What does Vosotros Mean in Spanish? A Guide

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Many Spanish learners donโ€™t understand what vosotros means in Spanish, and they use it incorrectly.

In European Spanish, vosotros is a way to say you in the plural form in informal situations. It is the most common way to address more than one person.

This article will discuss:

๐Ÿ‘ The meaning of vosotros in Spanish
๐Ÿ‘ How to use the vosotros form
๐Ÿ‘ Why it is important for a person to know about the difference between tรบ, vosotros, usted and ustedes

We’ll also look at other ways to say ‘you’ across the Spanish-speaking world, and where these forms are used (particularly in Spain and Latin America).ย 

Finally, if you’d like to learn about when to use vosotros and ustedes in context, check out the Spanish Uncovered Course.ย 

You Plural: When To Use Vosotros?

So, what does vosotros mean and when do you use it?

In European Spanish, vosotros is a way of saying “you” plural in informal situations. It is by far the most common way to address multiple people when you’re in Spain.

In the singular form, the Spanish use tรบ. This becomes vosotros in the plural form.

In Spanish, we use vosotros as the subject pronoun. It always takes the verb ending ‘-รกis’ regardless of the verb type.

If you need a quick refresher on verbs in Spanish, you can check out our Guide to Regular Spanish verbs.

Let’s look at the following example of when to use the pronoun vosotros from the verb ‘to be’ – Ser.

๐Ÿ‡ช๐Ÿ‡ธ Vosotros sois guapos
๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ You (plural, masculine) are handsome

๐Ÿ‡ช๐Ÿ‡ธ Vosotras sois guapas
๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ You (plural, feminine) are pretty

You’ll notice the use of vosotras when addressing female plural subjects in an informal setting.

If you are addressing a group of men and women, then you adopt the masculine form.

For example:

๐Ÿ‡ช๐Ÿ‡ธ Vosotros sois todos muy guapos
๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ You are all very good looking

Use of Vosotros and Ustedes in context

Be aware that in some regions of Spain (particularly in the south), vosotros is often replaced by ustedes (the formal “you” plural). So, instead of ‘vosotros sois‘ you may also hear:

๐Ÿ‡ช๐Ÿ‡ธ Ustedes son guapos
๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ You (plural, masculine) are handsome

Just think of ustedes as the formal version of vosotros.

In Spain, when referring to a group of women, you would use vosotras. Notice that this pronoun is feminine due to the replacement of the ‘o’ with the ‘a’?

In most cases, vosotros would be used when you talk to a group of friends. For example:

๐Ÿ‡ช๐Ÿ‡ธ Chicas, vosotras vais todos al partido esta noche?
๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ Girls, are you all going to the game tonight?

By contrast, in Mexico or throughout Latin America, you’d be more likely to hear the following Latin American Spanish equivalent:

๐Ÿ‡ช๐Ÿ‡ธ Chicas, van todas al partido esta noche?

Do you notice the difference in conjugation? This is the same for all verbs in Spanish.

Ustedes, on the other hand, would be used when talking to a group of people who are not your friends and may command some form of authority, such as teachers (even your favorite teachers).

Other contacts that may require a formal construction of you plural include colleagues you do not know, or elderly people that are not your grandparents.

You should always use ustedes unless you are confident you can informally address somebody.

Use sites like wordreference.com if you’d like to practice formal and informal conjugation in context.

Vosotros Vs Ustedes

Today, using vosotros in Spain reflects familiarity with somebody. Spanish people use it frequently in conversation, as opposed to not at all in Latin American countries.

In English, we would say “you guys” to mean the same thing.

In Latin America, the equivalent of vosotros is ustedes. Ustedes is commonly used throughout Latin America for formal as well informal purposes.

Vosotros is not used at all in Latin America, except by native Spanish people. Throughout most of Spain, ustedes is used only as a form of respect.

However, there are parts of Spain, particularly in the South in Andalusia and the Canary Islands, where the use of ustedes is more common than vosotros.

Example sentences

Keep in mind that both pronouns are useful and should be used as โ€œyouโ€ plurals although verb conjugations differ.

Let’s look at the examples below.

๐Ÿ‡ช๐Ÿ‡ธ Vosotras sois mis amigas favoritas
๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ You girls are my best friends

๐Ÿ‡ช๐Ÿ‡ธ Ustedes son mis amigas favoritas
๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ You girls are my best friends

๐Ÿ‡ช๐Ÿ‡ธ Vosotros os vais hoy o maรฑana?
๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ Are you leaving today or tomorrow?

๐Ÿ‡ช๐Ÿ‡ธ Ustedes se van hoy o maรฑana?
๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ Are you leaving today or tomorrow?

๐Ÿ‡ช๐Ÿ‡ธ Nosotros vamos con vosotros o solos?
๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ Are we going with you guys or alone?

๐Ÿ‡ช๐Ÿ‡ธ Nosotros vamos con ustedes o solos?
๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ Are we going with you guys or alone?

๐Ÿ‡ช๐Ÿ‡ธ Quiero hablar con vosotros sobre la conjugaciรณn del verbo ser
๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ I want to talk with you all about the conjugation of the verb ‘ser’

๐Ÿ‡ช๐Ÿ‡ธ Quiero hablar con ustedes sobre la conjugaciรณn del verbo ser
๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ I want to talk with you all about the conjugation of the verb ‘ser’

๐Ÿ‡ช๐Ÿ‡ธ Vosotros estais aprendiendo espaรฑol juntos?
๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ Are you all learning Spanish together?

๐Ÿ‡ช๐Ÿ‡ธ Ustedes estรกn aprendiendo espaรฑol juntos?
๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ Are you all learning Spanish together?

Which Spanish countries use this form of ‘you’ plural?

As established, vosotros is only used in Spain, while ustedes is used throughout Latin America and other Spanish-speaking countries.

Latin American people use the second-person plural “ustedes”, rather than the Spanish second-person plural “vosotros”.

Is Vosotros formal or informal in Spain?

The vosotros form is informal and widely used in Spain, much like its singular counterpart ‘tรบ’.

However, the formal equivalent, ustedes, is rarely used in Spain unless referring to somebody in a position of seniority.

Indeed, ustedes, or its singular counterpart ‘usted’ are used in Spain only when speaking to a group of individuals of authority or more than one person that you do not know personally.

Other ways to say ‘you’ in Spanish

Wherever you are learning Spanish, you should know that the vosotros and ustedes pronouns are not the only two forms worth knowing.

In other parts of Latin America, including Costa Rica, Colombia, Argentina and Uruguay, the form ‘vos’ (el voseo) is used instead of tรบ.

In the plural, this still becomes ustedes.

The voseo alters conjugation and is generally not taught outside of these countries. Let’s look at some examples.

Look at the examples below.

๐Ÿ‡ช๐Ÿ‡ธ Vos tenรฉs el regalo de Pablo
๐Ÿ‡ช๐Ÿ‡ธ (Pl) Ustedes tienen el regalo de Pablo
๐Ÿ‡ช๐Ÿ‡ธ Tรบ tienes el regalo de Pablo

๐Ÿ‡ช๐Ÿ‡ธ (Pl) Vosotros teneis el regalo de Pablo.
๐Ÿ‡ช๐Ÿ‡ธ Usted tiene el regalo de Pabol.
๐Ÿ‡ช๐Ÿ‡ธ
(Pl) Ustedes tienen el regalo de Pablo.

All of these sentences mean the same thing. The difference is the use of the pronoun (usted, tรบ, ustedes and vosotros).

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What is the difference between vosotros and nosotros?

It is not uncommon for learners of Spanish to confuse vosotros with nosotros, especially when they speak Spanish.

As established, you’ll use vosotros when addressing a group of two or more people. This is similar to the English pronoun “you.”

For example:

๐Ÿ‡ช๐Ÿ‡ธ ยฟQuรฉ tal, vosotros?
๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ How are you all?

Nosotros , on the other hand, is used when referring to “we” in the first person plural.

This would be the equivalent of saying “us” or “we” in English.

For example:

๐Ÿ‡ช๐Ÿ‡ธ Nosotros somos estudiantes
๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ We are students

While vosotros is always plural, nosotros can be either singular or plural, depending on the context.

So, now that you know the difference between vosotros and nosotros, how do you use them correctly?

The following examples should help:

๐Ÿ‡ช๐Ÿ‡ธ Vosotros sois mis amigos
๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ You are my friends

๐Ÿ‡ช๐Ÿ‡ธ Nosotros somos tus amigos
๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ We are your friends

๐Ÿ‡ช๐Ÿ‡ธ Vosotros vivรญs en una casa muy bonita
๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ You guys live in a really beautiful house

๐Ÿ‡ช๐Ÿ‡ธ Nosotros vivimos en una casa muy bonita
๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ We live in a really beautiful house

Summing up: What does vosotros mean in Spanish and how do you use it?

We’ve covered a lot in this article. Let’s look at some key takeaways.

โœ… Vosotros is a pronoun used in Spain when addressing two or more people
โœ… In Spain, the pronoun vosotros is the informal form of ‘you’ plural and is widely used
โœ… In Spain, this plural form is not considered ‘informal’ as we think of it in English.

Remember also:ย 

โœ… Spanish speakers use this form when they talk amongst friends and family
โœ… Ustedes is only used when addressing people of authority in the plural form
โœ… In some Spanish-speaking countries, the pronoun ‘vos’ (el voseo) is used instead of tรบ, but this becomes ustedes in the plural form
โœ… Nosotros is often confused with vosotros. Nosotros is the Spanish equivalent of “us” or “we” in English and can be either singular or plural

The best way to use this plural form correctly is to practice! The more you use it, the easier it will become.

Furthermore, if you are interested in learning Spanish online, then check out LingoPie.

LingoPie is an app that teaches you Spanish through TV. So, you can learn Spanish vocabulary and Spanish grammar by watching Spanish movies and TV shows.

You can take a free trial with LingoPie via the link below. Good luck!

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Author bio:

James is the founder of travel-lingual.com, this online travel, and language blog. He is a tutor of English, Spanish and French. He has visited 35 countries and sometimes writes in the third person!ย 

He has worked as a language teacher in France, Spain, Argentina, and Costa Rica. His love of languages led him to create this blog, to share best practices in language learning and inspire others to learn!

 

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