Omission of personal pronouns​

Let-s see the following conversation to get into context,



A: Víctor, ¿Tienes dinero?

B: Sí, un poco.

A: ¿Cuánto dinero tienes?

B: Veinte dólares.

A: Es suficiente. 


As you may notice in the last line of the last conversation above, in Spanish we do not have the personal pronoun “it”. Instead, we can use “ello” -> “it” (a neutral singular personal pronoun) or the neutral singular demonstrative pronouns “esto”, “eso”, “aquello” -> also “it” (as we learned before) or in other different grammar cases, we may allow to use objects, or personal pronouns. However, it is too early to talk about it.


The point is that it is very common for us to omit “ello”, “esto”, “eso”, “aquello” and even the rest of the personal pronouns.


For example,


  1. “It is enough”            -> “(Ello/esto) es suficiente”.       ->“Es suficiente”.

  2. “It is beautiful”          -> “(Ello/esto) es hermoso”.        -> “Es hermoso”.


  1. “He is strict”               -> “(Él) es estricto”.                       -> “Es agradable”.

  2. “Ella es friendly”       -> “(Ella) es amigable”.                -> “Es amigable”.  


All examples above, the verb “es” give us the number information (singular and plural) but “es” does not give us the gender information since the verbs in Spanish do not have gender. The gender information is given to us by the context. In the cases 3 and 4, if the context is not enough or the subject have not been mentioned in the conversation before, it is very probable that speaker add “él” or “ella” to clarify.


The personal pronouns are omitted because in Spanish, the verb conjugations contain themself the personal pronoun information. Spanish verbs have a different conjugation for each personal pronoun which allow us to talk by omitting the personal pronouns since we well-understand there is a personal pronoun in front of the verb. In other words, each personal pronouns have their own verb conjugation and it does not repeat like English in whose case “are and is” are the conjugation of many personal pronouns.  


For example,

Haber - Tabla 13.jpg


Only in those cases, where the context is not enough to identify who is the subject in the conversation because it has not been mentioned before or it still is unknown, the speaker may clarify adding the personal pronouns.


Important: Spanish speakers may use a personal pronouns when they want to emphasize.


For example,


A: Soy un profesor muy estricto.

B: (Yo) soy un profesor muy amigable.


The person “B” is using the personal pronoun “yo” in the conversation to emphasize that he is a different kind of professor. It could be interpreted as, “you are strict, but I am very friendly professor”.


One more example,


A: Tengo hambre.

B: (Yo) tengo sueño.


While “A” is hungry, “B” wants to emphasize that his/her need is different from “A”. It could be interpreted as, “you are hungry but, in my case, I am sleepy”.


It may be difficult to understand. However, I will keep given you many examples in the next lessons. Remember that practicing is the key to overcome all this challenges.