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Knowing You Better: Vosotros and Ustedes

The pronoun vosotros (bvoh-soh-trohs) (plural you) is used in spoken Spanish in Spain only. Spaniards use vosotros to informally address a group of people. In all other Spanish-speaking countries, vosotros is taught in the schools, but never used in normal conversation. In Latin America, you hear ustedes; there’s no distinction between formal and informal in the plural you.

Here are all the various you forms using trabajar (to work) as an example:

  • tú trabajas (you work), which is singular, informal

  • usted trabaja (you work), which is singular, formal

  • vosotros trabajáis (you work), which is plural, informal in Spain only

  • ustedes trabajan (you work), which is plural, formal in Spain, formal and informal in Latin America

You may hear a variation of vosotros in Argentina or Colombia, Vos trabajás (you work). From a grammatical standpoint, this form is totally incorrect, so don’t try to copy it.

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