This month we are going to look at some Reflexive Verbs which are used very commonly in everyday expressions. They take the whole concept of Reflexives a stage further than what we have learnt so far, as it is difficult in most cases to make sense of them using words like ‘myself, or yourself’. The best approach therefore is to accept that this is how certain things are said and learn them for future reference.
The first one is acordarse which means ‘to remember’.
An extremely common use of this verb is to say:
No me acuerdo.
I don’t remember.
If we wish to mention what it is we don’t remember, we have to add the word de:
No me acuerdo de la palabra
I can’t remember the Word.
There is another word for ‘to remember’ which is recordar, which also means ‘to remind’. However, the Spanish tend to favour acordarse.
The next one is apuntarse which means ‘to sign up’. Apuntar on its own means to ‘make a note’, so there is an idea of ‘noting’ one’s name on a list. If we wanted to put our names down for a course we would say:
Quiero apuntarme a un curso.
This is also used in a figurative way. If I want to join a group of friends to go for a meal, for example, I might say:
Me apunto también.
I’ll sign up as well.
Cuidar means to ‘look after’ or ‘care for’, so ‘to look after a child’, for example, is cuidar a un niño.
The Reflexive Verb is cuidarse, so if we want to say to someone:
‘Look after yourself’ or ‘Take care’ the expression is cuídate, (the te part being the Reflexive Pronoun.
A slightly longer expression is:
‘To realize’ or ‘To take into account’.
A phrase we may hear quite often and which is very useful is:
No me di cuenta
I didn’t realize.
This is one to remember when excusing yourself for putting your foot in it!
The same Reflexive Verb, dares, has various uses, another one being ‘to turn round’ which is darse la vuelta.
If you want to tell someone to turn round, you would say ¡Date la vuelta!
Finally, here is the most useful and friendly one of all – preocuparse – ‘to worry’.
I’m sure at least once you have heard ¡No te preocupes!, or the formal version ¡No se preocupe! said to you when you were feeling anxious about something, but you might not have understood it at the time. It simply means ‘Don’t worry!’ and is used in a multitude of situations. It makes a good alternative to the old chestnut No pasa nada and is just a nice expression to use to calm someone down who might be getting flustered or upset.
Are you still having trouble with these Reflexive Verbs?
No te preocupes.
Don’t worry yourself about it!
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’.