We have spent a few months now laying the foundations for understanding Reflexive Verbs and I did mention the obvious fact early on that whatever applies to the Present Tense, applies in all the other tenses as well. In other words, just as we can say Me levanto (I get up) in the present tense, we can also say:
Me estoy levantando
I am getting up
Me he levantado
I have got up
I was getting up/I used to get up).
There are two instances when the particle can be placed in one of two positions. The first case is with the Gerund, which can be as in the example above: Me estoy levantando (with the participle in front of the verbs) or Estoy levantándome (with the participle tacked onto the gerund). The two things meaning exactly the same.
The same applies to Infinitives Of Verbs, for example:
Tengo que levantarme or Me tengo que levanter
I have to get up
There is no difference between these two sentences and both forms are used quite commonly.
There is just one instance when the Particle has to be tacked onto the end of the verb with no alternative and that is with the Imperative (or command) form, for example:
Sometimes you do hear a variation of this which is:
Qué te levantes
That you may get up! but that’s getting a bit advanced as it involves the Subjunctive which we haven’t got anywhere near yet in these articles.
Once we start realizing all the alternatives of tense, person and word order, the whole subject gets a bit cumbersome to explain, so I’ve decided to change tactic and give you some sentences to play with until next month. You can translate them of course and also notice how the Reflexives work in each one. Here we go:
Me voy a levantar temprano.
A mi madre le gusta levantarse a las ocho.
Nos vamos a ir mañana.
¿Prefieres ducharte o bañarte en la bañera?
Los chicos tienen que irse temprano
¿Os habéis acordado del regalo?
Hay que apuntarse pronto.
¡Cuídate mucho cariño!
¿No te das cuenta del problema?
Yo no quiero irme, me quedo aquí.
Jane Cronin’s ‘Step by Step Spanish’ articles are available as e-books at www.janecronin.eu where you can also obtain Jane’s ‘Step by Step Internet Spanish Course’.