If you’ve ever traveled to Argentina or Central America, you will have heard the pronoun vos. This pronoun is the equivalent of tú (you), and it’s used in many parts of Latin America. In this post, we’ll show you how to use pronoun vos and how to conjugate verbs in this form. Want to impress your Spanish speaking friends with your mastery of vos? Let’s get to it!
Table of Contents
What is ‘vos’ and where is it used?
Vos is a Spanish subject pronoun used for the second-person singular in a familiar context — the same way you would use the pronoun “tú.” There is no difference in meaning, the difference lies in the regions it is used. In some regions it fully replaces the pronoun “tú” and in others it is used alongside “tú.”
- In Argentina, Paraguay, and Uruguay, vos is used instead of tú.
- In Central America, vos is used alongside tú. The predominant pronoun is vos.
- In only certain regions of Colombia, Venezuela, Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia, Cuba, and Southern Mexico, vos is used alongside tú. The predominant pronoun is tú.
- In Chile it is used alongside tú, but slightly different (keep reading to find out how).
In the Spanish-speaking countries, the art of using “vos” is called “voseo” and as an interesting fact, about 40 percent of Spanish speakers use it. That’s a lot of people! So, it is definitely worth giving it a shot, but don’t worry if you don’t master it fully — all Spanish speakers will understand you if you end up using “tú.”
How to conjugate verbs using the ‘vos’ form?
Pronouns tú and vos share most of the verbal conjugations; however, they differ in the present tense (indicative and subjunctive) and in the imperative. We’ll go over this next!
Present indicative tense
| Stem-change No stem-change|
jugar (to play): tú juegas vos jugás you play
tener (to have): tú tienes vos tenés you have
dormir (to sleep): tú duermes vos dormís you sleep
Note that verbs dar (to give) and ver (to see) are regular in the vos form, except they do not require a written accent: vos das (you give) and vos ves (you see).
Curious to know more about Spanish accents? Then head over to our post!
Present subjunctive tense
The verb forms of the present subjunctive in Spanish are very easy for pronoun vos. Use the same forms as for pronoun tú, but change the stress to the last syllable. This means that in writing you will add an accent to the last vowel, and in speech you will say the last syllable with more emphasis.
Quiero que vos salgás temprano.
⤷TIP In Argentina, Paraguay, and Uruguay the tú forms of the subjunctive are used instead of the vos forms, but continue to use pronoun vos. The above example would be said like this:
Quiero que vos salgas temprano.
Vos commands are formed following a simple rule: drop the -r from the end of the infinitive form of the verb and put a written accent on the last vowel. This applies to all verbs, except ir (go), so there is no difference between regular and irregular in this case.
|Rule → Drop the -r and add accent to the last vowel|
(tú) habla → hablá vos (speak)
volver (to come back)
(tú) vuelve → (vos) volvé (come back)
lavar (to wash) → lavate (wash yourself)
When adding the pronoun, the written accent is not needed. However, the stress of the word remains in the same syllable as the command without the pronoun:
pará (stop) → parate (get up)
The negative takes the same form as the tú commands regular and irregular, but an accent is added on the last syllable. This accent changes the pronunciation; now, the stressed or prominent vowel becomes the last one instead of the second to last.
|tú negative command||no bailes|
|vos negative command||no bailés|
However, there are a few verbs that don’t follow this rule: -ir verbs that have a stem-change in the present tense like sentir (to feel), repetir (to repeat), vestirse (to get dressed), servir (to serve), dormir (to sleep), and morir (to die).
- -o is replaced with -u
- -e is replaced with -i
You are crazy if you think that you can go out dressed like that in the cold.
What pronouns should I use with ‘voseo’?
Most of the time, you will use the same pronouns you would use with “tú.
Same pronouns as ‘tú’
- Use pronoun “te” as the reflexive pronoun and as direct and indirect object pronouns (including with double object pronouns):
- When using possessive pronouns, use “tuyo” (tuya, tuyos, tuyas) and “tu” (tus) for the possessive adjective.
Different pronoun than ‘tú’
|¿Vos quieres venir conmigo? ¿Tú querés venir conmigo?|
↳tú form ↳vos form
Do you want to come with me?
In Chile, for example, it’s considered rude to use the pronoun vos with the verb in vos form (aka standard voseo), so the familiar way to address someone is by using the pronoun “tú” with a verb in the vos form – in the Chilean form: tú querei (you want). Interesting, isn’t it?