Reflexive Pronouns in Portuguese. Eles se preparam para surfar.

Friends, today we are going to study the reflexive pronouns in Portuguese.

First, let’s take a look at the reflexive pronouns:

Reflexive Pronouns in Portuguese

The reflexive pronouns are used with reflexive verbs. The idea is to explain that the person who does the action is also the one who receives the result of that action.

Eu Me Myself
Você Se Yourself
Ele/ela Se Himself / Herself
Nós Nos Ourselves
Vocês Se Yourselves
Eles/elas Se Themselves

Now, let’s take a look at some examples using these reflexive pronouns:

Examples

Eu me visto com roupas sociais.
I dress (myself) in smart clothes.

Como você se sujou tanto?
How did you make yourself so dirty?

Ele se queimou demais na praia.
He tanned (himself) way too much on the beach.

Ela se sente mal porque comeu algo ruim.
She is feeling sick because she ate something that had gone bad.

Nós nos decidimos sobre a questão proposta.
We decided (by ourselves) about the question proposed.

Vocês se levantaram cedo hoje?
Did you get (yourself) up early today?

Eles se beijaram no fim do encontro.
They kissed (each other) at the end of the date.

Elas se queixaram com o gerente do restaurante sobre o mal atendimento do garçom.
They complained to the restaurant’s manager about the waiter’s mistreatment.

The pronoun te in Portuguese

When thinking about grammar, the correct reflexive pronoun in Portuguese for the second person (tu/você) is the pronoun te. But this pronoun was used with the word tu, and since the language evolved over time, Brazilians don’t often use tu anymore. Instead of using tu they prefer to use você. The pronoun tu is used in some states of Brazil but still it’s is not very common overall. In Rio, for example, we almost don’t use it. And if we do use it, we never conjugate it correctly!

Therefore, the correct use would be to use você and the reflexive pronoun se, instead of using tu and te. 

Other reflexives words

Eu Mim mesmo/ eu mesmo Myself
Você Você mesmo Yourself
Ele/ela Ele mesmo/ ela mesma / si mesmo Himself / Herself
Nós Nós mesmos Ourselves
Vocês Vocês mesmos Yourselves
Eles/elas Eles mesmos/ elas mesmas Themselves

In Portuguese we have other words to talk about reflexive actions too. We often use the words mesmo (and its variations) and em pessoa to say that some action is reflexive.

When using the adjectives mesmo and mesma, notice that the adjective has to be according to the gender and number (plural or singular) of the subject/s.

Examples

Foi ele mesmo que atendeu o telefone.
He answered the phone himself.

A palestra foi feita por Maria em pessoa.
The talk was presented by Maria herself.

O rei visitou a escola em pessoa.
The king himself visited the school. 

Eu mesma construí minha casa.
I built my house myself.

When we use em pessoa we are often saying that someone did something in person.

Reciprocal Pronouns in Portuguese

Reciprocal Pronouns in Portuguese. Os estudantes se ajudam durante a aula.

In some cases it is also possible to have a reciprocal pronoun. It is used when each of two or more subjects are acting in the same way towards each other.  The same action is executed by both parties toward each other.

Example

Nós nos encontramos ontem. (Eu encontrei a ele e ele encontrou a mim).
We met each other yesterday. (I met him and he met me).

Eles se conhecem há muitos anos. (Ele conhece a ela e ela conhece a ele).
They have known each other for many years. (He knows her and she knows him).

Exercise for the reflexive pronouns in Portuguese

Complete the sentences below using the correct pronoun:

  1. Ela _____ vestiu para encontrar o namorado.
  2. Eu não _____ sinto muito bem. Vou para casa.
  3. Quando ela passou, os homens _____ viraram para olhar.
  4. Vocês nunca _____ decidem sobre as roupas que vão usar.
  5. Nós _____ enganamos. Por isso, chamamos na casa errada.
  6. Na festa, todos _____ divertiram muito.
  7. Precisamos _____ despedir. O ônibus já vai partir.
  8. Eles _____ abraçam, porque são amigos.
  9. Eles _____ beijavam, porque sentiam saudades um do outro.
  10. _____ cumprimentamos no início da reunião.
  11. Nós _____ despedimos na estação de trem.
  12. Nós não _____ falamos ontem, porque não tivemos tempo.
  13. A gente _____ viu na praia no domingo passado.
  14. Elas vão _____ encontrar no calçadão de Copacabana.

That’s it!
Now, we know all about reflexive pronouns in Portuguese! You can find the answers at the end of our A Dica do Dia.

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How about we get to know each other better?

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Ler esta Dica em Português              Leer esta Dica en Español
Click in the links below to see more related Dicas
Relative Pronouns in Portuguese
Portuguese Personal Pronouns in Portuguese
Personal Pronouns Me and Nos
Personal Pronouns O and A

Exercise about the reflexive pronouns in Portuguese: answers

  1. se
  2. me
  3. se
  4. se
  5. nos
  6. se
  7. nos
  8. se
  9. se
  10. Nos
  11. nos
  12. nos
  13. se
  14. se

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