Reflexive Verbs???

Reflexive verbs or pronominal verbs as they are also known are very common in Portuguese. This type of verbs always works with a personal pronoun. To make myself clear, let’s have a look at some examples:

The verb “lavar” (to wash) can become a reflexive verb if you add a pronoun to it:

  • Eu lavo-me. (don’t forget to use the hyphen). So, “eu lavo-me” means “I wash myself). But, we can use the verb “lavar” without any pronoun, let’s see the difference:
  • Eu lavo o cão. (I wash the dog). In this case, the action expressed by the verb it’s not related to me, but to the dog, so we don’t use any pronoun.

Let’s see how to conjugate the verb “lavar-se” in the present:

To (“self”) wash Lavar-se
I wash (myself) Eu Lavo-me
You wash (yourself) Tu lavas-te  (informal)
You wash (yourself) Você lava-se (formal)
He washes (himself) Ele lava-se
She washes (herself) Ela lava-se
It washes (itself) ——-
We wash (ourselves) Nós lavamo-nos (in this one you must take out the “s” from “lavamos
You wash (yourselves) Vocês lavam-se
They wash (themselves) Eles lavam-se (masculine) / Elas lavam-se (feminine)

Another famous reflexive is the well-known “chamar-se”; the one we use to ask, “What’s your name?”:

  • Como se chama? (Literally “How do you call yourself?) – As you can see, when it’s in a question the pronoun “se” comes before the verb and without any hyphen.
  • Chamo-me John. (I call myself John).

 Other common reflexive verbs in Portuguese:

  • Levantar-se (to “self” get up)
  • Vestir-se (to “self” dress)
  • Sentar-se (to “self” sit)
  • Deitar-se (to “self” go to bed)
  • Lembrar-se (to “self” remember)
  • Esquecer-se (to “self” forget)


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