We finished the last lesson with some sentences which you were supposed to be looking at for this month.  It’s no good hunting around for them now – they went in the cat’s litter tray last Tuesday.  Not to worry, here they are again with accompanying comments.

Me voy a levantar temprano.

Here we have the reflexive verb levantarse used in the infinitive after voy a.  The reflexive pronoun me has to agree with the subject ‘I’ or yo.  This could also be written as Voy a levantarme temprano.  I nearly forgot – it means ‘I’m going to get up early’.

A mi madre le gusta levantarse a las ocho.

My mother likes getting up at eight o’clock.

Here we have the same verb in the same kind of structure, but in this case we have a few other fiddly bits caused by the use of gustar, (lit: ‘to my mother it pleases her’), so we keep the Reflexive Verb all together out of the way (‘to get herself up’).  Here the particle is se because we are in the third person singular.

Nos vamos a ir mañana.

We are going to go (away) tomorrow.

The reflexive verb is irse – ‘to go away’.  It would be equally correct to say Vamos a irnos mañana.

¿Prefieres ducharte o bañarte en la bañera?

Do you prefer to have a shower or have a bath?

A rather personal question I think! Please do not feel obliged to answer.

Los chicos tienen que irse temprano.

The young people have to go off/leave early.

Again the verb irse, kept together in one word. The se is because it is the third person plural ‘they’ form.

¿Os habéis acordado del regalo?

Have you (plural) remembered the present?

Here the verb is acordarse (to remember) which is followed by the word de.  The sentence is in the recent past tense.  Notice that when a verb form is made up of two words, (eg. habéis acordado) they are never separated, so the os goes in front.

Hay que apuntarse pronto.

You have to sign up soon.

(Normally in English we would replace the word ‘one’ for the impersonal use of ‘you’.) Hay que is a form we haven’t mentioned before.  It has the impersonal meaning ‘one has to’.  This form takes the third person, hence the pronoun se.  

¡Cuídate mucho, cariño!

Look after yourself darling! or ‘Take good care’ or words to that effect.

This is an imperative or command from the verb cuidarse (to look after oneself.

¿No te das cuenta del problema?

Don’t you realize the problem?

This sentence is negative and a question all in one. The infinitive is darse cuenta (to realize).  The reflexive pronoun goes in front of the verb, but after the word ‘no’.

Yo no quiero irme, me quedo aquí.

I don’t want to go, I’m staying here.

Those of us who have had children will be familiar with this sentence.  Quedarse is ‘to stay’.  In English we would say ‘I’m staying here’, but in Spanish it takes the present simple tense ‘I stay here’ – Me quedo aquí – aquí me quedo.

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’.