Pronominal verbs are often incorrectly
referred to as reflexive verbs, when in fact the latter are just one type of
pronominal verb. The defining characteristic of pronominal verbs is that their
subjects are acting upon themselves. Pronominal verbs are much more common in
Spanish than in English.
What sets pronominal verbs apart from non-pronominal verbs is that
pronominals must be must be conjugated with a
reflexive pronoun, which always
agrees with the subject. Like object
pronouns, the reflexive pronoun is placed directly
in front of the verb. Unlike
subject pronouns, the reflexive pronoun is required in Spanish.
There are two separate tasks when conjugating pronominal verbs. First, take
pronounse, change it to agree with the subject of the verb, and place
it directly in front of the verb. Then, as with all verbs, you must conjugate
the infinitive according to whether it's an -ar, -er, -ir, stem-changing, or
I'm taking a shower.
Marco se pone una camisa.
Marco is putting a shirt on.
Te lavas la cara.
You're washing your face.
Nos quedamos aquí.
We're staying here.
Tengo que sentarme.
I need to sit down.
We got married.
You can recognize pronominal verbs by the reflexive pronoun se tacked
on to the infinitive: ducharse, ponerse, lavarse,