How do you say "tú" in formal and informal Spanish? Which should you use? (2023)

How do you say "tú" in formal and informal Spanish? Which should you use? (1)

September 21, 2021 vonOlga Put spanish grammar 0 comments

If English is the only language you (currently) speak, the concept of you is (formally) new to Spanish. Even if you're new to formal and informal I in Spanish, you probably already know when to use both.

Would you get your teacher's attention by yelling "Hey dude"?

Of course!

A message you write to your boss will certainly be different from the one you write to your boyfriend.

Read on to learn how to use informal and formal "you" naturally in Spanish.

Additionally, I address cultural differences you may encounter and share links to further study. You'll also have the opportunity to test what you've learned by taking a multiple-choice quiz at the end of the lesson!

You (formally) in Spanish

We found that you wouldn't talk to an elder in the same way as your lifelong friend.

Compared to English, Spanish goes a step further to differ in formality. It has two second person pronouns for formal and informal purposes. But how do you know which ones to use?

Consider the circumstances. Are you talking to one or more people? Do you know your interlocutor well?

You usually use you (formally) with people older than you, with a higher social or professional level, and people you don't know.

English actually had a lot of second person pronouns before the 17th century. read the statementHereif you like language history.

Forms and usage of You Formal and You Informal in Spanish

In this lesson, we will learn five forms of "you":

  • Of
  • Of
  • Of
  • Of
  • Vos

The use of you (formal) versus you (informal) in Spanish in conversation depends on the situation. It will be easier to understand after reading this section, I promise!

You (formally) in Spanish

Let's start with you (formally) in Spanish, as this is a new concept. If you decide to use the formal I in conversation, ask yourself: are you talking to one person or more than one person?

singular -Of

The plural of dir (formal) in Spanish isOf. Use it when you're talking to your friend's mother, your boss, or a stranger on the street.

Excuse me, can you tell me how to get to the main square?
Excuse me, can you tell me how to get to the main square?

you live here
You live here?

How do you say "tú" in formal and informal Spanish? Which should you use? (2)

Plural -Of

No matter which Spanish-speaking country you are in,Ofis the plural du (formal) in Spanish, which means you always use it with two or more people in a formal conversation.

Those of you present here knew my mother.
You who are present here knew my mother.

Ladies and gentlemen, you know my humble beginnings.
Ladies and gentlemen, you all know my humble beginnings.

You (Informal) in Spanish

If you've taken some Spanish classes, you're probably familiar with the informal I in Spanish and its basic conjugation.

singular -Of

Are you talking to a single person in an informal context? To useOfwith friends or people younger than you.

Some countries allow for more informality in their day-to-day interactions, while others prefer formal language, for example in a professional work environment.

You live next door, don't you?
You live nearby, don't you?

Often the Spanish language skips pronouns and you just use the proper grammatical form.

You live next door, right?

Note the accent versus the informalOf! If you take it out, the meaning changes to "yours".

Your cat annoys me.
your cat bothers me

Plural Forms -You you

When talking to a group of people in an informal context, you use different pronouns depending on the country you are in.

If you are in Latin America, stick with the form you already know:Of. For example, in Mexico, the same pronoun is used to formally and informally refer to a group of people.

In Spain, the informal plural is duOforOf. Vosotros is used to male and mixed groups andOf, if you only talk to women.

You don't know what I'm going to tell you.
You don't know what I'm going to tell you.

It's easy for you! You is not married.
It's easy for you! You is not married.

How do you say "tú" in formal and informal Spanish? Which should you use? (3)

In Latin America, both phrases would use thisOfTo form.

You don't know what I'm going to tell you.

It's easy for you! You is not married.


I leftVosto the end, as only a few countries use it. You'll hear it in Argentina, Paraguay, Uruguay and parts of Chile.

Vosit is a formal and informal "you" in these countries, triggering different forms of conjugation.

you have a friend in me
you have a friend in me

You are brave.
you are brave

BoxLearn to use Voseo: Vos in Spanishif you are interested in this form.

How to use you (formal) and you (informal) in Spanish

There are a few things to keep in mind when venturing into the realms of formal Spanish I.

The second person pronouns you learned today are just the first step. People often Google "du formal in Spanish conjugation" for a reason, as the verb forms vary depending on the pronouns used.

Let's take a look at "you have" in formal Spanish. Instead ofYou have,They switch to the third person singular and sayYou have.

Second, subject pronouns aren't the only ones that change. You will learn that each subject pronoun has different object pronouns and possessive pronouns and you will master itthis part of grammarit is also important if you want to speak correctly in all social contexts.

You have your pencils to yourself.
You have your pencils to yourself. (Informal)

You have your pens all to yourself.
You have your pencils to yourself. (Formally)

Thirdly, it is important to know what type of Spanish you are studying. Is it Spanish from Spain or Latin America? Then you'll know if you have a needOf, or you stay with himOfjust.

Spaniards also tend to be more informal in their social and professional relationships. In Spain it is common to address your boss or your elderly neighborOf

Latin American Spanish also varies from country to country, and now you know thatVosForm you need in Argentina in some other countries. Once you arrive in the Spanish-speaking country of your choice and start listening to people on the street, you will learn to adapt your language.

You formal x informal in Spanish: questionnaire

How do you say "tú" in formal and informal Spanish? Which should you use? (4)

Want to check how much you've learned about the subject? Choose only one answer.

1. The form of the formal Sie in Spanish may vary from country to country.

Correct! Incorrect!

2. What are the possible singular forms of informal you in Spanish?

Correct! Incorrect!

3. What are the possible singular forms of you formal in Spanish?

Correct! Incorrect!

4. What are the possible plural forms of informal du in Spanish?

Correct! Incorrect!

5. What are the possible plural forms of formal you in Spanish?

Correct! Incorrect!

6. Who can you address with tú?

Correct! Incorrect!

7. In which situation would you use you (formal) in Spanish?

Correct! Incorrect!

8. What verb form of tener (to have) would you use with the pronoun usted?

Correct! Incorrect!

9. Which sentence is formal?

Correct! Incorrect!

10. Which sentence is informal?

Correct! Incorrect!

Formal vs. informal you

Wow, you speak both formal and informal Spanish! Good job!

How do you say "tú" in formal and informal Spanish? Which should you use? (5)

You have a solid understanding of how to use formal and informal I, and the quality of your Spanish conversations is exploding!

You have almost mastered both formal and informal Spanish. Your consistent practice will yield better results!

How do you say "tú" in formal and informal Spanish? Which should you use? (6)

As you continue your hard work and practice, you'll begin to better understand how to use it both formally and informally. You can find more learning materials on ourrecently published blog postsat Academia Española Homeschool. *YOU'RE ALMOST THERE! You can do it!* Do you prefer to learn with videos? Visit our Youtube channelSpanish Academy TVfor the best Spanish learning content on the web!

Practice creates masters! Keep learning!

How do you say "tú" in formal and informal Spanish? Which should you use? (7)

Your motivation to learn Spanish is an essential part of success! When you're ready to take your Spanish to the next level and master the use of formal and informal I, take a free Spanish class with one of our friendly, certified Guatemalan Spanish-speaking teachers.Sign up today!

Try it yourself!

Now that you know the theory behind formal and informal Spanish, the key is to practice both forms in conversation. If you want to learn something, you should use it if your goal is to become fully bilingual.

Speaking Spanish is useful in the US - you don't even have to leave the country to find Spanish speakers. It is the second largest Spanish-speaking country in the world and noisyCNN, there are 41 million native Spanish speakers in the United States who speak Spanish at home. You will have many opportunities to practice.

However, if you want to try out (formal) Spanish before using it in the outside world, enroll in afree trial classwith one of our certified native Guatemalan teachers and practice in a safe and challenging environment.

Ready to learn more Spanish grammar? Check these out!

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Olga Put

freelance writernoSpanish school at home

I am a Spanish philologist, teacher and freelance writer with a Masters in Humanities from Madrid. I am fluent in Polish, Spanish and English and would like to improve my Portuguese and German. A lover of literature and spicy Mexican cuisine, I have lived in Poland, Spain and Mexico and currently live and teach in Madeira, Portugal.

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