Difference vos – tú. Difference between Spanish from Spain and from Latin America


The difference vos – tú revealed!

There are 3 words in Spanish that are translated into English as singular “you”: vos, tú and usted.

Please, don´t confuse “vos” with” vosotros”, the second person plural familiar form for Spanish conjugations used in Spain (not in Latin America where we use “ustedes”).

Voseo (Spanish pronunciation: [boˈse.o]) is the use of vos as a second person singular pronoun, including its conjugational verb forms in many dialects of Spanish. In dialects that have it, it is used either instead of tú, or alongside it. Use of “tú” is known as “tuteo”.

Vos is used extensively as the primary form of the second person singular in Rioplatense Spanish (Argentina, Uruguay, eastern Bolivia) and Paraguayan Spanish.

The Central American Spanish (El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, southern parts of Chiapas in Mexico) also exhibits an extensive use of vos, though in Northern Central America the media use tú more frequently.  Vos is also present in other countries as a regionalism.

Some good news!

Vos tú

  • All native Spanish speakers understand tú fine, so don’t rush out to master vos if you head to a country / region where vos is used. You won’t need it, though it’s fun to use it.

 

  • The verb form of “vos” and “tú” are the same in all the tenses except:

Present tense (indicative mood)

Compare:

  • The basic rule for the present tense of VOS in present tense is to take the infinitive form, remove the final “-R” and add a stress on the last vowel plus “s”. For instance: tener becomes tenés. This implies that all the vos forms of the verb are regular in present tense.
Tomar (regular verb) Tú tomas Vos tomás
Comer (regular verb) Tú comes Vos comes
Vivir (regular verb) Tú vives Vos vivís
Despertar (irregular verb) Tú despiertas Vos despertás
Querer (irregular verb) Tú quieres Vos querés
Dormir (irregular verb) Tú duermes Vos dormís

 

Imperative Mood

 The basic rule for the imperative mode of VOS is to take the vosotros form, remove the final “-D” and add a stress on the last vowel. For instance: tened (vosotros) becomes tené (vos). This implies that all the vos forms of the verb are regular in imperative mode because vosotros is always regular in this tense.

Compare:

 

Tomar (regular verb) Tomad (vosotros) Tomá (vos)
Comer (regular verb) Comed (vosotros) Comé (vos)
Vivir (regular verb) Vivid (vosotros) Viví (vos)
Despertar (irregular verb) Despertad (vosotros) Despertá (vos)
Querer (irregular verb) Quered (vosotros) Queré (vos)
Dormir (irregular verb) Dormid (vosotros) Dormí (vos)

 

  • The “vos” and “tú” forms of the pronouns other than subject are the same. The possessive pronoun, the pronouns of direct object and indirect object and the reflexive pronouns are the same. There is only one exception: when there is a preposition + pronoun, it is different. For “vos” you also use “vos”, but with “tú”, you have to use “ti”. For example using the preposition “para”: if you use “vos”, you say “el libro es para vos”, but if you use “tú”, you say “el libro es para ti”.

 

Marina Boschi


About Marina Boschi

Teacher of Spanish as a foreign language. Professor of Philosophy. University of Buenos Aires. Passions: I love writing.

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