para ellas, ¿no? (Ana and Maria know that the present is for them*****, don't they?);
    • Pedro y María llevan los pasaportes consigo (Pedro and Maria are carrying their passports with them);


*NB “conmigo” is a special form of disjunctive pronoun which must be used for the preposition-pronoun pair “with me” (see examples above).
**NB “contigo” is a special form of disjunctive pronoun which must be used for the preposition-pronoun pair “with you”- familiar (see examples above).
***NB “consigo” is a special form of disjunctive pronoun which must be used with preposition-reflexive pronoun pairs: “with yourself-formal”, “with himself”, “with herself” or “with itself” (see examples above).
****NB Referring to a group comprising only males or a mixed group (a group which includes both males and females).
*****NB Referring to a group comprising only females.

Now you should practise the use of personal pronouns with some examples of your own.

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